Top 10 Best Marriott Hotels In Riviera Maya: Cancun Vs Playa Del Carmen


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We review the best Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts to spend your loyalty points on Riviera Maya. Which are the best in Cancun vs. Playa Del Carmen? The Marriott brand includes Luxury Collection, EDITION, St Regis, W Hotels, and JW Marriott, as well as mid-range brands like Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Sheraton, Le Meridien, Design Hotels, and Westin.

The Ritz-Carlton Cancun is a brilliant property with a gorgeous club lounge, and the JW Marriott Cancun is also fabulous with an excellent and beautiful executive club lounge. Both the JW and the Ritz are better than the Westins, but then they are more expensive. You get what you pay for! If you are a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum or Titanium elite member, you will not get free club lounge access at the JW Marriott or the Ritz-Carlton but will reportedly get free lounge access at the Cancun Westin Resort & Spa.

There are two Westins in Cancun. The Westin Lagunamar is reportedly the best of the two hotels. Both offer timeshares. Westin Lagunamar is a large property with great pools but no executive club lounge. The alternative is the Westin Resort & Spa, which is more dated but is great value. This one does have a club lounge.

The JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton club lounges are very comparative, and both are Reward Category 6 properties, so both cost the same Marriott Bonvoy points per night, but the Ritz-Carlton charges almost $50 USD per night extra with a resort fee, while the JW doesn’t have a resort fee. The Club 91 lounge at the JW has been recently upgraded lounge and is as good as the Ritz-Carlton lounge, with free alcohol, 5+ food presentations throughout the day, and so forth.

The best Marriott hotels in Riviera Maya: Cancun vs. Playa Del Carmen, are listed below:

1. The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun

Resting on the tip of the exotic Yucatan peninsula is The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, a AAA Five Diamond resort. This luxury resort offers an enticing stretch of white sand beach, indulgent amenities such as the full-service Ritz-Carlton Spa and award-winning restaurants, and the intrigue of the ancient Mayan sites nearby. Recreational facilities include a 1200-foot sand beach, two sculpted outdoor pools, an oceanfront whirlpool, two tennis courts, and Fitness Center. This is the best Marriott hotel in Cancun, and it also has the best club lounge in Cancun, just bear in mind that if you are a premium (platinum or Titanium) Marriott Bonvoy member, you don’t get free access to this club lounge, you must book and pay for a club room to get access to the executive club lounge (this is the same for any Ritz-Carlton hotel).

The resort has 363 guestrooms, including 50 suites, all with ocean views and private balconies or terraces. Each of the resort’s guestrooms and suites is a sanctuary of comfort featuring sweeping ocean views and a wealth of welcome amenities. For families with infants, specially designed rooms offer all the comforts of a home nursery, including a crib, a changing table, and a menu of baby essentials that can be ordered prior to arrival.

Guestroom amenities include Egyptian cotton linen and duvet covers, television with international cable, CD Player, individual air conditioning controls, high speed, Wi-Fi Internet access, in-room safe, marble bath with double vanities, and separate tub and shower and plush terry bathrobes.

Whether sampling Five Diamond cuisine, dining al fresco under the stars, or attending a tequila tasting session featuring the finest and most exclusive varieties, guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, will experience innovative cuisine with unparalleled service.

The Ritz-Carlton Club Level provides guests with the highest level of personal service with five complimentary food presentations daily. Worth noting, Platinum and elite Marriott Bonvoy members don’t get free lounge access. Everyone who uses this lounge has paid for a club room.

This lounge is super smart, with double-height ceilings and intricately carved wall features, and the whole lounge is designed in browns and olives with lots of wood and thick chunky marble. The meals are excellent and filling, you will not be disappointed, and you will leave full (both with food and alcohol if you want).

The Club Level food includes breakfast, lunch, light snacks, cocktails plus hors d’oeuvres, chocolates, and cordials. Beyond the free food, there is also a selection of complimentary wines, liqueurs, beers, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages available, complimentary wireless, in-room internet access, and two garments pressed daily.

2. JW Marriott Resort & Spa Cancun

JW Marriott Resort & Spa Cancun is a Marriott Bonvoy hotel with upscale amenities, including spacious, sand-toned accommodations and on-site dining. Explore the historic Mayan ruins and experience the area’s lively clubs and bars. Relax in the family-friendly freeform pools or adult-only infinity pools, or work out at the fitness center, featuring cardio equipment and free weights. The beach here is white sand with a glorious blue sea. Wonderful! For rainy days, there’s an indoor pool and some arcade-style game machines for the kids.

Be aware of the extra charges at this hotel. Private cabanas cost $250 USD a day, and you can reserve lounge chairs with prime ocean views for $180 USD a day. Ouch! Reports suggest that you are meant to tip the staff for the free drinks in the club lounge too.

