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Reviewed November 2, 2009

I became a fan of Lagunamar last year when I stayed at this new property. So, when it came time form a quick week away, I decided to come back. What a mistake. The place has totally gone downhill. Now, bear in mind, as you read this review, I'm a picky, anal-retentive Peninsula/Four Seasons traveler. I have a certain level of service I expect. If you're not an experienced traveler or admire Sheratons, you'll love this place.

Kimberly, my Concierge and timeshare staff was not obtrusive and took care of some transportation hiccups for me. In fact, I was so happy with last year's experience I was strongly considering vacation ownership. Sadly, a deal slipped away because they are letting this place quickly turn into yet another Cancun hotel with zero redeeming qualities.

There are some PROS to the hotel, too. Nice interiors, ample bathrooms, close to everything, great business center with free internet, a nice c-store on-site, decent-ish gym, fun water slide, MASSIVE pools, prompt poolside service.

So, the reason for my negative review is not only a quickly aging property, but THE WORST Management staff. I booked a pre-paid rate (outstanding rate, too) and from the moment I walked in, I knew it was a FAIL. The ubiquitous Cancun mildew was the first to greet me in my room. Then the sand in the bathroom. Then all the greasy finger smudges on walls, doors, mirror, Sub-Zero fridge, microwave and then I got to see an un-vacuumed carpet. I mean, it really looked like housekeeping simply made the bed and restocked towels and bath amenities. It took two days to get someone up there (Thank you, Concierge Kimberly, again). Then I had water pressure issues the first night, fixed the next day, then more pressure issues. I had had enough and spoke to the front desk. While cordial, they were firm on me not breaking my rental despite me saying "I do not want to stay here anymore because these accommodations are not up to my liking." Again, smiles and "I'll see what I can do."

They finally had an answer: "You can check out now but we will still hold the full fee." This is why most of Starwoods brands are failing. Why would you keep a complaining guest who is begging to leave on property? Just an utter FAIL on Starwood's management training. After TWO more conversations, never with the same person through this whole situation, they finally said I could leave two days early and not pay those two days. Gee thanks, Jose ~ the rude MOD. I left to La Amada where service and substance run hand-in-hand.

The covered daybeds are a mess. Ripped fabric on the retracting shades, busted shade frames on the daybeds, the hottub was under REconstruction (this place is less than two years old and they're ripping the whole thing apart?), the pool had two huge areas where the tiles were gone, the baby splash pool had a filthy floor you could see from your room, they even charged me FOUR pesos for a cup of ice! The thing they call a beach is STILL, after a year, a rocky mess of boulders and sand. It really looks like a construction crew dumped a few loads on the beach and left. VERY dangerous drop off. And, to make this place the ultimate Cancun FAIL, they now allow the silver touts ON PROPERTY! Many times my girlfriend got the "Hey lady, you want silver? Hey lady!"

This property is going the way of every other mid-market property in the Hotel Zone. Westin/Starwood hasn't been on my radar because of poor employees and terrible management. My last four stays with Starwood have all been less than expected. I feel bad for the people who bought into the time share here because in 5 years this hotel is going to be one more lame hotel in the HZ.

If you're not an experience traveler, you'll love this place.

Pics attached to show some of the FAILs.

Stayed: October 2009, traveled solo
12  Thank nosescott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2009

My brand new husband and I stayed at the Lagunamar for the final 2 nights of our Yucatan honeymoon.

OVERVIEW:
Pros: The entire hotel is beautiful; the rooms are quite large and well equipped. The beds are comfy, and the bathroom is large and luxurious. There is a large pool, with numerous activities, a gym, a good restaurant, and a nice beachfront. There is an authentic Mayan ruin next door!

Cons: Only one garbage can, and it is difficult to find (under the sink... none in the bathroom!) The front desk/concierge staff were fairly aloof and the bellmen were difficult to find in order to retrieve our car from the valet.

ROOM: The (standard) room is large and has a very comfortable, attractive bed, as well a sleeper sofa, coffee table, and desk area. The kitchenette has everything you would need to cook and entertain, and is also pretty. The bathroom has a jacuzzi tub and a shower stall, as well a large stock of towels and bathrobes, etc. To my surprise, there was no garbage can in the bathroom; I think this is a major problem! The jacuzzi also only had 2 functional jets. The decor is modern, with some Mexican and Japanese influences. I was disappointed with the art selection (Mark Rothko in the bathroom) not because it was bad per sé, but because it was a bit boring. The balcony is a good size and has nice wicker furniture. The room also had a washer/dryer, which is nice if you are like us and have been traipsing through the jungle for a week :)

VIEW: Can't say enough good things about the view. We were in building one (the newest), and had both the Mayan ruin and the ocean visible from our balcony. Gorgeous!

FACILITIES: The pool was wonderful, the illusion of merging with the ocean is done expertly! There is a fun water slide, and plenty of space to lie out in the sun. The swim-up bar is nice, although the drinks are only decent (biggest problem was that they did not blend the ice sufficiently in those type of drinks). The beach is well kept and nice. The hotel offers nice programs for guests, including childrens activities, yoga, and art projects. Their breakfast (the only meal we ate on-site) was good, but not amazing, and not worth the price tag. The hotel has grills for patron use, volleyball nets, good towel service, a nice looking gym, and plenty of seating areas.

SERVICE: Despite operating with a huge staff, the hotel seemed a bit unattentive. Our check in was a bit slow, but the front desk staff member was courteous. She asked if it was our honeymoon, and we said yes, after which a woman came by as our personal "welcomer" and told us she had a gift for us to pick up sometime the next morning. We thought this sounded nice, so we waited a bit longer than initially planned (we had a busy day of site seeing on our agenda) and found her desk, where she had us sit down (uh oh) and asked us many questions. She seemed judgmental about our plan for the today (going to tulum & grand cenote, and thinking about going to coba or xel-ha) and first suggested that we stay at the hotel, and then tried to get us to pay for xel-ha up front (good thing we didn't because we didn't have time to go there!). She kept commenting about how we were honeymooners, and that they get lots of them there, etc. so we were thinking maybe that's why they are giving us a gift... but then our "gift" arrived; it was a Westin beach bag that seemed like any freebie you would get at a business conference and not worth our time. We weren't counting on honeymoon freebies, so it didn't matter to us, and I don't think it was a horrible experience or anything; just a little awkward and took away valuable sightseeing time (as this was our last day in the area).

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank shargrav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2009

My husband, 8 year old son and I just returned from a weeks' stay at the Westin Lagunamar and we absolutely loved it! The resort was very well taken care of. Very clean - someone was always cleaning or polishing or sweeping something. The staff was extremely helpful and polite. My son loved the Westin Kids Club and would ask if he could go hang out there. He also loved the water slide (as did my husband and I!) and feeding the iguanas at the resort. The atmosphere was so relaxing and friendly that we rarely left the resort. The activities staff usually had something going on at the pool in the afternoons that was very family friendly. Jose,' Jorge' and Danielle were a lot of fun! The pool is fabulous! We did not want to leave it.

The rooms were large and well equipped. We had a one bedroom unit that was plenty big. Lots of storage space for luggage, etc. The washer and dryer are fantastic! Two large TVs and a nice ocean view patio were also great.

We absolutely loved this resort and can't wait to go back again. That being said, there are a few things we learned about Cancun the hard way. First, arrange your transportation to the resort BEFORE you arrive. DO NOT stop in the airport to talk to the people in the white uniforms by the doors. They are timeshare promoters and can be very aggressive. The Westin can arrange your transportation for you if you contact them ahead of time.

Second, avoid the downtown market place. These people tend to be like vultures and can be extremely persistant in trying to get you to make a purchase. Additonally, you have to pay to use the restrooms which are disgusting at best. The cabbies will converge on you as well, but are only interested in taking you all the way back to your resort. Negotiate a price before getting in!! Although the prices are somewhat cheaper than in the resort area, they are not cheap enough for me to repeat that experience!

We did use the public transportation and had no problems with that. It is very cheap and the R2 bus goes to WalMart, which is another experience! Take the bus there, but take a cab back with your purchases.

If time allows, I recommend the day trip to Chichen Itza (Mayan Ruins). This is a great experience and very informative. The people are very nice and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Talk to the conceriege at the hotel to arrange this tour. It is well worth the money.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and we can't wait to return. The only advice I would give is to remember that even though this area is fairly "Americanized", it is a foreign country. They were hit hard by Hurricane Wilma and Swine Flu and are still trying to recover from both. Bear in mind that they do not have the resources that we have or a government with an endless stream of blank checks to bail them out. These things will take time - please be patient with them. Also, take time to learn a few key phrases in Spanish. The people seem to really like it when you use their language.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank addicted2travelIowa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2009

We are currently at the Westin Lagunamar Resort. It is our first stay as time-share owners after purchasing in Atlantis earlier this year. We are in a studio unit which is sufficient for our needs although a bit tight for space. The kitchen and extra space in the one bedroom that we viewed would be great.

This is one of the cleanest resorts we have ever stayed in. Staff are extremely helpful. Tonight we returned from a trip to XPLOR ( www.explore.travel ) to find our room filled with towel animals from the cleaning staff. This was the best excursion, by the way, we've booked while on vacation- -zip-lines, underwater caves and all terrain vehicles. It's only been open for 3 months and there appears to be more to come. It's pricey but worth it.

As others have pointed out, the infinity pool is amazing. Occupancy rate seems to be low right now so we have not had any problem finding chairs. The plans for the new building do look promising. We were told the new area would be more for adults and the current buildings for families.

