My husband and I really enjoyed our stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun after we made a last-minute decision to switch our St. Lucia trip to a trip to Cancun instead. We spent 4 nights at the new Hyatt Zilara Cancun all-inclusive resort, and it was hard to leave because the experience was so wonderful. As you can see by the properties’ gleaming reviews on TripAdvisor, we weren’t the only ones that were wowed by the resort!
Rather than a standard review of my own, in this post you’ll find a condensed trip report with 10 tips I think you’ll find useful if you’re planning to take a a trip to the Hyatt Zilara Cancun soon yourself.
Free Nights Are Possible (and forget about using points to upgrade)
Unless you feel like shelling out up to $700 per night for two adults, you can take a deep breath knowing that free nights are possible. A sensible option is to use the two free night certificates from the Hyatt Credit card, but another option is to redeem 25,000 Hyatt points per night. The 25,000 points per night cover up to two adults per room for an all-inclusive stay. Hyatt points can be acquired via 1:1 transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards programs.
Notice how the chart above gives an option to book a “Suite Night” for 40,000 points a night. Since the Zilara Cancun is an all-suites property, and all of them are ocean-view, I would not recommend spending the extra points for the “upgrade”. As a Hyatt Platinum member, we were given a great room on the 5th floor with fantastic views.
To book a free night at Hyatt Zilara or Hyatt Ziva, you’ll need to call 1-800-228-3360.
Adults Only, but Hyatt Ziva Cancun is an amazing Family-Friendly Option
One thing to consider is that the Hyatt Zilara Cancun is an adults-only property, meaning guests need to be at minimum 16 years of age. We did not get to bring the little man this time around, but it was also nice to have some quality adults-only alone time. The last time my husband and I had an all-inclusive “romantic getaway” together was in December 2009 when we visited a Sandals resort in Jamaica, and both of us agreed that the Hyatt blew Sandals out of the water.
The good news for those who have families is that the Hyatt Ziva Cancun is an amazing family-friendly all-inclusive property.
There are several options to get from CUN international airport to the Hyatt Zilara. Of course the first option (and most expensive) was booking through the hotel itself. The Hyatt Zilara offers airport transfers in a fancy and shiny Lincoln Navigator for $125 round trip.
I personally don’t need to arrive in style, so after much research, I booked a round-trip airport transfer with a tour company called Discovery Mundo for $68. We had a private van that was easy to locate when we arrived (via a sign with my name), and they were also on time at the hotel to take us to the airport to go home. It is a service I definitely would recommend and would use again.
Let’s Talk About Wristband Colors
All-inclusive resorts are characterized by wristbands that let the staff identify who is a guest at the property. When you check into the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, you will be given a wristband of a certain color, to indicate your “status” with Hyatt or association with a vacation club.
Regular guests and standard Hyatt GoldPassport members will be given clear wristbands, while Platinum and Diamond members are given lime green wristbands.I also saw guests wearing white and gold wristbands; I later found out that this meant that they came from a time share or vacation package.
It’s easy to assume that the color of your wristband has an impact on the service you receive at the resort, but we didn’t notice any special treatment at all (or anyone getting denied anything), so I really don’t think the wristbands have much say in how your experience will be on the resort grounds.
Chefs Plate and Restaurant Options
Overall there are 5 restaurants at the resort – Pelicanos (poolside dining), Spice (buffet), Asiana (contemporary Asian food and sushi), Tapas & Pintxos (tapas), and Chef’s Plate (small-group dining that’s only available to guests booked in premium-level suites). There’s also a gourmet coffee bar in the lobby that serves all kinds of speciality drinks and desserts (similar to a Starbucks), along with a 24/7 lounge with entertainment and snacks.
We had a chance to experience all of the above, minus Tapas & Pintxos (we popped in around dinner one night, but I just wasn’t feeling the menu or the vibe at all). The food at Pelicanos was decent, but nothing to write home about. They had a nice menu with plenty of variety ranging from appetizers and salads to sandwiches, wraps, and seafood dishes. The best thing about Pelicanos is that it’s poolside/beachside with some nice views:
Believe it or not, we had the majority of our meals at Spice, the buffet. It was the perfect-size restaurant, and never over- crowded. Menu items changed daily, the choices were plentiful, and the food and presentation always looked nice and fresh. Our favorite meal here was breakfast, and we especially loved the fresh juices and made-to-order omelet stations.
