I eased into the warm water and headed to the powerful jets that sprayed water on my shoulders and back, then over to others that massaged my legs. Heavenly.
This Cancun all-inclusive has fabulous dining options, gigantic pool with swim-up bar, multiple dining options and luxury suites overlooking a beautiful beach. But what really elevated this property was the spectacular spa.
The 40,000-square-foot space includes several treatment rooms where I indulged in a purifying massage and a wet area for a 10-step Hydrotherapy Ritual that concluded with a dip in the large Pool of Sensations. Then back into the sunshine.
Where: Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun All Inclusive Spa Resort in Cancun, Mexico
Why You Should Visit: The all-inclusive resort is gorgeous, has a huge pool, fantastic restaurants and one of the most gorgeous spas I ever seen.
What Makes It Special: The GEM Spa, the amazing (and free!) kids’ club and the amenities of the Infinite Club
See related story: Best Luxury Resorts in Mexico for Kids
Accommodations: All Suites, Incredible Ocean Views
I walked, and walked, and walked some more until I made it to room 704. It was at the far end of one side of this massive hotel. But I didn’t mind as there was art on the walls and windows to peek out of.
One morning as I was passing by one of the windows a rainbow caught my eye. I stepped out on a balcony and was able to capture a full rainbow and part of a second one.
The resort has 602 rooms, all suites. I was in the ocean front category, which includes the Infinite Experience. That meant we had a separate check in at the Infinite Club, with additional amenities I’ll get to later.
My room had a separate sitting area, desk, coffeemaker, complimentary snacks, mini fridge, large bathroom with a bathtub and a shower, table and two chairs. I also had a spacious balcony overlooking the pool and the ocean.
While there weren’t a lot of groups while I was there, I was delighted to hear that groups are accommodated in a different section than regular guests so no worries about late-night hospitality rooms or loud gatherings in the halls.
Dining: Volcano Dishes, Dinosaurs Crawling Over My Plate
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach has several dining options. The more casual restaurants don’t require reservations: Vina del Mar has a buffet; Coral Café is a grab and go deli and Tuscany Terrace serves pizza and pasta.
For more elegant dining options, guests have several options and these restaurants do require a reservation: La Joya for Mexican; Tuscany Trattoria for Italian, Le Basilic for French Mediterranean, and Havana Club, a Latin Steak House.
Our first evening was an exquisitely presented six-course dinner at Le Basilic, where each dish was worthy of its own Instagram tag, but the lighting was so dark I opted to just try to enjoy them rather than trying to capture an image. My favorite dish was the seared scallop with zucchini velouté, goat cheese and herbs. C’etait magnifique!
The wines were delicious and I admit to being surprised they had all been produced in Mexico. Our server expertly poured the red wine from a boa wine decanter – I’ve never seen one like it and was fascinated by it. He told us it was Austrian crystal and cost $1,100. I had two thoughts: I wouldn’t ever trust myself to touch one even when sober, and how the heck do you clean it?
There is an additional fee to dine at Le Basilic, but it’s worth it for this elegant experience.
We enjoyed a huge breakfast buffet at Vina del Mar, where I made a beeline for the Mexican dishes as I love chilaquiles for breakfast. A nice touch are the several varieties of freshly squeezed juices that are available.
Although we didn’t have a chance to have dinner at La Joya, we did stop in after dinner for a drink. I loved the stained glass windows, fountain and trees, designed to feel like a courtyard in Mexico. A mariachi band performs there nightly.
One afternoon I lounged on the beach and couldn’t resist ordering some fresh guacamole and a mojito, which made my view of the ocean even more delightful. And is there anything better than lounging by the ocean while someone serves you food you didn’t have to make?
The most amazing dining experience was our last night when we were treated to an interactive dining experience, which included entertainers who sang, danced and acted out songs along with images projected on the walls telling the story of the history of Mexico.
Our meal was served on a custom-made 16-person table, which also doubled as a screen for images projected onto it. Each of the eight courses represented one of the eight time periods of Mexican history from the Maya civilization through the Mexican Colonial era. Boats sailed, fish swam, men canoed and creatures crawled over my plate during the course of the evening.
You’ll Feel Special at the Infinite Club
We all like to feel special, right? Guests in the Master Suites have access to this penthouse level club with amazing views, bar and light snacks.
In addition to club privileges, guests enjoy amenities that include a 30-minute jet ski rental, hydrotherapy treatments for two at Gem Spa, four hours of babysitting, complimentary ferry tickets to Isla Mujeres, and a choice of two personalized resort experiences from a list that includes dinner at Le Basilic or a private cabana dinner.
I headed up to the Infinite Club a few times to enjoy a quiet cocktail and a few nibbles from the food service. There are windows on both sides for incredible views any way you look.
Staying Fit and Feeling Fabulous: The GEM Spa and Fitness Center
After checking in at the spa, I walked up a grand staircase with a cascading waterfall in the center – truly lovely. I had a wonderful massage and because time was running short, opted to come back another day for the hydrotherapy treatment.
Definitely the right choice as this is not an experience you want to rush. A spa attendant guides you to each of 10 stations, instructing you on what to do and how long you’ll stay in each spot. These included some typical spots like a sauna and aromatherapy steam room.
The most unusual station was in a section next to the jacuzzi where you walked on stones back and forth along a submerged path in waist-high water while jets massage your lower legs.
My spa attendant was kind enough to customize my circuit a bit. After I told her I didn’t like cold water, she shortened the time I spent in chillier spots. I can’t imagine she ever saw anyone spend less time in a cold shower or plunge pool.
The experience ends with the Pool of Sensations, a large warm pool with various jets and bubbles for gentle massaging.
I rarely work out on a trip, but do like to check out a fitness room. The Fitness Center at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is quite large with windows overlooking the pool and the ocean.
Other Activities at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun, Stellar Kids Club
In addition to the pool and beach areas, where there are dozens of chairs with umbrellas, guests can kayak, paddle board or jet ski. And you can swim with whale sharks from May to September.
For nighttime entertainment there’s a DJ or a band in the Lobby Lounge and a Latin Club at Havana Club, plus a rotating roster of shows.
Families will love the new updated $2 million 40,000-square foot Coral KidZ Club that has an arts and crafts room, dress-up room, huge gaming room and outdoor play area designed like a Mayan jungle. They host nighttime events two nights a week for children ages 6-12. It’s the best kids club I’ve seen and it’s complimentary.
I thought of suggesting having an adults’ night at the kids club – looked like a blast to me.
Activities Outside the Resort
One day we walked next door to hop on a short 45-minute ferry ride across the Bay of Women to Isla Mujeres. I always love getting out on the water and especially enjoyed getting a better view of our hotel from the water. It’s so large it’s not possible to see if all at once from the beach.
This small island has narrow streets filled with colorful murals, souvenir shops and restaurants. Although the main area is walkable, we rented golf carts to explore a bit more and headed out to see two cemeteries where colorful graves in all shapes crowd each other, some built like small churches or homes.
We were in Mexico during the annual Day of the Dead celebration and learned that November 1 is traditionally the day to honor infants and children who have died while November 2 is the main day for celebrating adults who have passed away.
Passing by large homes, resorts and more modest residences, we headed to Punta Sur on the South End where we sipped on margaritas and I had chicken fajitas at lunch at Acantilado.
I really loved this all-inclusive resort in Cancun and highly recommend it, especially if you’re taking kids along.
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– Jan Schroder, Editor-in-chief