Let me start by admitting this will as much a review of Cancun as it is the Casa Magna.
We just returned from a week long vacation at the Casa Magna. This was our first time in Cancun/Mexico. Casa Magna is a wonderful hotel. The restaurants, workers, location on the strip/beach, pool, rooms, atmosphere are all relaxing and spectacular.
To get from the airport to the hotel, do yourself a favor and set up a reservation with the hotel for their shuttle. It costs $14 USD per person per trip but is worth it and less then most 3rd party shuttle companies.
When in Cancun, do not be intimidated by the public bus to go up and down the strip. It is the easiest public transportation I have ever used. You flag them down, pay 17 pesos/person and push the stop button when you want to be dropped off. Cheap, easy and quick!
The beach at Casa Magna is spectacular. It is clean and the water is perfect. The hotel has a number of beach loungers and tiki umbrellas. You do not need to wake up at 6AM to "claim" a seat as there are always extras even mid afternoon. The pool is also spectacular with loungers and a swim up bar. They play trendy music all day and have the friendliest staff waiting hand and foot. The hotel also has a towel shack and allow you unlimited beach towels.
After settling in, you'll wonder where to eat in Cancun. Let me help you. The strip is littered with American chain restaurants but are more costly and half the quality as they are in the States. Be aware! Next you will hear about Carlos N' Charlies, Coco Bongos, Senor Froggs. Again be aware as they are very expensive and the food quality is terrible. We spent nearly $80 USD at Carlos N Charlies. This consisted of an entree, salad and 2 drinks. The food was so bad, we paid, left and ate somewhere else. Do yourself a favor and eat at resorts for the same prices. Do not miss Sasi Thai at the Marriott! Best Thai I have ever had.
Try to book your room with breakfast included as it is expensive for the buffet ($24 USD/person). You get what you pay for with the best brunch spread you have ever seen. You can also opt for cheaper option (yogurt parfaits, egg sandwiches, bagels, coffee) at the gift shop. There is also a McDonald's across the street from the hotel.
There is a Seven11 across the street as well. There you can buy beer, water, liquor, snacks and other small things for much less than you can at the hotel.
Do yourself another favor and stay clear of Aqua World's trip to Isle Mujeres. What a waste of time and money. They take you snorkeling in the middle of the ocean where the water isn't clear, there are no fish, and the waves crash over you into your snorkel. Not sure about anything else they offer because of our disappointment with the island trip.
The hotel rooms are spectacular. They have a traditional Mexican vibe with modern finishes. The beds are to die for. The bathrooms are very clean and modern. The balconies offer perfect views. The thermostat is spot on. The maids are personal and on the money.
There are two things that set this hotel apart from the rest. First is the water. You do not have to worry about showering with your mouth closed or brush your teeth with bottled water as the entire water system is filtered. Even the ice machines are filtered! Second is the security at the hotel. There is a security booth and attendant. You feel safe the hotel.
Little things to keep in mind on your vacation. If you use your credit card for payments, always know what currency they are charging you before you sign. Buy water/snacks from the Seven 11 across the street for beach/pool days. Ask for no ice at restaurants away from the resort. Buy extra sun lotion before going to Cancun. There is a lotion monopoly on the strip. You will pay between $25USD-$45USD anywhere on the strip for lotion. Buy what you think you'll need at home, then buy 1 extra bottle (when will it go to waste right?). Be prepared for people to try to sell you things. Coco Bongos, Carlos n' Charlie's, Senor Froggs, etc all have guys going around with cameras and charge for your picture, they all have girls coming around trying to give shots (why would you pay for shots when it's all inclusive to get in to these places and you have unlimited bottle service?).
Ok so to recap...The resort is amazing. Comfort, safety, food, staff are all the best in Cancun. Off the resort has its pros and cons but do not be afraid to venture (even to downtown Cancun).
Splurge for an ocean view. You will not regret it!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.