We have covered all-inclusive resorts extensively and they’re usually the first choice among American travelers headed to Cancun. While the thought of unlimited food and boozy drinks may be appealing, the skyrocketing price of the luxury all-inclusive experience has many travelers reconsidering their options. I wanted to experience the other side of Cancun in a non all-inclusive property and I was shocked at what I found out.
When choosing hotels, I noticed guests may have a lot more room in their budget to stay at a swanky property when not looking at all-inclusive options. I ended up staying the luxurious JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa in the pristine Hotel Zone of Cancun.
It’s one of the top non all-inclusive hotels in Cancun and located in the best area to stay. When you think of the perfect aqua blue waters and white sand beaches you see in photos, this is where they were taken.
This is where things get interesting. The JW Marriott Cancun Resort is a five star hotel that has received the coveted AAA 5 Diamond award meaning it boasts world-class luxury, amenities and indulgence for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For comparison sakes, there is only one all-inclusive resort in Cancun that has received the same accolades, the Le Blanc Spa Resort. Both resorts are oceanfront in the most popular area of the hotel zone. They share the same beach and same ocean views. The rates below were pulled for a one week stay during spring 2022.
JW Marriott Cancun Resort:
Double occupancy starting At $315 per night for a sea view room and balcony (not all-inclusive)
Le Blanc Spa Resort:
Double occupancy starting at $1144 per night for a sea view room and balcony (all-inclusive)
The Le Blanc Spa Resort is regarded as one of the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in Cancun while the JW Marriott Cancun Resort is regarded as one of the most luxurious non all-inclusive resorts in the area.
The difference per night between the two resorts for a similar room is a staggering $829 per night. For the extra price, Le Blanc includes butler service, fine dining and all drinks. At the end of the day though, to spend that much money on food and drink in a day for two people, is virtually impossible.
Many travelers have shared with us they don’t like the thought of what the bill will cost for lunch, dinner and pool drinks while on vacation. That is one of the luxuries of an all-inclusive but you pay a lot for that peace of mind.
For example, a couple at the JW Marriott will spend around $50 for breakfast, $75 for lunch and even upwards of $150 for dinner. Add in $100 for drinks (14 drinks at an average $7.00), your food and beverage bill comes out to $375 per day. This is an example of a couple not holding back of course.
Total daily bill at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort: $690
Total daily bill at Le Blanc Spa Resort: $1144
Total daily savings staying at the non all-inclusive JW Marriott Cancun Resort: $454
That is a huge difference and for those that don’t drink a lot of alcohol or require butler service, it’s a no brainer.
The JW Marriott Cancun Resort Experience
So now that we’ve looked at the price difference, lets look at the experience the JW Marriott Cancun Resort offers.
I had a great check in experience that was easy and relaxing. The door to my airport transfer was opened and luggage was handled by the porters before I had even stepped out of the vehicle. Check in was fast, efficient and I was up to my room in less than 10 minutes with my luggage delivered. After the recent long waits at the Cancun airport, a speedy check in is on the top of most travelers priorities and I do say, the JW nailed it. One thing I did notice was there was no cool towel or cold drink offered upon arrival.
While the resort was almost full, I never noticed a line up at the reception counters. There is also a second reception area for large group arrivals so that guests are not impacted. It appears the check in process is focused on getting guests checked in as soon as possible to start enjoy their vacations.
Luxurious, modern, spacious and cozy are the best words I have to describe the rooms at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort. The resort found a way to make the rooms beautiful but also super comfortable. The attention to detail is what I appreciate most. From nice drinking glass to an espresso coffee maker, the room had it all. The usual robes and slippers were comfortable but it’s the little things I noticed that made my stay awesome. Little touches such as a wine and bottle opener, ice bucket liner, ample plug ins and a light that turns on to help you find your way in the middle of the night to use the washroom.
The only thing I found missing from the balcony was a towel rack outside to hang my wet bathing suit to dry. I had to hang my swim shorts over my chair which wasn’t a big deal but lacked that ‘luxurious touch’.
All I can say is wow! Lets start with the high speed internet that was consistent and reliable for my entire stay. It worked everywhere in the resort including when I was lounging poolside. While it wasn’t as fast as a business hotel, the sustained 9 Mbps downloading was above average for a large resort. The smart TV was the easiest I have used in all my travels. One button log in to Netflix from your phone along with instant log out when you check out. The new room service app is a dream and worked flawlessly. The resort is ahead of the curve in technology.
Dining and Room Service
Guests at the JW Marriott Cancun Resorts and Spa have a plethora of dining and bar options to choose from. There are 10 restaurant and bars to choose from including Italian, Thai, Asian, Polynesian, Japanese and of course good ol’ American. From casual to fine dining, the resort is known for having some of the best restaurants in the city. Hana Polynesian Grill officially just opened at the start of 2022 and is the first Polynesian restaurant in Cancun.
There is also a large deli and convenience/gift shop with reasonable prices that you can get a selection of fresh sandwiches and salads or anything you might be craving such as a sugar free Redbull. Need some basic pharmacy items or forget something at home? They have that too.
Resort Tip: The mini-bar is a little pricey but you can stock up on drinks and snacks in the gift shop!
As I had mentioned earlier, ordering room service was the easiest experience I have had yet at a hotel. Just use the handy app they have created to order your food/drinks. Tap what you want, review your order and room service was at my door in under 30 minutes (even though I was quoted 45 minutes on the app). The food was hot and high quality. I noticed that food at the restaurants and for room service was a higher quality than at an all-inclusive. I believe it’s that extra accountability knowing that the guest is paying for each item and knows fully what the value of the order is.
The Pool And Beach
The pool and beach area at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort is gorgeous and luxurious. There is an adults only pool and also a larger infinity pool that snakes itself throughout the resort grounds. The poolside lounge chairs have big soft cushions that make it easy to lay out and relax all day. Once again service is prompt and fast as the expectation is higher when you are paying for each individual drink and meal.
The white sand beach and aqua blue waters are some of the most beautiful in the world and the main reason guest love this area of Cancun. During the winter months, it is important to mention that the waves here can be rough and would be harder for kids to swim. Pay attention and avoid swimming in any areas with red flags on the beach in front.
The property features a huge Mayan themed spa and state of the art gym including a spin room offering classes. I was treated to a relaxing massage and appreciated their high quality massage tables, linens and the therapist was well trained. The aromatherapy during the massage was excellent and facilities of the spa were spotless.
Check out was effortless and friendly. Once I confirmed my bill and my van arrived, the porters quickly loaded my luggage into the vehicle for me. Overall I would rate this resort a 9.5 out of 10 and it’s definitely one my favorite resorts to stay in Cancun!
All Inclusive Vs. Non All Inclusive
It really comes down to the type of traveler you are and where you can get the most value. Before booking that all-inclusive vacation, have a look at menu prices at a non all-inclusive. You could end up saving yourself hundreds of dollars a day or the budget to upgrade to a more luxurious resort.
Check Prices At The: JW Marriott Cancun Resort
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Tuesday 8th of March 2022
I wish I could enjoy all-inclusives but they are so inauthentic and lack charm and culture most of the time. Why travel to a foreign a country and then not be immersed in culture and instead confined to Western customs?
Wednesday 9th of March 2022
@Dee, so true.. All these luxury places are traps that force you to be surrounded by tourists mostly from where you came from originally. Different mindset. Hotel zine overall disconnects from locals fully.