My family just returned from a 5 day vacation at Villa Del Palmar resort in Cancun, Mexico, and loved it! It is a family friendly resort, but they do offer adult-only areas. The other areas never felt crowded so it’s enjoyable for both families and couples.
LOCATION OF VILLA DEL PALMAR IN CANCUN, MEXICO
Villa Del Palmar is a 35-45 minute drive from the airport. It is outside of the hotel zone in Cancun, and is probably the farthest resort to visit in the city. Initially, I wasn’t a fan of it being so far, but once I visited the mall in the hotel zone, I enjoyed the feeling of being away from it all. The hotels in the hotel zone are literally next to one another and are in the city. I would imagine depending upon the location of your room, you could expect to hear traffic, ambulances and fire trucks. That alone was enough for me to love the seclusion of our resort as nothing is surrounding it besides trees. The resort offers round trip airport transportation so I booked it with our accommodations. My boyfriend and I did take a taxi to one of the “luxury” malls, Kukulcan, and had dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The quality of the food was comparable to what you’d expect in the US. The customer service impeccable. The taxi driver stayed outside of the mall the entire time so when we were ready to go, there was no waiting. The following day, we had lunch at Fred’s House. which is also in the hotel zone. The seafood was very fresh, and I tried the crab lasagna…it was delicious! Again, taxi driver parked outside and waited the entire time. Both times, we got stuck in traffic returning to the resort and that resulted in an hour drive.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AT VILLA DEL PALMAR
I did a ton of research before deciding on this resort so I really didn’t need much, but the customer service here is ‘top shelf’. The first two days consisted of our concierge calling to ensure our experience was going well. No matter where you are on the premises outside, there are ‘butlers’ that are at your service. This includes all of the pools, outdoor hot tubs beach and bar. Within 10-15 minutes of sitting, we were always asked if we wanted to order drinks, snacks or a meal. I rarely ordered a meal, but I did order fries and wings once. My go-to drinks were the Strawberry Love and Miami Vice. I ordered these pretty regularly when lounging at the pool and beach. The few times I did call guest services, my needs were taken care of within thirty minutes of calling so I’d definitely rate this a 10/10 service.
ROOMS AT VILLA DEL PALMAR
We booked a one bedroom suite. The suite was a little over 1,000 sq foot. This is bigger than many one bedroom apartments in Washington, DC ! Before settling in, we checked the furniture for bed bugs. The suite slept 4 adults. There was a murphy bed in the living room that was super easy to put away during the day. The suite included 2 bathrooms, separate bedroom with a decent size hot tub, dual sinks, closet and a safe. Also, it had a dining room table, large balcony with a full size dining room table and hammock! I kept all of my documentation, cash, sunglasses (when I wasn’t wearing them), AND my cross-body bag inside of the safe. I never carried my bag with me even when I left the resort. My boyfriend picked up an undershirt travel pouch from Target that we put some cash in for outings.
ACTIVITIES AND THINGS TO DO AT VILLA DEL PALMAR
The resort offered a plethora of activities to partake in. There was aqua Zumba, cooking classes, yoga, tequila/wine tastings, beach and pool volleyball to name a few offered on a daily basis. Included in your reservation was snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding for FREE. In DC, you can pay up to $45 per hour to rent this equipment. I spent most of my days lounging on a cabana at the beach or at the adults-only pool. I truly intended to go on a Chichen Itza tour to see the Mayan ruins and pyramid, but the shortest tour was 10 hours. It takes 3-4 hours to get to the site so 6-8 hours is just travel time. I really didn’t want to give up a whole day for our short stay. Next time, I’ll be sure to account for excursions and count them as all-day activities, and stay at least 7 days.
