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There are guest room refreshes, and then there are down-to-the-guts guest room renovations. How to tell the difference? Well, when budget numbers like $40 million get thrown around, you know you're in for something special.
Such is the case with the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, sitting astride this resort destination's perfect strand of beach. Towering over the impossibly blue waters of the Caribbean, the JW features 373 ocean-facing guest rooms and 74 suites-and they've all gotten the treatment. Room layouts were even altered to allow for bigger, more luxurious bathrooms, and the results are plenty impressive.
The room designs are sleek and modern but have earth tones that bring character, as well as pops of blue everywhere, reminding guests of the reason they've come here-the azure ocean waters that manage to perfectly compliment every view. A neutral tile that's slightly rough-hewn brings a calming sense to the bathrooms, which feature dual sinks, a large soaking tub and an incredible waterfall shower.
A side note here-a resort can have the best design, great service, stunning views and on and on-but if the shower's a dud, it's usually lost me. That's not the case here. The JW came through with a powerful and invigorating rainfall shower that made me late for dinner several times!
The shower and toilet partitions have glass doors that cleverly fade from a milky opaque to clear at the top, letting more light in. And hidden lighting throughout the bathroom and shower provide drama and a bit of magic. Get up in the middle of the night and a sensor even turns on gentle hidden lighting under the sink.
Light, sandy colored wood throughout the hallways and in the guest rooms feature lovely carvings inspired by quetzals (local birds), hummingbirds, fossils of snails found in nearby cenotes and other symbols found in the knitting of local indigenous garments. Inspiration for the overall design (led by Martha Gaos and Claudia Gonzalez of G+G Interiorismo) came from Mayan culture, with many local textiles and materials incorporated into the finished product.
Rooms feature large balconies with ample room to sit, read or gaze out at the ocean. Smart design here resulted in plenty of shelf space as well as drawer space, so whether you're someone who neatly stores everything away or tosses clothing wherever to dry, you'll be pleased with your options.
The resort's Club 91, the concierge lounge, has also received a total makeover, and an adjacent guest room was removed to add to the club's overall size.
Sitting high on the 14th floor, guests often comment on the illusion that they're sitting in a cruise ship, with the views out the window providing nothing but the endless ocean. Five meals are served a day here and the food quality is excellent and always fresh. Service is also outstanding, both here and throughout the entire resort.
Speaking of makeovers, guests will enjoy a variety of treatments at the Mayan-inspired spa, which includes a semi-Olympic indoor pool, two Jacuzzis and a state-of-the-art fitness facility. And the resort's expansive outdoor pool area is a sight to behold, with multiple cobalt blue pools including a free-form pool, a diving pool, an infinity pool, a children's pool and even an adults-only pool.
The beach area is quite impressive, with a plethora of chairs and cabanas; we never had to wander in search of a seat. Ask for one of the resort's fun brunch baskets, which they'll deliver directly to your cabana. They're full of a lot of fun surprises-champagne, orange juice, chips and guacamole, chocolate covered strawberries, charcuterie, sandwiches and more.
Paul J. Heney is a lifelong writer and avid world traveler. He's served as Editorial Director for several hospitality...
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