Executive Group Travel Blog

Cancun/Riviera Maya, Mexico Hotel Reviews (MICE Travel)

[fa icon="clock-o"] Jul 20, 2018 3:14:00 PM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack [fa icon="folder-open'] Incentive Travel, Travel Recommendations

The following rating is a personal preference and is in relation to a grade as a MICE property.  Meeting Space refers to indoor meeting space. Please note the below numbers are best estimates as hotels undergo renovations and their meeting space and sleeping room numbers can change.  

2087 Infinity Pool

• Hard Rock Cancun - Grade: B, 601 Sleeping Rooms, #16,400 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Event setup and standard décor is impressive
○ Very flexible staff and service oriented, will do anything they can to create the best possible experience
○ Hotel layout is perfect for socializing
○ One large main pool, 2 small VIP pools
○ Lobby bar is great area for group socializing, ability to turn steakhouse into nightclub
○ Live Entertainment each evening
○ Outdoor Taco bar is the best food on property
○ Food overall needs improvement
○ Nice party hotel but step down in terms of a luxury experience

• Fiesta Americana Condesa - Grade: B-, 507 Sleeping Rooms, #18,281 Sq Ft Mtg Space
○ Major renovation taking 2+ years to complete
§ Lobby is in the midst of complete renovation
§ Unfortunately, during the renovation time the hotel is moving in the wrong direction and taking a step backwards
○ Staff is top-notch in terms of service
○ Cantina needs to replaced, musty smell and basement feel
○ Food is average at best, specialty restaurants have limited seating  
○ Good job with the rooms renovation, currently best part of the hotel  
§ Presidential Suite is one of the best in the area.

• Live Aqua Beach Resort - Grade: A-, 371 Sleeping Rooms, #18,052 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Great property for incentive travel
○ Rooms all have balconies and great ocean views
○ Asian Fusion Restaurant is a great setup
○ Clean Feel, good Smell, luxury spa experience
○ Food is above average for an all-inclusive
○ Pool is one of the best in all of Cancun
§ Many different pools make up one large infinity pool
§ Second, smaller pool is isolated and includes swim up bar, keeps main pool a place for relaxation
○ Service is top-notch throughout the property
○ Beautiful white sand beach with comfortable loungers

Live Aqua Pool


• Hyatt Ziva Cancun:  A-, 547 Sleeping Rooms, #10,751 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Everything you need is right on property, including swimming with the dolphins
○ Beautiful beach, multiple pools
○ Lobby renovation updated design and décor
○ Impressive lunch buffet and multiple a la carte lunch options
○ Large, expansive resort with endless amenities for guests of every age
○ Ideal for large incentive trip with families invited
○ Only drawback is the size, multiple towers and pool areas make it difficult for guests to naturally interact
○ Overall a pleasant surprise for a Cancun family resort in the center of the action

Hyatt Ziva Cancun

• Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort - Grade: B+, 502 Sleeping Rooms, #8,000 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space
○ Newer property that was impressive in terms of hotel layout
○ Swim with Dolphins right on site, located in ocean versus pool
○ Live Music by the Adults Only pool
○ Infinity Pool area
○ Access to Secrets property for nightclub and additional restaurants
○ Beautiful spa with additional pools
○ Lobby bar could be improved in terms of décor and setup
○ Rooms were on the dark side
○ Location: similar distance to Riviera Maya from Cancun airport
○ Not much in the area but really no need to leave the hotel

Dreams Playa Mujeres

• Secrets The Vine Cancun Resort - Grade A-, 497 Sleeping Rooms, #12,724 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Newer property, rooms are well designed with contemporary décor
○ Weird layout since it’s long front to back (street to beach) versus width along the beach
○ Impressive sports bar/pub on property
○ Entertainment each evening in Piano Bar
○ Ocean Views from the gym
○ Has separate areas based on room category booked (negative for incentive travel)
○ Two pools, again weird layout given the shape of the hotel
○ Food is good with plenty of options throughout the property

