Okay, okay—we get it. When you think of vacationing in Cancún, you might have visions of college parties and sugary frozen drinks on a crowded beach. But before you go and judge a location by throwback MTV standards, remember this Mexican oasis is popular among world travelers for a reason. While there is a side of Cancún that boozes until dawn, there is also a slew of luxury resorts and hidden gems that offer the best of the best. From private butlers that tend to your every wish to sommelier-led tastings and tours through local communities, your next Caribbean vacation should be at one of these sought-after Cancún destinations.
Spend the Night on a Luxury Catamaran
Located in Punta Nizuc, Cancún, this four-star hotel ensures that your getaway is filled with more than margaritas by focusing on mind and body, too. Its Be Well package helps you stay healthy and active, and factors in a little R&R, too. For an additional cost, you can also book an afternoon on the NIZUC at Sea. This 56-foot-long catamaran can host up to six passengers (or just two, for a little private romance) and comes complete with an onboard butler, a chef, a full staff of servers, champagne, and caviar. If you’re feeling like flippin’ your fins, the boat can take you to the Museo Subacuático de Arte's deeper scuba dive sites, or for something more chill, you can simply sail down the Mayan Riviera.
Sample Wine With a Sommelier
Appropriately named, this adults-only resort is a must-visit for wine connoisseurs who want to vacation with a side of merlot. The on-site winery offers more than 3000 varieties of vino from all around the world, allowing you to explore your palette while looking out over the sweet blue Caribbean Sea. Each day, you and your travel buddy can attend a sommelier-led wine tasting at The Vine Bar, or if you want to try something new, you can also taste tequila, too.
Depending on what type of vacation you’re craving, this resort also allows you to upgrade to Unlimited Luxury, which is an elevated way to enjoy an all-inclusive experience. Though the rate will include the traditional perks that all-inclusives offer, you will also enjoy 24-hour concierge service and a no-wristband rule, so your style isn’t called into question.
Dance Off Your Workweek Stress
Need to blow off some steam from your hectic work schedule? Release and dance out that stress at this lifestyle resort that isn’t just luxurious and beautiful—it's also just a really fun time. While you’re lounging by the pool (Corona in hand, obviously), you can bliss out to the beats of a resident DJ, who offers music styles from pop and funk to jazz and house every day. The resort calls this perk the Rhythm Experience, and it extends well into the evening, where you might enjoy their Champagne & Sparkles party on Saturday night or an authentic Mayan fire show once it gets dark on Fridays.
Live Out Your A-List Dreams With a Personal Butler
This AAA five-diamond-awarded property is beloved for good reason. As the number one Cancún resort on TripAdvisor and the number two luxury all-inclusive hotel in the world, this resport doesn’t skimp on anything. Our favorite offering is its personal butler service. Assigned to you at check-in, no matter what you need, he or she makes it happen for you. Unpack your bags for you? Check. Make restaurant reservations? Done. Draw you a bath with high-end products? Sure. In addition to this hands-on approach that allows you to be on island time, you also have the option of a pillow menu, a nightly aromatherapy menu, and, of course, a private beach if you want to be alone with your loved one.
Just make sure you don’t check-out before your butler books you an appointment at the renowned spa. There are 19 treatment suites, including hydrotherapy suites to help detox your body and a sauna and steam room where a hostess will sprinkle cinnamon on your face or apply cucumbers to your eyes. Consider the signature massage, the Kukulcan, which is a sacred Mayan ritual that lasts 80 minutes and includes two massage therapists at once.
Wander Ancient Ruins
Traveling doesn’t just mean spa treatments and gourmet food, but embracing the culture and community of the country you’re visiting, too. For a true glimpse into both history and local traditions, consider adding the Viva Mexico Package at JW Marriott Cancún or CasaMagna Marriott. Though it includes an ocean-view room, breakfast for two, a tequila tasting for two, and a one-day beachfront cabana, our favorite perk is the private tour to the colorful town of Valladolid to see the Ek’ Balam ruins. Only about a one and a half hour drive from Cancún, you can learn about Mexico’s beginnings and try dishes created by natives while you’re on-site.
Learn to Master Mexican Cuisine
If your idea of a true vacation includes sampling the local fare, then it’s a no-brainer to book your trip at The Ritz-Carlton. The hotel group’s Cancún property is the only one that offers the Culinary Center, which features a chef’s counter overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Here, the residential-style kitchen allows you to enjoy formal cooking casually led by a trained chef. Each session not only includes decadent food, but the chef will share their best advice, tips, and history of the culturally inspired menus he or she selects. You can expect every flavor, from Mexican food to local Yucatan cuisine, and a deep dive into the gastronomic selections of various regions in the country. Hungry yet?
Treat Your S.O. to an Aphrodisiac Dinner
Designed for honeymooners or long-term couples who need to reconnect with one another, Temptation Resorts are not only about romance and privacy but intimacy, too. Currently undergoing a multimillion dollar reservation that’ll be complete in August, Temptation wanted to ensure everything from the rooms to the food was centered around love. That’s why they’re opening the property’s signature aphrodisiac restaurant, which will encourage couples to explore their sensual side of dining, discovering what scents, flavors, and dishes get them in the mood.
Have you been to Cancún lately? Tell us which resort you’d recommend.