Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A time-share resort located 20 minutes by car from the Strip; full of family-friendly features but no casinos, entertainment, or fine dining.
Cancun Resort looks great on paper -- or at least online. Its address is on Las Vegas Boulevard South, more famously known as the Strip. And the hotel's website features gorgeous photos of a Mayan-style pyramid at twilight, surrounded by a pool and palm trees, not a soul (let alone a child) in sight; elegantly dressed couples shooting craps; and a lobby lounge where two adults sit quietly catching up on their reading.
Nothing, in other words, that would lead one to suspect that it's actually a family destination -- in fact, very much a family destination, with screaming kids and large clans hoarding banks of lounge chairs. Or that it's actually a 20-minute drive from most of the casinos. In short, solo travelers and couples without kids will probably want to look elsewhere, even if they're members of the Monarch Grand Vacations time-share program, of which the resort is a part. (Non-members are welcome here as well.)
For families, however, the Cancun is a solid choice. With two large pools, organized activities, and no casinos or sexy shows in sight, parents can let their kids loose while lounging in the spacious, beach-villa-style suites. The meager dining options in the hotel will inspire -- or force -- families to cook their own meals in the suites' fully-equipped kitchens. As its name suggests, staying at Cancun is like a beach retreat -- but without the beach.
Friendly but slow. A pizza order took 45 minutes. Housekeeping took an hour to respond to a request.
The staff, which caters mostly to the needs of families and large groups, is frequently overwhelmed by the volume of guests. The servers at Caribe Lounge never seem to get a break, as there's no other on-site restaurant. This means a really long wait for food. Guests get a nifty buzzer to inform them when their food's ready, but these gadgets stay silent for a full 45 minutes to an hour.
The hotel offers full-service housekeeping for regular -- non-time-share -- guests. But housekeeping seems similarly overstretched -- perfectly nice, but far from speedy. In one case, it took an hour for them to let me know the hotel didn't have a cooking utensil that I requested.
The hotel has a guest services desk that organizes resort activities and can help secure show tickets and dinner reservations.
A 20-minute car ride from the Strip and no nearby attractions.
Located on Las Vegas Boulevard South, about 20 minutes by car from the Strip. There's very little in the immediate vicinity besides a string of budget hotels, a public library, and a shopping complex that has a Food 4 Less supermarket, Starbucks, nail salon, and pub. To get to this strip mall on foot, you would have to cross the highway with fast-moving traffic.
Free parking is available on-site.
The pool is the resort's most attractive feature. A large Mayan pyramid sits at the center of two free-form pools; on one side a cascade of water flows down from the steep steps to a pool buzzing with kids and lounging adults. On the other side, four slides open up to a quieter, less crowded pool. (And at the top of the pyramid is a reclining statue of Chac-Mul, supposedly a Mayan messenger to the gods and receiver of human sacrifices -- a little morbid, but no one seems to care.)
There are no cabanas for rent, but lounge chairs are plentiful. Some guests prefer to lay on the grass, underneath palm trees, or have lunch beside the pool at Caribe Lounge's patio. There are Jacuzzis situated around the pyramid, including a particularly cozy one underneath the waterfall. Unlike most Vegas pools, this one is actually deep (5 feet), providing adults with space and sparkling water away from the shallow edges, where kids splash all day. Floater beds and towels are available for free, but you must bring them back to the towel stand or pay a fee.
The large but cozy apartment-style rooms with flat-screen TVs and new kitchen appliances, are not competing for any high design awards. They are made to look like a beachside cottage, with its wooden-slat screens, boxy furniture, and stone sculptures.
The one-bedroom villa has everything a family could need for a week-long vacation: a fully-stocked kitchen, a dining table, a sofa-bed in the living room with a 14-inch flat-screen TV and a DVD/VHS player, two full baths, a Jacuzzi, and a balcony. It's very relaxing, but keep in mind --you're not allowed to use the Jacuzzi between 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., which is designated as the resort's quiet hours.
The king-size bed is comfortable -- not as plush as most in Vegas, but the warm lighting and wood accents add to the coziness.
If I had to find a fault, it's the poorly designed kitchen in a cramped alcove too small for the refrigerator. The shelving is hard to access and the counter space is tiny.
For a resort cut off from other attractions, the spa is surprisingly uninviting -- just a medical-clinic-like space offering the usual assortment of treatments. Prices are slightly below average, like a Swedish massage for $90. For the full spa menu, click here.
The gym is small but serviceable, with fairly new LifeFitness equipment including three treadmills, four stationary bikes, two ellipticals, free weights, and a multi-purpose strength training machine. Machines have no individual video screens, but there are two hanging box sets with cable.
For outdoor activities, there's a horseshoe pit and regularly scheduled activities like water aerobics, scavenger hunt, and bingo.
The hotel also has a courtesy shuttle that runs between Cancun and the Tropicana Hotel on the Strip.
A very family-friendly resort with a game room and organized kids' activities.
With two big pools, a game room, organized kids' activities, apartment-style rooms, and little sign of Vegas-style, adults-only activity, this place is all about bringing the kids -- in fact, given all the alternatives, I don't know why anyone not traveling with kids would stay here. There are no rollaway beds, though the hotel does offer free Pack 'n Play cribs.
The carpets and tiles are spotless.
Unlike at other time-share properties, housekeeping does full-service cleaning for regular guests (as opposed to time-share guests). This includes loading up the dishwasher, clearing the trash, vacuuming, and changing the sheets and towels.
The dining options are limited, to say the least. The only restaurant on-site is Caribe Lounge, and once you've had your fill of pizza and chicken wings, you'll be dying for variety. The problem is, the only other restaurant, Coba Cafe, is closed indefinitely. A sign said it was "closed for the winter season," but I was there in May.
Most guests cross Highway 604 and head to a nearby grocery store, Food for Less. (The supermarket is close enough to walk, but crossing the highway is dangerous.)
Room service is available from Caribe Lounge from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. A breakfast sandwich costs $3.99, a fresh fruit bowl, $7.95. A 12-inch pizza full of toppings costs $12.95.
Far from the Strip and other tourist attractions, Cancun is a family resort with lots of kid-friendly features -- and not much appeal for adults traveling without kids. Limited on-site dining means a lot of home-cooking in the large apartment-style villas. There's a spa and a fitness center, but the best feature is the large pool with a Mayan-style pyramid in the middle.