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In early December 2022, I had the opportunity to visit the newest Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the Hilton portfolio, the Waldorf Astoria Cancun. I was lucky enough to find standard award availability for 4 nights. The hotel opened only 30 days prior and was definitely shiny and new. A detailed review follows, but my quick take is that this is an absolutely beautiful hotel with above average service for those seeking a relaxing trip (borderline boring) and don’t mind spending borderline absurd amounts of money on good (not great) food and drink. Also, Make sure you attend the margarita making class- it was a fun way to spend an hour and we each got two free margaritas out of the deal.
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This brand new resort’s design is sophisticated, elegant and filled with the natural beauty of the Cancun beach backdrop. Behind the new construction is a pristine outdoor pool and beach creating a serene sanctuary for even the most discerning traveler. One huge perk about the resort’s location is that it’s less than a 15 minute cab ride from the airport.
Checking into the Resort
Upon arrival, the beautiful grand entrance exuded an air of exclusivity. The warm greeting from the dedicated staff and a refreshing welcome margarita immediately evoked feelings of relaxation and indulgence. We promptly sat down at a concierge desk and were checked in. The concierge was careful to explain everything about the resort from the spa specials to the restaurants and the Hilton Honors Diamond benefits. The room was “upgraded” to a preferred view, but honestly- it wasn’t an upgrade, it was just a basic room. I’m not saying the room wasn’t beautiful, it was, I’m only noting that it didn’t feel like an upgrade.
After checking in, we were passed off to the hotel manager to give us a mini tour and bring us to our room. If you enjoy this type of over the top treament, you’ll love the process. For me it was a little much because I like to get to the room and out to the beach as quickly as possible when I get to a beach resort in the middle of the day.
As you can see from the photos, the rooms are gorgeous. I thought it was so cool that there was a full bottle of local tequila waiting for us. The soaking tub is a nice feature that was clean and worked really well. Otherwise the room was pretty basic. The only complaints I had were minor. I didn’t love the fact that the bathroom sort of felt like it was in the room with the beds. There were two sliding doors on both sides of the sink and it just felt like you would have to close both to have some privacy, so it wasn’t ideal. The other thing is that the floors were very slippery, so just be aware. I feel like between the soaking tub and shower there should have been more bath rugs or bath mats around the room to use after you got out.
The service at the restaurants, bars and outdoor areas was nearly perfect. Every time I walked down to the pool area someone greeted me offering a place to sit and a choice of chairs or cabanas. The cabanas are first come, first serve and currently no extra charge, though the hotel manager mentioned they might charge at some point in the future. There was no issue getting a cabana each morning. As for the restaurants, I did feel there was an element of “over service”. I can appreciate staff that stay on top of your needs when dining but there was the additional layer of multiple managers/hosts stopping by the table at every meal, especially at Chaya where we dined each morning for our complimentary Diamond breakfast. If you’re super friendly and not a “not morning person” you’ll be fine, but I’m not dying to make small talk before I’ve had my coffee, so I struggled the last couple of days with one particular manager who sort of stood at the table waiting for us to make conversation. It ended up being kind of funny because it was just a tad awkward when we ran out of things to talk about. Luckily, the food and presentation were incredible so you’ll just have to deal. 🙂
The pool service was awesome and I almost never had an empty drink. One feature that really made the hotel live up to the Waldorf Astoria name was the “freebie guy” as I came to call him. He basically walked around all day handing out free items and services including:
- a variety of drinks- both alcoholic and non
- snacks like fresh fruit dipped in pineapple
- cleaning sunglasses
The general service in the hotel as far as rooms and resort amenities was less amazing but still above average. I was able to text with the concierge and they really seemed to encourage that as the main form of communication which I think most people will appreciate. A few snafus happened that I thought could have been handled better. First, I called for robes and was told they’d be right up, but they never came. Normally I wouldn’t be bothered by that but it happened two days in a row and the second time I let them know that this is a recurring issue and 4 hours later I got a text asking if I still wanted them. Not ideal. The other issue I had was that there was a cheap blow dryer in the room and no way to have a better quality one brought to my room. I generally don’t bring a blow dryer if I’m staying in a luxury hotel because they either have a good one in the room or they’re available on request. I let the concierge know I needed one and they told me it didn’t exist, so I asked if they had any appointments left at the salon for blow dry and they said they didn’t offer that yet. Now I realize not everyone cares about this but for those of us who have long hair, bring your own. Problem solved. In the end, they let me go to the spa to use on of their blow dryers.
Food and Drink
Now on to the most important stuff- the dranks! The drinks here at the Waldorf Astoria Cancun are top notch and probably the highlight of my trip. The pool drink menu had some incredibly creative and unique selections, honestly you can’t go wrong but the Chamomile Gin Tea was my favorite (just to be sure I had one of each.) Something else that was super cool was a free cocktail making class where they taught us how to make Mezcalitas and Margaritas- this is a great way to learn something new and get a few full sized free drinks. The drinks were pricey- $24 before tax and tip. If you ask for a double or a floater- it’s $48. So yes I know, the drinks had better be good for those prices. Thankfully they were. The hotel holds a happy hour get together a few times a week at the Clock and they served a lot of free wine and small bites, which was awesome. If you make friends with the manager or wait staff they’ll also make you a custom drink at Peacock Alley.
The food was less impressive than the drinks. We had excellent breakfasts at Chaya which were included as a Diamond member benefit. The fresh squeezed juices, pastry basket and egg based dishes were awesome. As far as the seafood restaurant, Malpeque, we were disappointed and didn’t really enjoy the food. We ordered all of the suggested items including the seafood tower and honestly would rather have eaten some tacos from the bar. I would go so far as to tell you not to order anything from the raw bar- it looked delicious but lacked flavor. The other area where the food suffered was room service, I don’t recommend it at all. We also had some bar food at Ja’o which was solid and loved the small bites we had at Peacock Alley. To sum it up, if you’re looking for a fancy dinner, you will be disappointed, otherwise, the food is good.