I was very pleasantly surprised by my experience at the Hyatt Ziva in Cancun last week. I say surprised because, as my friends know, I am not a huge fan of all-inclusive hotels or of larger hotels, for that matter. Smaller, boutiquey hotels are my preference. However, all-inclusives most certainly have their place in travel. It is very nice to not have to think about money, to leave your wallet in the room and just enjoy and indulge. And that is exactly what we did while at the Ziva.
Firstly, the property itself is not as ostentatious as other properties in Cancun. It is more of an understated elegance, if you will that allows the quality of the hotel to show through moreso, in my opinion. The entry is airy and you can see straight through to the pools and beach. The furniture is a very beautiful mission wood style, which is one of my favorite designs.
The hotel has 7 restaurants, including: French, Italian, Mexican, Asian, a steakhouse, a diner and the mandatory buffet. Plus, they have a food truck that serves burgers and snacks during the afternoon. The buffet was excellent and really probably one of the biggest with a large variety I have seen. The steakhouse was top notch. Mexican was perfect (if you like fresh fried fish then ask them and they will prepare a special dish for you, must be requested a day in advance). The Italian was surprisingly good! I normally stick to local cuisine when I travel, but this was very delicious. The Asian disappointed and the French was meh. Room service is included, I like that. Overall, the food at this resort was excellent, far above other AI hotels I have stayed at.
What makes the Ziva stand out among its peers is its position on the beach. It is right at a corner of the coastline which creates a natural cove that protects the beach from bigger waves. Anyone who has been to Cancun knows that the beaches have strong waves (I personally love to jump waves!). But, a calm peaceful beach that you can throw a lounger into and just float in all day has its advantages, as well. They have hammocks in the water that allow you to zone out and a flock of Pelicans that chill on the hammock posts and fish there all day long. (Pelicans are my favorite bird so I was in love!)
The loungers were the mesh plastic ones that are pretty comfortable. There are many palapas. However, some people had a tendency to just throw down loungers in front of you, I have never seen this behavior before and was a bit thrown by it. I did ask a couple who had moved-in in front of me to just move a couple feet over, as they were literally on top of me with no need to be so close, and they were kind enough to accommodate so that worked out. The beach is on the smaller side so maybe that’s why…
The room was large, we stayed in the regular area, not the adults only tower. The bed was comfortable. The pillows were really bad for me. They were way too soft to the point that my neck was killing me. I called down to get an option and it took awhile but I finally got some memory foam. Say “synthetic” because apparently “memory foam” is not the catch phrase down there. We had a “resort view” which was actually a lovely pool and beach view! We could also see the dolphin pool directly below us, which I have mixed feelings about, more about that in a bit. There was a sitting area and 2 chairs outside, a hammock on the balcony would have been a very welcome touch. We slept with the balcony door open nightly and the breeze was fantastic. The toiletries were very good and that is a big deal for me.
The servers were excellent everywhere we went. We had Esperanza as our beach waitress and she was really very sweet and so eager to please and help. She was a delight. But, everywhere we went everyone was lovely and very helpful.
I drank tequila the whole time and they have a really nice menu of different margaritas. For example, I had a hibiscus and ginger margarita regularly and it was divine. They serve Don Julio which is a very good quality tequila.
The entertainment was also very good. Every evening they had a show of some sort, one night was Brazilian and the men did capoeira and wow they were impressive. They had one girl dancer doing the samba and she was also talented. They try to focus on different Latin cultures, so another night was “Havana night”, another Mexican, etc. You can tell the performers put their heart into it.
Tipping: everyone tips and some are really big tippers ($10 seems like a big tip to me in Mexico). This is nice for the employees but I hope it doesn’t skew service.
The dolphins: I am not a supporter of animals in captivity. I understand that in certain preservation circumstances in order to save an animal from extinction, it is necessary. I also understand that zoos and animal interactions allow an experience that introduces the animals to people and children who then may be moved to work with animals or be an activist, or even at the least will allow for some empathy, etc etc. With that said, animals in captivity is a very delicate topic to me. It did appear that these animals were well cared for. But, they are still living in a pool. With some in a smaller pool than others. I did ask and they said that it was because there were 3 males, 2 were children of the female. The caregivers were concerned about territorial issues over the female. I felt very bad for the female because she was constantly by the entrance to the other pool where her children were. I am painting a poor picture of the situation. Really, to see the dolphins was absolutely lovely and did add to the experience, as I said I just take issue.
The pool was surrounded by Bali beds that looked super comfortable and very chic. They had games during the day and music. The pool looked like a great hangout, alas I am a beach bum so I missed out on that.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the Hyatt Ziva. This is a wonderful, elegant property with a wonderful position on the beach. The food and alcohol are excellent quality and with great variety. The customer service was without flaw and the rooms were very comfortable. I would most certainly return.
If you have any questions about this property or another please feel free to reach out.
I hope this helps!