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While lots of new kids on the block have sprung up since we launched Luxury Latin America about a decade ago, the grandpa resort of Cancun is still going strong. Defying all current trends with its 19th-century furniture reproductions and gilded oil paintings on the wall, it continues to embrace its position as the calmer, old-school, service-oriented grand hotel on the strip.
We have had trouble getting management there to give us the time of day though, so our review was getting as dated as the previous guest rooms before a recent renovation. Thankfully one of our correspondents has been living in Playa del Carmen and was able to work out a date to experience it anew and created a new detailed article.
For those who feel at home in the Ritz-Carlton city hotels, no adjustment is needed when you arrive at the porte-couchere off the main beach road in Cancun. They’ll even hit you up with a daily parking charge like you would pay in one of their urban locations. The service is attentive and formal, the lobby gleams with acres of marble, and nobody is coming anywhere near you with a wristband. This is one of the few holdout properties in this resort city that hasn’t answered the all-inclusive marketing siren.
The restaurants here are a la carte and meant for those who know how to dress for dinner and mind their manners.
“Service is impeccable: friendly but formal, with everything tightly organized and flowing. There’s a bit of theater, too, with trolleys presented to tables with selections of breads and oils, and, later, three waiters gathered around the table at one time to simultaneously remove metal cloches from plates.”
The Ritz-Carlton Cancun is on a prime stretch of beachfront in a convenient spot, but a bit removed from the raucous nightlife area. There are beach chairs plus cabanas for rent and of course they can make your romantic wishes come true if you’re staying for a honeymoon or anniversary. Rooms face the water and have a balcony for enjoying the sunrise or the balmy weather.
The hotel has gotten revamped several times after hurricanes ripped through, but the last update was voluntary, removing some of the dowdier elements from the guest rooms.
“The interiors are more modern than in the lobby and public areas, but still elegant and refined, with greys and muted greens and browns. The bed’s comfortable and large, with plenty of space around the room. It has a comfy armchair in one corner, a desk/table in another, and a large TV hung on one wall above a unit that contains a minibar plus tea and coffee facilities. The room feels quite neutral, with a subtle Mexican influence in the modern black and white painting on the wall and some of the textiles.”
While younger crowds may prefer Nizuc, Le Blanc, or Live Aqua, it’s hard to top the deservedly famous Ritz-Carlton service and no detail during your stay is likely to be overlooked. You know if there’s an issue at some point, the staff has the power to resolve it quickly. You normally have to travel an hour south to the Riviera Maya to expect the same level of attention.