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JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa [In-Depth Hotel Review]

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Brett Holzhauer
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Brett Holzhauer

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31 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 22U.S. States Visited: 29

Brett is a personal finance and travel junkie. Based out of Fort Lauderdale, he's had over 100 credit cards and earned millions of credit card rewards.
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Michael Y. Park

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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
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Cancun, Mexico, was my first international trip at a ripe 19 years old, and I immediately fell in love with it. I’ve been back several times since, but the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa takes the cake as the best resort I’ve visited in the Hotel Zone.

My girlfriend and I were searching for a relaxing, upscale resort where we could lie by the pool and enjoy great dining options. This hotel fit our needs perfectly, and the deal I scored on our room made the experience even sweeter.

Let’s take a look at our 5-night stay in April 2024 at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, and I’ll show what you can expect if you decide to stay here.

Booking the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

In my initial hotel searches, Cancun as a whole appeared to be quite expensive. The midtier room I looked to book directly through JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa would cost over $700 per night, or $3,500 for our entire stay, which was far out of our budget.

So, I decided to take a look at Costco Travel, as it offers plenty of travel packages to Mexico. This was out of the norm for me, as I prefer to book directly to take advantage of Marriott Bonvoy’s elite status benefits, as well as earn Marriott Bonvoy points. But the Costco price was far better than any potential loyalty benefits. I paid approximately $1,900 for a Premium Ocean View Room (or around $380 per night), and it came with a laundry list of benefits via Costco Travel. (Later, with an upgrade to a suite, the total came to $3,100, or $620 per night, as I’ll explain below.)

The resort fee was $35 per room per night, but it was baked into the final booking price.

Costco Travel Marriott Deal
Image Credit: Costco Travel

Here’s how each of the benefits worked:

  • The $112 Costco Shop card arrives digitally just a few days after your trip concludes. I typically sell these to my mom, as she spends much more than I do at Costco, so I consider it cash-back.
  • The daily $50 resort credit is for any food and drink on the property. For our 5-day stay, we received $250 in credit, and we didn’t have to limit ourselves to $50 per day, as it was a cumulative credit for the duration of the stay.
  • The $50 spa credit is a one-time credit. We went to the spa, and most of the services were far over $50, so we decided to not use it.

The Costco Travel package also included a private ride to and from the airport. In our case, this was done through BD Experiences, a local third-party company. When we arrived at Cancun International Airport (CUN), the guides showed us to our ride. We met them at the shuttle pickup area, and they drove us in a spacious Sprinter van. However, we didn’t take the ride back, as they would only pick us up several hours before our flight and weren’t flexible. We decided to take an Uber back to the airport, which was $35.

I paid for the Costco Travel package with my Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, earning me 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel. I didn’t earn any Marriott Bonvoy points for the reservation, as I booked through Costco Travel, but I did earn roughly 3,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for on-property spending.

Overall, the Costco Travel package was a great value, but I would have never paid the full price offered when booking directly.

JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa Location

The JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa has had a presence in the famous Hotel Zone since 2001 but underwent a full renovation in 2019 — and it showed. Every detail of the hotel was pristine, and the hotel staff went above and beyond to ensure the entire property was spotless.

The hotel itself is in a prime location, about a 20-minute car ride from Cancun International Airport and a 10-minute ride from the nightlife of downtown Cancun.

Uber was the best way to get around, as its cars were readily available and affordable. Depending on the time of day, ride-shares can range in price, but we typically paid $10 to get downtown. Just be aware that the traffic can be cumbersome in and out of Cancun, so be sure to account for that.

JW Marriott Cancun Map
At the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, you’re not far from bars, restaurants, the town of Cancun, or the airport. Image Credit: Google Maps

Checking In

When we arrived at the hotel, there was a security stand, which is customary for Cancun resorts. We simply needed to give them our last names and say we were checking in.

We were then helped with our bags and welcomed into the gorgeous lobby.

JW Marriott Cancun lobby
You will turn left to the front desk area when you walk in. The photo makes it look darker than it actually is.

When we checked in, the front desk agent offered us a significant upgrade to a Grand Ocean Front Suite. It was an extra $1,200 or so for all 5 nights, for a total of $3,100, which was still dramatically cheaper than if I had booked directly through Marriott or even Costco. It was our first vacation together, so I decided to splurge.

Resort Fee

When we checked in, we got this flyer with small coupons, which acted like an adventure map for my girlfriend and me to explore the entire property.

JW Marriott Cancun Resort Fee
Be sure to grab this at check in.

