Cancun is the most well known spot along the Mayan Riviera and is, in fact, the most visited vacation destination in Mexico for good reason. The Mexican Caribbean’s white sand, turquoise ocean and warm sun await you at the newly opened Iberostar Cancun hotel, located just 15 minutes from the international airport. The stepped pyramid profile of the hotel is a reference to the famous Mayan temples that abound in the Yucatan region. Day trips to these magnificent archeological treasures can be done by renting a car, or with a tour group. I recommend a visit to Tulum about 75 miles from Cancun on the coastal highway. It is a walled city and was one of the most important coastal outposts of the Mayans, and there is a great beach in front of the large pyramid.
The Iberostar Cancun features 426 beautiful modern rooms, all with ocean views. The hotel planners have done a really good job in making this resort both family friendly and couples friendly at the same time. There are many family activities, but in addition there are supervised children’s activities and a kid’s club so parents can have ample alone time. Cancun has a vibrant nightlife with some of the hottest nightclubs on earth, so parents can party hard knowing their kids are in the good hands of the hotel baby sitting staff. I recommend CocoBongo, which has an unbelievable show, but definitely pay the extra bucks for VIP entrance as it gets you a reserved table at the upper area off the dance floor and unlimited drinks.
The Iberostar has Cancun’s only 18 hole, Par 72 professional grade golf course, with beautifully manicured tropical foliage, a putting green and driving range.
While I was there, two big crocodiles were spotted coming out of the lagoon, and it was very exciting, but no one was ever in danger because that area is well marked. I have been to many tropical seaside golf courses, but none as well groomed and maintained as this, and no other with friendly and mellow crocs!
There is a variety of meal options at the resort in addition to the main dining room, a bright and airy expansive thirty-foot ceiling that’s delightful with both indoor and outdoor tables. It is open for a buffet breakfast, which includes a fabulous presentation of fruits, breads, cereals, pancakes, eggs and omelettes to order, and more. Lunch there is also a lavish buffet with salads, fresh fish and both traditional and Mexican fare. Most of the ingredients in the food come from small local sources so everything is fresh and delicious. There are also four smaller, more intimate specialty dinner restaurants that feature Japanese cuisine, Gourmet fine dining, Mexican fare, and a Steakhouse. Reservations are required in advance but there is no additional cost to your all-inclusive daily room price. The main dining buffet is also an excellent place for dinner, and there is just about everything you can imagine with beef, chicken and fish grilled to order. All of the dining facilities have huge floor-to-ceiling windows facing the beach and the sea beyond.
The resort is all-inclusive, so there is no charge for drinks or food at anytime at the many bars and restaurants throughout the expansive hotel grounds. There is also 24-hour room service, also gratis, to order up (among the other menu items) a pizza, burger, salad, guacamole and a generous selection of desserts.
You can look out to the sea while enjoying a swim in any of the seven pools at the hotel. The largest has an infinity edge that ends right at the beginning of the beach and there is a pool bar with swim-up seating as well as walk-in access from the pool deck if you prefer to not get wet, but still be “at” the pool.
The beach is my favorite place to be, and the Iberostar Cancun has the perfect beach. Instead of the usual beach umbrellas there are around 50 grass thatched parasol huts with a pair of the most comfortable chaise lounges (it’s all about the thick soft pads) you will ever relax in. There are even a few four poster beds with canvas canopies for the very serious lounger. The cerulean blue waves beckon and you can swim, surf, kayak or jet ski in the salty warmth of the Caribbean Sea.
Have a walk along the beach’s soft white sand and you’ll find occasional stretches of isolation if it’s some solitude you desire, but since most of Cancun’s hotels are located along this prime 10-mile strip of beach, you can opt to mingle among other beach lovers on your stroll. Everyone is very friendly and has the same goal: to have as much fun in the sun as possible.
With all the great food available it’s a good thing there is a workout area with treadmills and gym equipment that overlooks the pool area and beach. There are complimentary yoga sessions in the morning and beach volleyball, beach soccer and tennis all day so you have a few options to keep your weight in equilibrium.
The hotel’s spa is a magnificent, tranquil and comforting facility that offers some special treatments beyond the usual relaxing massages. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are experts in hot stone massage, chocolate wraps, aromatherapies and other exotic treatments. The spa also has steam rooms, saunas and pre or post treatment relaxation areas both indoors and out. There are several massage tables in little gazebos on the beach should you want your massage in the breeze of the sea and sound of the waves.
The Cigar bar is a cozy retreat for some after dinner indulgence. The humidor room is stocked with a wide choice of the best Cuban brands and you personally select the cigar you want. From there, the steward will cut the tip, and using a combination of burning cedar sticks and a fan, light it perfectly for your smoking pleasure. The bar has an excellent selection of scotches and rums, some from Cuba which, like the cigars, are not permitted in the US. I drank some 15-year-old Cuban rum with my Partagas D4 cigar, and thoroughly enjoyed both.
The Iberostar Company, based in Spain, is a group of over 100 hotels worldwide, but is still owned by the family of the original owner who built their first hotel in 1986. The third and fourth generation actively runs the organization and the staff’s commitment to pleasing the hotel guests is truly on a higher level than corporate owned hotels.
The Mayan calendar ends at the end of the year 2012, so you better get to the Iberostar Cancun as soon as you can; you definitely don’t want to miss going to this tropical beach paradise.