May 16, 2022

Church Street Espresso

Experienced In Leisure

Where to find culture and cuisine along the Caribbean Sea

6 min read

Editor’s Note: Lori A. May was a guest of Marriott Cancun Resort which covered the cost of air travel and hotel for the trip.

Located on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Cancun is a paradise for beachgoers.

Its popular resort area, known as the Hotel Zone or Zona Hotelera, is connected to the mainland by a causeway. On one side of the resort area is calm Laguna Nichupté and the other side: the inviting Caribbean Sea. It’s here where vacationers are known for reveling along soft white sand beaches, exploring palm groves and snorkeling coral reefs.

With an annual average temperature in the low 80s, Cancun is typically warm and balmy, though evenings can bring cool waterfront breezes ideal for sipping mezcal on the beach.

Marriott Cancun Resort, Mexico

Ione Ascanio Green / Marriott Cancun Resort

Though it seems a world away when visiting, Cancun is an easy flight from major U.S. cities, with nonstop flights from Seattle offered by both Alaska Airlines and Delta. After arriving at Cancun International Airport (CUN), guests can spend their days exclusively in Zona Hotelera or embark on adventures along the peninsula to explore cenotes and ruins, bustling waterfront towns and warm inviting waters.

Where to stay

In the heart of Cancun’s hotel district, Marriott Cancun Resort offers a family-friendly, one-stop destination with beachfront activities, delectable dining, and spacious guestrooms. Each guestroom features floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony, and breathtaking views of the Caribbean are always within reach.

Upon first arriving at the resort, guests are welcomed into an expansive grand entrance with a central bar that’s much more than a lobby bar. This popular area is fondly dubbed The Great Room. Here, guests can take in beach and pool views while sampling an impressive collection of Mexican whiskeys and mezcals.

Marriott Cancun Resort has nine specialty international restaurants and offers 50 different varieties of mezcal

Marriott Cancun Resort has nine specialty international restaurants and offers 50 different varieties of mezcal

Lori A. May, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Where to dine

From the initial impression of the incredibly welcoming staff to the architectural details and decor accents embracing Mexico’s ancient history, the Marriott makes it easy to slip into a Yucatán vacation state of mind. That breezy beach-chic vibe carries through to nine specialty international restaurants ranging from quick bites to fine dining.

With the variety of dining options at the Marriott Cancun Resort, guests may want to opt for an all-inclusive package with promo code NCL, valid through December 31, 2021. This promotional package includes accommodations, dining day and night, and unlimited drinks for one set price, allowing guests to take a hands-off approach to their vacation budget.

SacBé Beach Shack at Marriott Cancun Resort, Mexico 

SacBé Beach Shack at Marriott Cancun Resort, Mexico 

courtesy of Marriott Cancun Resort

Whether all-inclusive or à la carte, there are some must-try eateries here at the Marriott. Guests can sample and savor everything from Southwestern to Thai, Argentinian to Japanese, with American comfort classics widely available, too. But the must-visit SacBé Beach Shack embraces an authentic Yucatán vibe with its bohemian atmosphere similar to nearby Tulum.

SacBé is a picturesque venue for lunch, where pillow seats and hammocks line the beach, and lobster tacos and nachos with mole are the shining stars. Yet culinary enthusiasts may want to reserve a private group mezcal tasting pairing Mayan and Yucatán bites with a series of beverages.

This special tasting menu is curated by Marriott Cancun’s mezcalier and showcases a fusion of local flavors and traditional Mexican cuisine. The resort offers a staggering 50 different varieties of mezcal, and this intimate experience is a wonderful introduction to the range of flavor profiles.

Diners at SacBé Beach Shack are tempted with mole nachos and chicken escabeche sope, highlighting the best of Mexico’s local cuisine paired with signature Caribbean flavors. Much of the menu reflects street food culture, and every bite leaves you wanting more.

Swingset seating at SacBé Beach Shack , Marriott Cancun Resort, Mexico

Swingset seating at SacBé Beach Shack , Marriott Cancun Resort, Mexico

Lori A. May, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

That’s just one of the many dining venues at Marriott Cancun Resort, and guests will find a bounty of flavor day and night. Starting with an enormous breakfast spread at Sasi Thai to the options of Southwestern grilled favorites, that all-inclusive pass can come in handy.

There’s also a new restaurant on the way this winter. New concept restaurant Hana will offer tropical and fresh flavors in Polynesian-inspired dishes. Think ahi tuna salad, crab cakes, smoked grilled octopus and Szechuan ribs with sweet potato puree.

And, if you crave even more flavor and fun, there’s a world of eateries along Kukulcan Boulevard. Directly across the street from the Marriott is Chambao, an on-trend restaurant overlooking Laguna Nichupté, offering a creative fusion of aromas and flavors. Chambao calls itself a “fashion grillhouse,” and while that can be partially explained by saying the place is packed with statuesque models, dancing DJs, occasional fireworks and some circus acrobatics, it really does take an in-person visit to experience this place at full throttle.

If you want tableside entertainment without the glam dress code, visit teppanyaki grill Mikado at the Marriott, where you’ll take in a solid chef performance and enjoy a fresh-prepped meal in a family-friendly environment.

Chambao, a Fashion Grillhouse, in Cancun

Chambao, a Fashion Grillhouse, in Cancun

Lori A. May, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Hotel activities to keep everyone entertained

Speaking of family-friendly, the Marriott offers a kid’s club with supervised activities for children ages 4 through 12, along with plenty of onsite activities for the whole family to enjoy. In addition to the huge outdoor heated pool and whirlpool, there’s a small pool dedicated to tots, tennis courts, volleyball, jet ski rentals and some hoops onsite, too.

For the health and wellness crowd, Marriott offers a large fitness center with complimentary guest access and a full-service luxury spa with body wraps, facials, and massages.

What to see, do in Cancun

While the Marriott Cancun Resort has pretty much everything to make a great family getaway, there is even more to explore just outside its doors. Just down the street is Aquaworld, home to a surf simulator and aqua park designed for the whole family, along with several excursions to enjoy snorkeling and diving.

Snorkeling is certainly recommended, as MUSA — an underwater museum of art — is simply mesmerizing. For a museum experience on land, take a tour of the Mayan Museum of Cancun to explore the regional history and important archaeological artifacts.

Golfers will find excellent tee time at nearby Iberostar Cancun Golf Club, while shopaholics should pop by La Isla, a multi-use facility home to an interactive aquarium, outdoor plaza with rows of restaurants and boutiques, plus a casino and a towering Ferris wheel offering panoramic views of the city and shoreline.

Right across the street from La Isla is Yamil Lu’um, the archaeological remains of a Mayan temple. Ruins like this are sparsely sprinkled throughout the Hotel Zone, but a trip along the peninsula will yield even more archaeological and cultural history.

Marriott Cancun Resort, Mexico 

Marriott Cancun Resort, Mexico 

Ione Ascanio Green / Marriott Cancun Resort

Cancun Shuttle offers safe and reliable transportation to and from the airport, along with comfortable transportation to Playa del Carmen and Tulum, where visitors can explore ruins and cenotes. The service provider is currently offering a promotion where roundtrip airport transfer reservations include a free adventure tour to the Cenotes Park or Playa del Carmen. A day trip to Playa del Carmen from Cancun is about an hour’s drive with an area shuttle.

The Marriott Cancun Resort does have concierge services onsite at the hotel, so it’s also very easy to set up private tours, request transportation for a tour of the Yucatán, or schedule reservations for attractions and eateries around town.

The staff are truly wonderful and want to ensure guests have a remarkable experience. During my visit, I quickly became acquainted with the coffee shop staff who greeted me by name every morning. Mario was also a familiar face whenever I sauntered into the lobby bar for a refreshing cocktail. And though my stay was just a few breezy days along the beach, I easily felt at home here and started thinking of when I could plot out my next visit for more beach time, more mezcal, and definitely more tacos.

Before going home

Curious how the Marriott Cancun Resort is handling guest health and safety? The hotel offers free antigen testing for guests staying three or more nights. The onsite lab team provides test results within 30 minutes, allowing travelers quick testing prior to their departure flight. The lab operates Monday through Saturday and test appointments may be booked in person at the hotel’s Business Center.

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