Service is top notch!!
Cleanliness – everything is spotless and well maintained
Beds – very comfy
Bathrooms – room bathrooms were nicely laid out.
Food – plenty of good options
Quiet – maybe too much for some
Rooms are a little plain
Kids programs are weak
Unless a resort is truly horrific or perfect in every way I always find it difficult to rate hotels. You can rate based on your experience but that doesen’t tell the user much as your tastes may not have matched what the resort was trying to acheive. I chose to give this hotel a 5 rating because for what it sets out to do, it does as well as can be done. Service was excellent, food was good, and everything was very clean and well maintained. That being said this resort is definitely not for everyone and if you are looking for specific things in your vacation then you may want to read on for more details
We chose the JW Marriott as our family March Break Vacation (March 19th – 26th). We have travelled to Cancun before but have always chosen an all inclusive resorts. All inclusive resorts have their pluses and minuses and we just wanted to try something different by going to the JW. We have three children aged 13, 10 and 7, the youngest and oldest are girls. For the first time we decided to rely on a website called family critic dot com and it rated the JW the second best resort in Cancun……which is a rating I definitely disagree with.
The hotel itself is very nice and well maintained. The rooms are very typical Marriott rooms nothing much to discuss as far as they are concerned. I would have preferred something a little larger but I wouldn’t characterize the rooms as small. Washrooms have lots of marble throughout with a separate small room for the toilet. There were two sinks and a separate shower and bath. The rooms look like they are on the border of being worn a bit but still very nice. We had a great view of the ocean and the balconies are useable but not overly large. Everything worked as it should in the room and the beds were very comfortable. I slept extremely well each night as did the rest of the family
The lobby and main areas are all luxuriously decked out in marble and nicely maintained by staff with very classic styling and appointments, some might call it luxurious. We prefer a hotel with a little more of a contemporary look but I realize this is a subjective preference. There is a fair sized lobby bar which at night has a two person lounge act consisting of a piano player and singer performing popular songs. Needless to say the lobby is not the place to go if you are looking to ‘rip it up’. The JW is one of only two hotels in Cancun with a 5 diamond rating from AAA, the other is the Ritz Carlton further down the road. The attached and neighbouring Marriott Casa Magna Hotel was designated a four diamond status but actually looked newer and a little nicer in the Lobby. Here is a link on how AAA gives hotels their diamond status; http://ww2.aaa.com/aaa/common/Tourbook/diamonds/whatisthis.html
The kids club seems like an afterthought. It's tucked away in the far side of attached Marriott Casa Magna in a tiny room, the two hotels are connected. We followed the reviews on family critic dot com which rated the JW as the second best family hotel in Cancun, which after experiencing the hotel, I completely disagree agree with. There are absolutely no kids programs going on in the JW hotel itself which means you have to dote over, engage and entertain your kids the whole time you are there. We prefer a balance as I am sure many families do.
A balance would be being able to take your kids to a safe environment managed by care givers where the children can be engaged to do things that they couldn't or wouldn’t typically do with their family, this is sorely missing from this hotel. The activities offered by the kids program in the casa magna includes; sand castle building, pool time, movie time. There were a couple of other unique programs like pottery and cooking class but they are few and far between. I think a good indication of the quality of a resorts kids program can be determined by how many families use them. I was told the resort was 85% full and the day I went to the kids program there was not a single child enrolled.
This is a VERY quiet hotel. There are no loud drunk patrons running around, making fools out of themselves. There are little to no twenty something partiers around. No large groups of college students on March/Spring break. This was part of the initial allure of the hotel for our family. My wife and I don't really drink and we reasoned that if people had to pay for alcoholic beverages then that would eliminate the partier element, which it most certainly did. In addition to the quiet nature of the hotel guests, there was no music around the pools, there were no entertainment directors trying to drum up fun and nor did we expect any of that type of entertainment.
I am usually mildly annoyed by the typical resort pool environment (i.e. loud music, entertainment directors etc..) but after a few days I found myself going a little batty and actually craving a more lively environment. It might be helpful if there was a little variety in the pool environments but there wasn’t.
In short it felt a little boring to me. Maybe I am too much of a busy body on vacation. My wife and I actually looked into booking one of the hotels we stayed at on our prior trips to Cancun but it was sold out and we didn’t want to risk moving around to another hotel we had no prior experience with. As the week progressed my wife settled into the hotel environment and by the end of it said she really enjoyed the relaxing nature of the resort. I thought the kids were bored as well but when I asked them if they enjoyed the trip they said they did.
I realize that there are some people and families who would like the type of hotel environment that I am describing but for me personally it seemed boring. If you book other activities throughout the trip it might not be that bad but if you plan to only stay on the resort it might be a bit too sterile for some. It is also helpful if you go with friends with similar aged kids, as I think that would have made our experience better. Our 10 year old son met a couple of boys during the last few days of the vacation and that certainly enhanced his overall experience.
