marriott casamagnaMarriott CasaMagna ($143 – $311), with connected sister property JW Marriott, is 11 miles from the Cancun airport and 2 miles from the convention center and downtown shopping. The Marriott CasaMagna has 492 rooms and suites, 4 restaurants and 3 bars. The Caribbean suites overlook the Sea and have balconies with table, chairs and loungers. Internet will cost you $20.00 per day. The Caribe suites have a large balcony with a view of the pool and beach. You’re close to the marina and many fine Cancun restaurants as well as the Cancun nightclubs.

The property has been called understated, with casual, authentic elegance. The building is designed in old Mexican culture, with high arched walls, antique chandeliers, and brown and red decor. The adjoining JW Marriott is reported by some reviewers as “stuffy”, with their dress codes, and the food was more expensive. The lobby has no Mexican flair like the Marriott CasaMagna.

Access the connected JW Marriott without going outside, and take advantage of their shops, pools, and restaurants as well. JWM has a popular jewelry store. All Marriott rooms and suites have balconies, air conditioning, satellite TV, data ports on phone, mini bar, robes and slippers, coffee maker, ironing board, bathroom scales, hair dryer, smoke detectors, jacuzzi, and 24 hr. room service. The beds are comfy. There’re non-smoking and handicapped accessible rooms. No free wi-fi.

The Marriott Casa Magna has tennis, squash, snorkeling, sailing, water skiing, 2 nearby Cancun golf courses, concierge, safe deposit box at front desk, airline desk, travel agency, car rental, child care, fax and copying service, valet, laundry, beauty salon, and barber shop. Twenty dollars per night to upgrade to an oceanfront room with direct view over the pool.

The Cancun staff is fully fluent in English. Swim-up to the pool-bar, and walk-up to the bar on the beach. The elegant bar in lobby offers selections of fine sipping tequillas and American football on two televisions. The concierge has discounts to everything in town, be sure to ask. The bus stop is just in front of the hotel on the main drag for shopping and tours of the Mayan ruins at Tulumand Chichen Itza, or the chic, art community of Playa del Carmen, etc.

The breakfast buffet is expensive – $20 or so per person (above age 12, $10 for under 10. Kids under 5 are free), but lots of food. For a family of 4, the breakfast works out to $55-$60 per day. Some guest buy water, milk, bread, plastic ware, etc at the OXXO convenience store across the Casa Magna. Water in the hotel is 50 pesos (about $5USD) for 1 liter whereas it is 10 pesos at OXXO. There is also a small shop in the hotel where you can buy muffins, fruit and coffee. The Thai restaurant, Champions, Pool side café. Champions has large portions, so share an entrée. Prices are almost like US prices for food. Italian (in the JW) has style and ambience, but the food quantity is extremely small. All restaurants, except for sports bar “Champions” has a different and limited menu for “all-inclusive” guests.

There are four restaurants on the properties. Gustino (Italian), Sedona Grill (Southwestern), Mikado (Hibachi), and Sasi (Thai). The Sasi Thai restaurant is an indoor-outdoor restaurant with thatch roof, and beach ambience – a romantic, dining experience. The sports-bar, Champions could be compared to a Buffalo Wild Wings or Applebee’s. Breakfast room service with 2 entrees is $50. Lunch by the pool is about $50. $30 USD for 4 beers. Dinner next door at the Sonora Grill runs $134 for two entrees.

The beachside/poolside snackbar, La Isla, is basic fare, nachos, burgers, etc,. The Argentinian Steakhouse, La Capilla, is where the breakfasts are served. The Breakfast buffet is large, with a couple hundred food choices. The dinner has a giant “salad bar”, with a lot more than just salads. Some guest even order entrée’s and just dine from the salad bar.

marriott casamagnaThe pools are heated just right, and the largest hot tub in Cancun (accommodates 30 people at a time), so there’s no problem finding a spot. Pool chairs and loungers are always plentiful, even during high occupancy, and a tiki hut assures plenty of convenience and shade for those who have had enough of ‘ole Sol. Go catatonic with a poolside massage.

Marriott CasaMagna is a kid friendly hotel (they even have their own pool), and you’ll see exuberant youngsters everywhere, yelling and screaming and having a ball. All of the floors are marble so the sound does travel.

Mexico has recently passed laws making it more difficult to use US dollars. There are now limits to what you can exchange and they have to make a copy of your passport. By using a credit card at Marriott CasaMagna, you can avoid a lot of hassle changing money.

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