We did have lunch twice at Asiana to check it out (once was for a hibachi cooking class and the other was a sit-down small plates/sushi lunch). The restaurant itself is beautiful and the food presentation was lovely. I heard that the place really gets busy during dinner hours because of the hibachi experience. The food wasn’t spectacular (but good), but I didn’t expect it to be, after all, we were in Mexico, not Tokyo.
On our last night, we dined at Chefs Plate. Mind you, I was booked in a lower-level suite, but I did my research and learned that others had success in reaching out to the hotel’s concierge team and they were able to get a reservation. I figured it didn’t hurt to ask, so I did just that. A few days later, I got a reply saying that they would be willing to give me a reservation. The Chef’s Plate restaurant has two nightly seatings – 6pm and 9pm. Since I feel like I’ve become an old lady, we chose the 6pm seating so that I could be in bed by 9.
When we arrived, we checked in and were brought into the dining room where we sat at a “community table” with about 6 other couples. It was really nice to socialize with the people sitting around us while enjoying dinner. Dinner was a 6-course menu and the plates were prepared adjacent to us so we could see the action. The food was pretty good for what it was, but I especially loved the concept of an “intimate, exclusive dining experience”.
It’s Impossible NOT to be Fit
What could be quite possibly my favorite part of the entire resort is the amount of daily fitness activities they offer. With that being said, as a guest here, it’s impossible NOT to be bit. You can make every excuse in the book, but we looked forward to our daily sunrise yoga class, the bike ride, pilates reformer classes, water aerobics, tennis, and beach volleyball (my husband’s favorite).
Staying fit while away is important to me (especially when you’re eating unlimited portions around the clock!), so the fact that the Zilara has a jam-packed schedule of fitness offerings, really got me excited.
Tipping goes a long way
As I mentioned previously, the service here is outstanding. All of the waitstaff we encountered, the entertainment team, housekeeping, and spa personnel were phenomenal to say the least. They really did go out of their way to make sure they are providing the absolute best service. While tips are not necessarily expected (nor did they give you “pressure vibes”), they were absolutely deserved. With that being said, we made sure we had about $100 cash with us for our trip and we tipped appropriately. The employees were genuinely grateful and some even went the extra mile for us (For example, the pool guy gave us a bottle of complementary sunscreen, cleaned our sunglasses daily, and brought us tons of pool-side snacks after we tipped him $3).
Reserve Your Cabana Early
The pool and resort grounds are beautiful, and if you’re the type that likes to sunbathe by the pool, make sure you wake up and go claim a cabana or chairs early. After 7:30am, it’s a battlefield. Our strategy was to get down by the pool by 7, drop off some towels and magazines at a cabana, and then go do yoga and have breakfast. If you’re a beach bum, the beach cabanas seemed to be available all day.
Spa is Surprisingly Reasonably-Priced… but Mediocre at Best
While away, we always like to treat ourselves to some sort of spa service, but we often never do so at resorts because the prices are astronomical. When I looked at the spa menu at the Zilara Cancun, I was shocked to see how reasonable the prices were for a 5-star resort.
To put it in perspective, my husband and I opted for the couples room where he got a 50-minute deep tissue massage, and I got a deep-cleansing facial (they have a policy against massages for pregnant women). The price on the menu was $99 and $109 respectively, which isn’t outrageous for a resort.
Prior to our treatments, we had access to the spa facility (men and women are separate), where we were able to enjoy the whirlpools, saunas, steam room, etc. When it was time for our appointment we were escorted to our treatment room where we remained side-by-side.
The price was reasonable, but we found the service to be mediocre. My facialist was super polite and professional, but her touch and technique felt amateur. My husband asked for very deep pressure, and told me that it was very light and gentle the whole time and that the massage was just “ok”. I guess YMMV, but good thing the price didn’t scare us away!
On another note, when we checked out, I saw that the spa charges were listed in pesos, so before paying the bill, I did a quick conversion to see if paying in pesos or dollars was a “better deal”. Believe it or not, with the tip included for both services, the total came out to just $177 when I left the charge in pesos! What a nice surprise.
They Do All-Inclusive Right
I know by now I’ve written a novel, but I just want to leave this post off on one note – I am truly impressed with Hyatt’s move into the all-inclusive market. I’ve been to A LOT of all-inclusive properties all around the Caribbean throughout my years and this was simply the best experience I’ve ever had.
