JW Marriott Cancun resort and spa pool

We never ran a review of the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa in the past because it just wasn’t quite high-end enough for our readers. It came across as a convention hotel that maybe got a few leisure travelers now and then, a place people with name badges on let their hair down for a few days at the beach, then flew home when the conference was over and got back to work.

There have been some notable changes and upgrades at the Cancun JW though, plus the leisure travel environment has changed since Marriott swallowed up Starwood Hotels. Now the Bonvoy loyalty program has 30+ brands in its portfolio where members are racking up points. When road warriors are looking to cash in with the family or their spouse, they usually start checking beach vacation options and may end up here.

Internally though, the property upped its game as well. Most of the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa reviews you’ll find online aren’t going to paint an accurate picture if they’re more than a few months old. That’s because in the summer of 2019, the resort completed a $40 million renovation. They upgraded all 373 rooms and 74 suites with a bright, ocean-inspired decor that won’t make you wonder if you’re in Cleveland instead of Cancun.

Also, they’ve added an extra level of exclusivity on the top floor with Club 91. This is like an executive lounge setup, but with an ocean resort vibe, giving you a separate check-in and lounge with extra amenities all day. It’s not quite the Griffin Club in Los Cabos, but you do get more personalized service and a lot of perks. You can pay to upgrade to this level or if you have a high enough loyalty status, it might be part of your perks package.

Cancun JW Marriott suite

Like most hotel chains that are not all-inclusive elsewhere in the world, the JW Marriott has to offer that option in Cancun just to compete: there are very few resorts in the hotel zone that charge for a room only and leave the rest up to you. Here you have a choice, so pick your style when you’re booking or assume you’ve got to add restaurant and drink bills if you’re cashing in Bonvoy points. If you’d rather know up front what you’ll spend, go for the JW Marriott Cancun all-inclusive package and drink to your heart’s content.

There are 150 margarita choices in the lobby bar at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa CancunBeing a huge resort with a convention center attached, plus a sister regular Marriott next door, you won’t be starved for choice when it’s time to eat or drink. The real bar highlight here—or gimmick depending on your point of view—is the margarita bar with 150 choices. Naturally they have to stretch the definition of what a margarita really is to get to that many combinations, but what you get will probably be photo-worthy and tasty regardless.

There’s no shortage of places to lounge and relax either. You’ve got palapas and lounge chairs on the Cancun beach, which are sometimes easier to score than the lounge chairs by the pools if occupancy is high. Pools is plural because there are a few to choose from, including an adults-only one if you don’t have kids along and want to escape them. There’s also an indoor pool by the spa that is better for laps. At all the outdoor ones and the beach, waiters make their rounds serving up drink and food orders.

The Cancun spa here is big enough and popular enough to score a spot in the resort’s name. The extensive menu will likely have what you’re looking for an then some in terms of treatments and parts of it have views of the water.

Among the luxury Cancun and Riviera Maya resorts, this is not the most cool, stylish, or romantic hotel you could choose on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. It’s a reliable choice with good service and amenities though and the owners have put a lot of money and effort into upgrades for picky travelers who could stay anywhere.

See our detailed review of the JW Cancun and check out more photos from our contributor Graham Green who was just there.