The 420-suite Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Kaan is the most exclusive offering within the Mayan Riviera's Bahia Principe resort complex. This adult-only all-inclusive has three restaurants, a snack bar, and four bars, plus a private off-site beach area with beach bar and water sports. An ideal resort for couples, all rooms have top-shelf minibars, 24-hour room service, and luxe amenities -- and are located in semi-private spots within lush garden grounds. Some have private decks with hot tubs. However, if you want to be located directly on the beach without sacrificing perks (but are willing to downgrade room quality), check out sister resort Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal.
Small and relaxing adult-only property with everything but the beach
One large, gated entrance services all four resorts located inside the gigantic Bahia Principe complex, and the property is colorfully marked from the road by a bright yellow, pink, blue, and green building -- the Hacienda Dona Isabel. Sian Ka'anis the farthest resort from the main entrance, and is reached after following a winding road with a few turns and roundabouts. Named after a Mayan term that refers to the origins of the heavens, Sian Ka'an is the smallest and most relaxing resort within the complex.
It's a Luxury level Bahia property, and guests are greeted in the lobby with a large fountain, marble floors, plates of finger foods and fresh fruit, and an overall feeling of brightness and calm. Bars and restaurants here are small save the main buffet and large terrace patio just off the lobby. Most of the social spots are concentrated around the resort's entrance, though there are a few eating and drinking spots around the the central pools area. Rooms have an apartment vibe and are slightly hidden behind the verdant garden grounds and split into small buildings. This is an adult-only resort, but that doesn't mean you can't respectfully act like a kid, especially around the activity pool. Overall, the vibe of Sian Ka'an feels much more like a boutique than a property with over 400 rooms.
Located near Akumal along an eco-reef beach, an hour south of Cancun
About halfway between Akumal Beach and Tulum, Highway 307 becomes flanked with the grandiose entrance gates to both the Grand Bahia Riviera Golf Course and Club and the Bahia Principe resorts entrance. Cancun Airport is a straight shot north for just over an hour, while Playa del Carmen can be reached in just under 40 minutes. Akumal Beach's turtle-filled waters are just a short 10-minute drive up the road and can be reached by cab or collectivo. Xplor, Xel-Ha, and Xcaret are located along the highway between Akumal and Playa del Carmen.
All-suite rooms with 24-hour room service and top-shelf minibars
Sian Ka'an's 420 suites are luxe, modern, and have a rustic-chic style -- although some of the standard Junior Suites are not as bright and do not feel as fresh as rooms in the other categories. All rooms have large-tile floors; a dual set of large windows (one opens to a small private balcony or terrace); upscale furniture made of wicker, leather, wood, and high-end fabrics; and contemporary nature-themed artwork on the walls. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, iPod docking clocks, butler service, 24-hour room service, and pillow and aroma menus. Bathrooms feel a bit small and are decorated in a simple, upscale fashion with tile floors, dark wood furnishings, and bowl sinks. Comprehensive toiletry kits have Bahia brand products and kits from combs to shoe shiners. In-wall hairdryers feel a bit tacky for this level of luxury, but the makeup mirrors are a nice touch, even if the lighting is dim. There are walk-in showers, but no tubs, surprising for this level of luxury.
Standout features include the large rooftop terrace of the Deluxe Penthouse Junior Suites where guests have a personal hot tub, loungers, and table and chairs. The ground-level Deluxe Garden Junior Suites also have the terraces with hot tubs, though they don't feel quite as private.
Sian Ka'an's main buffet restaurant Yal-ku serves up high-quality international fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a bright space with chic style. Sian Ka'an's speciality a la carte restaurants include a Japanese spot, Maiko, and an international gourmet restaurant, Alux. Both of the a la carte options are only open for dinner and require reservations. If you get peckish between meals, you can grab a bite from the sushi bar or poolside snack buffet, Cenote Snack Bar. Options on-site are a bit limited, especially for longer stays, but keep in mind that Sian Ka'an guests can dine at any of the restaurants found at the other resorts in the complex.
Guests can easily drink in their rooms, thanks to the 24-hour room service and minibars with top-shelf liquor, but there are a few bar options as well. Daytime drinks are handed out at the Xpu-Ha pool bar hut (which also doubles on the backside as an activity center). While this isn't a swim-up bar, it is situated between two of the three pools, and guests don't seem to mind getting up from their loungers to grab drinks. In the early evenings, the Uxmal Terraza bar and the Tikal Lobby Bar start to pick up with the latter serving light finger foods and a coffee, tea, and cookies spread. There's also supposed to be a beach bar, Holbox, in the reserved Sian Ka'an beach area, but in fact, this bar is located on the Coba beach area -- though Sian Ka'an guests (who are roped off in the area next door) are more than welcome to use this bar.
A nice sampling of all-inclusive resort features and a 15-minute ride to an exclusive beach
While the beaches are a major reason to come to the Mayan Riviera, only two of the resorts within the Bahia Principe's complex have direct access to the sand -- and unfortunately, Sian Kaan is not one of them. But the resort has a free shuttle that leaves every five minutes and heads to an exclusive stretch of beach roped off for Sian Ka'an guests. Here, beach-goers can indulge in drinks from the beach bar or take advantage of the water activities (one hour of non-motorized water sports is included per day of the stay).
Sian Ka'an's three pools are laid out in succession starting with a relaxing pool just outside of Alux restaurant. This pool has the most sun, fewest loungers, and quietest vibe. Most people here are silently swimming or reading in the sun. Next door, surrounded by shady garden, the second pool (which also has a non-heated jetted tub) has loungers, shaded cabanas, and not much of a vibe. The pool farthest in is the smallest, but also the most lively; this is where all the daytime activities and games take place and where a younger crowd tends to hang out. The pool bar is located between the second and third pools.
Off-site features shared across all resorts in the complex include the Riviera Maya Gold Club with 18- and 9-hole courses, plus cenotes and a jungle area; Hacienda Dona Isabel with shops, a nightclub, and live music; and the Dolphinarium (in the Tulum property). Guests at Sian Ka'anl also have access to all three resort properties in the complex, including their facilities, restaurants, bars, and beaches.
Unfortunately, there's a fee to access Wi-Fi outside of the lobby area (e.g., in your guest room). However, all local taxes and tips are included which is a nice bonus.
This hotel offers a tourism attraction that involves animals. You can learn more about the cruelty animals suffer in captivityhere.
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