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Hotel Xcaret Mexico 4.0

Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Beachfront all-inclusive with breathtaking grounds and views
  • Free access and transport to Xcaret, Xenses, Xplor, and Xel-Ha parks
  • Lovely, spacious, and contemporary rooms with locally made decor
  • In-room sofa beds, minibars, jetted tubs, Nespresso machines, and robes
  • All units have hammock-equipped terraces -- some ocean-view
  • Several gorgeous pools, kayaks for river, and pretty coves
  • 10 restaurants include international buffet, Mexican, and Asian options
  • Eatery by Michelin-starred chef (fee) and eight bars around resort
  • Swish spa with cave-like treatment rooms, and three gyms
  • Kids' club with organized activities, and free yoga and meditation
  • Gorgeous chapel, plus several function spaces
  • Free property-wide Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Long lines at check-in and check-out
  • Some areas are exclusive to certain guests
  • Some restaurants are adult-only, extra fee, or reservation-required
  • Those with mobility issues may have difficulties getting around

Bottom Line

The massive, 900-room Hotel Xcaret is an eco-minded, upscale all-inclusive resort that draws equal amounts of families and couples thanks to its plethora of on-site features and free access to area parks. Expansive grounds house several pools, stunning architecture utilizing natural rock, 10 restaurants, eight bars, a kids' club, and swish spa. The lounger-equipped beach is lovely, and kayaks are available to weave through a river. Gorgeous rooms have local decor, jetted tubs and separate showers, comfy beds, and furnished terraces with hammocks. Buffet and a la carte dining covers Mexican, Asian, and international cuisines, but a few are exclusive to certain guests or require an extra fee. Travelers won't feel the number of guests outside of check-in and check-out, but otherwise, the atmosphere is largely peaceful and relaxed. For a smaller, nearby property, consider Rosewood Mayakoba

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Scene

Huge resort with stunning, eco-minded design and Caribbean views

This eco-minded, all-inclusive hotel opened in December 2017, owned by the company Experiencias Xcaret that manages several area parks devoted to Mexican and Mayan history, landscape, and culture. Certainly the Hotel Xcaret's biggest appeal is that guests get free admission and transportation to the parks, as they can simply hop on a bus or shuttle boat numerous times each day. However, there's a lot to see on-site as well, with the design beautifully integrating with the natural rocks, rivers, and jungle. Housing a whopping 900 rooms across five "casas," some of which have special perks and exclusive amenities, grounds are expansive and well-manicured. Guests first drive down a long road past park entrances to reach the big palapa-style lobby, which has hanging planters, various natural materials, and casual cream poofs next to tree stump tables. From there, steps lead down to a stone path flanking a water feature that comes upon the ocean-view infinity pool with a swim-up bar. The resort of the resort is a jaw-dropping mix of caves and coves surrounded by lush greenery, which guests can explore by foot, kayak, or snorkeling -- visitors should keep an eye out for flamingos, iguanas, and tropical fish. 

Hotel Xcaret has a breathtaking design with lots of nooks and crannies for guests to explore, and numerous areas take advantage of the lovely Caribbean views. Guests wear wristbands that act as room keycards, access to all-inclusive dining, and even sensors for various cameras spread across the resort. The property attracts an even mix of international and domestic couples and families, and because many spend their time at one of parks, the atmosphere is relaxed. The only time guests will likely feel the crowds are at check-in and check-out, when lines can be quite long. On the downside, swinging bridges and a lack of railings in certain areas can be difficult for those with mobility issues. 

The property is undeniably impressive, but rates are high. For a cheaper option with direct park access (but not free admission), consider the Occidental at Xcaret Destination. For a smaller, more intimate property in Playa del Carmen, the luxurious Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a standout.

Location

Coastal setting next to popular Xcaret eco-park

The beachfront Hotel Xcaret has a fantastic location for travelers planning on spending a lot of their time at one of the nearby parks. Guests get free admission and transportation (by boat or bus) to all the parks, including Xcaret eco-park (with raved-about Mayan shows), adventure-filled Xplor, and Xel-Ha, a great snorkeling spot. Additionally, tours of Chichen Itza and area "cenotes" are part of the all-inclusive package, with the former about a two-and-a-half-hour drive away. Guests aren't within walking distance of anything, but central Playa del Carmen is about an 18-minute drive away. Laid-back Tulum and its ruins are a 45-minute drive south, and Cancun is an 80-minute drive north. Cancun International Airport is a free hour's long shuttle ride.