Secrets The Vine

• Royal Hideaway Playacar- Grade B, 201 Sleeping Rooms, #1,700 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Interesting, smaller boutique all-inclusive experience, no true meeting space unless theatre is repurposed or alternate restaurant space is used

○ Room product was slightly disappointing
○ Pools located throughout property provided an opportunity for guest relaxation
○ Spa was average for a marketed five-star property
○ Décor and design was closer in line to Ritz/Fairmont versus a contemporary feel
○ Restaurants were sophisticated and elegant
○ Beach in front was beautiful
○ Overall, could be a good fit for a small group looking for quiet elegance

• Grand Velas - Grade: A, 439 Sleeping Rooms, #30,000 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ The highest quality all-inclusive hotel in this region of Mexico
○ Meeting space is one the best in the area given its flexibility and recent renovation

○ Food is top-notch and a step above any competitors
○ Service is a five-star experience
○ Only drawback is the hotel layout
§ Weird layout with three separate hotels throughout the property
§ Ability to have both a beach & jungle experience in one hotel
§ Transportation provided by van shuttles throughout the property.

Grand Velas Forest

• Unico 2087 - Grade: A, 448 Sleeping Rooms, #16,000 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Rooms décor/design is one of the best in the area
○ Three gorgeous pool areas
○ Local Host to provide personalized experience
○ Asian Fusion restaurant is top-notch
○ Mexican restaurant was disappointing
○ Breakfast and Lunch buffet is impressive
○ Service continues to improve
○ Limited Inclusion program could be a huge perk but is disappointing given the service of the program
○ Great outdoor space (Palmera Lounge) connected to the bar open until 2am, four nights per week. DJ, live music, and plenty of evening entertainment.

Unico 2087 Sunrise

• Hard Rock Riviera Maya - Grade: B, 1264 Sleeping Rooms, #71,560 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Extremely large property that consists of two hotels, family and adults-only
○ Sacrifice luxury for endless activities and amenities
○ Impressive nightclub with pool in the middle of the club, indoor/outdoor space
○ Small man-made beach but plenty of pools throughout the property
○ Very little space for quiet relaxation
○ For a party group this could be a great fit, just make sure the group understands it is not for an early-to-bed crowd
○ Competes directly with The Grande at Moon Palace, Grand Velas is two steps ahead.

Hard Rock Riviera Maya

• The Fives Azul Beach Resort Playa Del Carmen by Karisma - Grade: B-, 524 Sleeping Rooms, #2,389 Sq Ft Meeting Space

○ Great restaurants, many upsell opportunities to guests for preferred tables etc.
○ Very busy main pool but good swim-up rooms and essence pool
○ Decent Spa
○ Service was lacking from sales team and staff
○ Good for large families given suites setup, very family focused
○ Very busy, bordering chaotic
○ Marketed as 5-star but this resort 4-star at best
○ Not recommend for incentive travel

• Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun - Grade: A-, 412 Sleeping Rooms, #12,949 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Impressive Spa
○ Great pool and hotel layout, swim-up pools are impressive
○ Nicely decorated rooms, some rooms include hot tubs on balconies

○ Good beach (when seaweed is gone)

○ Located only 35 minutes from Cancun airport

○ Golf is included but rentals and cart are additional

Secrets Maroma

•  Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya - Grade: A-, 434 Sleeping Rooms, #11,000 Sq Ft Mtg Space

○ One of the nicest beaches in the area, calm water, very little seaweed
○ Plenty of options for restaurants and bars  

○ Large pool near the beach and additional pools further back on property
○ Jungle feel of the resort brings out more mosquitoes than some of the other Riviera Maya properties

○ Upgraded rooms aren’t worth it since just a few small additional amenities were added, most of the room is the same

Secrets Akumal


• Generations Brand (multiple hotels) - Grade: B-
○ Good for large families
○ Disappointing for incentive trips
○ Beaches in Riviera Maya region overrun by seaweed (seasonal)

• The Grand at Moon Palace - Grade: B, 1316 Sleeping Rooms, #56,500 Sq Ft Meeting Space
The Grand is the luxury option for this location. For those looking for over 2,000 rooms you can combine three properties and also use the arena with over 80,000 square feet. Transfers will be slightly delayed but if guests are patient it's a great option!

