In preparation for our family trip to Mexico this year, my dad and I spent over 40 hours researching all inclusive hotels and resorts in Mexico. There are endless all inclusive hotels and resorts in Mexico, and settling on just one was no easy task. To start off, we narrowed our search to just the Hotel Zone in Cancun, Mexico. The reason for this was because we had individuals in our family traveling from four different cities and Cancun was by far the easiest option for everyone to fly into. Since we were not sure how long everyone was going to be able to stay, we opted for the Hotel Zone. It’s the easiest to get to and from, being so close to the airport with a lot of transportation options.
The Iberostar Selection Cancun property was our final selection for a variety of reasons, but I’ll start by saying their website is one of the most confusing websites I have come across while researching hotels across the world. The difference between the main resort, the villas and the adults only section (Coral Levels) is not clear at all. I spent hours reading reviews on Trip Advisor and Google and it was never clear what you were getting with which rooms. This review will focus on the Iberostar Selection Cancun and the difference between the room options.
The main reason why we picked the Iberostar Selection Cancun was because of the price, overall size of the resort and the room options.
The price and overall size of the resort were a perfect match for what our family was looking for in a family vacation to Mexico. We are all adults, but we wanted somewhere that was fun and not just all couples. The size of the Iberostar was perfect since they had a massive pool, a super large beach, tons of dining options, shows each night and some great bars. Digging deep online we found that they also had a really large kids pool, a kids camp and lots of kids activities. While we had no children in our group, the option of all the different child-friendly activities allowed the kids to be less in the main areas with everyone else.
We had an incredible stay here at the Iberostar Selection Cancun. From the moment you walk in the staff is super friendly, to helping you with whatever you might need assistance with. There are little things that might bother you such as small amounts of rain water coming through the patio door during a large storm, the AC being really loud, or the sink faucet leaking, but it’s all about the pool, beach and weather and you have to remember this isn’t a $1,000 per night resort.
This was the most challenging component to figure our throughout our research, but I am going to try and keep this as simple as possible for you.
The main resort has access to the main buffet, the Mexican buffet and the four reservation restaurants. You have access to the main pool area, the food truck and the very large main beach area. You will have a towel card for towels to obtain from the towel huts. The all access alcohol I would say is bottom to mid-range alcohol.
We stayed in the Star Prestige Villas with the ocean front views and were extremely pleased with the views, the room and the perks we received by paying a bit more. The non ocean from villas are nice as well and they look out onto two private pools that are smaller shared pools; you’re only supposed to be allowed in those pools if you’re staying in the Star Prestige rooms. The ocean front villas overlook the beach and are on the second floor of the villas.
The first floor of the villas have the private plunge pools and balcony that comes out to the beach. I think the private pool would be really nice if you are going during peak season, but they are not actually very private. There is a small divider between the shallow areas of the pools, but the deeper part is shared among all the villas on the first floor. You can also access them just by walking off the beach or by looking down if you are staying on the second floor, which is kind of odd and less private. I’m sure it would have been a nicer experience for guests staying in those if there was some more privacy.
Star Prestige also gives you access to top shelf liquor and a private beach area. The Star Prestige lounge has top shelf liquor for guests in addition to snacks that are the same as what you’re find elsewhere. With a larger group, it was nice to have a place that was a little more exclusive to hang out in before meals. This is the only area inside the hotel where you can get top shelf liquor.
The Star Prestige private beach and beach bar was really the biggest advantage of staying in a Star Prestige room. The private beach bar has a massive shared area with very nice chairs and tables for relaxing when you come off the beach. The private beach area had cabanas that you did not have to pay for and private beach area was relatively calm compared to the main area with people coming and going more frequently. This bar had the only place outside where you could access the top shelf liquor.
Coral Level (adults only building)
Coral Level was the adults only building which I believe had their own buffet option and their own private pool with a bar. If you’re looking for an adult only option with access to everything else, then this would be a great place to stay! We didn’t explore the building much, but it seemed to strike a good balance between having everything a larger all inclusive resort offers and then also not having children around. When we were looking the price difference wasn’t took much less expensive than Secrets for example which is a full resort that is adults only.
