Updated: Jul 14
Last week (July 7-12, 2022), we spent five nights at the all-new Hilton Cancun All Inclusive Resort. This was our second trip to Cancun and we loved it just as much as the first. When we first visited Mexico in January 2020, we stayed at the Occidental Xcaret and I thought our experience there would be hard to beat. We had such a memorable time there. The Hilton is totally different than Occidental Xcaret. This new resort sits waaayyyy back off the main road. There were actually 17 speed bumps down a winding road to even get within sight of the resort. So if you're looking for quick access to the city or the ability to walk anywhere, this place is not for you.
(all photos taken by me)
We booked this trip as a package with Cheap Carribean. This was the fourth time I've booked a package through cheapcarribean.com and it's always a great price. Also, check out Booking.com, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, and TripAdvisor to compare rates. I enjoyed the location of the Hilton. It is only 5 miles from the airport. If you want to take a taxi anywhere, it's close to main attractions (after you actually get out of the resort) and therefore the taxi costs less. There aren't other resorts built around the Hilton yet so the outside noise is nonexistent. I found the location perfect for what we were looking for in this vacation - a quiet, stress-free, carefree, and also kid-free time to spend together. Just the two of us.
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As soon as you walk through the front doors of the hotel, this is your view. I know, right?! Just stunning. The lobby is modern with a ton of seating and several glass sliding doors to access the patio. Also in the lobby, front and center, is a lobby bar. The bartenders here were awesome and always accommodating. The staff at the hotel was exceptional and helped us with anything we needed during our stay.
There were multiple restaurants at the Hilton resort that are included in the all-inclusive plan. We didn't arrive at the resort on our first day until close to 5PM. Several of the restaurants require reservations and we were too late for that, so we went to the outdoor Maxal Taqueria and had some of the best authentic tacos that I've had in a while. This area is just a little walk-up window where you can order tacos or quesadillas and not much else, but you are close to the bar, the ocean, and have a beautiful view of one of the pools. The area is shaded with a few tables as well so overall, an excellent choice for a fast meal.
I made reservations through the Hilton web app (they give you the website when you check in) for the next few nights to make sure we could get into the restaurants we wanted to try. We tried Maxal first, Hilton's traditional Mexican cuisine restaurant. It's a beautiful restaurant with impeccable service but it turned out to not be one of our favorite meals during our stay. It was good but not great. Next, we tried La Luce, Hilton's Italian cuisine restaurant. I really did enjoy this restaurant. The food was great and the setting was very romantic; the lights were all low and there were floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of the ocean. Auma is the steakhouse. We were able to book an early reservation and get a table outside on their patio overlooking the ocean. The food here was also extremely good; one of the best beef tenderloins that I've ever had. The last dinner we tried that required a reservation was at Sunan, the Asian restaurant. This restaurant is open for lunch as well. It was by far my favorite. It is right on the beach, with no windows, just a wonderful breeze, and even better views. The food was amazing every time, the service was stellar, and of course - the drinks were delicious.
The other food options included a buffet breakfast every morning at Vela. For a buffet, I have to say it was one of the best hotel buffet breakfasts that I've ever had. I was impressed. My expectations for buffets are typically quite low. The pool bars serve lunch but those meals were nothing to write home about. There's a cute little churro shop right by the kid's pool that we shamelessly visited on multiple occasions. We ordered room service breakfast one time (which you have to order the night before if you want your breakfast early as we did). Also good. So to sum up - the food is pretty awesome!
Next up - the pools. There were two main pools. One side had a pool for the kids attached with a splash pad area and slides as well as a pool for adults. The other side only had a pool and hot tub for the adults. Both sides had a bar readily accessible that opened at 10 am. Both sides had some of the cleanest restrooms that I'd ever seen. The pools were unusually warm (not a true complaint of mine though). We couldn't tell if it was because the sun was so hot in July and the water was probably 3.5 feet at the deepest level, or if possibly the pool was heated, but it was definitely warm for pool water. There were plenty of umbrellas and lounge chairs. There were also a few poolside bed lounges but we found out they cost $250/day to rent (yikes!). So we chose the free ones and enjoyed our time floating in the pool all day. The only thing I will say about the pool is that maybe it could have been a little cleaner. There was almost always a sort of sheen on top of the water, I assume from all of the sunscreen. Again - not a real problem for me.
The Beach - oh how I'm conflicted about the beach at this resort. It was narrow and hardly anyone was ever on the beach, but there was a reason. Maybe it's a seasonal thing, I have no idea, but the seaweed was EVERYWHERE. It was so deep that a massive tractor came by scooping it up and it didn't look like it made a dent. It was piled up all along the beach and also floating in all of the shallow water. Not the best smell either. So if you're a person who must lounge in the sand while waves come up over your feet, I'd recommend looking elsewhere immediately.
The Rooms - we booked a queen ocean-front room and it was quite lovely. I loved the modern look. The shower was huge. The bed was comfortable. But the best part was the balcony. It was very large with two chairs and a double lounger where we stayed sipping our wine and enjoying the view late into the night.
Excursions - we didn't book excursions through the hotel. I chose to book a catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres through TripAdvisor and we had an awesome time! I booked this specific tour and I can't recommend it enough. It was a full 7-hour day filled with sailing, snorkeling, lunch on the island, an open bar, and tequila tasting on the island... you cannot go wrong with this excursion.
I absolutely do not understand any negative reviews about this tour. I couldn't come up with a complaint if I had to. The boat was newer and clean. The crew was fun and attentive, especially Alex. For the price of about $60 per person, you got 7 hours of sailing, snorkeling, and exploring, plus lunch, plus unlimited drinks which I thought was very fair. And you can't get pictures like this anywhere else! This tour was hands down our favorite part of our stay.
*A note about this tour - expect to pay for transportation to and from your hotel. We did that up front when we booked through TripAdvisor. Also, there is a $15/per person fee once you get to the dock before you board your boat. It was cash only.
My one and only complaint about this tour has nothing to do with the actual tour. It was an experience we had on Isla Mujeres. You're encouraged to go to a "free" tequila tasting - so we did. The tequila was amazing, like nothing I'd ever had before. We wanted to buy a few bottles, but we only travel with carry-ons. We refuse to check bags. So we asked four separate times if we could take the smaller bottles, probably around 20 oz size, in our carry-ons. We were told we could carry on two bottles each because it was made locally and had some QR code on them and it wouldn't be a problem. Well. It was a problem at the airport check-in and we had to forfeit three bottles of really good and very expensive tequila. We would have missed our flight if we went back to check a bag. I considered checking bags just to get the tequila back because it was that good.
If we had one more day to spend in Cancun, we really wanted to do a whale shark experience. I had this one in mind so I've bookmarked it for our next trip!
Overall, would I go back? Absolutely! We love Cancun and we loved our stay at the Hilton Cancun All Inclusive Resort. It was relaxing and memorable and everything we wanted out of our stay. Book it. You won't regret it!