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The Royal Islander 3.0


Review Summary

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  • Location directly on the Caribbean Sea
  • Well-groomed beach area
  • Bus service to other Royal resorts
  • Tennis courts with floodlighting for evening play
  • Children’s playground
  • Activities available for variety of age groups
  • On-site restaurant
  • Free Wi-Fi


  • Slightly complicated checkout process
  • Non-members may have to switch rooms because of time-share rules
  • Limited dining and nightlife options
  • Wi-Fi may be spotty in rooms
  • Time-share sales pitches often longer than expected
  • Fitness center off-site

Bottom Line

Families, as well as a slightly older clientele, enjoy coming to this resort, which is slightly south of the center of Cancun’s Hotel Zone and a 20-minute ride to the airport. As with other properties in the Royal chain, the hotel is a time-share that also offers rentals to non-members. The grounds themselves have curried favor with guests for being consistently clean and well-maintained; yet the decor, inside and out, is slightly more dated than surrounding hotels, with a pastel stucco exterior and a somewhat worn-looking pool area. The relatively low room prices reflect this. 179 rooms in a series of eight-floor buildings are laid out around a pool; guests have commented that lower floors may get noise from outside and the on-site restaurant.

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Family-oriented time-share that also offers non-member packages

The Royal Islander is popular with families and older couples who have been frequenting the resort for years as time-share members. The structure itself was built in the '80s, and while its walls are stucco like many of its beach neighbors, the property has an identifiably more dated exterior than its partner resort The Royal Sands. Nonetheless there’s a large, landscaped outdoor pool area with plenty of room for lounging. The hotel also remains friendly to groups with young children, offering a kiddy pool as well as a playground, and seems not to have attracted as many partygoers as The Royal Sands.


Slightly towards the southern tip of Cancun’s Hotel Zone and directly on the beach, with shuttles to airport

Map of The Royal Islander

Guests can book, in advance and for a fee, shuttle buses to pick them up from the airport and bring them to the property (20 minutes). Taxis are also common, though more expensive. The property is situated directly on the beach in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, which is a thin strip of land between a large lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Off-site restaurants and other Royal properties are accessible via a shuttle bus as well, though those buses can sometimes be slow to arrive.


Decor from the '80s in large, simple, clean rooms

Flamingo paintings, wicker furniture, and laminate wood dressers represent a few of the decorative touches here -- items could use updating. Islander room rates are on the lower spectrum of the Royal resorts' price range, which is not surprising given the outdated decor and simplicity of the smaller rooms. As at The Royal Sands, cleanliness gets high marks. Along with ocean-view balconies, all rooms include central air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Some bigger rooms have iPod docks as well.


Immaculate beach palapas, well-designed freshwater pools, and more, though gym is off-site

A feature of several Royal resorts is the swim-up bar, which is the case at the Islander. The beach area is well-manicured, with thatch-roof palapas included in the room price. As in other Royal resorts, there’s a high charge for lost towels, and the practice of reserving pool lounge chairs and beach palapas before sunrise is frequent. There’s also an on-site supermarket and convenience store as well as the restaurant Cayo Largo, open from morning to night. The fitness center is off-site at sister resort The Royal Caribbean; it’s large and well equipped with a variety of exercise machines and free weights.

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Kukulcan Boulevard Km 17.5 L-51, Hotel Zone, Cancun 77500, Mexico

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