The JW Marriott, like The Ritz-Carlton and other big hotels in Cancun, is in the Hotel Zone, around half an hour by car from Cancun Airport (CUN). The JW Marriott is around a kilometer south of The Ritz-Carlton. The foyer is beautiful, with lots of marble and pillars, along with huge flower arrangements.

The Club and Club level rooms have been renovated. Club rooms are modern with tiled floors, pine headboards with Mayan patterning, and blue and tan hues bringing the beach inside. Bathrooms are large and stylish with a really nice rough stone tiling on the walls and Aromatherapy amenities.

The look of the lounge is equally appealing, with the same tan and blue hues and wonderful windows looking out towards the ocean. This is a really nice and stylish place to hang out.

Inspired by the great pyramid of Kukulcán, the executive club lounge labelled Club 91 is an exclusive haven of luxury. Located on the 14th and 12th floors of the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, Club 91 guests experience exclusive privileges and a lavish array of world-class amenities.

Is this JW Marriott “Club 91” Lounge worth paying the extra for (usually around $20 USD per person per room)? This is a common question as Platinum, and elite Marriott Bonvoy members don’t get free lounge access. Like the process at Ritz-Carlton hotels, even elites need to pay for access. They say: “A rate with Club 91 access must be booked in order to take advantage of Club 91 benefits. It is not included in Reward Member benefits.”

If you have club lounge access, you get free breakfast and free evening snacks, and alcoholic drinks. Throughout the day, you have snacks and soft drinks. If you like a few evening alcoholic drinks, then yes, the lounge is definitely worth paying for, as you get free breakfast, free evening nibbles, and those valuable free drinks. If you only drink soft drinks, this lounge may not be as valuable to you as the hotel is in an area that feels safe with plenty of local restaurants nearby that offer good value for money, so you may prefer to do this.

If you do decide to book into the lounge, expect five decent food events daily and an open bar in the evening with rotating hot dishes as well as cold cuts, cheeses, smoked salmon, veggies, and this kind of thing.

3. Hotel La Semilla

Hotel La Semilla is a boutique Marriott Bonvoy hotel in Playa del Carmen, which is infused with a sense of Mexican heritage and style thanks to vintage Mexican furniture and the finest flea market finds from haciendas in the Yucatán region and around the country.

The hotel possesses a laidback simplicity with lounging spaces where mismatched pieces of furniture, such as in the Cocina Loft restaurant, create the feeling of relaxing at a friend’s house. Guests are encouraged to explore the owner’s favorite restaurants or to bring their own food to the hotel to be enjoyed in any of the lounge spaces or even in the garden surrounded by candles.

The nine guestrooms range from 20 to 38 square meters, with the Cuartitos room and the Cuartoz Terraza room featuring a queen-size bed and the Cuartos room and the Suites Terraza offering a king-size bed. The Cuartos room plays host to a sitting area, while the Cuartoz Terraza room and the Suites Terraza each boast a terrace with a sitting area. The Suites Terraza also offers an outdoor bathtub or shower.

4. Papaya Playa Project

Papaya Playa Project is a Marriott Bonvoy hotel nestled on the coast of the Mayan Riviera, adjacent to sparkling waters and the only Mayan ruins on the sea. Sustainability prevails here, and guests will luxuriate in rustic simplicity in modest yet comfortable beachside bungalows.

The Papaya Playa Project exudes healthy creativity-from organic, locally sourced meals served on the terrace of the beach club to cocktail and jam sessions at the resort’s creative pop-up Tribal Room. This hotel is very different from your generic Marriott.

5. The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa Cancun

The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun, is similar to JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton above. If all 3 have availability, I would always choose the Ritz-Carlton or the JW Marriott over either Westin hotel in Cancun. However, if you are paying with cash, both of these Westins are likely to be cheaper than the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott, in which case they are worth considering.

The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun, is widely considered the best Westin in Cancun. Although the Cancun Westin Resort and Spa has a club lounge, this Westin doesn’t.

The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun, is beautifully situated on the sparkling Caribbean Sea and boasts endless amenities designed to make your stay here exceptional. Settle into your homelike villa with a fully-equipped kitchen and a balcony with ocean views or a comfortable studio with a kitchenette.

Go for a swim in the infinity pool, spend the day on the white sand beach, indulge at the spa, or play a round of mini-golf. Satisfy your cravings at the restaurants, or simply relax on the beach or poolside.

6. The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun

The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun, is perched between the Caribbean Sea and a tranquil lagoon. This beachfront vacation ownership resort has a fabulous beach with plenty of lounge chairs, palapas, and umbrellas, along with some excellent pools.

