As someone who lives in Mexico and has stayed in close to 100 hotels and resorts in the country, I’ve got a pretty good feel for what to expect. I’m often more surprised to the upside than the downside, and this is especially true when it comes to the food. Some of the best cuisine I’ve experienced in Mexico has been in hotels and surprisingly, some of the most memorable meals have been at all-inclusive beach resorts.
Sure, the “feed the masses” buffets can be rather uninspiring at times at the very cheapest Mexican all-inclusive vacation factories in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, but as soon as you start moving up the price scale, there’s a dramatic improvement. At the high end, luxury Mexican resorts attract some of the top chefs in the country.
This trend is not restricted to any certain area either. I’ve had terrific meals in Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Zihuatanejo, but I’ve also had memorable dining experiences in Mexico’s most popular resort area on the Caribbean coast too. All of the other food shots on this page are from all-inclusive Cancun resort Finest Playa Mujeres and the Excellence “resort within a resort” that’s for adults only.
When you put the two together, there are 11 all-inclusive restaurants where you can eat whatever you want, a beach snack bar, and a food truck. If you want to chow down or you’ve got some kids along, it probably makes sense to hit the sprawling breakfast buffet. There you’ll find an array of fruit, pastries, bread, yogurt, nuts, cereal, and cheeses on the cold tables.
But then head to the hot areas and you’ll have dozens of Mexican items waiting, like chilaquiles and tamales, and international staples like bacon, sausages, potatoes, and scrambled eggs. Naturally there’s an omelette station, but they’ll also whip up Mexican-style egg dishes like huevos rancheros or huevos divorciados if you’d like. You can spice things up with a variety of house-made salsas. There will be someone carving something delicious if you’re a carnivore and you can pick up a smoothie or fresh-squeezed juice.
These buffets are what people often think of when they picture an all-inclusive resort, but that’s usually just one option among many when you stay at one of the higher-end places. At Finest Playa Mujeres, most of the restaurants are sit-down ones with a waiter and they can get quite fancy. There’s a lobster & seafood restaurant facing the sea, an Italian restaurant, a steakhouse, and a French fine dining option. The Tinto and Tapas restaurant is a great option for small bites with wine pairings and the Japanese spot Shoji serves teppanyaki and sushi.
At this Finest Resort it works like most of them do: the fanciest spots that are ideal for couples require reservations, while the more casual spots you can just roll up and take a seat. Many guests prefer to make reservations for dinner, then just be spontaneous during the day.
If you are enjoying your suite and don’t feel like leaving it to go face the other guests in the morning, you can just order room service on the all-inclusive plan instead. I almost never order room service at a regular hotel because I get annoyed by the extra charges and service fees that can add 50% to your meal when you also hand over a tip. You don’t have to worry about that at a Mexican all-inclusive resort though. Order whatever, whenever, and it’s part of your plan.
There are also 16 bars open at various times of day at this resort, so you’re never very far from a drink either. In most cities you might have to go quite a distance between places that are a piano bar, a pool bar, a sports bar, and a cigar bar, but at Finest Resort they’re within walking distance of each other. If you upgrade to the Excellence Club, there’s a separate bar there just for those guests, in a more private setting.
So the difficulty of staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico is not finding great meals, interesting cocktails, or scrumptious desserts. The real challenge is finding a way to work off more than a small fraction of those calories. At this one they’ve got you covered on that aspect too if you can summon up the willpower: tennis courts, an extensive fitness center, and a wellness room that hosts classes are on site. Nearby is an 18-hole golf course and there are non-motorized water sports as well.
See other Hotel Scoop reviews of Mexican hotels and resorts here.