This blog post reflects our very different experiences of our ‘luxury resort’ in Cancún, Mexico.
In my head, ‘5-star resort’ means a focus on quality. Nice food, excellent service, comfortable beds, fancy linen and toiletries, and an overall ambience of refined luxury. And peace and quiet.
Not where we just spent the week.
I should have known, given that Cancún is the North American version of the south of Spain. But I booked when sick, in a hurry to get something reserved, Cancún chosen simply because it was the cheapest route to the States from Colombia. I wanted a nice relaxed few days on the beach, where I didn’t have to think about cooking, shopping, and getting around. A real break. We didn’t have the time to really see anything of Mexico, but I wanted a kind of ‘holiday from travelling’ before we hit Trumpland.
The resort we stayed at was most definitely focused more on quantity than quality. It was ‘all-inclusive’ (food and drink included in the room price) and people were clearly determined to get their money’s worth.
Enormous buffets where people piled plate after plate with food that they often left half eaten. The waste was insane. Endless sweet cocktails served to people’s sunbeds from early in the morning. I felt practically slim despite being a UK size 20 and normally embarrassed by my size. Pumping music by the pool. ‘Entertainment staff’ coming round constantly to encourage people to sign up for ‘activities’.
Then there was the sheer inanity of the ‘entertainment’ – people actually volunteered for ritual humiliation, whether it be trying to get an orange into a hoop by swinging a banana tied round your waist, limbo competitions, hamburger eating contests, or surrendering themselves to the instructions of mime artists who got them to do all sorts of humiliating things.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a nice time. The beach was perfect white sand, the sea azure and Caribbean-warm. Lauren loved all the nonsense – she spent most of every day in the kids club, or in the immense multi-level pool, and enjoyed the dance classes and aqua Zumba and quizzes. She made friends. She adored the concept of the buffets, where she could load her plate with whatever she fancied and avoid the bits she didn’t. She also enjoyed the kitsch nightly entertainment – ‘Mexican night’ or ‘Broadway night’ etc.
Maybe I am just a snob.
I managed to find a quiet-ish corner in the shade most days to cuddle up with my kindle, which was all I really needed. They wanted an astronomical 16 dollars a day for internet, so I went offline. We went swimming in the sea, and swimming in the pool after dinner, under the stars.
There were moments of wonderfulness. After a few days though I was happy enough to put that one down to experience and move on – this time to the good old US of A, to see friends we are extremely excited to spend time with after three years apart.