Vollleyball, kayaks, and paddleboats available on the beach
Kids' club has toys and games plus supervised activities
Dining options include buffet, Mexican, Italian, and 24-hour snack bar
Shopping, game room, plus a tour desk on-site
Free nearby parking
Style is dated and bland in most parts of the hotel
Wi-Fi comes with a fee and minibars only restocked once for free
Some rooms show minor wear and some balconies are only Juliet balconies
Noise can be an issue at night
Beach is shallow, with many boats and buoys -- not great for swimming
Room service not included rates
Barcelo Costa Cancun hotel is a three-pearl all-inclusive beachfront property with 358 rooms in Cancun's Hotel Zone. Geared toward families, the resort is situated on a small stretch of beach with turquoise-blue water, palm trees, loungers, and soft white sand. Rooms are simple and dated, though some have sea-view balconies, and dining includes a 24-hour snack bar plus buffet and themed a la carte options. There's a large outdoor pool plus a decent fitness center and a spa with a free "sauna" area. True to its family-friendly ethos, the resort has a lively kids' club plus supervised activities. As an alternative, the Hotel Riu Caribe is nearby and has a more exclusive atmosphere plus a greater array of family- and adult-friendly services, though rates are higher.
Beachfront all-inclusive resort with dated style that draws a mix of families, couples, and groups
Despite its popularity as a name brand all-inclusive resort in Cancun's bustling Hotel Zone, there are a few flaws at this Barcelo outpost that keep it from being a perfect budget-friendly beachfront pick. Like many Barcelo properties that we've visited, the style here seems held over from a previous era -- it's not heinously dated, but everything has the look of a resort that was fresh in the mid-1990s. Its open-air lobby is big and bright, with lots of blue, white, and tan decor, but the travertine floors with tan marble inlays are older and the simple wicker furniture doesn't do much to perk up the style. Of course, being a beachfront resort, the bulk of the action here takes place outside, and the grounds are quite lovely, including a large pool that's the center of the action throughout the day. Restaurants all have decor that's pretty uninspiringly themed, like so many all-inclusive resorts that we've seen in Cancun. This was one of the first resorts to open in the area, and the brand recognition might be a major draw. The hotel is popular with couples and groups of friends, and many families stay here as well owing the number of kid-friendly features.
In Cancun's Hotel Zone, a 10-minute drive to nightlife and shopping
The hotel is located in a tranquil beach area in Cancun's Hotel Zone, near some of the most popular local beaches, including Las Perlas Beach and Langosta Beach. The water in this area is shallow and clear, but a nearby pier makes for less than ideal swimming at the Barcelo. As the name of the district implies, the Barcelo's neighbors are mostly other large-scale resorts and tourist-ready services. Dive shops, cruise companies, and a few other restaurants are right outside the hotel's front door, as is a Catholic church. The ferry terminal to Isla Mujeres is also situated right next door. The bus stops nearby for trips to downtown Cancun and the nightlife/shopping district, both of which can be reached in about 10 to 15 minutes. Cancun International Airport is less than a 30-minute drive from the hotel.
Simple rooms with flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and balconies -- some with sea views
Barcelo Costa Cancun's 358 rooms are situated in four interconnected towers that are arranged around the pool area, and despite the hotel's claims to recent renovations, the look isn't exactly fresh and modern. Goldenrod accent walls brighten up things, and a lone piece of abstract art hangs elsewhere. Otherwise, the rattan-esque or country-style furniture looks cheap and the marble in-lay floors don't add much modern appeal. All rooms are quite spacious, with entry-level rooms offering 360 square feet of space (33 square meters) and Junior Suites topping out at 829-square-foot floor plans (77 square meters). While every room ostensibly has a balcony, many are Juliet balconies with no room to sit outside. Keep in mind that during our visit, some rooms overlooked an abandoned lot. On the whole, it's worth noting that some furniture can be a bit worn, and noise due to poor soundproofing is a common complaint.
Standard features include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, electronic safes, irons, and minibars that are only restocked once for free. King or two double beds come standard as well. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi isn't included in room rates. Junior Suites have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, living rooms, two hammocks, and large furnished terraces with whirlpools. Bathrooms include telephones, walk-in showers with pump-dispensed toiletries, and a generous amount of counter space. They were clean and bright during our visit.
Large outdoor pool and beach for sunbathing, spa and fitness center, and kid-friendly services
Features are fairly standard at this Barcelo, and on par with most three-pearl all-inclusive resorts in the area. The pool serves as a hub for the resort. It's fairly large and features a shallow kiddy pool, while the beach is lined with loungers, but is small and close to a pier. It's best for lounging and sunbathing, as the nearby buoys and boat traffic might inhibit swimming. The hotel also includes a beach gazebo for weddings, a beach guard, a beach bar, and several non-motorized water sports.
A small spa area is located on the second floor, with three massage cabins, and a hydrotherapy circuit called "the sauna," which includes separate dressing rooms, lockers, steam rooms, plunge pools, and whirlpools for guests to use at no extra cost. Body treatments, beauty services, and massages are available for a fee. The fitness center is large, but the equipment is not cutting edge, though cardio and weight options are both on hand. The hotel shines with family-friendly services and activities. In addition to the shallow area in the pool, it has a kids' club, an activity program, baby-sitting services, and infant seating in the restaurant, which is sanitized after every use.
There are four restaurants, serving Mexican, Italian, seafood, and international specialties. The main restaurant is a buffet, and two of them serve only dinner and require reservations. Decor is a bit kitschy in all, with checkered tablecloths in the Italian spot and costumed waiters in the Mexican restaurant. The main buffet restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and features theme nights, an adobe oven for pizza, and an ocean-side terrace. Room service costs extra. Near the lobby on the second floor is a 24-hour, self-service snack bar with billiard tables, ping-pong, air hockey, a video game library, and four computers with internet access for a fee. There are shops on-site selling everything from jewelry to beach gear. Wi-Fi is charged by the hour, day, or week, and parking is free.
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