Planning a vacation to Cancun, Mexico and wondering if you should go the all-inclusive route? Maybe you are traveling with family and would prefer an ocean resort that offers all the comforts of home but in an exotic destination? Cancun, Mexico offers white sand beaches with dazzling blue waters and plenty of hotel options. The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun provides a resort experience without the all-inclusive price tag. Only 20 minutes from Cancun International Airport, Westin Lagunamar is the perfect vacation destination for the beach-goer, spa seeker or for those hoping to discover a little Mayan culture.
Built in 2008, the 580 room Westin Lagunamar offers studio, one and two bedroom villas, overlooking the Mexican Caribbean Sea. All rooms are smoke free and offer wireless internet access, but what I liked about this property was the home-away-from-home features such as the full-size refrigerator, cooktop, microwave oven, coffee maker, as well as a washer and dryer in each villa. These features come in handy when you are traveling with kids or you simply want to eat meals on the patio, dinette or balcony and take in the ocean views. That’s not to say that you can’t splurge on your Mexican vacation and enjoy the restaurants on property.
If you are interested in the local Mayan culture, you may want to sign up for the Mayan Night dinner at Oceano Bar & Grill. Taking place on Saturday night during my visit, Mayan Night offered dinner shows at 6:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. featuring regional cuisine with 30 minute musical performances. I only dropped in to take pictures of the show for this article, so I can’t comment on the quality of the food. Other dining options included a once weekly Mexican Party, complete with local favorite foods, live music, Mariachi and pinatas, there was also Steak Night with grilled meats, chicken, fish and a salad bar, dessert and live music.
Oceano Restaurant offers a daily breakfast buffet from 7 – 11 a.m., in addition to serving dinner from 6 – 11 p.m. Duna Sports Bar, next to Duna swimming pool and pool bar, is open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Another option is Tierra Mercado, offering groceries, fresh fruit & vegetables, in addition to sandwiches, salads and wraps. There’s also a Starbucks on property, but step out of your comfort zone and try a local cup of Mexican hot chocolate – the Mayan chocolate really is good.
I’ve stayed at several Westin hotels in Mexico, including the newest Westin Los Cabos, and I always take advantage of the outdoor activities, like the swimming pool and fitness classes. The Westin gear lending program is a favorite because it means that I don’t have to pack tennis shoes or workout clothes in my carry on luggage. I can e-mail ahead of time, or notify concierge after check-in that I’d like to borrow shoes from their gear lending program and Reebok shoes, shirts and shorts appear in my room (for a minimal additional fee.)
If you enjoy yoga classes outside, this was a great way to start the morning. Of course, a walk on the beach is always a good idea, or there’s always a lounge chair available by one of three pools. My personal preference is to spend time at the infinity pool, but then again, swinging in the hammocks by Duna pool is not a bad way to pass the time.
I specifically flew to Cancun because I wanted to have an opportunity to swim with whale sharks and I wanted to participate in a turtle release program. I had met the manager of The Westin Lagunamar during the opening of the Westin Los Cabos several months earlier and he told me that his hotel offered these options, and more. Not only was I able to watch baby green sea turtles being released into the ocean, I was able to feed a wild black iguana and visit an authentic Mayan ruin right on the hotel property. Now that’s my kind of vacation!
While the kids play mini golf or visit the Kids Club, enjoy a little “me time” at The Heavenly Spa. You may opt for massage treatments in the cabana on the beach, or soak in the hot tub or sauna before your treatment. Try the Gaje massage; it’s unique to Westin Lagunamar and offers something special, incorporating the fruit from the Gaje tree into the long Lomi Lomi strokes.
Westin Lagunamar participates in the Make a Green Choice program. Guests may opt to save water, and help the environment, when they consciously select to opt-in to the Green Choice Program. Simply hang the tag on the outside of your hotel room and housekeeping will know to pass on cleaning your room that day. You’ll receive a voucher good for $5 to spend on a little treat like ice cream, or use the voucher toward one of your meals at Oceano or Duna Sports Bar. Side note: I asked for my ice cream ” to go” thinking it would be a scoop of ice cream in a paper cup. Unfortunately, the ice cream was served in a huge plastic container with the ice cream looking quite silly inside. My two cents: it would be wonderful if the hotel invested in cardboard food containers instead of plastic.
Studio room rates range from $229 USD to $600 USD per night, plus tax, with one villa rooms ranging from $350 USD to $708 USD per night, plus tax. Check the website for special offers and seasonal discounts or see if rates are lower on Expedia.
Review and photos by Nancy D. Brown. Her stay was hosted by Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.