Hyatt Zilara Cancun Review
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This resort makes it easy to relax with ocean views from every room, multiple pools and hot tubs with stunning ocean views, a wide variety of fresh food and good drinks.
Pros- Stylish Airport Transportation, Good Elite Recognition, Great Ocean Front Location, Ocean Views and Hot Tubs in every room, Champagne Welcome Amenity, In-Room Tablet, Wide Variety of Dining Options, Amazing Seafood, Good Alcoholic Drinks, Multiple Pools and Hot Tubs, Swim-Up Bar, Complimentary Room Service, Friendly Service, Hard-Working Staff
Cons- Poor Concierge Service, Chaotic Airport Pickup, No Complimentary Water Sports, Awkward Check-Out Process
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Hyatt Zilara Cancun Review
The Hyatt Zilara Cancun, which opened in 2013, is located in the Hotel Zone about a 20 minute drive from the Cancun International Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Cancun. Zilara is Hyatt's adult-only all-inclusive brand which in 2020 has 3 locations: 1) Cancun Mexico, 2) Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 3) Cap Cana, Dominican Republic all of which are owned and Managed by Playa Hotels and Resorts. I found the location to be good because it was directly on the beach but still close to the nightlife in downtown Cancun.
About one week before our arrival we reached out to the resort to schedule airport transportation to our hotel. We were quoted a cost of $90 one way or $150 roundtrip. Because we had a group of 5 guys this came out to a reasonable cost of $30 per person which we decided was a good deal.
Upon exiting the arrivals area about Cancun International Airport (CUN) we were greeted by a chaotic scene. Surrounding us were at least a hundred different people aggressively trying to sell airport transportation services or pickup people with prearranged transportation. As we waded through this crowd of people and looked at all of the signs we did not see a sign with my name or the Hyatt Zilara sign. After about another 15 minutes we spotted the driver who apologized that he wasn't waiting for us upon arrival but explained that there were no parking spots available. We waited for about another 20 minutes until the final member of our group arrived and then we headed towards the hotel.
Our transportation to the hotel was a luxurious black Lincoln Navigator with space for six passengers and a driver. When we entered the SUV our driver offered us a cold towel and cold water. We really appreciated this after standing in the hot sun for almost an hour. The luxurious ride was a nice start to our Hyatt Zilara experience, after a poor airport pickup experience at CUN. CUN really needs to improve the airport pickup experience and I would strongly recommend any larger groups staying at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun to arraign transportation ahead of time to avoid the chaos of the airport pickup.
Upon arriving at the resort all our suitcases were taken and would be delivered to our rooms later.
As we entered the resort we were very impressed by the decor, which reminded me of a hacienda with an interior courtyard stain glass ceiling, and the atmosphere of the resort felt very cool. We headed to the standard check-in area and after recognizing that I was a Hyatt Discoverist, the lowest level tier of World of Hyatt elite status, we were ushered to a private check-in area for World of Hyatt elites.
All of the members of our group were shown to seats in this area and were offered champagne. I was again greeted as a Hyatt Discoverist and was told that I had been upgraded from an Junior Suite to an Junior Ocean View Suite. The other two Junior Suite Double Rooms we booked were also on upper floors with better ocean views. This was the first time I had stayed at a Hyatt as an elite and I was impressed by the Hyatt elite recognition. Overall, I was very impressed by the elite recognition and I felt we were treated like kings.
Junior Ocean View Suite
Upon entering the suite I was again impressed that I was greeted with a welcome amenity of Champagne and macrons which I assumed was due to my Hyatt elite status. The champagne was good and the macrons were delicious. The continued elite recognition left me really impressed by Hyatt.
My Junior Ocean View Suite was a 653 square foot room with a king bed at the center facing the ocean. The bed was comfortable and had an impressive headboard with a mirror in the center.
Near the sliding glass door was a table with two chairs, where my welcome amenity sat, and a flat screen television.