Rooms

Gorgeous, spacious rooms with jetted tubs and hammocks

The 900 rooms at Hotel Xcaret are all decorated similarly, done in a contemporary, beachy aesthetic with lots of locally inspired elements. Expect modern wood furniture, beige marble floors, pink accent walls, embroidered tapestries from Oaxaca, and turquoise pillows. The crowing feature of each room is the furnished outdoor terrace, which has chairs and a hammock, plus loungers and ocean vistas in some. Starting at 575 square feet and getting considerably larger in upgraded units, rooms are spacious and all fit a sofa bed, glass table and chairs, desk, and jetted tub. Bathrooms also come with separate rainfall showers, luxe toiletries that include bath bubbles, digital scales, hairdryers, robes, and slippers. Also standard are flat-screen TVs, free minibars with beer and soda, Nespresso machines, closets with laptop-sized safes, free Wi-Fi, and air-conditioning. 

Rooms are spread among five buildings, each with their own theme. Casa Fuego is for adults only, and it has an exclusive ocean-view rooftop pool and bar, and restaurant. Casa Agua is by the spa and centers around wellness, while Casa Tierra is geared toward families. Rooms on levels 1 and 2 are typically overlooking the river or garden. Large suites are available, some of which have separate living spaces or swim-up access. 

Features

All-inclusive covers array of water-based features and parks

Hotel Xcaret is packed with on-site features, plus guests receive free admission and transportation to the Xcaret parks for Mayan shows, snorkeling, and zip-lining, to name a few. Reservations are required for a few of the parks, as well as free tours of Chichen Itza and area "cenotes" (swimming holes). While on the property, there's also a ton to keep visitors busy. Multiple pools, a lagoon, and river offer spots to take a dip, snorkel, or use the free kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The ocean-view infinity pool with a swim-up bar is a favorite, as is the lagoon with its own stretch of sand and tropical fish. Toward the back of the resort is a family-friendly kids' pool with waterslides, plus an adjacent bar for adults. Casa Fuego has its own sleek rooftop pool. The oceanfront beach is long and lovely, kept natural with rocky areas. Loungers sit under umbrellas and flags designate the swimming conditions -- red means dangerous, while green is safe. 

The elegant spa is gorgeous, featuring 15 individual cabins in their own cave-like structures, a hydrotherapy area with hot and cold pools, a sauna, and salon for nail and hair treatments. A well-regarded kids' club has organized activities all day, and it's next to the children-friendly buffet restaurant, Chibali. Tennis courts and three gyms (a couple exclusive to certain buildings) are available, plus the hotel puts on free yoga, meditation, and Tai chi each day. A gorgeous chapel is also on-site, and it provides gorgeous vistas of the surrounding landscape and Caribbean. 

Wedding and function spaces are available, and there was a conference being held near the lobby during our visit. Also near the lobby are a store selling snacks and sundries, and an ATM machine. Wi-Fi is free across the resort.

Food

10 quality restaurants and several bars

There are 10 restaurants and eight bars on-site, almost all of which are free for everyone to use. The Ha' restaurant is a gourmet tasting menu eatery run by Michelin-starred chef Carlos Gaytan; it's only open for dinner and it requires an added fee and reservation. Adults staying in Casa Fuego have exclusive access to an all-day a la carte restaurant and rooftop bar. The main buffet restaurant is Mercado 17, which has 10 themed stations to resemble a Mexican market. Other standouts include the dinner-only Xin-Gao, with Teppanyaki and a sushi bar, and Las Cuevas, a Mexican-meets-international spot serving dinner in a cave setting by the river. Eight bars are spread among the resort, including a swim-up bar, and all liquor, wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages are covered. Guests can also find stands selling tacos, fruit, or juices set up. Food receives positive reviews across the board.

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Address

Carretera Chetumal-Puerto Juarez Km. 282, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico

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