Cancun / Mexico / Reviews

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Review

If you are trying to decide where to stay in Cancun, hopefully this thorough review of JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, based on a two week stay over the Christmas holidays, will help you out!  Two weeks gave us ample time to put our room to the test, sample the restaurants, use amenities, interact with the staff for regular daily needs as well as for more specific outing requests.

.

JW Marriott Cancun Service

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

First, we want to touch on a strength of Marriott overall, and a prime reason we often to choose to stay at Marriott whether in Cancun or not:  the service provided by the staff.  As we have come to expect, Marriott staff service was excellent.  During our stay, we had many opportunities to interact with staff including maid service, room service, concierge, bellmen, restaurant staff, etc.  At all times the staff was attentive, friendly, helpful, and pleasant.  We made particular note of Eleazar at the Sedona Grill, and Theresa at the Beachwalk for going above and beyond for our family during our stay.  For us, this is an important aspect for an extended stay with the whole family, and this consistent experience with Marriott hotels and resorts has kept us returning to the brand when we want to ensure a trouble-free getaway.

.

JW Marriott Cancun Suite

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

The bedroom and bath beyond in our Ocean View Suite

Our JW Marriott room was a 1 bedroom suite, ocean view.  This gave us a bedroom with king bed, desk, dresser, TV, and two closets, one of which had a safe.  The bedroom also had a balcony, large enough for a small table and two chairs and some additional standing room, that looked over the Sedona Grill roof and pool area to the ocean.  The attached bathroom was equipped with a large two sink vanity with a shelf running the length of the long mirror for toiletries.  There is a separate small toilet room, shower, and separate tub.

We also had a living area with a fold out couch that served as the bedroom for our two teen daughters.  We are a tall family, and the sofa bed gave our girls, who are both 5’9”+, had adequate if not spacious room to sleep.  There was also a dresser with TV, a round table to seat 4 (out of frame in picture), and a balcony roughly the same size as the one off the bedroom, also with a table and two small chairs.  This living area also had a wet bar with a fully stocked mini-fridge, sink, and coffee machine with appropriate supplies.  The living area had a generous entry space inside the door, and a powder room.

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

Living area with sleeper sofa made up as a bed.

Our room was more spacious than we expected from the JW Marriott website photos, and worked very well for our two weeks of living.  We did not feel crowded, even during the times we were all lounging in the room.

We had two aspects that were less than expected in the room.  One is that the door between the bedroom and living area has glass panels that are only partially frosted.  With Dad and two teen girls, caution had to be used at times.  The second issue we had was a musty smell from the wetbar area.  When we called service about it the smell was taken care of in the same day.

Important to note: the JW Marriott Cancun rooms are all undergoing a remodel right now with one wing of the floors blocked off for this work.  The photos of the coming rooms looks more sleek, modern, and spa-like.  So, if you staying in Cancun late in 2018, there will be a significant update, and these issues I mention may be completely taken care of.

.

Dining at JW Marriott Cancun

Gustino Italian Grill

  • Dress: Business casual to formal

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

We dined one night at Gustino Italian Grill, the most upscale of the dining choices at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa.  The restaurant itself has a beautiful dining area ringed with a wall of windows that look out onto the pool area of the hotel, and the ocean beyond.  While the attire is officially listed as ‘formal’ most of our party wore nice jeans and a dressy top, and that fit right in.

Food and service was excellent, as we’ve come to expect from the Marriott brand.  The dishes themselves were absolutely delicious and so artfully plated you have to take photos.  Scott, who is not a mushroom fan, raved about the mushrooms in the sauce that came with his filet, and ate every one. Our dessert was so dramatic that our server brought it out, stood poised and ready, then made sure I was ready to video the presentation!  It was mouthwatering and wonderful and made us VERY happy we didn’t skip dessert.   Our servers were attentive without being overbearing, and did a great job of making suggestions, including our favorite Mexican wine of the trip.

Overall, it was excellent food, beautiful ambiance, and very good service.  The only slight negative was that when the saxophonist was near us, there were times it was loud enough to impede our conversation.  However, that only occurred for short periods and wasn’t really a big deal.

Sedona Grill

  • Dress: Nice Casual

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

JW Marriott Cancun’s Sedona Grill is the restaurant we dined in most often while in Cancun.  There is an excellent and extensive breakfast buffet that included a number of local dishes, as well as an omelet bar, fruit bar, seafood/salmon bar, and pastry selection.  We have more and less adventurous eaters in our group, and it pleased everyone.  This was also our favorite dinner at JW Marriott Cancun, and we returned several times.  We highly recommend the Filet Mignon, the Chocolate Stout Braised Short Ribs, and the Grilled Romaine Heart salad.

