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Julie and I just returned from our four-night stay with Hyatt at their all-inclusive Zilara property on the northern end of the Zona Hotelera, and we were blown away by our stay. What follows is an in-depth analysis of the property. If you're here because you're researching the best use of your two free nights from the Hyatt credit card by Chase, then I hope you need to look no further! Julie and I combined both of our two free nights into one reservation of four nights and couldn't be happier with our choice. The free night certificates represent a phenomenal value as it stands already, but redeeming them for an all-inclusive property such as the Zilara can help you squeeze out even more value!
The Location - 10/10
The Hyatt Zilara Cancún is located in the prime part of the Zona Hotelera and features a private beach with cabanas, a beach-front bar, and pristine water and sand. What many people don't realize about Cancún is that there are two sides to the Zona Hotelera; the ocean side and the lagoon-facing side. While the oceanfront properties enjoy marvelous views and fantastic beaches, the lagoon facing side has murky brown water and dismal "beaches." While there are water activities to do on the lagoon side such as ski-dooing or kayaking, it is nothing in comparison to the rich, azure ocean views and activities on the ocean side. While we were staying at the Zilara, we never found ourselves far from anything and all forms of activities were easily accessible via vendors on the beach or through excursion companies who operated in the lobbies of various hotels nearby. The public buses are cheap (10 pesos each way when we were there) and major commercial centers were all within walking distance. We did shell out 1,500 Pesos per person for a parasailing experience and had no trouble finding a fairly priced vendor. Speaking with other hotel guests yielded the same experience: If you find yourself wanting an excursion or specific activity, shop around until you find a fair price!
The Property - 9.5/10
The hotel never left us disappointed as anything we wanted was easily accessible. The beach is a stone's throw away from the pool and the waiters constantly patrol the beach and the pool to take drink orders, bring or collect towels, and provide recommendations on activities. What we really enjoyed about the resort was the spa. There are additional services such as massages available for charge, but the complimentary aspects of the spa alone were out of this world! There are multiple pools of various temperatures, a sauna, a steam room, a cold dip, and recliners with complimentary fruit and water available nearby so you can relax and re-hydrate between spa sessions. Between the multiple restaurants, the pool, the spa, and the beach, we never found ourselves bored or needing to leave the area surrounding the hotel for some action. We did bus around a bit to do some window shopping and visit some nightclubs, but one could easily while away the day with a cold drink in their hand on the sandy beach in front of the Zilara and be more than happy. The property was built in 2007 and shows absolutely no signs of age or wear from what I could tell. The staff keep every aspect of the resort in tip-top shape and they make sure it is very clean and well-kept at all times. The one qualm I have, being a taller-than-average person, is that many doorways in the hotel do not seem to accommodate tall people very well. As a 6'3" chap I found myself ducking into doorways or bumping my head far too often. Not a deal breaker by any means but definitely an annoyance.
The Room - 10/10
I received a complimentary upgrade to a higher floor thanks to my Discoverist status with Hyatt. The room itself was the same as any of the other standard rooms but the improved view was definitely enjoyable. The room had a complimentary mini-bar and fully stocked mini-fridge which was replenished twice a day by housekeeping with all sorts of beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike such as juices, waters, iced tea, etc.) What really made the room shine was the amazing view of the ocean and the 24-hour complimentary room service. While the room service menu differed slightly from what was available at the restaurants directly the choices were still widespread and all delicious. Being able to have a night out at one of the many nightclubs in Cancún and return to the hotel and eat delicious food in the comfort of your own room at 2:00 a.m. for no cost is truly an experience!
