Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Upscale, adult-oriented resort with sleek arty vibe and hip nightlife
Upon arrival, guests pass an ethereal cluster of abstract figural sculptures -- mermaids looking towards the setting sun -- the first of a collection of original artworks by Marie France Porta. These continue into the lobby and tell the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers. The resort's atmosphere is dreamy and sleek, and minimalist high-ceilinged interiors are finished in dark polished marble, creating a grown-up, sophisticated ambience. Two pairs of glass-backed elevators provide panoramic views over the rear lagoon while whisking visitors to one of 10 floors, which have huge windows affording stunning vistas of the Caribbean sea. Although welcoming to families with kids, the clientele is made up largely of younger couples drawn by the urbane, sexy vibe, the sophisticated dining, and the vibrant weekend nightlife -- which also welcomes a hip crowd of non-residents.
Set on white, powder-sand beach in Cancun's upmarket Hotel Zone
The hotel is located in Cancun's Hotel Zone halfway up its renowned Kukulcan Boulevard -- a long stretch of road lined with numerous upmarket hotels and separating the brackish Nichupté lagoon on one side from the stunning Caribbean sea on the other. Although standing between similar high-rise buildings, the hotel is set on a particularly pristine piece of white, powder-sand beach that slopes gently into crystal-clear turquoise waters. There is also a collection of upmarket boutiques within walking distance and Downtown Cancun's vibrant, if tacky, nightlife is 20 minutes away by cab. Cancun International Airport is about half an hour's drive away, while tourist attractions such as the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá and Tulum are within a couple hours drive.
Choice of lagoon sunset or stunning Caribbean views -- some from a big soaking tub or terrace daybed
The ME Cancun has 354 rooms and 80 suites, even the smallest of which feel fairly spacious at over 400 square feet (the suites measure in at a roomy 550 square feet). Decor is smart and modern, though marred by the odd sign of wear, with polished travertine floors, contemporary dark-wood furnishings, and fabrics in plums, blues, and gold. The bedding looks a bit generic, with bed runners and skirts that would look at home in a chain hotel. Art also features in every room with ocean-themed paintings or sculptures by Mexican artist Yuri Zatarian.
There is a dizzying range of rooms (nine including the stunning and enormous suite ME) though they roughly break down into those with lagoon view -- which benefit from gorgeous sunsets -- and those with views over the hotel pool and the Caribbean beyond. Loft and Passion Suites also open to spacious terraces with panoramic beach views and Bali beds (though these are on the hard side and overlooked by neighboring buildings).
In-room tech is excellent with free fast Wi-Fi, DVD players, iPod docks, and 32-inch flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and pay-per-view movies. Minibar soft drinks and beers are included, though there are plenty of yellow-stickered items which aren't -- including spirits and saucy/sensual items such as chocolate body paint in adult-only rooms. Bathrooms are clad in travertine stone and all include walk-in rain-showers, particularly luxurious bathrobes, and high-end Algotherm toiletries. Loft and Passion Suites also feature large hydro-massage tubs with partial sea views -- superb for romantic couples.
Two adult-only pools and plenty of Bali beds and loungers
The hotel's large main swimming pool occupies most of the space between the hotel and the beach, and is not heated, making it great for cooling off when it's sweltering but a bit too brisk on cloudier days. It includes central water features -- hydro-massage jets and mini-waterfalls -- and semi-submerged loungers as well as a small swim-up bar. The surrounding terraces provide plenty of daybeds -- both Bali beds under palapas and wicker beds under drapery -- as well as sun loungers from where guests can order food and drink (though service isn't overly attentive).
The Chill Out Zone and Beach Club area also has two adult-only pools (also unheated). One is a circular infinity pool overlooking the beach, lined with loungers and daybeds offering food and drink service -- though use of these incur an expensive day rate for regular-plan guests (or require the purchase of VIP bottle service on weekends). The vibe is relaxed with low-level dance music through the day which ramps up toward the evening.
