Four-Star Beachfront Resort in the Heart of Cancún’s Hotel Zone
Good meals are usually hard to come by at 3:30 a.m., but for those dancing late into the night at GR Solaris Cancun, a burger and fries are just a phone call away. At this miniature beachfront village of a hotel, situated on a narrow isthmus on the Caribbean Sea, all-inclusive snacks, meals, and alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks are available at all hours of the day. Between the live music, themed dance nights, and watersports in a crystal-blue marina, there’s rarely an idle moment at GR Solaris.
When you’re hungry, head down to one of four restaurants that range from casual buffets to fine dining; eat breakfast at laid-back Cafe Solaris and dine alfresco at the tented Rosmarinus. Downstairs in the oceanfront courtyard, a large, open-air jacuzzi bubbles alongside several swimming pools. Swim-up and poolside bars serve beers and frozen cocktails for sunbathers sprawled out on comfy loungers. Grownups can kick back in an adults-only area, secure in the knowledge that little ones are happily occupied at the Mini Club, replete with jungle gyms, a kids’ pool, and arts and crafts.
As the sun dips below the lagoon, the resort cranks up the volume with theme nights ranging from Mexican dancing to magic acts. For those in search of Cancún’s famous clubs, a shuttle departs nightly to some of the city’s most vibrant hot spots.
The hotel’s air-conditioned deluxe rooms each connect to their own private balcony overlooking the sea, Nichupte Lagoon, or the resort’s tropical gardens.
Cancún: Cool White Sands and Mayan Relics
Located on a barrier island shaped like the number 7, 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 the stretch of sand, and it’s especially popular with surfers.
The stone columns of the 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 day trip, 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.