We stayed at the hotel in early December during the relatively low season. We opted for the beach front room rate which included a full American (buffet) breakfast and USD 100 a night credit to spend in the hotel. I would recommend this plan, as the breakfast is excellent and the hotel tries hard to generate extra income from extras, which if you do not have the USD 100 a night credit, might become a little irksome. It is very easy to spend the USD 100 every day, but overall, in low season, we found the hotel exceptional value for money.
The hotel is about 20 minutes drive from Cancun airport and along the narrow spit of land known as the hotel zone. The hotel is roughly in the centre of this spit near the shopping centre (mall) Plaza Kukulcan. It is very near the Secrets Resort, The Hard Rock Hotel and The Royal Sands, and quite near the JW Marriot. It is also quite near La Isla Shopping Village, which is a large and expanding shopping centre on the lagoon side with Venice like canals, an aquarium and several restaurants.
The first impressions on entering the hotel are that it is a grand, 5 hotel with high ceilings and marble everywhere. I have seen on a few other reviews (having read them extensively prior to booking), those few reviews not awarding the hotel 4 or 5 star reviews, that the hotel is in need of a refurbishment. I would say that by most standards, the hotel is very well maintained, and although I read that the last full refurbishment was in 2006, the level of maintenance and repair is very high, and it was exceptionally hard to find any fault while I was there, either in our room or the public areas. This is not a modern, minimalist ultra-chic hotel. If you want that then look elsewhere, possibly at Me by Melia hotel. The only small gripe could be the sound insulation between rooms, but that only very occasionally caused us any annoyance.
The dining experience while there, including the service was exceptional. Almost everything we ate was delicious. It is quite easy to eat healthily by sticking to the amazing ceviche and other fish dishes instead of eating pizzas and french fries.
EL Cafe Mexicano:
The full American breakfast (included in our package) was exceptional. There is a huge choice of fruit, pastries, classic hot breakfast food, an omelette bar, Mexican breakfast classics and fruit juices, and on Sundays a quesidilla bar. Everything was delicious, very well prepared and the service was attentive, if catering for the US market, which for British people is a little too much in your face. The omelettes were cooked to perfection, the quesadillas too, the bacon was that thin crispy smoked type and the fruit was normally a choice of 3 types of melon including watermelon, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, grapes and others (but no mango while we were there). The quality of the pastries was also first class, and the choice extensive. There is a choice of eating either inside or outside by the pool. We always chose outside which was far better except for the annoyance of having to go through the door to get to the buffet (would be useful if it were an automatic sliding door) and for the birds that make loud shrieking noises, wanting to be fed.
The Lobby Bar:
Beautiful ambience usually augmented by live music ranging from a pianist to a flutist. Again, service is excellent, if more catering for the US market, and everyone of the cocktails we tried was either delicious or amazing. We tried the Mexican ceviche (excellent) and lobster tacos (delicious). There is also an extensive selection of Mexican and international beer. Highly recommended.
Most of the rooms in the hotel face east which means a lovely sunrise in the morning. We had a standard room on the 4th floor. There was a very comfortable King sized bed with crisp 100% cotton bed linen and the decor was very much the US standard of eclectic classic style. The room was equipped with a 42inch flat screen TV, a Ipod dock (gen 3 and 4) clock radio, a coffee maker and mini bar.
The room was above average size and the bathroom was also spacious with a separate WC inside the bathroom. The shower was also separate from the bath. The bathroom was full of white marble. Even though the fundamentals of the bathroom (eg. the marble and stone) probably are those of when the hotel was first built, the room has been well maintained and everything had been replaced and renewed when and if necessary.
The Beach and pool area:
The pool areas are split into two with the north wing area having a larger pool and a large jacuzzi and the south pool area with a smaller pool and a fountain / waterfall.
The beach is very well maintained with serene white sand and turquoise water. While we were there the waves were a little rougher than what you'd expect based on experience from other places in the Caribbean but nevertheless the whole experience was wonderful. When I was there if it is a calm day and the green flag is displayed there was a sandbank about 50 metres out from shore directly in front of the wooden life saving tower. The sand out there is beautiful with no uncomfortable pebbles or stones, and it is possible to stand with the water at thigh height. Only swim out there if you know you can swim back!
The hotel offers 3 choices of sun loungers on the beach:
○ White ones by the pool or on the beach which are free.
○ Wooden double sun lounger with a blue hood on the beach. USD 25 a day
○ Straw roof wooden shelters with sun loungers and hammocks ("casitas"), with space for about 4 + people. USD 150
If you don't mind spending USD 150 a day then the casitas are extremely comfortable. I did object to spending that much , but I suppose they are priced according to demand in the high season. Possibly some of the more luxurious plans offer these as part of the deal. The blue hooded double sun loungers are claustrophobic and after trying one for 5 minutes, we decided to abandon the idea for the normal ones.
The only real negative I experienced while staying at the hotel is the internet. I can live with a charge of USD 20 a day, but I can't live with a charge of USD 20 a day per device. The mark up on this must be absolutely enormous. I would strongly urge the hotel to reconsider this per device charge.
We would whole hearted recommend this hotel given our experience in low season in the first week in December. What stood out the most was the standard of the food and drinks, which were absolutely excellent, and by London standards not too expensive.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Considered one of the most elegant resorts in the world, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, reflects Mexico's rich architectural heritage in an atmosphere of magnificent sophistication. Minutes from many lively and leisurely attractions, our Cancun hotel resort features 363 guestrooms overlooking the sea, a 1,200-foot beach, sculpted outdoor swimming pools, a full service Spa, an impressive Culinary Center and award winning restaurants. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ritz-Carlton Cancun Hotel Cancun
- Cancun Ritz Carlton
- Ritz Cancun