The mandatory resort fee of $35 includes:

  • Daily enhanced internet (up to 10 devices)
  • 2 complimentary snack items per stay (minibar items not included)
  • Complimentary pressing services (2 garments per day)
  • 2 complimentary coffees in the retail shop
  • Complimentary scrub bar for 2 in the Sens-yah Spa
  • 1-hour tennis court usage per day (reservation required)
  • Daily fitness class for 2 at the pool deck with a professional instructor
  • Welcome drinks for 2 people
  • Guacamole Station daily at Lobby Bar from 5 to 6 p.m.
  • Wine tasting for 2 per stay (reservation required in Gustino restaurant)

We didn’t get to take advantage of everything during our stay, but I did end up grabbing complimentary coffees at the retail shop, having free guacamole, and enjoying complimentary drinks at La 16 Speakeasy.

Grand Ocean Front Suite

JW Marriott Cancun Review
The yellow box shows where our room was, right on the beach front. Image Credit: Marriott

As I mentioned above, we upgraded to the Grand Ocean Front Suite. Room 501 was more of a condo than a hotel room, with a full-size living room, 2 balconies, a master bedroom large enough to do cartwheels in, and an exquisite master bathroom.

A huge convenience of this room was that it was next to a second elevator, which brought us right down to the pool and beach area. The best part was that we didn’t experience any extra noise or disturbance at all.

Living Room

The living room was extremely spacious. With the sliding door open, you could hear the waves crashing against the sand.

There was a half bath right at the front door. The space had a bar-height dining table and 4 chairs, a sofabed, and a side chair aimed toward the large flat-screen TV.

JW Marriott Cancun living room
Living room area.

A full wet bar was adjacent to the dining table. This is where the complimentary water, Illy coffee maker, coffee and tea service, and ice bucket were stored. Drinks and snacks were also available for purchase.

JW Marriott Cancun wet bar
The snacks and drinks to the left were an additional cost.

One of my biggest pet peeves of refrigerators in hotel rooms is when it’s a sales locker rather than something usable. The right side, which was free to use, was big enough for a few items.

JW Marriott Cancun minibar
My biggest pet peeve is a fridge that is unusable. This one was only partially usable.

Bedroom

To the right of the living room was the spacious bedroom. There was plenty of room for 2 people.

The room featured a king-size bed, a chaise lounge, and a side chair with a table. Across from the bed was a flat-screen TV with a desk and chair underneath (not shown).

Each nightstand had outlets (the same as in the U.S.), USB inputs, and lighting controls. The right side of the bed had an alarm clock, and the left side had a telephone, a remote, and a notepad with a pen.

JW Marriott Cancun master bedroom
The master bedroom was huge.

The staff was so kind during our stay. I asked for romantic touches in the room, and they delivered this rose one day while cleaning our room.

JW Marriott Cancun welcome amenity
They delivered a rose and a small welcome drawing.

The best part of the room by far was the true oceanfront view. We sat out here for hours, drank wine, and talked about life. It was so refreshing.

JW Marriott Cancun balcony view
View from the main balcony.

Bathroom

The bathroom was also incredible. It had 2 sinks, a large freestanding bathtub, a shower with a rainfall showerhead, and a separate toilet room. It was fantastic for couples to get ready for the day or evening together.

JW Marriott Cancun Bathroom
The freestanding tub is to your right when you walk into the bathroom.

To the left were 2 frosted glass doors, one leading to a sizable shower and the other a water closet.

JW Marriott Cancun Shower
The shower and toilet are to the left when you enter the bathroom.
Bottom Line:

Overall, the room scored a 9.8 out of 10 for me. The only downfalls were the fairly slow internet (21.53 Mbps) and the small fridge. Other than that, it was a perfect room for a couple.

Amenities

The hotel has over 440 rooms and suites, multiple restaurants from casual to fine dining, 2 large oceanside pools (1 adults-only with a swim-up bar), a beautiful spa and gym, and my favorite part: direct beach access. And the beach out front was fantastic.

Pools

We spent a decent amount of time at the main pool, as we wanted to get tans and take a breather from our busy lives, and we loved it.

The entire pool area was open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

JW Marriott Cancun walk to pool
Our morning walk to the pool.

The pool area stretched across nearly the entire beachfront of the hotel. The staff kept the area exceptionally clean throughout our stay.

JW Marriott Cancun Pool Area
An overview of the pool area.

As we wandered out to the pool area and took a right turn, we found the adults-only pool area. It was smaller than the main pool and empty the 1 day we used it. It’s worth noting that this is the only swim-up bar on the property. However, the main pool has servers who can take your order from your chair.

JW Marriott Cancun Adults Pool
The adults-only pool area.

The entire pool area had chairs that wrapped around the space. However, we found a small peninsula on the main pool deck had the best seats in the house to see the infinity pool edge melt into the ocean.

JW Marriott Cancun Pool Island
This is the small pool peninsula we always tried to get seats at.

The views from this area were spectacular, and getting chairs at the pool area wasn’t a battle like it can be at some resorts.

JW Marriott Cancun infinity pool
Can’t beat this view.

There were 2 hot tubs near the center of the pool area, each able to fit roughly 8 adults. These were a must-have for me, as I love using hot tubs to start and end my day.

Sens-yah Spa and Gym

The Sens-yah Spa was open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and offered a variety of services and treatments.

I’m not personally one to work out on a vacation, but I definitely felt inclined to because of how nice this gym and spa was.

JW Marriott Cancun Gym Spa Entrance
When you walk in, the receptionist will direct you where to go.

We weren’t able to get access to the massage rooms, but we saw the pool and hot tub, which looked extremely relaxing.

JW Marriott Cancun Spa Pools
The picture is a little blown out from the strong Mexico sun, but the spa and pool were huge.

We visited the gym but didn’t use it during our stay. It was spacious but largely empty when we popped in. It was open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

JW Marriott Cancun fitness center
I didn’t get a picture of the gym, but it looked just like this hotel website image. Image Credit: Marriott

Beach

Beach access from the pool area was simple. A gated set of stairs on the right side of the main pool led down to the sand. We just brought our key cards to get in and out.

JW Marriott Cancun Beach Access
Just a few steps to getting your toes in the sand.

We didn’t lie out on the beach, but there were plenty of chairs available.

JW Marriott Cancun Beach Chairs
These are all first come, first served.

It’s worth noting that Cancun sometimes runs into a seaweed issue. When I booked through Costco Travel, it gave me this warning. However, we didn’t experience anything like this.

Costco Travel Seaweed
Image Credit: Costco Travel

Outdoor Activities

There were plenty of activities for any age group. My girlfriend, Kristin, and I got in a quick game of cornhole poolside after breakfast.

JW Marriott Cancun cornhole
A quick game of cornhole. Yes, I lost.

We did see the scrub bar class (where you make your own body scrub bar) taking place inside the spa area, but we didn’t get a chance to participate.

Food and Beverages

The JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa has several dining and cocktail spots: 750 Pizzeria, Beachwalk, Bella Candela, Bravio, Gustino Italian Grill, Lobby Bar, La 16 Speakeasy, and Sasi Thai.

We ate at Beachwalk, ordered 750 Pizzeria to our room, and enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Bravio.

750 Pizzeria

The pizzeria was open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

After a late night out, we ordered 750 Pizzeria, including a delicious cheese pizza, penne alla vodka, and tiramisu (MX$1,055 total (about $57)). In true couple fashion, we ate in bed, and it was outstanding. It took about 30 minutes to be delivered. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures because we were exhausted.

Beachwalk

Beachwalk, the poolside cafe, was where we ordered a fantastic quesadilla by the pool shortly after arriving. This was a perfect way to settle our tummy grumbles after our flights. Casual bites like quesadillas, burgers, and more were available for easy eating by the pool. It was open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bella Candela

This place served upscale Italian food every day from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and had a smart-casual dress code.

Bravio

We also enjoyed the breakfast buffet, which was open every day from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. Dinner hours were 5:30 to 11 p.m.

Breakfast for 2 cost MX$1,360 pesos total (with tip), which is roughly $80, and we were able to use our dining credit from Costco Travel.

Typically, I loathe visiting breakfast buffets, as they can be bland and filled with lukewarm fare. This was anything but that, as the serving room was spacious and well-lit, and the food did not disappoint.

When we walked in, we had a great view from overhead before heading downstairs for our meal. The serving area included sweets, hot food, an omelet bar with staff who could make eggs to your liking, and gluten-free fare.

JW Marriott Cancun buffett
The overhead view of the buffet.

The serving area ran along a manicured garden and water feature. Our table sat right next to the water and was well-shaded from the early morning sun.

JW Marriott Cancun Breakfast View
This was our view from our table at the breakfast buffet.

For breakfast, we had a mix of food, including French toast, yogurt, bacon, potatoes, and fruit. The waiter also brought us coffee and water as needed. It was a perfect, light meal to start our day.

Gustino Italian Grill

We didn’t go to the Italian grill, but the hotel described its menu as serving homemade pasta, freshly baked pizzas, meat, wines, and signature cocktails. It was open every day from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and had a dress code of smart casual.

La 16 Speakeasy

La 16 Speakeasy, where we used our resort fee coupons for free drinks, was open every day from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and had a smart-casual dress code.

JW Marriott Cancun speakeasy
During the day, the speakeasy is hidden behind a great wall of wine.