FOOD AT VILLA DEL PALMAR
Villa Del Palmar is an all inclusive resort so I didn’t expect 5 star quality food because they have to account for people with diabetes, allergies and whatever else people may be sensitive to. There are a handful of options for food: restaurants, room service and the beach menu. Zama is kind of the place for lunch besides ordering from the pool/beach areas, and that menu is different and I am glad! We ordered a quesadilla, nachos and soup at Zama. The food was
gross bland, and they didn’t have salt and pepper at the tables. The guacamole for the nachos was so watered down. I’ve have more authentic guacamole in the U.S. We tried Zama our first day, and I was so afraid the rest of the week would end up with me just drinking shakes, but that wasn’t the case! The outdoor menu included burgers, wings,fries and the like, but the food tasted good! For the first two days we ordered breakfast through room service and it was delicious. To sum it up, all the food besides Zama was good. In the evening, one of the restaurants offered a dinner and buffet with a live show. We attended three of the nights: Magic Show, Live Band and the Mexican Heritage Night performance. Surprisingly, most of the food from the buffet was seasoned very well. They had separate stations to order steaks and I think my boyfriend enjoyed it. They also offered a breakfast buffet that included everything you’d expect: omelet station, pancakes, Belgian waffles, sausage bacon, quesadilla station, fruit station and so on. Unless you are vegan , there were many options for anyone to enjoy. I did not drink any of the water. Our fridge was restocked daily with snacks, sodas and Fiji bottled water so I drank that and also used it to brush my teeth. Before the trip,I received a Hepatitis A/B vaccination to reduce the chance of getting sick from the water. No one else got a vaccination and did not get sick so perhaps I over prepared myself.
HOW MUCH CASH DID I TAKE WITH ME?
Before leaving for the trip, I went to my bank to withdrawal $130 in small denominations (10’s, 5’s and (2) 20’s). This was primarily used for tipping. Being an all-inclusive resort, food and drinks were included. Yes, you can use American dollars. I didn’t exchange any of my cash. If I hadn’t left the resort to venture into town to the mall, I would have returned home with about $60. If you are considering excursions, I’d suggest pre-booking so when you arrive, you aren’t spending more than you budgeted. Another option (to avoid over spending), simply take cash and once it runs out, that’s it. I didn’t use my debit card at all in Cancun.
HOW DID I FIND VILLA DEL PALMAR?
I did a lot of Googling, and honestly used TripAdvisor’s website more than I expected. No matter the class of the resort, you will always find bad reviews. I had to keep that in mind when I started looking in November or I would have never found the
perfect resort. I read thousands (not kidding) of reviews before I decided on Villa Del Palmar. Initially, I wanted to stay at Hyatt Zilara, but the rooms we were interested in were booked before I got the chance to secure them. The price was fairly reasonable, it was all-inclusive, the suites appeared large and it had everything I’d need to enjoy myself if I didn’t want to leave the premises.
WHICH AIRLINE DID I FLY TO Cancun, Mexico?
We flew on Spirit Airlines. Spirit ratings are pretty low among people that have used their services in the past, but I didn’t have a problem. The flight to Cancun was about $340 round trip which I felt was reasonably priced. I’ll admit, their baggage fees are crazy! It costed $102 for a checked bag (rond-trip) and because it was over 40lbs, but less than 50, we had to pay an additional $30. We paid it and was okay with that since my boyfriend and I shared one suitcase instead of having multiple luggage. Returning home, it was 55 lbs so we had to pay an additional $50. In all, we paid almost $200 for one checked suitcase. That is ridiculous, but I guess this is how they keep their overall price down for flyers. I am only 5’0″ so I don’t need much legroom, but the seats are small! Luckily, it was a group of us so we sat together and lifted the arm rest to feel less restricted. If I was sitting near a stranger, I would have felt uncomfortable. This could be solved by paying for a bigger seat, but that adds up. Overall, I didn’t have an issue with the airline. I’ll also be flying Spirit when I go to Coachella in April. I hope that experience is smooth sailing as well. If I am not saving at least $150, I doubt I’d book with them again after my upcoming trip.
I was not compensated or provided a discount for this review, but I would most certainly visit this resort again. Many of the employees spoke English so language was not a barrier, they treated us well and we had a great time. If you’d like a stress-free vacation, all-inclusive is the way. I would give Villa Del Palmar an A- rating due to the location being 35-45 minutes (one hour with traffic) from the main attractions and the taste of the food at Zama.