On both sides of the bed were side tables and on the right side was a desk with a wooden chair. At the foot of the bed was an ottoman which I really liked using to change my shoes.
A really impressive feature of the resort was the tablet next to my bed which reminded me of the Aria. This tablet contained the schedule of the all of the resort's activities, information on all of the restaurants, and most impressive was the ability to order room service from the tablet. I really appreciate it when hotels embrace technology to improve the guest experience and I can say that Hyatt Zilara Cancun did just that.
The room also had a dresser near the entrance which contained a mini-fridge and had a Nespresso machine on top. The mini-fridge came stocked with juice, beer, soda, and water. While I could order whatever I wanted at the restaurants or via room service I still appreciated having some beverages in the room in case I got thirsty.
One very impressive feature of this resort is that all of the rooms contain an in-room hot tub. While I didn't get to use it one of my traveling companions who did use the hot tub said it was really nice.
The bathroom was split into two with one half having a sink, shelving, and a closet that contained a safe. Inside the closet was an iron, ironing board, and two robes.
The second half had a room with a walk-in shower, toilet, and phone. A cool feature of the shower was a window which allowed the person showering to have an ocean view. I really appreciated these great design touches.
Another impressive feature of the room was something the resort called the "magic box". It was located next to the entrance of the room and allows room service delivery and return with complete privacy. When room service was delivered a light turned on and you could retrieve the room service from the magic box. When we were done you simply returned the empty dishes to the magic box.
I was really impressed that all 310 junior suites and suites at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun had at least a partial ocean view and a balcony. I loved the balcony in my room and it had a table and two chairs and I found the ocean view from my room to be spectacular. However, I didn't notice a significant difference in the view since all of the rooms face the ocean and my room and my traveling companions' rooms were on the same floor. The balcony also had a hammock which could be strung up. I didn't try it but my traveling companions said it was lovely.
The only part of my room I didn't like was the location. I loved the good view and being on a higher floor. However, I actually ended up finding the upgrade annoying because my suite was located at the other end of the resort far from my traveling companions. This meant more privacy but also long walks every time I needed to go back to my room. Overall, I was left very impressed by my Junior King Ocean View Suite. Having a private hot tub, a king bed, balcony, and ocean view made this a great room.
One of the most important aspects of an all-inclusive resort is the dining and this is an area where the Hyatt Zilara shined. This was my first stay ever at an all inclusive and I was unsure what to expect especially when it came to food and drinks. The dining options at the resort left me very impressed. Hyatt Zilara Cancun had a wide array of dining and drinking options with six restaurants, one cafe, four bars, and 24-hours a day complimentary room service. During our two night stay we were able to try all of these dining options with the exceptions of La Adelita Cantina, which is only open for dinner, and Chef's Plate, which is the only dining option requiring a reservation and only accessible to guests stay in full suites.
The first dining option we checked out was Pelicanos which is located next to the main pool and overlooks the ocean. Pelicanos offered stunning ocean views and a relaxed setting for a meal. Pelicanos is a Caribbean fusion restaurant with a heavy focus on fresh seafood. During our stay it was only open for breakfast and lunch. Since our stay its hours have expanded to include dinner.
Some of the highlights of my meals at Pelicanos were the grilled grouper, the shrimp cocktail, and the chocolate platanos (plantains). The grouper was one of the best I have ever had which is a strong statement coming from someone who grew up in the Caribbean.
Pelicanos was our most visited dining option during our stay because of the good drinks, stunning views, and fresh seafood.
For dinner on the first night we went to Marie Marie. This is a gourmet Mexican restaurant which is only open for dinner. The restaurant shares a building with Cantina La Adelita and is located in a more secluded area of the resort near the outdoor hot tubs.
The restaurant had a very romantic atmosphere with dark mood lighting, a fountain, and candlesticks in the shape of a heart.
I found the beef tacos at Marie Marie to be okay and I thought the ones I had in Mexico City were much better. However, the pork ribs I ordered fell off of the bone and were amazing while the flan was small but sweet and tasty.
