In an isolated area of Hotel Zone, not close to shops or restaurants
Beach has a lot of seaweed and it's not the best area for swimming
Complaints of maintenance and housekeeping issues
No spa or hot tub
The Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas is a mid-range property with optional all-inclusive rates, on the far northern edge of the vibrant Hotel Zone. A bus or taxi ride is required to get anywhere (there are bus stops right next to the hotel) and the on-site amenities may leave something to be desired. Its two pools are small and there's no full spa (just massages available at a beach hut). The beach itself is notoriously full of seaweed, but daily activities keep kids busy. The 209 rooms are simple but bright, and have private balconies overlooking either the pools or ocean, plus suites have well-equipped kitchenettes. Those considering a more central location should consider the Fiesta Americana Villas Cancun, which has similar amenities near all the nightlife.
Last renovated in 2007, with partial updates in 2010, some of the Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas' public spaces are looking worse for wear. The surrounding area is devoid of attractions other than the beach (and a nearby bus station) making it less than idea for tourists who want to explore outside their hotel. The narrow grounds are sheltered by palm trees from the manicured boulevard, but cracks in the paving tiles are apparent before getting to the front entrance. Inside, the lobby is bright and airy, with white floors and walls, though some areas are cluttered with a variety of tour and rental desks. A small sitting area with white couches isn't big enough for all the waiting guests, but small tables with attractive wood and woven grass chairs spill out from the lobby bar. Most guests are families, especially from Mexico.
At the northern end of the Hotel Zone, far from attractions
The Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas is one of many all-inclusive resorts located in what is referred to as Cancun's Hotel Zone. Most resorts occupy the narrow stretch of land between the Nichupte Lagoon and Caribbean Sea, but this hotel is situated at the very northern end, far from central restaurants and shops. The beach here is also smaller than that at other resorts, and not the best spot for swimming due to an abundance of seaweed (unpleasant for its odor as well as its clutter). There's a bus stop within walking distance outside the property that can take guests to more central areas of the Hotel Zone (and better beaches). Downtown Cancun is about a 20-minute drive, and it's a 40-minute drive to Puerto Morelos' quiet beaches and great snorkeling spots. Expect about a 25-minute drive to Cancun International Airport.
Simple white rooms with private balconies, and suites with kitchenettes
The hotel's 209 rooms are simple, featuring off-white furniture and white tile floors, accented with bright colors -- blue, green, orange, or red, depending on the room -- in the bed runners and chair cushions. Colorful island artwork along the walls is a welcome touch. All rooms have private balconies furnished with white plastic chairs, either overlooking the pool or ocean. Standard rooms have sitting areas with plush armchairs and small desks topped with brushed metal table lamps and coffeemakers. Small 32-inch flat-screens and safes come standard, as does free Wi-Fi. The bathrooms have aging tiles with single vanities and walk-in showers. Suites add larger living areas with sofa beds and kitchenettes equipped with full-size refrigerators, microwaves, and two-burner electric stovetops. There have been past complaints of maintenance and housekeeping issues.
Beach with water sports, two outdoor pools, and three restaurants
Though facilities are fairly extensive, the quality of them is average. The beach here can be littered with seaweed (despite regular clean-up), making it potentially unpleasant, especially when the odors are strongest. Activities and water sports, including volleyball, snorkeling, and kayaking, are available, and there are cheap plastic loungers shaded by palm trees and reed umbrellas. The main outdoor pool has an adjoining kiddy pool and overlooks the ocean, plus there's a much smaller second pool with more comfortable cushioned loungers.
Children 19 and under stay free when sharing a room with parents, and there's a kids' club with an outdoor playground for the youngest ones, along with supervised daily beach and pool activities. There's no spa, but massages are available at a breezy beach hut, and the small indoor fitness center has free weights, treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines. Coin-operated laundry machines are also on-site. Wi-Fi is free throughout.
For dining, there are three restaurants -- a basic buffet eatery, an Italian spot with a more formal dining room, and an ocean-front Mexican grill. There's also a poolside bar and a cocktail bar with nightly entertainment such as karaoke and bingo, but both lack premium alcohol. All-inclusive rates are available.
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