by Candyce H. Stapen
The JW Marriott Cancun, with its marble, pillared lobby adorned with fresh flowers, exudes an elegant feel. Like the Ritz-Carlton Cancun, Marriott’s other, nearby flagship property, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa rates Five Diamonds from AAA. Although lacking the cachet of the Ritz (as well as its antiques), the JW Marriott offers luxury, but at rates typically 20 to 30 percent less than those of the Ritz-Carlton Cancun.
From the JW’s lobby, a large Palladian window offers views of the outdoor waterscape of free-form pools and the turquoise Caribbean just beyond. Like most of the resorts along Cancun’s hotel zone, the JW Marriott fronts an appealing swath of sand, too.
Another reason to choose the JW: its exceptional 35,000-square-foot spa that’s ranked amongst Mexico’s and the Caribbean’s best. With children happily engaged in activities, pamper yourself with Mayan-themed treatments or go for a soothing — and quiet — swim in the adults-only, indoor swimming pool.
Our Editor Loves
- Outdoor waterscape
- Children's program for ages 4-12
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
At 460 square feet, the guestrooms work well for families sharing with kids, especially since each room features a sleeper sofa, large enough for one teen or two small children. All rooms come with some sort of ocean view as well as with balconies big enough for chairs. With 54 king bedded rooms that connect to units with two double beds, the JW has enough inventory to almost guarantee that families wanting adjoining rooms will get them.
The rooms, with flat screen televisions, sound-proofed windows, robes and slippers for adults, duvets and down comforters, provide a welcoming retreat. Wi-Fi and Internet connections are available, but at an additional cost.
The spacious suites feature a separate living room area with a sleeper sofa and a king bed is in the bedroom area. A balcony and two flat-screen televisions can be found in the suites.
Cribs are available on a complimentary basis, but should be reserved when booking. Cots cost extra. In addition, the resort maintains a few strollers and car seats for use at no extra cost, but book these well in advance.
I came here for my bday and the service was great. The valet was always super nice and the front desk were very helpful when asked for information. I definitely will come back to visit here again and my highlight of my stay was enjoying the pool and chatting with the staff who were all so nice and also helpful with information including Johnathan who had excellent customer service and went out of his way to get me a gift for my bday. I highly recommend staying here as the staff/service/environment is really great. Even getting a taxi was super fast which I liked they really do go out of their way to make sure your stay is close to perfection if not perfect.
Comfortable modern luxury hotel. Amazing selection at buffet breakfast, wonderful margaritas at the bar and all round top notch efficient friendly service.
The spa is really really nice although a touch pricey. It rained one evening and they made sure we arrived dry at a local restaurant courtesy of a hotel golf cart! Wonderful!
I’ll be back!
The beach offers space for romping, building sandcastles and for strolling. Traditionally, along the hotel's beaches swimming can be difficult from December through February because the sea can be rough. March through June, locals say, remain the best months for swimming, as the sea is relatively calm.
The beach also translates to more lounge chairs on the sand, which is good since chaise lounges around the pool can be limited at times. During busy times, guests complain of having to rise early to claim a spot at the pool.
For scuba lessons with or without your kids, follow the gurgling stream to the JW's dive pool, the one with a playful artificial reef. Kids as young as eight years old can learn basics techniques at the resort's Bubblemaker courses. A Family Pool and an Adults-Only Pool are only steps from the beach as well.
Ages four to 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the children's program at the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun next door, can be accessed by a covered walkway. Despite the kids' club's windowless room, the program engages younger kids and grade-schoolers by making use of the resort's property. A grassy playground with swings and climbing equipment gives little ones some safe running space. Upon registering the first day, each child receives a colorful backpack, a Marriott T-shirt and a Nemo hat. Kids make and break pinatas; learn Spanish by playing Lotteria, a Spanish version of Bingo using cards; swim in the pool; craft bracelets, build sand castles and cook. There is a daily or hourly cost for the program.
Although only those 18 and older can book spa treatments or use the sunlit and soothing indoor pool, you can treat kids six to 17 to a Mayan Princess experience featuring manicures and pedicures and if you want, hair braiding. For guests age 18 and older, the spa's indoor pool surrounded by glass walls offers a sunlit and quiet refuge for swimming, especially on rainy days. Alas, children are not permitted.
We really like the Gourmet Deli & Gift Shop, not so much for its gifts as for its take-out. The deli sells reasonably priced coffee and pastries, as well as salads, sandwiches, ice cream and sorbet. Located off the lobby, the deli, open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., is a convenient and affordable option for families needing quick sandwiches to go, as well as for kids craving snacks.
Sedona Grill, the resort's main restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner under a high palapa-shaped roof. The air-conditioned dining room's large glass windows look out to the pool and the resort's waterscape for great views. At lunch and dinner, the menu offers grilled, fried and blackened seafood as well as seafood pasta, burgers and steak. Kids can select chicken fingers, hot dogs and quesadillas from the children's menu.
The poolside BeachWalk MarketPlace serves sandwiches and salads.
Gustino Italian Grill and La Capilla Argentina Steakhouse
Families with teens and 20-somethings into good food may like Gustino Italian Grill, the resort's signature restaurant and an AAA Four Diamond winner, as well as La Capilla Argentina Steakhouse.
Room service offers burgers, quesadillas, chicken fingers, as well as a breakfast menu of eggs, French toast or pancakes.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Babysitting can be arranged, but request this service in advance. The JW Marriott works hard to accommodate families requesting adjoining rooms. The resort maintains a few strollers and car seats for use at no extra cost, but book these well in advance.
The Art of Smart Timing
High season is from mid-December to mid-April. Low season is from mid-April to mid-December.
The Cancun International Airport is about 20 minutes away from the hotel.
Book transportation ahead of time whether by a private car or with the shuttle vans that stop at the strip's many hotels. If you haven't, then buy a transfer from the tourism-related vendors who jump out at you as you exit the airport terminal. Otherwise, you may fall prey to some greedy taxi owners.
For Mom and Dad
Be sure to indulge with a spa treatment. For families with "adult children," the spa is a must. At 35,000-square-feet, the spa is big enough to blur convincingly the line between amenity and destination facility. The treatments incorporate elements and rituals of ancient Maya culture. The Balache massage involves a brown sugar- and cinnamon-based exfoliant followed by a massage with a mixture of oils infused with Mayan herbs.