Welcome to paradise in sunny Cancun, Mexico. My mission for this Mexican vacation was to swim with whale sharks and participate in a turtle release program. You can spend your days relaxing on the powder white sand beaches, lounge by the pool or explore ancient Mayan ruins. I was able to tick off all of these activities, and more, on a three night trip to The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa Cancun.
I met hotel guests from New York, Texas, Japan and Montana on my visit, in addition to fellow Californians. It’s an easy non-stop flight from San Francisco on United Airlines, or fly non-stop from Los Angeles International Airport on Southwest Airlines.
There are plenty of room choices, from studio villas, to one and two bedroom villas, with options to connect rooms for multi-generational travel. I stayed in a 1 bedroom premium villa, #186, on the eighth floor of building 100. My room, accessible via two elevators, offered a view of the Mexican Carribean Sea, the infinity and main pool, as well as Yamil Lu’um, the ancient Mayan Ruin located right on Westin property.
All Westin hotel rooms offer the comforts of home with a private patio or balcony, full kitchen, (kitchenette in studios), 49-inch tv, sofa, washer and dryer & high speed internet access. This family-friendly set up makes it easy to dine in-room, bbq at the barbecues available in the patio area or guests may dine at several restaurants on property.
Westin Lagunamar offers Oceano Restaurant for breakfast and dinner, Viento Bar & Grill by the main pool and Duna Sports Bar, in addition to Tierra Mercado. I had the breakfast buffet each day, priced at $24. The buffet offered cooked-to-order omelette and egg station, as well as several traditional Mayan dishes and the standard meat, cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, pastries, juice and coffee.
This Westin hotel also offers specialty dining (for an additional fee) including a Mexican Party with live music, Mariachi and pinatas, steak night and Mayan night. The 30 minute Mayan show features regional cuisine and musical performances with authentic Mayan costumes. Two shows are offered nightly, check the weekly activity calendar for details.
There are three pools at Westin Lagunamar Resort. Kid-friendly Duna pool has a gradual sloped entrance, and a swim up bar for adults. The main pool was closed for resurfacing during my visit, but the infinity pool offered a wonderful view of the Caribbean Sea.
One of my favorite features of Westin Hotels is the emphasis on fitness. With two Westin Workout Fitness studios on property, available 24/7, there’s no excuse to not move well during your hotel stay. Headphones are available at the reception desk and the New Balance Gear Lending Program offers shoes, shirts and shorts to borrow. For a nominal fee you’ll have the gear waiting for you in your hotel room and you get to keep the socks.
I took a great yoga class and a 30 minute stretching class on my Mexican vacation. Unfortunately, the pool power walk class was rained out during my trip.
Between activities offered on property and hotel concierge service, Westin Lagunamar has the play well concept nailed. I was so excited to learn about the turtle release program and the opportunity to swim with whale sharks that I planned a special holiday to Cancun in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
I learned about the unique turtle release program during a trip to The Westin Los Cabos Resort. General Manager Carlos Gonzales invited me to his Mexico property, as these two experiences only happen certain times a year in Cancun. The Westin Lagunamar participates in Cancun’s Turtle Care Program. The sea turtles nesting season is from May to October, sometimes as late as December. To find out when baby green sea turtles will be released into the Caribbean Sea contact the Westin Kids Club. To learn about swimming with whale sharks contact Westin concierge. My whale shark tour was with Aquaworld and it was a magic moment in Mexico that I will never forget.
The other activity that I tried was feeding the native iguanas. The iguanas hang out at Scorpion’s Temple. I had a chance to feed Drako, a black iguana. Some of the wild iguanas hang out at the Mayan ruin known as Yamil Lu’um.
After all this outdoor activity, it’s good to treat yourself to a massage or facial at the Heavenly Spa, afterall, Westin is all about complete wellness. I enjoyed the 80 minute Gaje massage, $161, a treatment exclusive to Westin Lagunamar, it’s a combination of Shiatsu, lomi lomi, Swedish and reflexology techniques, enhanced by special Guaje fruit from Mexican ancestral trees. Don’t worry, you don’t have fruit smeared on you. The Guaje looks like a lightweight stick with a ball on the end and it’s used to smooth the kinks out of your neck and body. Trust me, you’ll love it! If the weather cooperates on your vacation, opt for the massage outdoors in the cabana on the beach.
Need to know:
Check in: 4:00 PM Check out: 10:00 AM
Rates start at $229 – $608 + tax for a studio villa, depending on the season. Check the Westin website for best pricing. The resort is located 20 minutes from Cancun International Airport. Airport transportation is available for an additional fee.
Insider tips: Westin Lagunamar has its own mixologist. Order the roasted pineapple margarita with Ancho Reyes (a local liquor) from Mixologist Eliu. He hash his own hashtag on Twitter #eliuscollections.
If you want to help save the environment, take advantage of the Make a Green Choice program and get paid to save water (now if only they would use recycled cardboard for the to-go boxes instead of putting everything in plastic containers.) I should point out that the bag they gave me at the hotel to carry my food (and plastic container), is made from recycled materials.
If you want to explore off property, La Isla Shopping Village is literally right across the street from the Westin. I’m not a shopping mall person, but Taco y Tequila Cancun makes some decent fajitas; the ladies make the handmade flour and corn tortillas right in front of you and guests of the hotel receive 15% discount off the bill. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and @WestinLagunamar on Twitter or Instagram.
If You Go:
Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa Cancun
(52) (998) 891-4200
Boulevard Kukulcan km. 12.5
Cancun Quintana Roo, CP 77500, Mexico
Westin Lagunamar Resort review, video and all photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. As is typical in the industry, I received a complimentary media stay, however, all opinions are my own.