Boulevard Kukulkan 12, Zona Hotelera, Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
To preface this review, I will say that we chose to go to Cancun fully of our own volition. Its reputation precedes it. And we knew that going in. However we were spending 6 days in Tulum, known for being Eco-chic, solar-powered and yoga-centric. We feared we may want a transition to civilization prior to our return to NYC. That said, Expedia air-fare/hotel combos are easy to come by for Cancun and nil in Tulum. We rather liked the idea of 6 nights in Tulum and ending our trip in Cancun. We did exhaustive research choosing Mezzanine, our Tulum hotel destination, however we made short order of picking our Cancun spot, Me. While this spot may not be for us, it is certainly for many, so read on. There are pluses and minuses.
Me Hotels by Melia are an International Hotel chain not found in the US. They bill themselves as South Beach Chic which sounded great. The hotel itself is stunningly appointed and quite sophisticated looking. I recalled from a visit 25 years prior that the water in Cancun was gorgeous clear turquoise. We couldn’t really mess this up, we thought.
There were hundreds of reviews on Trip Advisor ranging from downright irate to positively glowing. The place is all-inclusive, which is not something we’ve ever done. Many complained it wasn’t really all inclusive. OK with us. There were four what they called ‘Ala Carte’ restaurants on site which we assumed meant you had to pay. Each had a more lovely decor than the next. There was Beach House and The Water Grill, both located on the beach, Salt and Silk indoors as well as an array of bars and a poolside grill which seemed to be included. Great, we don’t want the buffet or the poolside grill, we go ala carte, right? Perfect.
When we arrived at the hotel we were stunned by the gorgeous lobby. It was like arriving in Vegas post-Tulum, but it looked pretty damned upscale.
The check in line was HUGE, as we arrived right at 3. We were at the end of the line and had to wait for our room. Uh oh. We wandered around searching for a bar wearing our hip ‘bracelets’ which define your class level, such as it is, within Me. It you pay for VIP privileges, you get a special colored bracelet. Those not in what they called ‘The Level’, had green. We were uncomfortable walking around with our stuff, so we plopped down in the lobby and waited until 4. Our room was ready.
Our Ocean View room was even more amazing than we expected. Redemption. The view was off the rails and decor nicely done.
Hmmm, why were there complimentary ear plugs on our bedside tables? Steve had read that the ‘Rose Bar’ could get a bit loud at night, but we were on the 7th floor.
Hmmm. Red flags were posted indicating swimming was prohibited because of riptides. The water looked rough. Still gorgeous though. Note the season you go to Cancun. You don’t want to be prohibited from swimming. April 1 is the tail end of ‘in season’.
So we decide to go for a long walk on the beach. After 15 minutes we turned back. The beach was so slanted we had to walk up in the dry sand. It made for a rough walk. Bummer. Back to Me for a cocktail?
We plopped ourselves on a round bed on the beach and waited for a waitress. In about 10 minutes we had service. How does this work? Everything but top shelf is included. Ok. Free drinks. Fab. We had two Rum Punches on the beach, then transitioned to the outer area of the Rose Bar for a Tecate. Stunning decor and all outdoor/bathing suit friendly. Cool.
We sat next to a couple from Philly and started up a conversation. They reminded us that reservations for dinner must be made prior to 6 or…what? You’re SOL? Weird. But who cares, right? It was after 6 and we were cool with going elsewhere. Our driver from Tulum recommended a local Mexican spot, La Distilleria. So we went to our room, showered up and out we went for Mexican. Fun. It was a tad cheesy with a wandering Mariachi band, but we enjoyed it. The food, while not gourmet, was very solid. And they had quite an array of tequila cocktails.
We were tired. It was long day with the travel and we’d spent the morning enjoying our last few hours of Tulum beach time before having a final lunch at Mezzanine Restaurant. We kind of figured it would be our last amazing food. At 10pm I laid down my head and was out like a light despite some pretty heavy bass going on outside. I was awakened only twice. Once at 4am and once at 5 by drunk people yelling in the hallways. Idiots. Steve was up all night. He tried the ear plugs but to no avail. The room actually shook from the music.
We are early risers. Our plan, try the buffet breakfast at 7:30, then go to our pre-rented ‘Bali-Bed’. This was an Expedia perk. We got $25 off a covered thatched roof bed. We paid $15 for the day, which was well worth it.
The beach and ‘adult pools’ were booked, but we were cool with the giant poolside. Success, the buffet was empty as the drunks had just gone to bed. We were out at the pool by 8. Alone. We had great waitress service all day and were close to the brick oven/grill.
We ordered up and discovered the food was included. Again, thrilled. We tipped our waitress well for bringing free shit all day and we lounged in the sun, went in the pool, hit the beach. Plenty of security guarded our belongings and our area was very empty and mellow.
We discovered on the beach that there was a massive all day DJ beach party and all of those cabanas were party central. Yikes. By 6pm the crowd had lessened to only a few hundred people! We had an 8pm reservation at the Beach House right nearby and prayed the thumping DJ beat would subside.
Lucky for us, at 8pm the party shuts down. Apparently those who are still standing shower and ready themselves for the All Night Dance Party. The restaurant was quiet with stunning views of the water.
It ended there. Holy crap was the food bad. Steve had what we think were frozen enchiladas and I had some sort of nasty seafood covered with watery tomato sauce. It’s been a long time since either of us has had something inedible like this. No point covering the appetizers. We feared Montezuma’s revenge on our final night! Our waitress tried to sell us more food and was astonished we didn’t want more. We pull out our pesos which we need to spend at this point. And she says but Sir you are wearing a bracelet! Ok, so the shit food was included. Somehow I can forgive that. After all, what do you expect for nothing? The room rate was fair just for the room without all the drinks or food. We were happy with a little breakfast and a few rum and cokes!
Back to the room to watch the end of ‘Blind Side’ and the news, as we had not seen a TV all week. Man, it was loud out there. As we drifted in an out of sleep all night, we heard the constant thump, thump, thump with intermittent BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM and every now and then hundreds of people singing along at the top of their lungs. The lights flashed, the sun came up, then the hotel staff started putting out the beach chairs at 6am for the whole thing to start again…