In addition to the excellent food, we enjoyed the outdoor seating at Sedona, and the friendly, attentive service.  At dinner time, there was often strolling live music that oculd have you singing under your breath and smiling along.  The only complication was going in and out of the door to the buffet, and the rush of wind that could flip food off your plate.  However, because of the attentive service, 99% of the time staff would take your plate and bring it to your table for you, avoiding that risk.

BeachWalk

  • Dress: Very casual – swimsuit is fine!

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

The Beachwalk is JW Marriott Cancun’s poolside restaurant, and it also serves guests in beach cabanas and lounging by the pool.  The food was surprisingly good, freshly made and tasty.  The steak quesadillas, chicken fajitas, and cheese nachos were favorites.  There is also a good list of tropical drinks, both alcoholic and non.  Our girls loved the Strawberry smoothies, and we enjoyed the Nectar of the Gods, as well as large bottles of sparkling water and a little side cup of lime to use in them (ask for the lime).  If you have Theresa as your server, tell her we said “Hi!”  She always greeted us, whether she was our server or not, knew our girls names, and would stop by and check on what we had been up to if we hadn’t been by the pool the day before.

Lobby Bar

  • Dress: Casual

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

The only time we went to the Lobby bar, was when we walked up and asked if they could do a Tequila tasting for my husband and I.  We had a wonderful tasting that wound up including 6 different tequilas.  Our bartender (whose name I unfortunately don’t remember – yeah, yeah, insert ‘how many shots of tequila’ joke here!) was very knowledgeable about the tequila-making process, and what made the tequilas taste different from each other.  He also pulled out lime slices, cinnamon sprinkled orange slices, and chocolate gelato to pair with different tequilas.  I definitely recommend asking for a tasting!

Giftshop/750 Pizzeria

  • Dress:  Very Casual

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

750 Pizzeria is the Marriott general shop, along with packaged snacks and drinks, and a pizza/sandwich/pastry/coffee counter.  There was always a selection of 4-5 different pizzas to choose from and a couple of calzones options, as well as a number of different sandwich and pastry options.  There were also pre-packaged salads and sandwiches to grab on your way out to your day tour or whatever.  Quick, easy, and pretty good NY style pizza.  This is a great stop on your way to movie night!

Mikado Japanese Teppan Yaki

  • Dress: Nice Casual

There are actually two Marriotts, side-by-side, with a connecting walkway giving access to further dining options.  The only one we took advantage of was Mikado, because we love our Japanese hibachi dinner and a show.  The shows skills of our cook were good and had us chuckling a few times.  Unfortunately, we were not impressed by the food at Mikado.  My steak was a bit undercooked, and the flavor in general was ok, but just ok, which we are not used to at Marriott.  So, we only went once, and stuck with the other restaurants instead.

.

Shopping at JW Marriott Cancun

Giftshop/750 Pizzeria:

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

See description above regarding food.  This shop also had a selection of JW Marriott and general Cancun shirts and sweatshirts, as well as a few styles of bathing suits, cover-ups, beach bags, sunglasses, and a few gift items.  This was also where we would grab a bottle of water quickly on our way out.  Quick, easy, useful.  Of course, being a hotel shop it was a bit more pricey than you could get some of these items elsewhere, but you are paying for the convenience.

Jewelry Shop:

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

There is a jewelry shop on site, specializing in Mexican silver jewelry.  Selection is quite extensive, and the pieces were beautiful and colorful.  Expect to pay hundreds of dollars for a necklace, Mexican silver is not the cheap stuff we pick up at home.  This was fairly consistent with prices in other shops throughout Cancun.

Zingara Swimwear shop:

Carries what you expect, primarily bathing suits, a variety of cover-ups, and a few beach bags.  Good for picking up something if you are without.

Mexican Handicrafts:

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

This shop had a variety of Mexican handicrafts, and was actually a pretty fair representation of what you are going to find gift-wise throughout Cancun.  And, honestly, the ‘sell’ in the shop wasn’t nearly as aggressive as some of the other places I walked into (and then back out of) around town.  More pleasant to browse here than other shops for this non-bargaining-practiced American.

Spa Shop:

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

While the spa shop had a selection of hair and skin care products I expected, I was also pleasantly surprised by the selection of tops, jewelry, robes, and gift items.  Worth stopping in even if you aren’t going into the spa.

.

JW Spa & Fitness

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough reviewBoth my husband and I used the Spa area while staying at the Marriott.  We used the salon and spa services, and were very happy all around.  Excellent manicurist and massage therapist, as well as a very good haircut while there.  The facilities were, as expected, very clean and tidy, the staff welcoming, helpful, and professional.

Just off the spa there is also a very well equipped fitness room with multiple rows of various cardio machine options, as well as circuit machines if you are so inclined.   In addition to that, there are rooftop tennis courts for use.  Not being tennis players, we cannot report back about those.

.

