Even as luxury resorts housed in stealth, futuristic structures continue to reshape Cancún, Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach remains a stalwart favorite among travelers not only from the United States and Canada, but from Japan, China, Great Britain and other countries. It is possible some regular visitors, particularly those in multigenerational groups, appreciate the familiar surroundings; near-flawless service; and high-quality, all-inclusive packages they can count on year after year. Young couples and friend groups may gravitate toward it because of its location at the hub of Zona Hotelera and next-door access to ferries going to and from Isla Mujeres and other off-shore destinations (weather permitting).
I experienced the hotel’s recently-inaugurated Infinite Luxury by Grand Fiesta Americana elite all-inclusive package that identifies itself as “luxury with no limits.” Before being squired upstairs to the 11th-floor V.I.P. area (now called The Infinite Lounge) for check-in, I glanced at the ceiling and realized I had seen that distinctive stained glass skylight before. I had the same feeling when grabbing breakfast at Viña del Mar, the all-day buffet open to all guests, the next morning.
Although many of the aesthetic hallmarks that defined luxury in 1990 (the hotel’s opening date) are still in place, there’s a lot there that makes this Fiesta worth a fresh look. The 600-plus guestrooms and suites were still poised to undergo updates and improvements. However, they were appealingly large, airy, well-appointed and regularly stocked with cold drinks, snacks and amenities. Upgrades around the resort, meanwhile, have been or are being executed in a slow, intentional way, starting with specific
areas of the hotel. Three high-end restaurants occupying a former ground-level shopping colonnade (Chianti-Il Consorzio, Torii – The Pacific Rim and Havanna Club Steakhouse + Latin Lounge) were introduced this past fall along with a new cocktail program led by mixologist Alejandro Moo, whose creations for each restaurant are perfectly balanced and beautiful.
The adults-only Infinite Beach Club is a stylish and quiet space with its own pool and well-maintained beachfront, as well as its own dedicated food and beverage menu. While an expanded menu of on- and off-property activities and excursions integrated into the all-inclusive proposition keep adults busy, The Coral KidZ Club, re-imagined as a state-of-the-art $2 million, 40,000-square-foot expansion of the original kids area, has variety of spaces and activities specific to different age groups.
Even with all of the recently introduced improvements, the resort’s crown jewel — and the undisputed highlight — is its 40,000-square-foot Gem Spa. The multilevel space sparkles thanks to the artful use of rich woods, Italian mosaics, sand marble and dramatic water features adding up to a singular spa experience that steers clear of familiar Eastern or Western spa cliches. This frees one up to savor the dramatic 10-Step Hydrotherapy Ritual, offered as a perk for top-tier Infinite guests and complementary add-ons for those indulging in one of the many imaginative body treatments (such as the Mayan Princess and Mayan Prince), massages and facials as wonderfully thought-out as the best dishes served at the new restaurants.
And speaking of gems, La Joya, the property’s cornerstone Mexican restaurant, is an essential dinner experience. Although it lost its ranking as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Cancún when it was absorbed into the all-inclusive property and no longer open to the public, the menu’s contemporary takes on regional cuisines from Oaxaca, Monterrey, Veracruz and other states are truly stellar.
Different mole sauces, seasonings, meal-sized appetizers, handling of fish and seafood and the tamarind margarita alone justify a stay. While this cocktail is available elsewhere on the property, this version is the perfect partner for the various offerings.
While there are an increasing number of attractions in Cancún, from museums to new shopping malls and adventure parks, it’s nice to know Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach’s management has a knack for walking the line between what’s familiar and comfortable and additions and changes that will spice up and shake up what people love about the place.
Blvd. Kukulcan km. 9.5
Punta Cancun, Zona Hotelera
7750 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
tel 52 443 310 8137
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