Travel Guide: The Ritz Carlton – Cancun, Mexico
Length of Stay: 3 Nights
Last week my friend Marissa and I escaped the city and had the chance to head to Cancun, Mexico for a few nights stay at The Ritz Carlton. I have been to Cancun previously, but it was during college on spring break, so it goes without saying that this was quite a different experience. Overall, I had a wonderful time checking out the property, indulging in some authentic food, and taking in some unique experiences.
WHERE WE STAYED:
The Ritz Carlton – Only a short 15 minute ride from the airport, The Ritz Carlton is a beautiful, luxury resort right on the beach—truly an oasis where you can relax and unwind. Most rooms overlook the ocean and have a spacious balcony. Being that I’m an early riser, this made for the perfect setting to enjoy a cup of coffee, get some work done, and take in the gorgeous view. As you can imagine, coming from NYC where any outdoor space comes at a premium, I always take full advantage of hotels with a balcony or place to sit and relax outdoors. The setting was perfect! We were also placed in a really ideal place for traveling around the local area too. We planned to drive ourselves. If you are looking to do the same then you should click here to learn all about driving in Mexico.
< not a bad view from the hotel gym >
< the most beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers in the lobby every day >
WHAT TO DO:
Kayanta Spa – This was the first time I ever had a spa treatment on the same day of arrival and it was honestly the best way to get in relaxation mode and unwind after a flight. When we arrived to the spa, we were welcomed with plush robes to change into and headed to the relaxation room, where we sipped on cucumber water while we waited for our masseuse. We were treated to the Mayan Sanctuary Ritual massage which took place on a private beach villa. The sound of the ocean in the background paired with a breeze was the perfect ending to our day. This massage in particular takes place at sunset so you don’t have to worry about being too hot outside.
We finished our spa time enjoying the whirlpool and steam room post massage. We had all intentions of going back to our room and getting ready for dinner, but after our time at the spa we were so relaxed and only wanted to shower, get into robes and order room service, which was delicious!
< I snuck in my iPhone to take this shot + of corse I forgot to turn off an alarm that went off…so much for keeping “zen” >
Beach Villa – We spent the majority of the day sitting at the beach, soaking up the last bit of that summer sun. The Ritz offers beach villas where you can place your belongings, get relief from the sun when needed, and enjoy time in the hammock. Although the lounge chairs in the open air villa can easily be pulled out into the sun if you prefer, I really try and watch how much time in the sun (don’t let the tan fool you!), so the hammock under the villa had my name all over it. While we hung out during the day, staff came over and offered complimentary head massages followed by a cold towel and cucumber slices for your eyes.
Isla Mujeres via a Catamaran – On our last full day in Cancun, we got up early and headed downtown (about a 15 minute car ride) to Marina Albatros for a day of sailing and time spent on Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is situated 8 miles off of Cancun and is really a tropical paradise, characterized by crystal blue water and long white sand beaches. Here, we enjoyed lunch like a local with Mayan influenced dishes. The staff on our catamaran was absolutely amazing, friendly and entertaining. We were with them from 10am-5pm and had such a great time every minute of the day. While our boat elected to spend more time swimming in the water and relaxing on the boat, you have the option to go snorkeling for a portion of the day.
< a fun video jumping off the catamaran >
WHERE TO EAT:
Room Service – As mentioned before, our first night we ended up being exhausted and wanting to just hang out in the room and relax. We ordered a variety of items from room service and everything was delicious. The guacamole is hands down still one of my favorites, as well as their cobb salad with jumbo grilled shrimp.
The Club Lounge – This was my first time being introduced to the Ritz Carlton Club Level which offers exclusive access to a dedicated concierge, an incredible culinary presentation (breakfast, light snacks, hors d’oeuvres, beverages and sweets) and a beautiful lounge to sit and relax. Marissa and I found ourselves eating breakfast and lunch here each day, typically going in with the mind-set of only grabbing a snack, but always ended up filling out plates and stuffing ourselves because the selections were so good.
Culinary Center – Hands down one of my favorite (and neatest) experiences while at the Ritz. This is the first Culinary Center within the brand and features a chef’s counter overlooking the sea. Chef Ryan and his Sous Chef Hector treated us to such an unforgettable night indulging in traditional Mexican cuisine through our Chefs Table experience. It is obvious how passionate Chef Ryan is about creating a memorable experience for the Culinary Center guests and this truly surpassed any and all expectations.
We watched the Chef (and helped a little) prepare our entire prix fixe meal from scratch. It was fun getting to interact with Chef Ryan the entire time and have him answer some of our questions about the meal and the Culinary Center in general. Both Marissa and I agree that the homemade margaritas were the best ones we’ve ever had! Each course had a beverage pairing and the flavors of each dish were incredible. It was such a fun way to really enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine in a relaxed, welcoming and intimate atmosphere.
Casitas – If you have the chance to enjoy this beach front, al fresco dining experience, see if you can ask for Moses as your server! From the moment we arrived to sit for dinner until the very end, we were entertained and treated like royalty. Our server’s passion for creating the perfect beach front dining experience was refreshing and nothing like I have ever seen before. It was dark by the time we got to dinner, so excuse my dark iPhone photos, but I still wanted to include them in this recap. The villa was beautifully decorated and Moses also set up a “lounge” area right outside on the sand incase we wanted to sit outside, drink a glass of wine and look up at the stars (once again, something I never get to experience living in NYC).
We started with jumbo coconut shrimp and oysters, followed by a fresh watermelon salad and red pepper soup. For our main entrée, we both got the grilled lobster tail with a side of mashed potatoes and dessert consisted of a variety of three mini sweet treats to try. Needless to say we were stuffed and pretty much needed to be rolled back to our room after all was said and done!
WHAT I WORE:
Below are links to all of the outfits featured above. As you will notice, I wore a bunch of items from BHLDN on this trip. I first became really familiar (and obsessed) with this branch of Anthropologie when planning my wedding. But even if you are not a bride to be, they have the BEST selection in the “beach and honeymoon” section. Many of the pieces are even versatile enough that you can wear them outside of a beach setting.
Outfit Nine (Marissa’s dress)