Don't be concerned about rain in the forecasts. Although rain has been predicted for each of the past 4 days, we've only seen brief 10-minute showers for two days. Otherwise the weather has been great.

As others have mentioned, it's an easy bus ride to Walmart to purchase food and wine. We also walked over to COSTCO and brought all of our purchases back in our backpacks on the bus. We had also brought a small cooler bag and everything was still cold or frozen when we arrived back at the hotel 30 minutes later.

We have really appreciated the free wireless internet. It has made it easy to search for activities and services in the area.

We will definitely come back here!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank onthebeach78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2009

We are Owners at Mrytle Beach (have yet to stay there though with the limitless possibilities!!!) - and decided to try Cancun this year. WHAT a great decision we made. The hotel itself is fairly new with updated, beautiful rooms - and the grounds are beautiful. While it still is a work in progress, what is done was great and I can only imagine what it will look like when all is complete next year. Travel dates Oct 3rd through Oct 10th 2009

CHECK IN - This was a confusing time - I will say. We arrived when everyone was either checking in or checking out, so there were plenty of people in line. We were greeted by swarm of workers whose job is to make sure you get taken care. We were given a great drink of lemonade with mint and a fresh towel......and our hostess put us in 'que' and we walked around while it was our turn to check in. Our room was not ready - it is a 4PM check in time. I can understand this, but it was still frustrating. The room attendants have a large space to clean, so it does take a little longer than a standard hotel room......but I do hate waiting (that's my problem though!)

FIRST IMPRESSION: Love the bar in the center of the water fountains behind the entrance. The lobby is beautiful. Plenty of places to sit. It did have a funny smell about the hotel, but it is a humid locale....so that is to be expected. The grounds are beautiful and the pool is MASSIVE.

ROOM: We had a one bedroom studio - perfect two people and maybe one small child. ANy more than that it would get VERY crowded easily. It is 425 sq ft, still significantly larger than a hotel room. It is smaller than the Myrtle Beach and Atlantis properties, but the decor was right up my speed. It was very 'W' or 'Westin' - espresso furniture, clean lines, modern fixtures. The bathroom was impressive - and I think I will redoing my own to match theirs! Kitchen was well stocked. Refrigerator was smaller, but it worked. Had everything I would need. Washer/Dryer worked perfect. Definitely enough room to hide all of our clothes and make the room feel like a small condo.

LOCATION: You could NOT ask for a better hotel. Cancun wasn't what I was expecting - and it can take a long time to walk to things......having La Isla directly across the hotel was perfect.....the benches alongside the bay were nice in the evening to relax on. It took 30 minutes to walk up where the clubs are......but the buses are convienent and only 50 cents (and they run alot of them). It definitely felt like Miami or Vegas - it was hard to find non touristy stuff along the strip, but a trip to Isla Muertes solved that problem. You are among the fancier hotels, so having nice restaurants at your fingertips was great. If you are anywhere down South of this hotel....there is really not much to do (where the Westin Spa & Resort is)....it would be boring!

RESTAURANTS: We did not try Oceano, but the Viento was great. Food was quick, servers were great. They don't bother you for drinks, though they will ask - if you say NO...they don't bug you again until you ask for one.

BEACH: The beach was great - but I think Cancun does not allow hotels to put personal property out on the beach....not one resort had lounge chairs down on the actual beach along the 6 or so miles. Even the Ritz had no loungers down there! BUT they do have some tiki huts with chairs up on their property - and I noticed that the phase has the pool farther back with more 'beach' on their property, so I imagine they will be adding more chairs over there. The life guards had Westin name tags - but they sat up in the little lifeguard hut.....but I didn't see them watching people 1/2 the time. They mingled and had fun their whole shift. The rip tides are a little dangerous even though the waves don't look anything different than what the Atlantic gives you, so I just stayed in water up to my thighs or so. Water was great temperature! No jelly fish, but a fair amount of seaweed. If you want calm waters, head over to the northern part or an island.....the water gets clearer the more you move up the coast....the Westin Spa had more 'greener' water than ours did, and the others up coast had even more clearer water than we did.

PROPERTY OVERVIEW: If you aren't an owner (or if you are) - make sure you do a 90 minute review of the property - you get 100$ to use in the resort. If anything, it is educational.....and you will quickly realize why we own :) The prices are amazing and I couldn't believe the deals they were passing out. It really was no pressure like it was in Atlantis (we don't own there) - very laid back!

CHECK OUT: Not one problem. BUT - if you pay something with American dollars...the hotel gives you pesos. Be forewarned because the last thing I wanted to do was take pesos back to the US and pay another 7% at the airport to get them changed. We were told to use the airport to change money beause the rate was low....it actually was lower at the kiosks on the island.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Love_Food_Alot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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