JW Marriott Cancun Amenities:

Pool & Beach Area:

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

We spent several days just laying by the pool/beach.  The Pool is gently heated, is a maximum of approximately 5 feet deep, and is an infinity pool at one spot.  We actually had a debate about the chlorination, as it was very clean and clear, but had almost no chlorinated scent or taste.  Kids can comfortably open their eyes in the water.  There are two hot tubs that seat about 8 people, and the poolside food & beverage service was quite good.

The beach area is, by law, open to the public, but it was not crowded during our stay.  Water was clear, the surf enough to be fun but not dangerous.  There are attentive lifeguards who police defined swimming areas.  Pay attention to posted flag and the lifeguards for safe swimming conditions.  We rented a cabana for one day, which was $250 USD and included bottled water, a fruit platter, and a cosmetic bag with some travel-sized sun items inside.  Being one who burns easily, this was a nice treat for a day, allowing me to stay out on the beach longer than I usually would, and even work on my laptop from there.

Movie Nights:

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

Regularly throughout our stay, a large inflatable movie screen was inflated on the lawn, and pool lounge chairs lined up for comfy viewing.  We picked up some pizza & salad at 750 Pizzeria, got front row lounge seating, and thoroughly enjoyed watching “Pixeles” in English with Spanish subtitles.  There was also a popcorn stand set up for those who needed more authenticity in their movie snacks.

Aquaworld Activities:

Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Cancun thorough review

Aquaworld is an outside vendor that has staff at the pool towel & cabana renting booth.

The good:  There are many activities offered at a fairly competitive pricing.  The activities we took part in were enjoyable, very good quality, and usually convenient with the Aquaworld center easy walking distance to the JW Marriott Cancun. Aquaworld also adheres to more strict safety standards because of their relationship with the hotels, which, being a mom, I appreciate!  We had a blast on jet-skis with our girls, and if you have been thinking about a scuba lesson, the one given in the Marriott pool by Aquaworld is low pressure, thorough, and in a very safe environment.  The dive of MUSA, the underwater museum, was amazing.  Picture above is of our daughter on that dive, photo provided by Christian, a photographer with Aquaworld’s Multimagen Digital.

The not-so-good:  The communication of the Aquaworld staff on-site at Marriott about the details of activities left something to be desired.  Specifically, we were supposed to check in with them before walking down to some activities on the beach since they may be canceled due to surf conditions.  But we had not been told that and wound up trekking down the beach unable to find Aquaworld’s jetskis, before making our way back and finding they weren’t operating that day.  We easily rescheduled for another day, but would have preferred understanding the procedure ahead of time.  We also showed up at the Aquaworld center to depart on our SCUBA tour without a wallet, being pressed for time after nearly sprinting from our SCUBA lesson to make in in time, and thinking our activity had already been paid for.  Unfortunately there was a $10/person tax that had to be paid upon our arrival, and we didn’t have it!  Thankfully the staff, after discussion and back and forth and us expressing displeasure, hurried us onto our boat.  We returned later and paid the tax.

On Site Car Rental & Travel Office:

The JW Marriott Cancun also has a car rental desk on site, as well as a travel agent to help with any activity/tour planning you may be interested in.  There are day trips to area sites that leave directly from the lobby that can be easily booked.

.

Overall our stay at the JW Marriott Cancun met or exceeded our expectations, and we would definitely choose to stay here while in Cancun in the future.  In fact, such things have been discussed!

.

Go here to make search rates and availability at JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa.

If you are headed to Cancun soon, check out my walk through of the Cancun International Airport.

Or if you are looking for more hotel reviews, take a look at this thorough review of Athens Gate Hotel.

.

Pin me and find me quickly later!

Cancun, Mexico: A thorough review of JW Marriott Cancun

 

3 thoughts on “Where to Stay in Cancun: JW Marriott Review

  1. Hi, nice review. You have covered all possible points. I agree with some. At some popular brand hotel once we had a family room where ‘bathroom’ had a glass door. I had never imagined this can be there. When I asked at the reception, they said all the rooms have glass door. After that I started checking it with hotels before I make booking. They react to my question little oddly.
    Another thing I noticed that inspite of how well behaved kids are, some high end hotels are not suitable for families. They do welcome families but the atmosphere is so formal that families might feel like odd one out.
    Lastly, I am curious, how did you get that buffet pic from above? 🙂

    • Thank you! I completely understand what you mean about some resorts saying they are kid-friendly, but then you feel a little awkward when you are there. We have never had that problem with Marriott, thankfully. The servers learned our girls names by the time we were finishing up our stay, and would ask them all about what they did on different days. My girls love the movie night, we had a lot of fun with that. And we were not at all the only families there with kids at the pool.

      As for the picture above the buffet, there is a winding staircase that goes around and above the buffet to the exit. So I could stand up above and get a picture below. It was gorgeous when it was decorated for the Christmas buffet!

  2. Pingback: SCUBA Diving Cancun, Mexico - wandertoes

Leave a Reply