○ Extremely large property with large amounts of meeting space, 3 properties in one
○ Rooms in the grand are well decorated
○ Breakfast and Dinners were impressive, but lunches were very disappointing
○ Drinks were mediocre throughout the entire property

○ Great family property, water park currently closed due to issues with the structure

○ Multiple pool options including two adults-only pools, one with Unique Day Club

○ Impressive parties at pool club including live music, DJ, and dancers

○ If you need LOTS of space in terms of meeting rooms and sleeping rooms then this might be your only option in this region of Cancun

Moon Palace

Beach Palace - Grade: B, 287 Sleeping Rooms, #9268 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space
○ Family Property
○ Great event space on rooftop terrace which includes a pool, Sky Terrace
○ Located near the action of downtown Cancun
○ Rooms reflect a 3-star resort
○ Meeting space is colorful in décor but dark with no natural light
○ Limited food and beverage options on-site when compared to larger all-inclusives

Sun Palace - Grade: C, 170 Sleeping Rooms, #3,318 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space
○ Small Boutique

○ Adults Only

○ Mostly king beds
○ Very limited meeting space for group trips
○ Nice spa for the size of the property
○ Interesting layout for the pool area
○ Limited food and beverage options on-site when comparing to a larger all-inclusive
○ Not a great fit for incentive travel unless it's all couples and limited group outings

• Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun - Grade: A-, 260 Sleeping Rooms, #6,200 Sq Ft Mtg Space
○ Luxury adults option near downtown Cancun
○ 3 options for different pool areas
○ High-end food and beverage outlets, step above the typical all-inclusive experience
○ One of the top spas in the region
○ Price competes with Grand Velas but product does not compare, as Grand Velas is a step above
○ The biggest challenge for this property is value for the price, great incentive option if you can find some fair pricing

• Playacar Palace (Playa Del Carmen) - Grade: B, 201 Sleeping Rooms, #3,181 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Boutique hotel feel
○ Located very close to the ferry dock
○ Targets the European clientele versus the American tourist
○ Not a great fit for U.S. incentive travel

  • Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa - Grade: B , 486 Sleeping Rooms, #12,796 Sq Ft Meeting Space
  • Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa - Grade: B, 432 Sleeping Rooms, #8,000 Sq Ft Mtg Space



Hotel Options that are NOT Traditional All-inclusive Properties

• Nizuc - Grade: A, 274 Sleeping Rooms, #7,500 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space
○ Right now one of my top 3 properties in the entire region
○ Décor and design is truly impressive from the moment you enter the lobby
○ Adults-only pool and lounge area is the perfect escape
○ Main infinity pool is extremely large and provides exceptional views and service from the swim-up bar
○ Property has many hidden gems throughout that provide guests with a sense of privacy and an opportunity for relaxation
○ Beach is spread-out so that guests have their own space
○ Rooms have darker décor but a contemporary vibe that targets travelers age 25-45
○ Spa is the perfect sanctuary for pure relaxation
○ Property is on the larger side

○ Golf carts to ease transportation
○ Food is impressive, less quantity but more quality
○ Located only 10 minutes from the Cancun airport
○ Overall an A graded property with very little need for improvement

Nizuc Pool

• Fiesta Americana Coral Beach - Grade: B-, 602 Sleeping Rooms, #30,500 Sq Ft Mtg Space
○ If you’re in need of meeting space or are looking for a conference option then this could be a great fit
§ Conference Center right on property
○ One of the more impressive spas in the region
○ Exceptional focus on event details
○ Very large guest rooms
○ Food is very impressive, albeit expensive
○ Not ideal for an incentive trip but could be a great option for a meeting or conference