The hotel is mainly business/convention hotel. If you have ever attended a business conference or trade show in a hotel with lots of large conference rooms this pretty much sums up this hotel the only significant difference is this hotel is situated in front of a world class beach. There have been complaints of this resort being ‘overrun’ by large conventions and I didn’t experience that on our vacation but I could certainly see how a large convention group could completely change the tone and atmosphere of this resort.
The concierge is above and beyond your usual concierge desk. There is always someone there and they are always extremely polite and helpful. The service overall is exemplary of what
The beach or pretty much par for the course by Cancun standards. The water is a beautiful blue aqua colour and the sand was a fine white powder. There was a red flag out every day of our vacation. We still went in the ocean anyways and the kids had fun running into the waves. If you have young ones you can't leave them unattended in the ocean especially when the red flag is out. On one day my wife and two of our kids went out a little further then they should have and found it very difficult to make their way back to shore. The lifeguard spoke to them and mentioned that the surf was better managed in front of the Casa Magna and the undertow was particularly strong in front of the JW
I wish these hotels and resorts wouldn't try to gouge you so much for wi-fi. There was nowhere in the entire hotel to get free wi-fi. I ended up paying $85 for a week of wifi. Inside the rooms the signal is quite good. Throughout the hotel indoors the signal is reasonable to good. Outdoors the wi-fi is simply not useable as signal connection is intermittent. You get moments when you can connect but otherwise there is no consistency in signal which makes it impossible to use when outside. You are given a pass code when you sign up for your wi-fi, and this passcode can be used on multiple devices but you can't use the code to use multiple devices simultaneously. Also, your JW wifi 'account', does not work in the Casa Magna which I thought was petty. It's the same hotel chain connected and next door to one another, don't nickel and dime me!
The Pool area is well laid out and properly maintained. There a couple of hot tubs and three pool sections in the main part of the hotel. Facing the Ocean, the kids pool/section is to the far left. The water is perfectly heated. Not too cold so that it is uncomfortable but not so warm that you don’t cool off a little. Nice thing about the pool area was that there was always more than enough loungers available. You still get your early risers out there marking their chairs with towels but it isn't anywhere near as bad as at other resorts because there was always a decent spot available.
You can get as many towels as you like, just give them your room number and you are off. Service around the pool like anywhere in the hotel is excellent only not as plentiful or frequent as indoors. The JW pool side service is much better then what you get at all inclusive resorts. There is another ‘adult pool’ on the other side of the hotel which is only for people 18 or older. This adult pool seems even quieter than the main pool area but that might appeal to some. There is also a scuba certification course you can take right on the resort and there are specific pools used only for scuba on the same side of the resort as the adult pool. If you are looking to get scuba trained or certified this would be a good resort to do it at.
With the exception of lunches, we ate all of our meals exclusively at the resort. As has been discussed there aren’t really any low cost options. Not including an expensive bottle of wine and whether you are eating breakfast, lunch or dinner in the fanciest restaurant or the most casual you will be paying $25-30 person/meal. Do the math. If you have a family of five and each of you about 15 meals each at the resort, you are going to be paying about $2000 for food for the week. The good news is that there are some decent food options. We ate at almost all of the restaurants on the resort with the exception of the Thai restaurant in the Casa Magna (Sasi). The good news for families is that almost all of the restaurants have a children’s menu. Here is a restaurant by restaurant review.
Beach walk - this restaurant is right beside the main pool area and all eating is done outdoors. There is an indoor portion to the restaurant but there are no tables there, not sure why. Food here is decent and expensive. With no alcohol you are looking at about $20/person, which for my family of five amounted to about $100 usd. The menu consists primarily of salads and and sandwiches. Hamburgers are huge, too big for kids, perhaps they can split. Salads are acceptable. I wasn’t crazy about the chicken quesadilla, the cheese is a little different than I am used to back home. The beef dip sandwich oddly enough was quite good. In short the food was decent but you are paying a lot for what you get
Sedona Grill - this is a tex-mex restaurant where you can try some local/regional cuisine while staying on hotel grounds. We did not dinner here but we did have breakfast there . This restaurant doubled as a breakfast buffet restaurant and we ate here every morning. There is an omelette station where you choose various toppings. Bacon, Cereals, fruits, pastries, pancakes, French toast , nacho chips etc....Everything that you would expect to find at a decent breakfast buffet. Nothing really spectacular but a decent buffet nonetheless. Breakfast is high but reasonable for kids ($12.50) while adults pay $25/person. Breakfast came in at about $100 when we ate together as a family.
Gustino Italian - this is a high end Italian restaurant which comes highly touted by Frommer's. They did have a kids menu and my two girls really liked Fettuccine Alfredo, my son however wasn't crazy about the pizza. This is not your traditional spaghetti and meatballs Italian restaurant. This is gourmet Italian which if you are a foodie you will enjoy. If you prefer traditional Italian fare then this not the place for you. My wife and I ordered the Gnocchi dish and the Cornish hen dish, both were good but if this was a restaurant back home we probably wouldn't come back. The odd thing about the high end restaurants at the JW and Casa Magna is that, price wise, they aren’t much more than the lunch or breakfast restaurants in the hotel. For gourmet dinners the restaurants at the JW and the Casa Magna are cheaper than we are accustomed to paying for back home.
