We love to travel and usually travel internationally with our girls at least twice a year. These days with the pandemic, I have been doing more #armchair travel and reminiscing about past trips. Today’s post is about a family vacation at the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun.
Mexico is a favorite family destination, and we have stayed at the Club Med in Ixtapa and Cancun as well as the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun. Today, I am sharing our review of the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun, Mexico where we enjoyed a fabulous Spring break.
Why did we choose Cancun?
Our East Coast winters are tough….full of snow and ice. So, come April we are looking for guaranteed weather. Sunshine please. I have never had anything but spectacular, sunny weather in Mexico so we checked that box!
Second, Cancun is an easy trip from the East Coast. We leave out of New York airports typically, and you can get a direct flight to Cancun. So nice! We flew Jet Blue which on the way down was super easy, and we left New York in the morning and were at the hotel for a delicious, buffet lunch. The Cancun hotel district (where the Hard Rock is located) is about 15 minutes from the airport. Super convenient which is great for a one week vacation where you want to maximize your stay and not be traveling too much.
Why did we choose the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun?
We had stayed at the Hard Rock in Universal (Orland, Florida) (highly recommend). The food was delicious (we had chosen their club level for “free” h’ors d’oeuvres). They also have a nice points program.
For Cancun, we chose the all inclusive option at the Hard Rock hotel. Mr SB and I do not like to pay for every meal, drink and excursion when on vacation. So having it prepaid and knowing it met our budget was worth it as it relieves that constant nagging feeling and risk of over spending. It was also a great value. Pictures of the ocean and hotel did not hurt either…
So let’s get to the good stuff. What is it like to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel, Cancun?
First, there is never a dull moment. With two teen daughters we were looking for a place on the beach where there was always something to do and with an entertaining atmosphere. Let’s just say the HRHC has that in spades.
Ambience and Decor
The lobbies are decorated in the classic Hard Rock style of posters and memorabilia from famous bands and musicians. The activity is non stop. From the games in or beside the pool to the bands that play all day long to entertainment – magic shows, comediens etc. at night. If you want a quiet hotel this is probably not for you. With two teen girls – it was perfect.
The hotel has 601 rooms with a gorgeous location right on the ocean and the main beach in Cancun. One drawback – the exterior is a typical high rise hotel. This construction makes for some beautiful views but the exterior of the building is not that charming. For us this was not an issue as the gardens, pools, terraces and interior are lovely.
A Room with a View
Rooms face the bay or the ocean. I recommend the ocean view. It was worth the upgrade. Make sure you specify this when you reserve and that it is included in your deal. We did have some issues upon arrival with the “fine print.” The hotel staff graciously figured this out for us, and we had a spectacular view of the ocean with a balcony perfect for reading. There is also an opportunity for club level rooms which have their own pool. We opted for the regular (non club) room, and that level suited our needs perfectly. We actually enjoyed the constant pool activity.
The room was well appointed. The one drawback was a large jacuzzi tub which maybe some guests enjoy. We preferred to use the whirlpools by the pool, and the one in the room just took up space. The fridge was well stocked with complimentary rum and other alcohol. We also found that unnecessary but well – Cancun is a party town so depending on your tastes maybe that works for you.
Beach, Pool and Amenities
First the beach is spectacular as my photos show. White sand and clear blue water. On a windy day it can get rough so we did not swim too far out when there was a strong breeze.
There is also a gorgeous infinity pool pictured above with ocean views and two swim-up bars where I can assure you Mr. SB and I enjoyed a few mojitos and pina coladas.
The girls and I also enjoyed the spa – very reasonably priced manicures and pedicures. Mr. SB and I even had massages. All wonderful.
The gym is beautiful – two floors outfitted with weights, Peloton bikes and more – and if you like there are fitness classes.
Dining and Restaurant Reviews
Ok now let’s get to the good stuff. Food. The food was delicious and with six restaurants there is a choice of Italian, Mexican, Japanese, South American (Churrascaria) and a buffet that serves all kinds of foods.
If you have picky eaters there was always pasta, fries, pizza and other items you would typically find on an American kids menu. Also, while sometimes travelers (Americans) can fall ill while visiting Mexico as they are not used to the water – we have never had an issue in Cancun or at the Hard Rock. They are used to travelers from all over the world and take the necessary precautions on site.
The breakfast area has an all you can eat buffet with smoothies (my favorite was the mango), American and Mexican breakfast items, and an omelet and pancake/waffle station. We love smoked salmon and that was a daily treat included on the buffet. The fresh fruit is amazing. With Mexico’s sunny climate you can count on mangos, watermelon, pineapple, melon and more.
Every day at the pool there are grills with delicious, fresh fish/meat, vegetables and more. They also served woodfired pizzas all day long.
We loved every restaurant and had difficulty choosing which one to go to each night.
Zen – Sushi and Hibachi
Since we adore Asian food, Zen was a top choice. You can get hibachi or sushi. The space is a large and with the murals and hibachi chefs it makes for an entertaining evening.
Ipanema – South American Steakhouse (Churrascaria)
Ipanema, the Brazilian churrascaria, was also delicious. All kinds of meat, poultry and seafood which they bring to your table to slice as well as an extravagant salad bar. The restaurant also looks out on the pool and ocean so if you sit in just the right spot the view is beautiful.
Frida – Upscale Mexican
Frida, the Mexican restaurant, has a fantastic decor and is actually outside (but covered). With low lighting and local Mexican art it really sets the mood. The food was super fresh and delicious (and if you have not had really good Mexican food you are in for a treat…this is a far cry from Mexican fast food commonly found and thought to be “Mexican food” in the States).
Ciao – Elegant Italian Cuisine
Ciao, the Italian restaurant, is beautiful and has an upscale feel with neutral walls and rich, heavy drapes. The food is classic, upscale Italian and like the other restaurants – fresh and delicious.
Each restaurant was so different in terms of food and ambience that it was almost like leaving the hotel to go to a new place each night (but without the hassle!).
You may want to reserve even before you arrive if you have preferences.
Service at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
Everyone was so nice at the hotel. We had a favorite bartender who made delicious mojitos (both virgin and with alcohol). Service at meals was attentive and friendly. Our room was kept clean and tidy. I do recommend you make sure you put the door hanger out so the staff knows when it is free to clean. The women in the spa were lovely. My one negative was that the manicurist did not seem to know how to do a professional manicure. Nice enough for the price but an area for improvement. However massages were delightful and well priced.
What is there to do at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun?
Well that is up to you. We opted to stay at the hotel enjoying the pool and beach to read and relax with occasional, long walks down the beach. The pool always has activity – games, dancing, bands…
There are numerous excursions available from the hotel. Mexico has a rich cultural heritage. You can take a full-day to the Maya ruins at Chichén Itzá (admission not included in the all inclusive pricing), the Ik Kil cenote, and Valladolid. If play is more your thing then there was a trip to a local water park.
You can also fish, sail and enjoy numerous other water sports. The hotel also has access to a golf course. In my opinion it was a bit hot to play golf but if you are an avid player or visiting when the temperature is more moderate, it is available.
Have you stayed at a Hard Rock Hotel? Have you visited Cancun? Please leave your comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts!