My wife and I weren't really looking for a summer vaction this year, but when her cousin invited us to join her in Cancun for a week, it struck the right note. Neither of us had been to Cancun before, and her cousin had been there many times, so we aniticpated having an experienced guide with us. Then, as sometimes happens, her cousin couldn't make the trip. We thought about it for a minute, and decided to go anyway.
We looked at several travel sites for hotel ratings in Cancun. The one that really jumped out was the 4.7 on a 5.0 scale for the Marriott CasaMagna Resort. We saw that it was well located on the hotel strip between the airport and the city, the hotel photos looked beautiful on the Marriott website, and our decision was made.
We flew out of DFW on a Saturday afternoon, and arrived in Cancun just as the sun was going down. Coming in from the South it's jungle right up to the runway. We had private transportation reserved, so the trip to the Marriott was uneventful. On the road we passed several large hotel complexes, and the were all magnificently lit up. The road was well maintained and the drivers were generally courteous.
The CasaMagna staff welcomed us in the lobby, which was both elegant and informal, something of a grand hacienda feeling. On our way to the room we had what could have been a bad experience, when we saw that a person was trapped in one of the two elevators. The hotel staff was quickly on the job, freed the person (who never appeared to be upset, just somewhat amused), and the elevators worked flawlessly for the rest of our stay.
The next morning we exchanged some dollars for pesos at the front desk and walked down to the main street to catch a bus. Busses run every few minutes up and down the hotel strip. We took the bus into downtown Cancun looking for Mercado 28 to buy souveniers. In early July at least, Cancun is full of flowers. There is a particularly lovely Orange Jacaranda tree that populates most of the area. Everywhere we turned it was another Kodak moment. We never saw anything in the city that was in disrepair or even dirty. Maybe because the city gets rain at some time almost every day.
The third day there it did rain most of the day. That happend to be the day that we reserved for the Xcaret park near Playa del Carmen. In retrospect, we should have brought umbrellas with us. I bought a plastic poncho in the park gift shop, but it fell apart quickly. Live and learn. The park itself was lovely, even in the rain. A combination of the zoo, Sea World, the Arkansas River, and with Mayan ruins and a spectacular Mexican musical show in the evening. Almost too much to do there in one day.
But the next day we had reserved for the Chichen Itza ruins. That's a two hour bus trip from the hotel zone, but well worth it. We've seen photos of the temples and pyramids there many times, but you don't realize how magnificent it really is until you're there. The scale is monumental. That day wore us out, and in the evening we didn't have enough energy to do more than walk across the street to McDonald's.
The last full day there was lazy. Walked on the white sand beach, went swimming in the ocean, laid out in the sun and drank a Margarita, then relaxed in the whirlpool for a while. In the evening we had a wonderful surf and turf dinner in the La Capilla restaurant inside the CasaMagna. Wonderful food, terrific ambiance. A fitting end to our stay.
We expect to return to Cancun many times, and the Marriott will always be our hotel choice there.
Gotta agree, the Marriott Casamagna is a great property on a great beach (see photo taken from CasaMagna balcony).
I'd recommend renting a car at the Budget rent-a-car on the property, and going really early or in the afternoon to visit Chitchen Itza when it's not full of tourists - attached is what it looks like without anyone there!