Impressive range and quality of restaurants -- though inattentive pool service
The hotel provides a particularly impressive breakfast buffet in its chic and spacious Salt Restaurant, which includes everything from fresh fruit to a cooked-to-order egg station to a revolving selection of Mexican favorites. The quality of the dining is generally excellent across all four main restaurants -- which include Silk Restaurant (an Asian bistro for dinner only); The Beach House (Caribbean seafood for lunch, Mexican fusion for dinner); Water Grill (South American cuisine for lunch and dinner); and Salt Restaurant (Mediterranean fare for dinner only) -- though advance booking is often required and smart dress is expected in some venues.
Chef specials are available at all restaurants, though usually incur extra charges for those on a regular all-inclusive plan. A romantic Barefoot Dinner can also be arranged which involves multiple-course dining for two at a low table on the beach -- though a sea breeze can make this a little chilly. While food can be ordered from around the main pool during the day, lack of menus and patchy waiter service can make this a bit of a chore.
Premium spirits and house wines and beers included -- though VIP bottle service is pricey
For a hotel with an emphasis on nightlife, it's no surprise that there's a plentiful selection of drinks, of which several premium liquors and a selection of house wines and beers are included in the all-inclusive plans. Restaurants also feature a superb wine lists, though these can get pricey. While there's only one main bar -- the lushly decorated Rose Bar -- there are also two swim-up bars as well as a Nespresso coffee bar. The Beach Club is where most of the weekend partying takes place, with renowned international DJs and special events that often extend to a beach stage area -- pricey VIP bottle service ensures a table. Although attracting a more sophisticated scene than your typical Spring Break revelers, weekend nightlife can be high-energy and some might find the inevitable noise an annoyance.
Exclusive daybeds with waiter service and strong Wi-Fi coverage
The hotel is set on one of Cancun's most attractive and widest stretches of beaches, complete with its signature cool, powder-fine sand and stunning turquoise sea -- even the seaweed is regularly cleared to ensure it's picture-perfect. To the left are rows of sun loungers and thatch umbrellas for general use, which can fill up fast in high season, while on the right the more exclusive Beach Club provides plenty of daybeds with waiter service (though these can be expensive depending on your plan and whether it's a weekday or weekend). This section of beach has its own lifeguard, as well as food and drink service, and even decent Wi-Fi connectivity.
Outdoor hydrotherapy pool overlooking the Caribbean sea
The hotel includes one of the Melia chain's signature YHI spas, complete with his and hers treatment rooms, sauna and steam baths, and a joint "Thermal Circuit" area featuring indoor hydro-massage pool, sensation showers, and outdoor hydrotherapy pool with swan-neck water jets and views over the Caribbean. All guests also have free access to a well-equipped gym and fitness classes, though those on regular plan have to pay to use the spa facilities.
Two-tier plan means preferential treatment for ME+ guests
Although this is an all-inclusive resort, there's plenty at the ME Cancun that incurs extra fees, especially for those with the regular "Complete ME" plan as opposed to the premium "ME+" plan. However, all meals are included (except chef specials) and food is particularly good -- premium spirits and house wine and beer are also free to all. "ME+" guests are given a more exclusive level of service which includes such perks as priority reservations and beach bed access, one Barefoot Dinner Experience, a free massage, and premium drinks service.
The ME Cancun is a grand, all-inclusive resort hotel set on a beautiful stretch of soft white sand overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean. Located on in the well-developed strip of Cancun's Hotel Zone, this art-filled, upscale property is a self-contained world of excellent dining, lively bars, and well-maintained pools. Although kids are welcome the set-up and vibe aren't particularly family-friendly -- two of the three pools are for adults only, and there's a vibrant nightlife scene. A two-tier all-inclusive plans does mean some guests might be left feeling nickel-and-dimed for extras, and rates are steep even for regular level rooms -- however those willing to splash out for the ME+ experience are in for a treat.