This Westin hotel is fairly poor when compared to the Westin Laguna Mar, which is the better of these two Westins in the area of Cancun. Of course, this may be taken into account with the price, but if they are the same price, go for the Laguna Mar, which is a better property but does not have an executive club lounge.

At the Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun, you can rent a beach villa with a fully equipped kitchen or select one of the spacious guest rooms or suites. Accommodations include incredible views of the water, signature Westin Heavenly® Beds, and free Wi-Fi, with zero resort or per-person fees.

Unwind in sparkling pools or on white-sand beaches. Schedule a personalized beauty or healing treatment at The Spa or experience one of many adventures without leaving the resort. These activities include the FlowRider® surfing simulator, snorkeling on the coral reef, tennis, and other daily activities. In fact, you can snorkel right off the beach. At the end of the day, savor delicious cuisine and libations at restaurants or sports bars.

Reports suggest that the hotel tries to upgrade all Marriott Bonvoy Gold and Platinum guests to their Royal Beach Club rooms, so if you can bear a lagoon view room or a deluxe sea view room, it is worth booking one of these and trying for an upgrade. Platinum members should get access to the Royal Beach Club even if there isn’t the capacity to upgrade the room itself.

The Royal Beach Club is the executive club lounge at this property and offers breakfast, day-long soft drinks and snacks, and a happy hour. You are given wristbands for club access. The lounge also has a pool with slightly nicer palapas and free happy hour in the early evening. The breakfast is decent, with cereal and plenty of cold cuts, cheeses, and bread. Happy hour includes two hot appetizers, usually a fried chicken on a stick or a skewer-type affair or chicken wings, as well as some desserts. You also get free alcoholic drinks in the lounge. Both food presentations are of decent quality and are filling, enough to fill you up for breakfast, and there are nice canapes in the evening, although perhaps not quite enough for a full meal.

Other tips at this hotel include avoiding the high-pressure timeshare presentation. It is also worth noting that this hotel is close to the airport, so you should be the first stop if you book a shared minibus airport service.

7. Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina

Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina is a nice, new hotel but with little Marriott Bonvoy, elite recognition, and this hotel are not on the beach. It is located in a marina with just a small pool.

This Mariott Bonvoy hotel is situated in an exclusive area in Zona Hotelera and offers waterfront accommodations with inspiring views of the city and shimmering bay, along with a small pool and fitness center. The beach is a short walk away.

Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina is in the Cancun entertainment zone near Marina Town Center Mall, Isla Mujeres, and popular shops, restaurants, and pubs downtown. It has two stylish restaurants, a cafe, and a bar but no executive club lounge.

8. Armar House, All-Inclusive

Armar House, All-Inclusive is one of the very few Marriott Bonvoy hotels that is All-Inclusive. They say: “Armar House is a new All-Inclusive Resort located in the ever-vibrant beaches of Cancun and close to some of the most alluring and exciting destinations in the area.

Hit the scene and experience Mayan culture by exploring nearby archaeological sites or cenotes – underground swimming holes – full of mystery and fascination. An alternate escape route is found by nighttime when epic parties come alive at lively clubs and bars. Indulge yourself in expertly-curated meals, therapeutic Spa treatments, and top workouts…”

The hotel is 4.7 km away from Museo Maya de Cancun. Restaurants, nightclubs, and golf courses are a stroll from the hotel. There are shops, bookstores, and chemists nearby.

Every day a hot breakfast is served in the dining room. Guests can savor tea and coffee in the beach bar. MB offers an assortment of dishes within 700 meters of the property. 20 minute’s drive will take guests to Cancun International airport. Facilities include a swimming pool and a tennis court, a gym, and a jogging track, although reviews are sparse on the quality of this resort and the food available.

9. Marriott Cancun Resort

Marriott Cancun Resort is a large U-shaped resort on the soft sands of the Atlantic. This Marriott Resort. The ocean is constantly there, and the hotel is also near La Isla Mall, Coco Bongo, and downtown Cancun.

Every room has floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony. Dine at any one of 11 on-site restaurants, although bear in mind that this Marriott does not have a club lounge, so there are no free drinks or meals for Platinum and Titanium elite loyalty members. For a moment of quiet, drop your children off at the kid’s club and enjoy fine dining. Afterward, head to the spa for a massage.

10. Four Points by Sheraton Cancun Centro

Four Points by Sheraton Cancun Centro is a Marriott Bonvoy hotel and one of the cheapest Marriotts in Cancun. It offers free Wi-Fi, soothing accommodations, and an on-site fitness center.

Retreat to modern rooms with plush bedding. Enjoy a delicious meal or luxuriate with room service, or enjoy tempting dishes at one of the restaurants. During downtime, feel renewed at the on-site spa and take a dip in the rooftop pool while sipping on cocktails.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.