The service at Marie Marie was outstanding. The servers checked on our table often and brought out additional appetizers and drinks that we didn't even order. Overall, I found Marie Marie to have a great atmosphere particularly suited for couples but my traveling companions and I still enjoyed the ambience, delicious food, and good service.
On our second morning at the resort we had breakfast at Spice the resort's buffet which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I didn't find the breakfast buffet at Spice to be impressive.
While the buffet had many options including some Mexican dishes such as tacos, frijoles, quesadillas, and Conchas most of the food was American cuisine. This included pancakes, toast, and eggs. I found the American food I tried including pancakes and an omelet to bland. The most impressive part of the buffet was the fresh fruit and fruit juice station which included mango, guava, and orange juice.
During the second night of our stay we had dinner at Asiana the resort's Asian restaurant focused on gourmet contemporary Asian Cuisine. The restaurant is located in a more secluded area on the side of the resort not facing the ocean near Marie Marie. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and has two levels.
The top level, where we ate, served a full menu including sushi while the bottom level had a hibachi grill with a cooking show but required a reservation. We were not told about the cooking show at check-in so did not make a reservation but still enjoyed our dinner at Asiana. I ordered the Chicken Pad Thai and Korean Beef. The Chicken Pad Thai was okay but the Korean Beef was delicious. I loved the sauce the Korean Beff was soaked in. Asiana also had a menu offering Asian drinks including Sake. My traveling companions and I really enjoyed the Sake. The service at this restaurant was fast but indifferent. I liked Asiana but would probably opt for the lower level hibachi cooking experience if I returned to the Hyatt Zilara Cancun.
We ordered room service multiple times during our stay at the resort. I found room service to be a great feature because it was complimentary and convenient. Room service was very easy to order through the tablets in each room. I loved the use of technology to streamline and simplify the process.
The only downsides to the room service were it did not allow the ordering of alcohol and it was slow. The first time we ordered it took 40 minutes. The highlight of my room service orders was the breakfast I ordered on our final morning in Cancun. It was very relaxing to order room service while I sat looking out over the ocean. The salmon omelet with fresh guava juice was very good and capped off my great dining experience at the resort.
Casa del Cafe
The resort also had a cafe called Casa del Cafe which had coffee, hot chocolate, and numerous deserts including a large variety of ice cream. It is located just off of the lobby and is open from 7am-10 pm.
I loved having access to ice cream and hot chocolate for most of the day. Also, like most of the resort it offered stunning ocean views and we sometimes sat on the couches drinking our warm drinks or eating ice cream and staring at the ocean.
Trades Winds Swim Up Bar and Tequliria Beach Lounge
One my favorite features of the resort is the swim up bar Trade Winds located in the same building as Pelicanos in the infinity pool. The staff here was friendly and the drinks were very good. I especially loved the mango margaritas. I really appreciated that the resort did not water down the drinks which was something I feared staying at an all-inclusive.
The resort also has a beach bar called Tequliria Beach Lounge. I checked out the bar once and didn't find the tequila collection or drinks to be any better than what was served at other bars around the resort. I would only recommend visiting this bar if the other bars are busy or if you are already at the beach.
Time Out is the resort's 24 hour lounge. The lounge serves drinks and appetizers from 11 am-11 pm. It featured numerous televisions showing sports most of the day. It also had games such as pool, table tennis, checkers, and poker. During our visit it was under renovation so the bathrooms and the courtyard were closed. Timeout was never full when we went inside and we did not spend a lot of time here but it is a good option if you want to watch a particular game, play a game, or want some down time.
The Lobby Bar was located just off the lobby behind Pelicanos. The bar was a fun place to hang out especially in the evenings when it filled up with other guests. In this space there were televisions with sports on and the area also hosted a lot of the nightly entertainment.
