Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Enormous upscale resort crammed with lush tropical scented gardens
On first approaching the Paradisus Cancun you can't help but be awestruck the sheer scale of the property. Opened in 1990, this mega-resort comprises five interconnecting pyramids, each topped with prisms of emerald glass -- a homage to Mexico's ancient Mayan civilization. Stepping into the main entrance in the central and largest of the pyramids the scene is equally impressive -- a vast cavernous atrium filled with lush jungle flora, pond systems brimming with plump koi carp, and tropical vines cascading from balconies, all flooded with sunlight from the shimmering glass ceiling. Despite the abundance of exotic vegetation, the swathes of polished stone are kept impeccably clean, while numerous pieces of Mayan statuary decorate the buildings spacious hallways.
The hotel has the pleasant mild humidity of a tropical greenhouse, and is scented throughout with carefully chosen signature aromas intended to help relax guests as they explore the sometimes perplexing layout. The size of the property can make it easy to lose your way among the ferns and palm trees, though futuristic interactive touch-screen information panels help with navigation. Outside, pool terraces run the length of the hotel and lead down to the pristine white sands and stunning blue sea of the Caribbean.
The resort's sheer scale allows it to appeal to a broad range of travelers, and it's almost as popular with families as with couples; many couples opt for the adult-only Royal Service section.
Overlooking white powder Caribbean beach 15-minute drive from Cancun nightlife
The hotel is situated in Cancun's Hotel Zone halfway up its renowned Kukulcan Boulevard -- a long stretch of road lined with numerous upmarket hotels and separating the crocodile-filled Nichupté lagoon on one side from the sparkling Caribbean sea on the other. The resort is positioned on a typically pristine piece of white, powder-sand beach which slopes gently into crystal-clear turquoise waters. Just across the road is the Aquaworld marina -- the largest in Cancun offering a huge choice of water sports. Much of Cancun's vibrant nightlife -- including the ever-popular Senor Frog's and Coco Bongo -- is a 15-minutes cab journey up the coast. Cancun International Airport is about half an hour's drive, while tourist attractions such as the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá and Tulum are within a couple hours.
Smart and spacious with Caribbean- or lagoon-view terraces
The Paradisus Cancun houses a whopping 668 suites spread through the five pyramids, with each section catering to a different category of guest. All rooms are spacious -- starting at around 500 square feet -- and extend to private terraces with sun loungers overlooking the Caribbean Sea or the Nichupte lagoon (over which the sun sets) -- though some are certainly more spacious than others and some views sea views are partially obstructed by the hotel buildings. While bathrooms aren't particularly spacious and most don't have separate tubs and showers, they are clean with good water pressure and top-end Mugler bath products.
Decor is a tasteful blend of colorful fabrics, smart traditionally styled furnishings, and pieces of original art, including ceramic sculpture and black and white photography -- gray marble floors are also kept well-polished (though can get slippery when wet). Standard amenities are what you'd expect from this level of hotel -- free and fast Wi-Fi, climate control, free minibars (restocked daily), and 32-inch flat-screen TVs with cable channels and pay-per-view movies. Family Concierge Suites also provide a good selection of child-friendly amenities including bathrobes and slippers for kids, turndown service with milk and cookies, and child-size toiletries.
While noise from the (twice-weekly) beach party and live music entertainment can sometimes be heard in some lower-level rooms, sound insulation is generally good (though light sleepers might want to void the central pyramids closer to the beach club).
Good standard plan -- though Royal Service brings super-luxe perks
As standard all-inclusive resorts go, the Paradisus Cancun offers a pretty fine selection of eating and drinking options as part of the plan, which includes meals, snacks, and all local and some international brand drinks, an impressive range of cocktails, and house wine with lunch and dinner. A wide range of leisure facilities are included too, including a flood-lit tennis court, a nine-hole golf course, and a range of water sports, and yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes. Children are also particularly well looked after with three candy-scented play zones for babies, kids, and teenagers -- and even a child-friendly spa area.
Royal Service is the adult-only option, which includes a range of super-luxe perks such as private beach area, priority reservations and service throughout the resort, and butler service including a personal cell-phone for all-day communication. Royal Service guests also have a private swimming pool area (including Bali bed reservation for at least two days per stay), exclusive breakfast service at La Palapa restaurant, and access to the Royal Service Lounge with top-quality all-day buffets and top-shelf drinks.