Quality of Service 9/10
The service we received from almost every staff member we interacted with was simply phenomenal. Every restaurant on the property is free of additional charge with the all-inclusive package, and while some restaurants require reservations ahead of time such as the Teppanyaki/Japanese cuisine restaurant, Asiana, and the upscale, fine dining experience Chef's Plate, we had no issue securing reservations by speaking to the Concierge. Regardless of if we were enjoying a casual buffet or if we were wining and dining at Chef's Plate we received the same, outstanding service everywhere we went. The staff is friendly and will do everything they can to make your stay enjoyable. You will receive this service everywhere you go, from the poolside waiters who watch from afar and always pop in and ask that magical question we all love to hear, "Would you like another drink?" right as you are taking the last sips of your beverage in your cabana, to the wait staff at Chef's Plate who swiftly clear your plates and place down the next course before asking if you'd like another glass of wine. The service is great all-around and every employee seemed to be both skilled and happy with their job with the exception of one waiter at Asiana who seemed confused when Julie, who is Japanese, expressed her bewilderment why there was soy sauce drizzled all over her sashimi (something that is never done in traditional Japanese cuisine.) Julie is mildly allergic to soy and asked for a new plate without soy sauce, to which the waiter replied "That's how it is made" even though we could see the sushi chef preparing the dishes from scratch. I hardly think it is impossible not to put soy sauce. I would chalk this up to cultural differences more so than poor service since all of the staff at Asiana seemed out of their element. They did not seem to be familiar with Japanese culinary tradition or style, and all the dishes made you raise your eyebrows if you were even slightly familiar with Japanese cuisine or customs. Soy sauce drizzled over essentially everything ranging from sushi and sashimi to rice that comes pre-doused in soy sauce or tuna steak sitting in a pool of salty soy sauce was the norm at Asiana. While it was disappointing it was luckily the only hiccup in our stay and arguably the only bad thing I can think to say in regards to the food.
The Food - 9/10
The food at Asiana was so-so, not good, not bad, and I was genuinely surprised that Asiana in particular was sub-par in comparison to the other restaurants on-site considering the Zilara Cancún is a popular destination for Japanese honeymooners. We ate there twice, once for lunch and once for dinner, and while the Teppanyaki was fun due to the show aspect of it, the food was still unfortunately over-salted to the utmost degree due to the over-use of soy sauce on everything. I believe the staff were trained that using soy sauce magically makes a dish "Asian" and so they use it on everything even when unnecessary or when it makes no sense to do so.
That being said, the other restaurants were fantastic! There are a total of six full-service restaurants on-site, a coffee shop, and a 24-hour self-service lounge with assorted snacks and drinks.
We had a chance to try each restaurant at least twice, with the exception of Chef's Plate which we ate at once.
- Asiana - Oriental Cuisine, Sushi Bar, & Teppanyaki. (Teppanyaki is for Dinner only) [Reservation Required for Dinner]
- Chef's Plate - Signature Cuisine with seven-course gourmet set menu. (Two seatings at 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM) [Reservation Required]
- La Adelita - Mexican Traditional Cantina.
- Maria Marie - Mexican Gourmet Cuisine.
- Pelicanos - Ocean View Restaurant Serving Carribean Cuisine.
- Spice - International Gourmet Buffet.
The food at every location, except Asiana, was fantastic. There was something for everybody at each of the restaurants, and you could see the attention to detail paid by the chefs to each dish. Even the pickiest of eaters would find something to enjoy at each restaurant. We found ourselves eating at Pelicanos the most to enjoy the ocean view while drinking margaritas and enjoying appetizers. The buffalo wings alone were something worth coming back for, but the array of tacos they had were what had us dining at Pelicanos the most.
The Hyatt Zilara Cancún was truly a stay to remember and we would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those looking to get the best value out of their free night certificates from the Hyatt credit card. While the prices can become a tad absurd in peak travel seasons, such as spring break, the property still maintains a very fair price during the rest of the year. Many people don't know that you are able to book the Zilara properties using points by calling the World of Hyatt reservation number, which is exactly what we did! Whether you are redeeming points or free night certificates, it will require a quick chat with a World of Hyatt representative. When I spoke with them over the phone to book all four nights, the representative was prompt, professional, and knowledgeable so I was able to call, book my nights, and hang up within 10 minutes. The point redemption chart for the Zilara/Ziva hotels can be seen here: World of Hyatt Free Nights & Upgrades. Definitely consider the Hyatt Zilara Cancún on your next trip to Cancún and absolutely consider this lovely property for your free night certificates or point stays to get a truly phenomenal value.
These comments and testimony are in no way sponsored or affiliated with Hyatt, World of Hyatt, or Hyatt Zilara Cancún. These comments and testimony solely reflect our personal experience and recommendations.