Some travelers head to Cancun to relax on a beautiful white-sand beach, while others are more interested in the nightlife the city has to offer. After staying in hotels all over Cancun, we’ve found the best for partiers. Here are our top picks for party-centric properties.
This mega-hotel is part of a two-hotel complex, with 1800 rooms, that prides itself on entertainment. The 3.5-pearl property is smack in the middle of Cancun’s hotel zone so those who choose to leave the all-inclusive property will find no shortage of things to do. It’s a family-friendly property, but 14 bars provide plenty of entertainment geared towards adults; those looking for a quiet vacation with the kids may want to look elsewhere, or at least avoid the sometimes raucous party scene at the crowded outdoor pool. Rooms, while clean and comfortable enough, feel like an afterthought at a resort where there is clearly so much thought going into other aspects of the stay. Be prepared for long lines at the 18 on-site restaurants, especially in the high season.
With a gorgeous infinity pool featuring ocean views and two popular swim-up bars, five restaurants serving international cuisine, live entertainment, a great spa, and a wonderful kids’ club, the Hard Rock screams “all-inclusive Cancun megaresort”. The Hotel Zone is known for its party-oriented hotels, and the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun is one of the best ones for those who want to have some fun in the sun. It is a lively and busy place, with music, free drinks served 24 hours a day, and two popular swim-up bars -- but there are also some quieter areas for those who want to relax in the sun and be pampered.
There’s a lot to like about this 287-room hotel, if you're searching for an all-inclusive experience in the heart of the party-Mecca of the Hotel Zone: three pools with stunning ocean views, lots of dining options, great rooms with high-tech amenities (like iPod docks and flat-screen TVs), a full spa (not included in the price), a tiny but modern fitness center, and a location right on a gorgeous white-sand beach. Visitors don’t come to this part of Cancun for the sights -- there are none, other than the popular beaches and the nightlife.
A child of the '90s, the 617-room, upper-middle-range Crown Paradise Club Cancun is a one-stop shop for budget-friendly all-inclusive vacations. With almost more bars than restaurants, this hotel makes sure you never have to walk too far to get a drink. With a welcome drink upon arrival, the hotel sets the ball in motion, leaving guests to meander to the nearby Lobby Bar (open from 10 a.m.). Other bars suitable for day drinking include La Brisas Bar (by the main pool), the adult-only swim up pool bar Club Caribe, and the Beach Bar, though the latter is only open weather permitting. In the evening, there's a fun nautical-themed British pub called Trafaglar's with pool tables and attached nightclub Disco Nitro, only open to those 18 and older, as well as an activity center/bar/live entertainment station, aptly named College Bar. Although the space is open to all ages, much of the younger college-aged crowd can be found lingering here -- day and night. And we have it on good authority that even though opening and closing times are posted, this bar is usually open 24/7.
The mid-range Golden Parnassus (not to be confused with the Great Parnassus up the beach) is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort in Cancun's popular Hotel Zone. Sure, the white nondescript structure pales in comparison to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton next door, but the laid-back vibe and friendly staff -- who go out of their way to make sure everyone has fun -- draws many repeat guests. All 214 rooms come with small furnished balconies and marble baths, and the "club" level rooms have extras such as double Jacuzzis, bathrobes and free fruit baskets. The pool is large, as at most at Cancun all-inclusives, but this one doesn't have a swim-up bar -- a bit of a letdown at an adults-only hotel. On that note, this place can get a bit rowdy, so guests looking to relax in their room at night should ask for a higher floor on the lagoon side of the resort.
Hotel Riu Cancun -- with its grand V-shape and Mediterranean-inspired architecture -- sits on a sprawling piece of beachfront that’s close to pubs, eateries, and shops. While the resort offers three swimming pools including a beautiful infinity pool, sunlight disappears early in the day because of the building's soaring height. There's a buffet-style restaurant, as well as three themed restaurants that require reservations two days in advance. A range of on-site activities includes nightly live shows, a spa, tennis, windsurfing, and nightclub.
The 438-room upscale Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa is an all-inclusive resort that's on the smaller side for Cancun, with just two pools, though the pristinely maintained white-sand beach with calm, shallow waters is a highlight when compared to many of the public beaches where seaweed runs rampant along the sands. The resort was rebranded as a Dreams in fall 2014 and some guests feel it's not yet up to Dreams standards, though the no-reservations policy for the nine restaurants (and lack of wristbands) is a major upside. Rooms have upscale decor, but older rooms that have not yet been remodeled may show signs of wear. All of them have at least partial ocean views and some have balconies. All in all, this is a good value for this caliber, though it may be worth comparing rates with the Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort, which has more pool space.
The 879-room mid-range Oasis Cancun is an all-inclusive beach hotel that bills itself as an entertainment resort. This is a year-round party property with a young, spring break atmosphere 24/7. Rooms are generic with substandard amenities, thoughbalcony views are beautiful. Alcohol flows and there are constant crowds at the fun pool and gorgeous beach lining up for dinner and dancing till dawn. Families may want to venture north and try the Grand Oasis Palm, a quieter, more kid-friendly alternative. Partiers should be weary of fees for the safe and Wi-Fi, but would be hard pressed to find a better scene for revelry and drinking in Cancun -- there are three swim-up bars and a nightclub on-site -- vodka shots are dispensed via soda guns.
The 58-room Oh! Oasis in Cancun is an adult-only, upper-middle-range hotel offering modern rooms, a pool, nightclub, restaurant, and a prime location in the heart of the downtown district just 15 minutes on foot from Plaza Las Americas. Guests are 20 to 30 minutes from the beach, although buses and taxis are available from just down the street. There are some unexpected perks for this price range, including shared services with the Oasis Smart next door, Smart cars for rent, and an art gallery inside the main lobby, which add to the value. Hotel Ibis and Fiesta Inn Las Americas farther down Tulum Avenue are comparable experiences with better views over the Hotel Zone and lagoon.
The 177-room Aloft Cancun is an upper-middle-range Starwood hotel that combines urban, hip decor with business-class amenities. It's located at the Cancun International Convention Center (and under the same ownership), in the heart of the Hotel Zone next to a shopping mall and within a five-minute walk of Mandala Beach Club, where guests get access. It's a good value for this category, but those seeking a more typical all-inclusive beach experience might want to consider the (pricier) Hotel Riu.