When you think of Cancun, what comes to mind? If you said tequila, spring break and crowded beaches, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but there’s much more to this sunny city on the Mayan Riviera than two-for-one margaritas. We’re here to tell you there’s another, quieter side of Cancun just waiting to be explored – one that offers all the rest and relaxation you would expect from a sand and surf vacation – minus the crowds and without the hangover.
We’re sharing our picks for where to stay, eat and chill out for a grownup girl’s getaway to Cancun.
Set up shop at your home away from home, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa. Located on a prime slice of sand in the Hotel Zone of Cancun, this hotel offers laid back luxury, great service, and a killer Cadillac margarita at the lobby bar (they’re strong so sip slowly). Rooms here are large, bright and all come with a private balcony overlooking the beach and three sparkling freeform resort pools below.
Start your girl’s getaway in style and without having to scan the sugar-white sand for enough lounge chairs to accommodate everyone by booking one of the resort’s new Balinese-inspired daybeds by the beach. You can rent them by the day or of half-day and each one comes with water and a fresh fruit plate. They’re big enough to accommodate five or six people and offer shade, some privacy for lounging (and gossiping) and you can order food and drinks right to your daybed.
Thai food in Mexico? We say, why not – especially if it’s authentic and you can enjoy it in an open-air restaurant with Caribbean breezes tickling your skin. Sasi Thai is located next door to the JW Marriott at Casa Magna Cancun Resort and we suggest ordering several items from the extensive menu to share, and don’t leave without trying the coconut martini (as creamy and tropical-tasting as it sounds).
In downtown Cancun is where you’ll find Julia Mia, a Mexican restaurant with a contemporary twist. Food is beautifully presented and creative, full of flavour and the setting is relaxed yet elegant – the kind of place where you want to linger over dessert, or post-dinner drinks before heading back to the hotel
Since no girl’s getaway is complete without some serious souvenir shopping make a point of taking the ferry to Isla Mujeres, a small island off the coast of Cancun and a good spot to scour for jewellery and other fun finds to take home (assuming there’s room in your suitcase). There’s a gorgeous beach here complete with some of the bluest water we’ve ever seen, and being so small, the island is easy to navigate. Refuel before heading back to Cancun with a stop at ultra-cute Mango Café© where there are watermelon mimosas to be had, as well as some seriously amazing green apple guacamole.
If you really want to relax and de-stress, eke out some time on your trip to enjoy the 35,000 square foot Mayan-inspired spa at the JW Marriott, rated one of the top spas in Mexico. The spa is the epitome of understated luxury and offers everything from massages and facials, to body scrubs, wraps, and Ayurvedic treatments. If you can time it right, aim to have everyone in your group book for around the same time so you can all enjoy the spa’s Jacuzzis (one hot and one cold), steam room, spa pool, sauna and relaxation room as a group either before or after your treatments.