If you’re going to be with a larger group and looking for exclusive options, then staying in the Villas provides a nice balance to having some access to secluded areas while not have to be in the adult only section. The adults only option does allow you to have access to everything else across the resort besides the Star Prestige areas mentioned above.
There are two main buffets at the resort. The main buffet for all meals and then the Mexican buffet that is right along the beach. The main buffet was very impressive for an all inclusive resort. They even had a brick oven for pizza that was better than some places in NYC (just ask them to reheat the pizza for you in the brick over to get it extra crispy). The fruit tasted fresh and the options did rotate through for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so there was some variety throughout the day. The staff here were also amazing, clearing plates and bringing drinks as needed. For breakfast they even have omelette stations which we definitely took advantage of each morning.
The Mexican buffet is right along the beach and, you guessed it, they have Mexican food which was a nice option if you were at the beach or pool and you wanted to mix it up a bit. There was a grill on the far side, so they could cook you fresh tacos. Both buffets had nice salad bars and nice dessert options.
I think my favorite food option was the awesome ‘food truck’ between the pool and the beach that was serving food all day long for grab and go options! We ate some fries and nachos at least once a day since it was so easy to grab them while you’re in that areas.
The properly also has four restaurants where you need to make reservation. With a large family, we made the reservations right when we arrived and, between all of us, tried most things at each of the restaurants.
The following is a quick summary of each of the restaurants and what we would recommend ordering.
The French Bistro was one of our favorite restaurants with the salmon being our recommended dish here.
The American restaurant has a lot of great fried food option, since well, it’s America. The fried onion was top notch and the potato pizza, which is just fries with cheese, is also a great app.
The Steak House was fairly solid as well. They have a nice starter buffet and then the meat is nicely grilled to order you specify.
The Hibachi Restaurant had good intensions, but fell a bit short since it seemed like our cook was a bit newer. It was fun regardless though!
Here is my general caveat about the food: you have to curb your expectations and just be okay with the fact that some things will be good, others will be mediocre and others won’t be good at all. Living in Chicago, I also am constantly reminded of how spoiled we are with food when I travel to anywhere else, but overall we thought the food was good. For an all inclusive resort, they had a lot of options, the staff was great and it tasted good!
The pool itself is massive, with a ton of different areas to be by so you never felt like you were just sitting in one place the entire time. The infinity aspect is really nice since it gives you a ledge and area to hangout while watching the ocean and palm trees. The pool bar was fantastic with really friendly bartenders who were working super hard all day long! There are two hot tubs around the pool as well which is nice when it gets a bit chillier later in the day.
The best part of the pool was this shallow area on the far side where we hung out a lot since we could just lay there with about a foot of water and relax…heading to the pool bar when we needed more drinks. There were a lot of activities in the pool area that were really fun. One day there was even a giant foam party in the ‘sports pool area’ that was a blast. We even did water aerobics one day and I’ve never seen an instructor with more enthusiasm than Mitch! I highly recommend embracing the fun and the activities that they put on, it makes the day much more enjoyable!
As for the beach area, it was very impressive, expansive beach that we had access to through the resort. It’s a very wide resort which provided endless beach front areas for relaxing and swimming. We went for a couple of walks and even a run one of the days! The lifeguards are attentive which is nice, especially if you are with younger kids. The waves were light with a bit of an undercurrent, so as with any ocean you just have to remain alert.
Mentioned above, but the Star Prestige private beach and bar area is fantastic and makes that package ever more worth it! There is an entirely separate pool area in front of the Coral Level adults only part of the hotel with it’s own beach area as well.
We went towards the end of hurricane season, in the middle of October. I think got really lucky with weather. The weather also comes and goes fairly quickly. Every day was hot and humid with some cloud coverage and the occasional rain. When it rained, it rained hard and then would clear up fairly quickly. We based our trip around when the best time was for our family to go and tried to keep weather in mind, but it was also nice not being there during the peak season.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly or leave a comment!