La Capilla Argentian Steakhouse - This steakhouse is located in the Casa Magna hotel. I consider myself a bit of a steal snob. I travel a fair bit throughout the US and Canada and I always try to seek the best steak houses in whatever city I am in. I have never been to Argentina but as any steak buff will tell you, Argentina is renown for making great steaks and BBQ in general. That being said, I had very low expectations when eating here. The ambience is quite striking with a large dome shaped ceiling in the center of the room. My wife and I ordered the New York and I can honestly say that it was one of the best steaks I have ever had. We have eaten at Ruth’s Chris and Harry’s in Cancun, both are very good, but this restaurant offers a unique steak eating experience for more North Americans. It also very reasonably priced for a high end steakhouse. Our first experience was so good in fact that we ate here twice during our stay and I am happy to report it was just as good the second time. Some of the sides are not that great but the steaks were among the tastiest I have ever had. There is a kids menu at this restaurant, but we ended feeding our kids of the adult menu here.
This restaurant is located in the Casa Magna and is modelled after a traditional US/Canadian upper end sports bar and to that end they did an excellent job mimicking that environment. The place has a main wall with 6 very large flat screen tv’s showing everything from Hockey to Basketball and Soccer. There were TV’s everywhere in the restaurant. The food here is nothing fancy, mainly made up of tradition pub grub and bar food (i.e. chicken wings, burgers, fries etc..). Even the wait staff fit the bill. If this place was back home and I wanted to go out and catch a game with my friends I would consider going to a place like Champions. We took the whole family to eat here and it was fine but it’s more of a bar type atmosphere than a family restaurant. This hotel attracts the type of guests that makes going to this restaurant with your family manageable.
Mikado Japanese Teppan Yaki
This restaurant is located in the Casa Magna. My wife and I eat at a lot of Teppanyaki places back home so we thought we would give Mikado a try. Being a Japanese restaurant there is also a good selection of sushi on the menu but we didn’t try any of the sushi. Teppanyaki is half about the show and while that is not the reason why we go, it is a big part of the overall experience. Each of the Teppanyaki chefs we saw were very entertaining as was our own chef. My wife and I ordered the Chicken, Scallops and Steak as well as Shrimp fried rice. While the food was decent there was more attention paid to the show and less emphasis on the food. The food was acceptable but the scallops tasted a little ‘funky’ to me. Overall it wasn’t the greatest tasting Teppanyaki experience we have ever had but it was fun and the food is good enough.
The gift shop has a sandwich shop that serves freshly brewed coffee and gelato. We never ate a meal here but we did stop off nightly with the kids for Gelato which was surprisingly good. This is a nice treat if you are looking for one. Our favourite flavour was Oreo Cookies and Cream, the kids also liked the Lemon flavour.
We got an an excellent deal on our trip......but it was by accident. I had made my reservation by phone. I received an email confirmation for our reservation but I only perused it quickly. When we arrived at the hotel they couldn't find my reservation. I dutifully handed over a print out of my email confirmation but was horrified to find out that the phone booking agent had accidentally booked us for May 19-26th and not March 19-26th as she was supposed to. To say I was angry would be an understatement.
I remember when I was booking with the phone agent, I questioned why the deal I was getting was so much better than what was available on line.......now I knew why. The deal that was given to me was $185/night/room (we needed 2 connecting rooms) with a $50/day/room voucher to use on the resort as we pleased. I am pleased to say that not only did they find me a pair of connecting rooms but they also honored all of the pricing given to me for my May booking. It was a little scary because had I arrived the week prior they wouldn't have been able to do anything. Anyways, lesson learned, I need to more carefully review my booking confirmations but I was VERY impressed with the way this hotel managed the problem. For what I paid I think I received EXCELLENT value. At full pop ($300/room) I would say the value is still good so my value rating (4 out of 5) based on what I would have paid rather than what I actually paid for this trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, an oceanfront haven of unparalleled sophistication, impeccable service and warm Mexican hospitality designed for today’s most discerning travelers. Sumptuous comfort, chic residential styling and glorious waterfront views distinguish every room. Abundant taste marks every dining experience, from casual to elegant, and indulgent charm distinguishes each and every day. Relax on a spectacular beach kissed by the sun and caressed by the sparkling waters of the Caribbean. Stroll through traditional markets ablaze with color or listen to the lullaby of the ocean surf from your private balcony overlooking the sea. With its powdery sand beaches and ancient Mayan mysteries, Cancun will dazzle your senses ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Jw Marriott Cancun Hotel Cancun
- Jw Marriott Cancun Resort
- Cancun Marriott