For our comped drinks, Kristin decided to go with a mango margarita, and I went with a house margarita. We didn’t get to spend much time there, as we had dinner reservations. The drinks were freshly made and were refreshing after a long day by the pool.

The speakeasy had great music playing, and the decor gave a fun energy for both couples and groups to start or end an evening.

JW Marriott Cancun Drinks
These 2 drinks were complimentary from the coupon sheet we received. They were a great way to start our date night.
Hot Tip:

To enter the speakeasy, you need the password: “2 coconuts.” Once you get in, you’ll be served 2 drinks, which were excellent.

Lobby Bar

The lobby bar was open every day from 4 p.m. to midnight

Before going off-property for a night out, we enjoyed a few espresso martinis here, which were fantastic. The bar had over 150 margaritas to choose from.

JW Marriott Cancun Bar Area
This is where you can grab free guacamole every day from 5 to 6 p.m.

We gave our favorite drink a try at the lobby bar, and they didn’t disappoint. Espresso martinis were MX$670 with tip (about $36), but we charged this to the room as part of our daily credit.

JW Marriott Cancun Drinks
Not a bad way to start off an evening.

Guacamole Station

One night, at 5 p.m., we visited the free guacamole station in the main lobby, and it was a perfect small bite to start the evening.

JW Marriott Cancun Chips
The hotel gives free chips and guac every day from 5 to 6 p.m. in the main lobby.

Pastry Shop

The free coffee as part of the resort credit was in the front part of the retail shop, but the magic was in the back.

JW Marriott Cancun Coffee
The free coffee is illy. Not a bad way to start the day. Just give your coupon to the cashier at checkout.

The retail shop had an outstanding pastry shop worth visiting. We got pastries and coffee and were shocked at how good they were.

JW Marriott Cancun pastry shop
Head to the back and you’ll find all sorts of goodies here.

I got an almond croissant, and my girlfriend got a breakfast sandwich with egg and bacon. This was part of the on-property credit we received by booking with Costco Travel. We ate our breakfast outside, and we had the entire area to ourselves.

JW Marriott Cancun Retail Shop Food
This was a solid start to our morning.

For the coffee and pastries, we paid MX$309 (about $17).

Sasi Thai

We missed dining at Sasi Thai, but it offered menu items such as satay, salads, soups, and noodles. It was open every day from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and had a casual dress code.

Hot Tip:

Eating on-site can get quite expensive. For a few meals, we decided to order Uber Eats. Simply let the front desk know that you have an order on the way, and you can pick it up at the main entrance.

Service

The service was fantastic. Everyone was kind and responsive to our needs.

When we checked in, the front desk attendant was welcoming and patiently walked us through all of the upgrade options and the features and benefits of booking through Costco Travel.

Later, I called to the front desk for extra clothing hangers (because my girlfriend was using all of them), and they promptly sent more up. When we talked to the bartenders and waiters by the pool, they always had smiles on their faces and were more than helpful.

Each night, we were welcomed back into our room with the results of a turndown service.

Hot Tip:

If you’re taking short rides into town, be sure to call an Uber before you get to the lobby. The hotel staff at the front entrance may try to convince you to take a cab, which can cost much more. They were polite about it, but just be sure to have an Uber on the way before you approach the front doors.

Final Thoughts

The JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa was a fantastic place to spend a few days with my significant other. While there were some children around, the majority of guests were adults enjoying a peaceful time away from home. While we were there, a corporate event for a tech company also took place, but the hotel still maintained a Zen feel.

However, you should always do your best to hunt around for the best deals. Yes, it may be tempting to book direct to take advantage of your Marriott Bonvoy status, but the advice I give all travelers is: Use all of the resources at your disposal. Even just a little digging can potentially save you thousands.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is breakfast at JW Marriott Cancun?

The price of breakfast at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa varies. For 2 people at Bravio, we paid MX$1,360, which is roughly $80.

Is JW Marriott considered luxury?

The JW Marriott brand is definitely a luxury hotel brand.

How many pools are at JW Marriott Cancun?

There is 1 main pool at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa that spans most of the oceanfront. There is a smaller adult pool, along with 2 hot tubs.

How much is the resort fee at JW Marriott Cancun?

The resort fee at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa is $35 per room, per night.

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About Brett Holzhauer

Brett is a personal finance and travel junkie. Based out of Fort Lauderdale, he’s had over 100 credit cards and earned millions of credit card rewards. He learned the tricks of the trade from his mom, and has taken many steps forward. He wasn’t exposed to much travel as a kid, but now has a goal of reaching 100 countries in his life. In 2019, he sold all of his possessions to become a digital nomad, and he says it was one of the best decisions he ever made. He plans to do it again at some point in his life.

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