4-Star Beachfront Hotel with Elegant Mediterranean Decor
GR Caribe By Solaris was modeled on elaborate palaces. Arched windows overlaid with intricate ironwork are cut into white stucco walls, and colonnaded porticos lead to open-air courtyards such as the Plaza Zeferino, an extension of the lobby bar. Though the Mediterranean-style retreat is located in the heart of Cancún’s spring-break-friendly hotel zone, its decor is elegant, its mood serene.
Which is not to say the resort is stuffy: it keeps guests busy with dance classes, magic shows, and a private marina stocked with kayaks, paddleboats, and windsurfing equipment. A supervised kids' club at the GR Caribe's sister hotel—the Royal Solaris Cancun located just next door—entertains youngsters with a mini water park, outdoor games, and craft projects.
For grownups, there are two onsite bars and a pair of outdoor hot tubs overlooking the ocean. Cap off the day with a romantic Italian or French dinner and views of a secluded lagoon at Veneto, one of the hotel's three restaurants. With this getaway, you'll also be treated to a special lobster dinner for two.
Cancún: Cool White Sands and Mayan Relics
Located on a barrier island shaped like the number seven, Cancún's Hotel Zone juts into the Caribbean Sea at the northeast tip of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. With the sea on one side and freshwater lagoons on the other, it's a popular spot for sailing and snorkeling. Although the beaches and barrier reefs are a major draw, the geography is equally enticing further inland, where you can dive into an underground river or take a speedboat through a mangrove jungle.
Cancún pulls in millions of visitors each year, so escaping the crowds and the party atmosphere isn't always easy, but a visit to Playa Delfines offers a chance for sunbathing in relative seclusion. Resorts have yet to encroach upon this stretch of sand, and it's especially popular with surfers.
The stone columns of El Rey Ruins, an ancient Mayan site dating back to the second and third centuries BCE, lie within the city’s Hotel Zone. Believed to be a royal burial ground, the archaeological site is also home to wild iguanas that lounge in the sun and read Tom Clancy novels. For a Mayan-themed daytrip, take a 1.5-hour drive from Cancún down the coast to Tulum, a pre-Columbian walled city located on a bluff overlooking the sea—one of the Yucatán Peninsula's most visited Mayan ruins. The Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, is only a 2.5-hour drive from Cancún.