Category Archives: Mexico

Living Large in Cancun

For the record, I’m not a beach person. I get antsy. I want to see and do things. But I had two free Hyatt nights I needed to use and the idea of relaxing in the lap of unadulterated luxury appealed to me. So my friend Eliana and I hopped a direct Southwest flight from Baltimore to Cancun for a four-day weekend.

This review needs to be prefaced by the fact that I was pretty sick most of the trip. Being the stubborn overachiever that I am, when I get sick, I go all the way – boxes of tissues, endless sniffling and sneezing — the works. Needless to say, I was fairly miserable. But that is not the hotel’s fault.

The hotel is beautiful. The rooms are large (though not as large as I have seen in some descriptions) and all have lovely views of the Caribbean Sea. The massive Jacuzzi is kind of hysterical, and I caused a mild flood in our room when I gave it a whirl. Oops.










My friend Eliana relaxing on the hammock on our balcony.

The hotel is all-inclusive so once you get your bracelet, everything (except for the spa) is free. The hotel boasts five restaurants, a cafe, and a 24-hour club room. The thrill of drinking as many diet cokes as I liked was intoxicating.


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The weather was hot and humid, hitting a consistent high 80s each day. We spent the majority of our time in the pool (Eliana) or lounging by the pool (me) and sleeping (both of us). I had big plans to go to the gym and try out the yoga classes, but the persistent congestion killed those plans. I made it to the gym on the last morning, and while small, it is modern and stocked with everything you might need – including excellent wifi. (P.S. Netflix works in Cancun!)


As many people have reported, the cabanas and lounge chairs get snapped up at a ridiculous hour of the morning that I refuse to get up at on vacation, but we managed to find adequate spots to rest our lazy butts.


There is nightly entertainment in the main lobby and a lovely spa where we enjoyed deep tissue massages (thanks Eliana!).

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Dancers doing something exotic.

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The spa

All in all, it was a very relaxing and luxurious weekend. It’s not something I feel a need to do again, but if you are a beach person, I highly recommend the Hyatt Zillara.

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Never Take No For An Answer (Oh, And I’m Going to Cancun!)

I’ve been AWOL for too long. Work has been busy — which is a good thing — but I have too many fun trips on the horizon and I can’t help wanting to gloat about them. So here’s the latest: Holy contributing to the delinquency of minors – I’m going to Cancun! (Andy yes, that is a real quote from the first season of Batman.)

I’ve never been a beach person so Cancun may seem like an odd choice. But I got the Hyatt Chase credit card last fall when my sister and I were thinking of going to Hawaii, and now I have two free nights at any Hyatt in the world that I need to use before September 30, 2015. I know, you’re crying on the inside for me.

I’ve read great reviews about the new all-inclusive Hyatt in Cancun, and Southwest offers nonstop flights from BWI to Cancun. I asked my friend Eliana if she wanted to go to Cancun for a weekend and this was her emailed response:

“I would freaking love to.”

So I transferred 17,000 Chase points to Southwest and booked a nonstop flight for 26,000 points and $75. Not bad for a flight that would have cost upwards of $500. I also transferred 17,000 Chase points to my Hyatt account to combine with my 8,000 Hyatt points. This gives us a third night in Cancun for a nice little weekend get away. And it gets sweeter still: Hyatt is offering a 20 percent points back promotion for award stays through July 31, 2015. So I should expect 5,000 points back in my account after our stay. More details on the promotion here.

When I called to book the free Hyatt nights the representative told me he only had one free night available. I insisted that I had called 10 minutes ago to confirm availability before I booked my flights, and he told me he couldn’t help me. I insisted on speaking to his manager, but he insisted that no one could change the available inventory for me. So I did what any intrepid travel hacker would do: I hung up and called back five minutes later. I got a new representative who, magically, had no trouble finding the free nights for me. The lesson I learned: NEVER TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. Especially when free nights in Cancun are on the line.

Despite the fact that Cancun has never been on my bucket list, I’m pretty excited. Every room is a suite (around 650 square feet) with an ocean view that looks mind-blowing. Somehow, I think I’ll manage to enjoy this view for three days.


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