I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation (and I’ve even become a “travel snob” to some, hehe).
Have you had a chance to visit the Hyatt Zilara Cancun or any of the other Ziva or Zilara properties yet? If so, what did you think?
Nice review. I think Im gonna book this place now for June for my wife and I. We’ll get there with my newly acquired Southwest CP! Thanks for your write up.
Chris G says
My wife and I had a presidential suite in November. Our experience was truly magnificent. Mr. Escobar was amazing – he took care of all of our room, transportation, and dining needs. The resort is beautiful, but the service is even better. We did the transportation from the airport with Hyatt. It was $104 and seamless. We did the Chef’s table as well. It was our favorite meal and experience. Pelicanos has some amazing chips and guacamole. We spend quite a bit of time in the 24 hour lounge playing ping pong and eating/drinking. What a blast!
I am taking my daughter to the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Jamaica next week for a long weekend. I have seen mixed reviews, so my expectations are tempered.
What was the water like? Was there rocks , sea grass? Or was it nice and soft sand and clear water? Thank you?
The water is beautiful. No rocks that I can remember and they remove all the sea grass every morning so the beaches are extremely well kept!
Thank you so much for the write up. We leave soon for the Zilara and we are going on Hyatt points :) What was the charge to go the Chefs Dinner? It should be busy when we go so i am not expecting a room upgrade but definitely wont complain if we get one ;) Thank you for the helpful tips.
No thank you. As a single traveler, it’s frustrating the points price is the same for one or two people.
You should post on Flyertalk to see if you can find a roommate.
We’re seriously considering an all-inclusive this fall 2015. Can you tell me about non-hotel activities ie heading to town and day trips to historical sites. I can’t sit poolside all day, every day. ;)
Great review, do you remember what time the evening shows where on?
rate for the trip is $73. apparently for a long time
we’ll I just check this but we haven’t change the rates, the round trip to the Hyatt Zilara have always been 73 USD for Round trip
We are so sorry about that if you need any assistant you can email us at support@discoverymundo
Hello! You mention you were able to attend the Chef’s Plate dinner even though you were in a lower level suite. Was there an additional charge or anything?
Hi. I was doing my homework on this resort (hyatt Zilara) and had a quick question for you. What was the water like? was there a lot of rocks in the water, sea grass? I tried to find pictures /videos but everything is mostly from far away.
Amanda H. says
I was really nervous about booking this hotel because this is actually my very first time go on vacation at a resort (always went to visit family in the past). My husband and I had to go to a funeral instead of our honeymoon so we decided to go here for our 10 year anniversary (it’s hard to get away with a 6 year old, a special needs 4 year old, and having to run your own business). We haven’t built up the points, but I saved the money for this trip and I was so nervous about spending the money, but you have completely alleviated any of those fears. If you have any more tips on tipping and how much money to bring for excursions (if we need to pay separately) please let me know. I always like to tip well and take care of those that take care of us. Thank you so much!
Not sure why you would have any fears about booking this resort in the first place. Pretty much every single review site has given nothing but extraordinary feedback.
Thank you so much for the write up Angelina, we are going to hyatt next week ,it is so help, thanks again.
Lacy Worley says
Thank you so much for this beyond helpful review! I think we are going to book this for our upcoming November Honeymoon! I’m trying to decide between the Swim Up King Suite and the Presidential … has anyone stayed in either? I am wondering if it’s worth the extra moolah!
quick question did you tip in US dollars or pesos?
Angelina Aucello says
Us Dollars but I’m sure they would appreciate either
Thanks for the tips! My wife and I are going in a couple of months.
How did you go about booking a seat at The Chef’s Plate. Did you call the concierge when you arrived, or did you call/email them weeks in advance?
Angelina Aucello says
You will really enjoy yourselves! I was able to find the GMs email address over at TripAdvisor and I sent a message a few weeks before arrival asking for a reservation :)
We are booked to go there in August for our 10 year wedding anniversary! thank you for a lovely review we are so excited to go and experience all it has to offer !
Jenny – http://www.ajennysaved.com x
Thank you so much for this review! It has such great detail! This will be our first all inclusive experience and I really debated paying the extra money for this resort, but now I am just excited! We are celebrating our 15th anniversary so I decided to splurge a bit after I saw that the reviews were great. Any suggestions for leaving the resort for excursions or doing any water sports like scuba diving?