by Stephen Jermanok
When the Spanish hotelier, IBEROSTAR, swooped in and purchased this former Hilton resort in Cancun, they realized they had a gem of a locale. Only a 15-minute drive from the international airport, the property boasts one of the most expansive and finest stretches of beach in Cancun. Peer out from your balcony and all you’ll see is a wide berth of shoreline serving as a welcome mat to the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea. IBEROSTAR also owns the only 18-hole golf course in the Cancun region, just across the street in the lagoon area.
Still, the Hilton was best known for its convention center and business travelers. If IBEROSTAR wanted to attract their loyal legion of families, they needed to reinvigorate the design. And that’s exactly what they did. In August 2011, the hotel shut its doors and invested $100 million into the resort, opening six months later with a much more appealing look. The seven pools include a water park for younger children. There is a Kids Club and Tennis Club, along with a massive theater shaded under a thatched hut to showcase nightly entertainment. In order to enhance the gastronomy, a grand buffet was opened. It includes four new specialty restaurants featuring specialties like Mexican and Japanese cuisine.
Add two tennis courts, a spa, gym and even a soccer field, and you have more than enough options to keep the family entertained on the property. But don’t forget that this is Cancun, the gateway to the Mayan ruins on the Yucatan peninsula and the host to a bevy of activities in the surrounding ocean, such as scuba diving, snorkeling and sea kayaking. Even when you venture out, you’ll be smiling, knowing that you’ll be returning to that glorious stretch of beach. Choosing the IBEROSTAR Cancun as your warm-weather getaway is a wise move.
Our Editor Loves
- All-inclusive resort
- Expansive beach and gorgeous vistas
- Pools, water sports and kid's clubs
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel's 426 rooms and villas include 16 junior suites, four master suites, a presidential suite and two beach suite villas.
The most affordable rooms are Standard Rooms with two queen beds and a window that opens for fresh air, but doesn't include balcony. If you want a balcony, be sure to request the next level up, which is a Superior Room with ocean views. Both rooms have a bathroom with a shower and bathtub, a mini bar stocked with drinks (as expected at an all-inclusive property), air conditioning, a desk, hairdryer, flat-screen television with a good selection of channels, a safe, iron, CD/MP3 player and free Wi-Fi.
Garden View and Ocean Front Villas offer more space with a sitting area and are on the main floor.
The Junior Suites and Master Suites feature a separate master bedroom and bathroom and a much larger terrace area, and offer lagoon or ocean views. If you want to catch the sunset every evening from the terrace, choose the lagoon view. The Presidential Suite is the ultimate splurge, with both ocean and lagoon views, a Jacuzzi and sauna in the master bathroom and a complete kitchen and dining room.
by Elizabeth J
I just spent a long weekend at this resort to attend a wedding. The setting is lovely and the amenities are great, Two staff member, Adriana and Alejandro, were particularly helpful to me with various issues. Adriana followed up with me to make sure that my issues were resolved. It helped to make me feel like a treasured guest.
by James T
The resort is terrific overall. The biggest complaint relates to the smokers. There are many from Europe and the amount of cigarette smoke makes it uncomfortable for everyone else. The resort would be much better to have designated smoking and non-smoking areas, especially in covered outdoor areas. This way people have the option of breathing clean air.
Kids Club and Teen Club
Kids ages 4 to 12 can head to Lucy's Club, the kids club for IBERTOSTAR Cancun, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enthusiastic counselors keep the youngsters active with sand castle competitions, painting ceramics, learning Spanish and practicing the latest dance moves to sweep across Mexico. Then it's off to the adjacent waterpark and its pirate boat and waterslide. If teenagers need to find their own space, the Teenie Club beckons with Playstation, Wii and nightly dance parties.
The sinuous series of pools weave though the swaying palms of the manicured garden area, from the hotel to the beach. Surf is shallow and not normally rough, so it's a great alternative to the pools if kids want to take a dive. This is not one of those narrow beaches where you're hard-pressed to find your own spit of sand. Bring your sand toys, paddleball, Frisbee or football; you have more than enough room to run around.
Guests at the IBEROSTAR Cancun receive a free minute-long shuttle to the golf course. The course is in excellent condition with immaculate greens and long fairways that reward you with ocean vistas. Be careful of the winds, which can wreak havoc on the most experienced golfer. Also on property are two tennis courts, a professional-level soccer field and an archery field. If you're feeling the need to work off one of those gluttonous meals, you'll be happy to hear that there is a lap pool and a fitness area with free weights, elliptical machines and treadmills.
Water Sports and Excursions
A beach area cabana is home to all your watersport options. Feel like scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing or sea kayaking? The well-run outfit can handle all requests, including deep-sea fishing for marlin and tuna, swimming with dolphins or a sunset sail with unlimited rum punch. The concierge in the refurbished lobby of the resort will handle all other requests, like heading south into Rivera Maya to snorkel at Xel-Ha or visiting the millennium-old ruins of Tulum. They can also plan half or full-day trips to the nearby marine park of Isla Mujeros.
At night, most families head to the huge theater, set under a thatched hut. Performances vary from cabaret and dancing to comedy and live music. Prior to the nightly entertainment, there's a children's show every evening from 8 to 8:45 p.m., and kids are encouraged to participate on stage. Make sure to bring the video camera; your child may be asked to dance the salsa or meringue!
Antiguo Laguito is the main buffet with ocean views from the outdoor seating area. Breakfast features made-to-order omelets, eggs, pancakes, waffles, pastries, homemade breads and fresh fruit, including sweet bananas, pineapple and papaya. This being Mexico, the coffee is good and strong. Dinner at the buffet can also be tasty, with a vast selection of salads, fish and other grilled meats like turkey, chicken and steak. Decadent cake and ice cream are delightful for dessert.
For lunch, head to the pool snack bar, Carey, for its assortment of hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches and a heaping pile of French fries.
Maguey Mexican restaurant, close to the beach, also features a buffet breakfast and lunch, while serving a much smaller crowd. At dinner, expect Mexican specialties like beef and chicken fajitas, grilled red snapper, tamales, quesadillas and the requisite guacamole and chips.
Naga Hibachi is a classic Japanese steakhouse where chefs cook in front of you, lighting the pyramid of onion rings into a volcano and balancing eggs with a metal spatula. Choose between steak, chicken, shrimp and fish entrees while being entertained.
La Horma restaurant, with its elegant diamond-tiled floors, is IBEROSTAR Cancun's gourmet restaurant, serving innovative fare like grilled tilapia with a shitake mushroom sauce.
The steakhouse, La Parrilla, is known for its large cuts of prime rib and spectacular ocean views. All four specialty restaurants require advance reservations, so be sure to make one when you arrive.
There are seven bars on the property, including two swim-up pool bars, one bar down at the beach, a bar in the lobby, a sports bar and a cigar bar, where you can sit back and smoke your Cohiba or Montechristo while sipping on brandy. There's also 24-hour room service, offering an array of kid-friendly options like quesadillas, grilled chicken sandwiches and hamburgers if you have toddlers that are too tired from their day of playing in the sun.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Concierge service is great for arranging tee times and tours, and is great with providing an array of options to tantalize the family. The watersports hut on the beach is also well-run.
Free Wi-Fi is available for one device per guestroom.
The Art of Smart Timing
The resort is most crowded and most expensive during February and March winter breaks, but it's hard to resist the warm waters and the soft white sand when it's snowing in the upper half of North America. If you can get here during the shoulder season months of December and April, the weather is sublime and you'll have less people to contend with. Cancun has been hit by hurricanes in the past, so if you're heading here in the summer, be sure to check the 10-day forecast.
The hotel's close proximity to the airport is definitely a plus. It can often take up to 45 minutes to reach a hotel in Cancun, depending on traffic. At most, the IBEROSTAR Cancun is a 15-minute drive.
Guests can easily walk through the resort.
Mom and Dad
Drop the kids off at kids' club and go for a round of golf in the morning. Then head to the onsite Initium Spa for its hot-stone couples massage. Ahh, yes, a perfect day in paradise.