Fiesta Americana

• The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun - Grade: B, 363 Sleeping Rooms, #20,000 Sq Ft Meeting Space
○ Service is five-star and grade A
○ Beautiful white sand beach with exceptional beach service (food & beverage)
○ Two ocean-facing pools with hot tubs
○ Impressive but small spa area
○ Plenty of meeting space for mid-sized groups
○ Room design is the same as many Ritz-Carlton's worldwide and similar to the Fairmont brand, slightly outdated
○ Property is aged in terms of design
○ Not ideal for an incentive trip for a growing technology company. (Trip would be more successful if hosted at Nizuc or Unico 2087.)

Ritz Cancun
***All Mayakoba properties have access to the El Camaleon Golf Club and Mayakoba Tennis Centre. All properties offer complimentary bicycles to make the journey from  the beach to rainforest area on your own time. All restaurants within Mayakoba region have chargeback option to your room bill.

• Fairmont Mayakoba - Grade: A-, 401 Sleeping Rooms,  #22,000 Sq Ft Mtg Space
○ Beautiful property with plenty of space
○ Five-star service throughout
○ Restored beach area is one of the best in the region
○ Great outdoor event space throughout the property
○ Exceptional food and beverage options especially at recently renovated Punta Bonita Restaurant
○ Willow Stream Spa - 20,000 Square Feet of a truly relaxing experience
○ Tons of wildlife in the protected mangroves surrounding the property (monkeys, birds and even alligators)
○ Hotel offers boat tours to other Mayakoba hotels for dinner options and also to tour the waterways of the rainforest
○ Biggest drawback is layout of the property and all properties in the Mayakoba region
§ Property is essentially split into two areas, beach and rainforest
□ Majority of rooms are located in Jungle area
§ Need golf cart to get around property
§ The wait for the golf cart can get long at busy times which is frustrating while on vacation
§ Hard for incentive attendees to naturally meet up without communicating

Fairmont Mayakoba

Rosewood Mayakoba - Grade: A, 129 Sleeping Rooms, #2100 Sq Ft Indoor Mtg Space
○ Step above the rest in terms of service in this region of Mexico; this is especially impressive given that the service at the rest of the properties is already exceptional
○ Spa is the best in the Mayakoba region which is a great complement, given the rest of the spas are top-notch
○ Beautiful white sand beach with recent Mayakoba $15 million restoration project
○ Smaller pool beach-side, larger pool area rainforest-side
○ Exceptional food and beverage options located on property
§ Access to rest of Mayakoba region through mangrove boat shuttle
○ Biggest drawback is layout of the property and all properties in the Mayakoba region
§ Property is essentially split into two areas, beach and rainforest
§ Golf cart service at this property is attentive and very little wait time
○ For a high budget, small group incentive trip, this property is recommended!

Rosewood Mayakoba

• Andaz Mayakoba - Grade: B+, 214 Sleeping Rooms, #8,600 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space
○ The newest player in the Mayakoba region
○ Unique and creative food & beverage offerings that provide an experience
§ Casa Amate one of the more memorable meals in Mexico
§ Good mix of casual dining and sophisticated elegance
○ Spa is everything you need but does not surpass Fairmont or Rosewood
○ Rooms are on the smaller side but includes an expansive bathroom
○ Again the biggest drawback is layout of the property and all properties in the Mayakoba region
§ Property is essentially split into two areas, beach and rainforest
§ Given this is a new property it does not seem as busy, golf cart service is efficient
§ Lagoon pool area has plenty of space for group get-together
○ Overall another great option for your next incentive trip or company meeting

○Don't be afraid to stretch your sales rep for some generous pricing for this new property

Andaz Mayakoba


Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any entity mentioned herein. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.  

As is standard practice, our group of talented and experienced travel agents will often accept hosted stay invitations and hosted dinners and activities within destination in order to facilitate more detailed reviews.  

All images by the author.