Sitting down for the quick check-in process at Hotel Xcaret México, I’m asked if I’d like a popsicle made from my favourite fruit — passionfruit or maracuyá in Spanish. Yes please! It’s the perfect pick-me-up after the 50-minute drive from the Cancun airport. I get a quick explanation of the “All-Fun Inclusive” experience, which means not only activities, food, beverages and room service at the hotel, but also admission at the six eco-archeological parks affiliated with the hotel.
The challenge with staying at luxury all-inclusive Hotel Xcaret is choosing between the facilities at the hotel and spending time at the parks. I only have time to visit one — flagship Xcaret Park. Here, I float down a semi-underground river, through caves and tunnels and past jungle greens. It’s a way of exploring the Riviera Maya like no other. Also at Xcaret is a giant aviary where I walk over suspended bridges and past waterfalls to see birds from the area, many with endangered status. Xcaret is home to many other animals too, including turtles, manatees and stingrays, and there’s a lagoon for snorkelling. Exhibits and shows provide a taste of Mexican and Mayan culture and history as well as lots of fun.
Back at the hotel, there’s also an abundance of activities. My favourite is exploring the cenote river — built by connecting the natural underground cenotes in the area — by standup paddleboard. Kayaks and SUPs can be paddled through the river’s canyon, inside tunnels and around islands, and, occasionally, past hotel rooms that look out over this blue paradise.
The beaches also call. Hotel Xcaret has two types. Walk over suspended bridges to narrow offshore islands with the traditional white sand beaches of the area, complete with waves that splash into tide pools. The bridges take guests over the second type of beach, at lagoons fed by the river water. They’re as calm as swimming pools and perfect for small children and snorkellers.
Hotel Xcaret also has several pools to choose from, including a shallow one with a play park for kids. Other pools separate the different residence buildings, called casas, from each other and from the restaurants, or they look out over the beach. Some rooms have swim-up lagoons too. The views are best from the rooftop pool at Casa Fugeo, which even has a glass swim tunnel — perfect for Instagram. My favourite pool, though, is the showcase immense infinity pool with views of the sea. It’s chilled so it’s always refreshing.
There’s a variety of room types at Hotel Xcaret. They’re all beautifully designed with lots of seating and storage space, luxury bedding, a jetted tub and large shower room. Handmade decorations highlighting Mexican artistry are sprinkled throughout. Each room has a patio or balcony fitted with a hammock or two, a day bed, and some also have a private jetted tub. There are 900 rooms at the resort, but even though the hotel was at capacity during my opening weekend visit, it wasn’t crowded at all.
Dining is in ten different restaurants and bars, including Há by Michelin-starred executive chef Carlos Gaytan, from Chicago restaurant Mexique. This is the only restaurant at Hotel Xcaret that demands an extra charge, all others, including room service, are included in rates. I eat very well throughout Hotel Xcaret where I’m treated to maracuyá sorbet and cocktails, as well as other favourites like tuna sashimi, ceviché, traditional sirloin and fish tacos, pineapple and churros.
Hotel Xcaret opened in December 2017 and is sure to become one of the most popular resorts on the Mayan Riviera.