Stunning, oceanfront location on a white-sand beach
Excellent location in the heart of the Hotel Zone
Stylish, modern rooms with couches, marble showers, and coffeemakers
All units have furnishes terraces, some with ocean views
Two pools, one with ocean views and lots of poolside activities
Kid-friendly facilities such as water park with pirate ship and slides
Five restaurants serving buffet, Mexican, and Italian cuisine
Several bars, including a beachfront one, plus free room service
Small spa, spacious fitness center, and free yoga
Lively, fun entertainment staff that are beloved by many guests
Free, fast Wi-Fi throughout
Renovations to certain areas ongoing until December 2018
Pools are a bit small for the size of the resort
Rooms have thin walls that can lead to noise disturbances
Shade is limited at the pools and beach
No swim-up bar
Strong surf at the beach, with dangerous riptides (typical for area)
Reports of long lines for some restaurants
This upscale, all-inclusive resort in the Hotel Zone is one of the best values in Cancun. The competitive prices draw a fair number of partiers, and there are lots of poolside activities such as tequila volleyball. But the resort draws plenty of families as well, thanks to its two pools (neither very large or with a swim-up bar), kiddy splash park with a pirate ship and slides, and evening entertainment. Multiple restaurants and bars include buffet and Italian options, and food receives mostly positive reviews. Updated in 2017, the 458 rooms are stylish and beachy, all with hammock-equipped terraces (some with stunning views) and showers. On the downside, walls are a bit thin and shade is limited around the beach, plus some areas are undergoing renovations. Those looking for a less party-hearty vibe might prefer the smaller GR Caribe by Solaris.
Modern all-inclusive with a good value and a surprising mix of partiers and families
Formerly the Gran Caribe, this resort was taken over by Panama Jack Resorts in 2017, and is one of the best all-inclusive values in the Cancun Hotel Zone. Affordable prices draw a fair number of partiers as well as families, thanks to the resort's plethora of drink-slinging bars, daily entertainment, and kid-friendly facilities. The result is a slightly strange scene that's part boozing twenty-somethings playing tequila volleyball and part little kids splashing in the main pool, at the kiddy splash pool with pirate ship, or watching magic shows. In any case, expect the pool scene to be bustling, accompanied by music and a lively entertainment staff (these staffers are beloved by many guests, and can help make the trip special).
Renovations in 2017 have updated the property with a stylish, modern, and cheerful look. Blue banquette and patterned wingback armchair seating is in the open-air lobby, next to a charming front desk packed with old-fashioned luggage and travel paraphernalia. Off these areas are the coffee bar, where guests often be seen grabbing a cappuccino in the mornings or a cinnamon roll when a bell is rung to let travelers know they're fresh out of the oven, and Jack's Landing Bar, where nightly entertainment such as karaoke draw travelers who choose to stay on-site. Other dining spaces are elegant yet casual. Unfortunately, renovations are ongoing until the end of 2018, including the kids' splash area, kids' and teens' clubs, spa, and Ventanas restaurant.
Travelers will likely see a wedding here, as this hotel has its own Catholic chapel -- a gorgeous glass-walled spot overlooking the beach -- plus oceanfront ceremonies are popular. Various beach and travel quotes attributed to Panama Jack (the brand's founder) add a cute touch to the walls. The vibe throughout is fun and friendly, but the relatively small size of the pool and limited beach shade could be an issue for some during peak season.
It is hard to find an all-inclusive in this price range without some party atmosphere; those looking to avoid it might consider ditching the all-inclusive route and booking a stay at the Westin Lagunamar. The all-inclusive GR Caribe Solaris is often slightly more expensive, but quieter and smaller -- though as it has access to a more happening scene at its next door sister property, Royal Solaris, it might offer the best of both worlds. Next door, Hyatt Zilara, is significantly more luxurious and expensive.
The Panama Jack Resorts Cancun is set in the heart of the Hotel Zone of the city, just a little bit south of the main clubs and the convention center. It's about a 20-minute walk, or five-minute drive, to Coco Bongo, Senor Frog's, and the Cancun ICC. La Isla open-air mall and plaza is a five-minute drive south of the resort. Downtown is around 20 to 30 minutes away via bus or taxi, depending on traffic, both of which can be hailed from the avenue in front of the resort. Cancun International Airport is around a 25-minute drive without traffic.
Spacious, modern rooms with marble bathrooms and balconies, some with ocean views
All renovated in the same design in 2017, rooms are modern and stylish. Featuring an airy, beachy look, they have marble floors with blue striped rugs, wood furniture with white glossy tops, patterned throw pillows, and large photos of palm trees. All of the rooms are billed as suites, but don't let that confuse you; the entry-level Standard Suites start at 387 square feet and are a single room. Many are configured with sunken sitting areas housing sofa beds and small dining tables. Balconies come standard and each is furnished with two chairs and a hammock. Most rooms look out over the ocean in some way or another, though some are of the less-inspiring lagoon, and others of the interior. Six ocean-view swim-up suites with a shared pool are available.
Quality amenities include air-conditioning, minibars stocked with beer, water, soda, and juice, and coffeemakers. On the technology front, there are flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and in-room safes. A fun touch is a handcrafted trinket from Mexico on arrival, such as a painted turtle. Closets also have bathrobes, slippers, and ironing facilities. Bathrooms typically have orange onyx marble countertops, walk-in showers, an array of quality toiletries, and hairdryers. Whirlpool tubs overlooking the ocean are found in some of the higher-end rooms.
Two pools, a beautiful beach, kids' club, and small spa
The resort's two pools are a bit small for the size of the resort. The main, oceanfront pool has a shallow area and is surrounded by loungers, but umbrellas are scarce and go quickly, as do the cabanas (fee for all but higher-category suites) and palapas at the beach. There are plenty of activities, though, ranging from bingo to pool volleyball to tug-of-war. The beach is a truly beautiful stretch of white sand, and beach volleyball is offered, though note that the surf is pretty rough. Because of that, non-motorized water sports are not available right on-site; guests will need to drive five minutes to Aqua World for use of equipment such as snorkels and paddleboards.
The kids' club has supervised activities for ages 4 to 12, and there's also a teens' club with activities throughout the day. The kids' splash pool with a small pirate ship has multiple small sides and tends to be a hit with the little ones. Evening entertainment may include parties at the beach, live music at the lobby bar, and weekly Mayan shows, which largely receive positive reviews. The spa is a small affair on the back side of the resort down a small walkway past the salon and convention space, just across from the gym. There’s a small whirlpool tub just outside of the spa, and a few treatment rooms inside. The gym is fully equipped.
Some units have access to a VIP Lounge on the sixth floor, which offers its own check-in and concierge, all-day snacks and drinks, and a pool table. While many resorts have some form of a chapel on site, the one at the here is ordained for Catholic use only and has gorgeous views over the beach. Other areas, such as the beach and various convention spaces, can also be used, and the hotel hosts around 220 weddings per year. Wi-Fi is free throughout.
Five restaurants, multiple bars, and free room service
There are five restaurants to choose from at Panama Jack, most of them with ocean views. The two buffets serving all three meals are Deck 74 and Ventanas, the latter of which is currently undergoing renovations. Three a la carte restaurants are open for dinner only and include an Italian spot, casual American and European eatery, and traditional Mexican. Reservations are not required, but it is recommended to line up early as lines can be long. The lobby coffee bar is open from early until late, serving various coffee drinks, baked goods, and grab-and-go sandwiches. Multiple bars include one by the pool, beach, and lobby. Food on the whole receives positive reviews and room service is included.
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