Huge, free-form swimming pool with swim-up cocktail bar
The main swimming pool is particularly large, its free-form design almost stretching the whole length of the resort. Its size means even when the hotel is full it doesn't feel crowded, and it is lined with an abundance of sun loungers. At one end is the popular swim-up bar, where guests can order from a long menu of cocktails, while at the other is the shallow child-friendly section. Non-swimmers should be aware, however, that some parts of the main pool are quite deep.
The terrace opposite Pyramid Five is reserved for the exclusive use of Royal Service plan residents and includes plenty of comfy daybeds from where guests can order drinks and meals -- though service can be a little slow. The best beds are those facing the beach so get reserved early. Large beach towels are available from the poolside hut as are free Banana Boat tanning oil and lotion.
Pristine white sands and stunning blue sea -- though the occasional red flag
The hotel is set on a gorgeous swathe of white power beach typical of this stretch of Cancun. Being coral sand means it's especially fine and remains cool underfoot, and even washed-up seaweed gets removed. The sea itself is picture-perfect blue and generally calm, though there are currents and red flags are not uncommon. Sun loungers with palm-front parasols are numerous enough, a section of which are reserved for Royal Service guests, though there are no daybeds here. While Wi-Fi reaches the pool area, unlike some hotels, it doesn't quite stretch to the beach.
Impressive restaurant section with world-class fine dining
Even for a resort of this size, there's an impressive range of restaurants on-site. Due to the sheer number of guests, several restaurant spaces are opened up for the expansive buffet breakfast service, though even then it can feel crowded. Royal Service guests can enjoy a more relaxing a la carte breakfast at La Palapa restaurant.
All restaurants but one are covered under the all-inclusive plan, and range from Mexican street food (Blue Agave) and contemporary upmarket Mexican (Mole), to pan-Asian fusion (Bana) and Brazilian churrasco (Fuego). While food is generally good throughout, the 10-course tasting menu at Tempo restaurant is world-class with service to match. Although not cheap it's certainly worth the extra outlay.
Guests do need to reserve early for the best restaurants -- and at peak time to get an a la carte restaurant at all. Those without bookings are guided towards the buffets and inevitably lesser quality food.
Five bars including lively beach parties and a nightclub
While the all-inclusive plan covers most drinks, you're rarely farther than a few feet from the nearest bar. The resort has five in all, the main one being Avenue Bar, a large central space with large lounging sofas and regular themed nights. Coco's Beach bar is a hip, dance-music oriented establishment which holds beach parties twice a week, while the Red Lounge nightclub spins dance floor fillers every night of the week. Part of the restaurant of the same name, the Blue Agave specializes in tequila while for those who'd rather not leave the pool, there's the ever-popular swim-up bar. Although high-end drinks cost extra, those under the plan are still good quality with no evidence of watering down common in similar resorts.
Chic and serene Asian-styled spa with hydro-massage pool
The hotel's main YHI (pronounced gee) spa is styled Asian rustic-chic, with bamboo fixtures, natural gray slate tiling, and calming water features. As well as the usual saunas and steam baths, the spa has a relaxing chill-out area with daybeds, infused waters, and healthy snacks as well as a hydro-massage pool and sensation showers. An impressive menu of 66 difference massages are available, as well as signature beauty treatments such as the gold and caviar facial. There is also a fitness room next to the spa with a range of state-of-the-art exercise machines, even scented with an aroma to help motivation.
The Paradisus Cancun is an all-inclusive, upscale mega-resort whose five interconnected pyramids overlook the gorgeous white sands and perfect blue waters of the Mexican Caribbean. Its 668 rooms are all smart and spacious with sea or lagoon views -- though some are only partial. While breakfast can get busy, there's no shortage of restaurants and bars to choose from and the huge pool never feels crowded. The impressive spa, large fitness center, and nine-hole golf course are also notable features here. Despite the property's size, its interior tropical gardens also provide a lush even secluded ambience. Prices are competitive for this level of luxury, but couples may want to splurge for the adult-only Royal Service section (or consider the adult-only, and sometimes slightly pricier, Live Aqua Cancun).