The activities at the Hyatt Zilara make it clear that this a place to relax. If you are a person who wants to be very active during your vacation this is not the spot for you. The resort has multiple pools, a beautiful beach multiple hot tubs, and numerous daily activities. Two of the activities we did not check out were the Sky Gym and the Zen Spa. The gym looked nice from the outside and the spa offered massages with a view of the beach.
The beach at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun is beautiful but the ocean is very rough and not pleasant to swim in. The beach does have cabanas which are complimentary and do not need to be reserved. We went swimming in the ocean one time during our stay. What was also really disappointing was that the resort did not offer any complimentary water sports such as kayaking. I assumed this was because of safety concerns due to the very choppy water near the beach.
Pools and Hot Tubs
Where we spent the majority of our time during the day was in the pool and in the hot tubs. The resort has two outdoor pools and multiple hot tubs. The first pool is a lap pool located next to Pelicanos and the second pool is an infinity pool also located next to the Pelicanos. On our first day the resort lap pool had a foam party which looked like a ton of fun and the pools were definitely the center of activity during the day. Both of the pools featured cabanas which were also complimentary and did not require reservations. Staff constantly passed by the cabanas to see if guests wanted anything to drink. I really liked that these cabanas came at no additional cost since so many resorts use this an opportunity for an upcharge.
There were multiple hot tubs but we liked the ones that were more private located on the side of the resort not facing the ocean. These hot tubs were fun because for the vast majority of the time we were the only guests using them.
Glow Party and Michael Jackson Show
The resort had nightly entertainment and during our stay the two shows were a glow party and a Michael Jackson show. The glow party was held on the first night of our stay in one of the resort's ballroom. The resort did a good job turning the ballroom into a fun glow in the dark party.
The party had many interesting decorations and characters. It seemed the staff were going for a trance dance party look. Overall, we really had fun at this party and I think the staff did a good job making sure the scenery was fun and the drinks were easily accessible.
The Michael Jackson show was held in the lobby during our second night. I thought the dancers in the show were very good but found the show itself to be short. I also thought it was distracting that the resort left the televisions on during the show. After the show ended the lobby bar had live music and became a hub of activity.
The service at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun was great. The staff in the restaurants and at the bars seemed to go out of there way to make sure that guests had fun. For example, on our first day at the resort the champagne welcome amenity in my friend's room was already hot so he called down to ask for another bottle and the staff were happy to accommodate his request and sent up a cold bottle of champagne. Also, during our dinner at Marie Marie the waiter sent over appetizers that we hadn't ordered for us to sample and made sure that the drinks kept flowing every time we were empty. The staff at the pool were also great. It seemed that they were everywhere and any time a member of our party needed another drink they were ready to serve us. What I found most surprising about the service is that all of resort fees and gratuity are already included in the rate so staff were unlikely to get additional tips but were very quick and hard working.
The biggest service downfall at this resort was the concierge service. About a week before our stay I reached out to the resort asking about their airport transportation options and any recommendations on nightlife in Cancun and I never heard a response. So about two days later I ended up having to call the resort to arrange the transportation. When we checked in at the resort I asked the staff member about nightlife options in Cancun and was given the generic answer of Coco Bongo but no other options. The resort really needs to step up their concierge services including responding to guest in a timely manner and providing additional information about activities outside of the resort.
One additional item to note is the awkward check-out process at the resort. While many resorts allow you to leave the resort without formally checking out, this resort required a slip of paper saying you had checked out before you could leave the property.
The Hyatt Zilara Cancun has a great location, impressive design elements, and all of the rooms have amazing ocean views which makes it easy to enjoy yourself in Cancun. The resort also features a wide array of fresh and delicious food and good drinks in addition to multiple pools with stunning ocean views and relaxing hot tubs. The staff is friendly, hardworking, and constantly makes sure guests are enjoying themselves. All of this added up to make the Hyatt Zilara Cancun one of the best resorts I have stayed at and I would strongly recommend staying here if you are looking for a relaxing resort vacation with beautiful ocean views.