Located at Kilometer 14.5 on Cancun’s posh “hotel zone,” the Ritz Carlton Cancun easily occupies the best real estate on the famed strip. It is located within a stone’s throw from all the luxury shopping the city offers, is far from the traditional “party zone,” and boasts the best beach of all the hotels in Cancun. Combine that with a resort that is both family and couples friendly, large ocean view rooms, and award winning service- it’s easy to see why the Ritz-Carlton Cancun was top of my list when I booked my Mexican vacation last month.
Long time TDO readers will know that I’m a huge fan of the Ritz-Carlton brand. Regardless of which property I’ve visited from around the world- whether just for a meal, a facial, or an over night stay, I’ve been greeted with some of the warmest hospitality I’ve ever experienced. The service at the Ritz-Carlton is really in the details- people who go out of their way to make your experience above and beyond even what you expect. And the property in Cancun is no exception. The Ritz-Carlton works with you before you even land, arranging for private airport pickup in their luxury SUV, greets you upon your arrival, and welcomes you to your room with a platter of fresh local fruit. And despite being a large property, service at the Ritz-Carlton is truly personalized. Everyone you come into contact with, whether it’s the poolside waiter or the chauffeur who picked you up from the airport, will remember you by name and greet you as if you were old friends.
Thinking of Cancun may trigger memories of MTV Spring Break but luckily it’s so much more than just a party beach. Instead it’s the biggest metropolis in the Rivera and one of the most dynamic cities in Mexico. Visitors to Cancun may not know that the city we know today, originated only 40 years ago under a government plan to build a tourist and residential hub among all the natural and historical wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula. So Cancun affords the convenience of being close to anything you may want to visit- ruins, caves, diving- while being a city specifically tailored to your comfort and needs. It is abound with restaurants, nightclubs, bars, spas, all the shopping you could wish for, easy transportation, and endless options for adventure and activity.
While spring-breakers do still go to Cancun (and why not? the beaches and weather are beautiful), the city offers something for all types of vacationers. And of course, a perk of staying at the Ritz-Carlton, aside from the fact that everything you could want is already on property, is that their concierge can arrange for you to do anything. One morning on my way back in from lounging poolside, I stopped by the hospitality desk just to check it out- and two hours later, was driving my own speedboat out to the reefs on a snorkeling adventure!
This was my- and every guest’s- morning view at the Ritz-Carlton Cancun. Every single one of the 365 guestrooms on property is ocean facing with a private balcony and floor to ceiling windows, so there is no such thing as a bad room! There is really nothing like waking up in the Caribbean sun with the most stunning view of the turquoise water while enjoying your morning cup of espresso.
The rooms at the Ritz-Carlton are impeccable and perfect for vacation or business travel (that is, if you’re lucky enough to head to Cancun for work!). Immediately upon entering, you feel a sense of calm and comfort. Each spacious room is decorated in soothing neutral tones with fresh flowers and ample furniture. I stayed in an Oceanfront Suite – which is the largest of all the rooms at The Ritz-Carlton Cancun (and quite frankly, one of the largest of any room I’ve stayed at any hotel!). It’s the perfect room to book for a girls getaway trip, a honeymoon, or a family vacation. The suite features a panoramic view of the ocean from both the bedroom and residential style living room, multiple balconies, and a marble bathroom the size of my entire New York apartment! The rooms are furnished with King size beds, twin vanities, rain-forest shower heads, flat screen TVs, work stations, separate bathtubs, and top of the line amenities including luxurious bathrobes, complimentary Neospresso and bottled water, and reliable, high speed internet. The Ritz-Carlton also welcomes parents traveling with young kids with a set of rooms, aptly named Itzy, Bitzy, Ritz Kids Rooms, that come with cribs, miniature hangers, and silent telephones.
Ocean Front Suite
A premium touch- Nespresso machines in every room
A farewell gift featuring local fruits and flavors
For me, one of the most standout things about the Ritz-Carlton Cancun were the restaurants. The property hosts a number of restaurants from award winning formal dining establishment Fantino to the most romantic dinner on the beach at Casitas.
I started my trip right by hitting up the poolside restaurant, Caribe Bar and Grill, which would become my frequent lunchtime destination, as soon as I settled in. The restaurant offers a colorful, relaxed atmosphere and specializes in local seafood and casual Mexican cuisine. For those who want a lighter, healthy lunch- I loved the selection of ceviches which is incredibly refreshing after a day in the sun. Those who prefer something heartier should try the traditional Mexican pork sandwich. And of course, enjoy it all with the signature Ritz-Carlton Margarita, the lightest, most delicious margarita you’ll ever have!
People who prefer casual dining can also check out the Lobby Lounge, which houses the resident sushi chef, and El Cafe Mexiacano, the vibrant establishment that serves an elaborate breakfast buffet and live music at dinner.
But my absolute favorite restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton is Casitas, the only on-the- beach dining in Cancun and truly a magical experience. Every night, it’s a treat even to watch the staff set up the private, handmade cabanas, lighting hundreds of candles and torches, bringing fresh flowers, and transforming each cabana into an enchanting dining enclave. Dining parties will enjoy two servers who work to make sure the entire experience is flawless and are treated to a gourmet menu of steaks and just out of the water fresh seafood.
A cabana at Casitas
The actual dining table is lit with hundreds of lights making it one of the most enchanting settings
The fresh seafood platter is one of the most popular items on the menu
One of the nicest things about going on vacation is pampering yourself and the Ritz-Carlton certainly delivers with Kayantá Spa, featuring large treatment rooms and beachfront massages. The spa menu offers a wide range of services from Mayan inspired rituals to teenage facials. The spacious facilities and his-and-her private pools and hot tubs make visiting the spa an incredible experience for everyone.
I decided to try the signature Kayantá Massage, which incorporates techniques from around the world such as Swedish massage, reflexology, and aromatherapy. The 80 minute session included a full body massage, stretching, and therapeutic movements to help relax the body and reset the mind. I absolutely loved the little touches- a flower aromatherapy bowl underneath the face rest, a long scalp massage, and the signature tea to rehydrate after the treatment. All in all, the perfect treatment to get after a long day in the sun or exploring the ruins.
Though I only had time for one treatment, I was also curious about the Transformation Facial, one of the newest services on the spa menu. The Transformation Facial promises to repair skin conditions related to aging, discoloration and breakouts. A friend of mind had the opportunity to try it, and vouches for how radiant her skin was in just 50 minutes.
Also worth mentioning- the showers at the Kayanta spa are absolutely incredible. I got into a stall that had six heads. Trust me, I could not get myself out of that shower!
Leaving the Ritz-Carlton Cancun was very difficult for me, not only because it’s so hard to tear myself away from the luxury the property offered, but because in the short amount of time I stayed there, I’d come to feel like I knew everyone who worked on property. From casual conversations with the bellman to lively discussions with the Club Room attendant, I’d really started to feel as if I’d become friends with the staff at the Ritz-Carlton- and that is something that I think is quite rare, and very unique to this property.
The good news is, there’s always good reason to return to Cancun and it’ll be difficult for me to stay anywhere else in the city! During the height of this tourist season, The Ritz-Carlton is offering one of their best packages yet- Cancun a la Carte. Stay either at an Ocean Front Suite starting at $769 a night and be treated to a 20% discount on all consumptions and the hotel and on top of that a $500 daily resort credit for use at dining outlets, spa and recreational activities- the perfect setup if traveling with friends. The offer also applies to booking in an Ocean View room starting at $495 and including a $300 daily credit.
We’re already counting down to our next Cancun vacation!