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Rethinking & Remixing the Cancun Vacation

Daybed with our fellow travellers, Julia Rosien and Shayne Benowitz. The view from the room and day bed-side lunch.

Daybeds at the JW Marriott with fellow travellers, Julia Rosien and Shayne Benowitz; Our room view and day bed lunch.

It’s not yet summer and spring is taking her sweet time making a real appearance but you need a vacation that will make you forget emails, texts and Twitter mentions. Whether you’re with the girls or your honey—it doesn’t matter as long as you are in the sun. So don’t be shocked when you hit me for a quick getaway recommendation and I reply ‘Cancun!’

Allow me to explain.

When the opportunity recently arose for me to visit Cancun with some fellow travelistas on a spring vacation getaway, admittedly my first thought was ‘How many drunk teenagers will I have to dodge on the way to my room?’ Ever since the MTV-fueled glory days of Spring Break reality specials, Cancun has unfairly become labeled as a tequila fest for the under 21 set and thus never made it onto Parlour‘s travel list. But after four days in this small semi-island off the coast of Mexico—my mind was completely changed. I was hooked and already looking into a return trip while awaiting the plane ride back home.


With The Girls: The CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort didn’t get its name (translation: Big House) for nothing. With 400 rooms and over 11,000 square feet of event space and one of the grandest pools on the beach, this property is made for group travel. Gratefully, the property isn’t run like a huge factory, the rooms are far from claustrophobic and offer all the expected amenities. If you can, splurge on the ocean-front room for a private view of the ocean around the clock.

The key to any girls trip, especially when it comes to the hotel, is options. Morning room service on your balcony or a Mexican-themed breakfast buffet? Parasailing and jets-skiing, laying on the beach or a quick run in the gym? Cocktail service in the massive hot tub overlooking the beach or swimming up to the bar and grabbing one yourself? Actually do both. Because CasaMagna hosts plenty of groups, there are many services to keep a group of any size stimulated.

Overall, its a fun place to escape when you need to relax but aren’t interested in taking yourself too seriously.

Tip: Try the Cadillac Margarita in the lobby bar and thank me later.

With The Honey: The moment you enter the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, it’s quite clear you are on a property apart from others in the Zona Hotelera of Cancun. It’s a bit quieter, the lobby is a bit smaller, the marble floors and chic decor are a bit nicer—it’s accessible luxe that isn’t stuffy. Unlike the CasaMagna, the JW is more of a tower which means that while it may have almost the same number of rooms as CasaMagna, you feel as if you are on a more intimate property. Rooms are spacious, all with ocean views and bathrooms bigger than most NYC studio apartments—perfect if you two plan on spending more time in the room then normal.

When you do decide to explore, check out the lagoon-designed pool, and the beach which never has a shortage of chairs and shade. But to take your day in the sun up a notch, consider renting a daybed for a half or full day. Overlooking the beach, each space comes with a complimentary chilled fruit assortment and personalized service to pass the time in style.

If you can pull yourself off of the beach, definitely book time at JW’s Mayan inspired spa. Like most luxury spas, their cold and hot pools, sauna and steam rooms are modernized for the latest in self care. But unlike most spas, they have Antonia, one of the smallest women I’ve ever seen, who managed to give me a full body massage that rivaled most New York body practitioners. The spa area is also where you will find their full gym—boasting spin and group workout classes—where you can stay on top of your fitness while taking in an ocean view.

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Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington