Free Wi-Fi throughout the resort and in the rooms (only for SPG members)
Pool loungers can go quickly
Towel card system can be a slight nuisance
Rooms close to the pools can get some noise during high season
Complaints of bland food
The 580-room Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort is an upscale property set on a pretty stretch of white-sand beach in the heart of the Hotel Zone. The bright rooms are chic and decorated in sandy, neutral tones; all feature fully equipped kitchens, furnished balconies with ocean views, and washer/dryers. The huge pool complex has a waterslide, swim-up bar, kiddy pool, and an oceanfront infinity-edge section; other on-site entertainment includes a kids' club, tennis, and mini-golf. There are two restaurants and two bars on-site, plus a stocked market and outdoor grills for guests that prefer to self-cater. There are a spa and fitness center, but Wi-Fi is only free for SPG members. This resort is not all-inclusive; for that, consider the Gran Caribe Resort, but lose the kitchens and washer/dryers.
An upscale beachside resort with self-catering options
The Westin Lagunamar is one of the only hotels in the heart of the Hotel Zone that's not all-inclusive -- and that is exactly why the guests who stay here choose it. It appeals to families and couples who want the features of an all-inclusive resort but who prefer to skip the buffet lines and cook in their own kitchens. It's low-key and much quieter than the many rambunctious all-inclusives in this area (though the pool area of course can still get busy in the afternoons). However, there still are a few nuisances that are surprising for this style of resort, such as a towel card system (guests have to pay if they don't have their towel to swap back for the card). The upside of this, though, is that it makes it a bit trickier for guests to use towels to reserve lounge chairs -- and staff monitors in the mornings to make sure reserved loungers are actually in use. Still, some guests get away with reserving prime seats with personal items and it pays to get up early to snag a good spot.
The atmosphere is what one would expect from an upscale Westin, with modern, polished decor, throughout, including ceramic tile and river-rock accents, flagstone walls, and modern wicker furniture. The bright lobby with high ceilings opens up to the fountains of the main gardens beyond, with pillars and wood beams supporting wood slats above the walkways (providing a respite from the blazing Cancun sun). Guests can clearly see the ocean from the front lobby as they enter the property.
This resort is sprawling and guests will need to plan on walking a bit to get around; it can take 10 minutes to get from one end to the other. In the heart of the resort is the massive, freeform infinity pool, outdoor whirlpools, waterslide and kids' pool, as well as pretty tropical landscaping. Even though in some ways the resort feels like the chain resort that it is, there are locally influenced touches, such as "palapas" and wood-slatted coverings over some of the loungers.
This resort is right in the middle of the Hotel Zone of Cancun on a beautiful white-sand beach (though it's not private). It is a large complex and self-sustaining, but for those who want to get out and explore the central downtown sprawl of the city, there are buses on the avenue out front of the resort, and taxis are readily available. It is also right across the street from Isla Mall, where there are a lot of restaurant options. Besides that, only other resorts are within walking distance, and the airport is around 45 minutes away by car.
Bright suites with ocean-view balconies, fully equipped kitchens, and washer/dryers
The Westin's 580 rooms stand out for having condo-style amenities that most resorts in the area lack: kitchens and washer/dryers. They have the modern, understated decor that's typical for this chain -- the white tile floors, white bedding, and dark wood built-ins don't make much of a statement, but the look is polished and there's nothing to offend. Also of note: All of the rooms have a balcony with lounge furniture and feature views out over the ocean and lagoon. (The best rooms on higher floors are typically reserved for time-share owners).
In terms of space, those booking the entry-level Studio Villa should note that at 400 square feet (37 square meters), it's actually not much larger than a typical hotel room. Rooms at the Gran Caribe Resort, for example, start at 387 square feet. However, the upgrade to a One-Bedroom Villa is significant, as these units are 740 square feet (69 square meters) and can comfortably accommodate families of four, thanks to the sleeper sofa in the living room. Two-Bedroom Villas are 1,140 square feet (106 square meters) and can accommodate up to eight adults.
The kitchens are equipped with coffeemakers, dishwashers, and electric ranges, and the One- and Two-Bedroom Villas have six-person dining tables. On the technology front, there are 37-inch flat-screen TVs, streaming music, and safes, plus free Wi-Fi for SPG members. Simple, attractive bathrooms have blue clay tile walls, marble countertops, and cream ceramic tile floors. Sliding doors lead into the showers and there are whirlpool tubs with tile wraps. Showers feature adjust-height showerheads.
Three pools, kids’ club, health and wellness center, Mayan ruins, and event space
This resort has two ocean-facing pools: the primary freeform infinity pool that stretches the length of the resort, with swim-up bar, waterslide, and kiddy pool, and a quieter adult-oriented pool. The freeform pool is bisected by a bridge, with the waterslide in the section farther from the ocean. There are also in-pool loungers for those who want to stay cool while relaxing. A variety of events take place at the main pool, ranging from first-strokes swimming lessons for the kids to aqua aerobics to scuba lessons. The pools are heated and there are plenty of lounge chairs and cabanas -- though reserving prime seats in the morning is recommended. Whirlpools have room for up to 15 guests each. A kids' club caters to children ages 4 to 12, and staff leads activities such as hula lessons and iguana feeding; fees apply. There are even evening parties for parents who want some alone time. Kids will find additional entertainment with the on-site mini golf and tennis courts.
The WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio has modern fitness equipment plus a steam room and sauna. The Heavenly Spa has individual and couples treatment rooms plus oceanfront cabanas for massages; manicures and pedicures are also available. There’s also a small Mayan ruin on the northern side of the resort: the Templo del Alacrán or Temple of the Scorpion. It’s marketed as the highest “peak” in Cancun, and guests can enter during the daytime hours.
The resort operates a small event space with room for up to 150 guests in the outdoor areas and 25 guests inside a small conference room. Wi-Fi is available throughout, but is only free for SPG members.
Two restaurants, two bars, food
market, and public grills
There are two restaurants on-site: Oceano, focusing on Mexican and International dishes and Viento, which focuses on Mexican and American dishes. The Duna Sports Bar serves typical bar food and the Viento Pool Bar is attached to the eponymous restaurant. Most guests rate the food as mediocre, but more restaurants can be found at the Isla Mall across the street.
The Tierra Market is a focal point for the resort, and has fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, pastas, wine, and deli items. Guest can then cook them in the privacy of their own room, or there are public grills set up in the central garden area surrounding the pools.
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