We had some American Airlines travel credits from a previously canceled trip, so we decided to head to Mexico to visit Chichén Itzá, a new 7 Wonders of the World. It has been on our list for a few years and we decided to knock it off. Our driver picked us up on time early in the morning for our flight from Philadelphia Airport. We arrived to airport just before 6am and there was literally no line at security.  We breezed through in just minutes. Since we had extra time to spare, we headed to the American Express Centurion Lounge to have some breakfast. They have unfortunately changed their guest policy and now charges $50 per guest. This was a bit of a bummer, as I don’t think this particular lounge is worth that. After we finished eating, we headed to the gate and took off on time and about 4 hours later were in Cancun Mexico.

Cancun from the airplane

Originally, I had booked an arrival VIP service but was informed by the service it was restricted by the Mexican government and had been temporarily suspended in Cancun. Therefore I cancelled the service and was expecting to go through the standard immigration process. To our surprise, immediately after deplaning we were met by a man with our names on a sign. I assumed our service never actually got cancelled, so we went with it. We ended up clearing immigration in about 2 minutes. I should note that the immigration lines were not actually that long, but it sometimes can take a significant amount of time. After navigating the chaos at the arrivals hall, where everyone is trying to get you to use their taxi service, we found the JW Marriott representative. We had previously arranged a private transfer and a few minutes later we were in the van on the way to the JW Marriott in Cancun.

Upon arrival we were taken to a special checkin area for Elite Marriott members, where a bartender approached us and provided drinks of our choosing. Miguel at reception informed us that our room was not quite ready, but he moved some things around to get the next available room. We put our suitcase in storage and decided to tour the property and have some lunch. We ate at the outdoor Beachwalk Restaurant, sitting beachfront. I had some of the best Fish Tacos ever, while my wife had Nachos.

While we ate, we saw the properties bird guy with his trained Hawk on his arm. They use this to keep birds from nesting and bothering customers. The waiter told us the birds are smart and know he leaves at 4:30pm and then they come back.

About 1.5 hours later, my Marriott app on my phone alerted me that my room key was ready. We would be in room 1402.  Little did we know, this is one of the two best rooms in the hotel. 1402 is on the top floor, beachfront, and is huge. It has a long hallway entry, bar with mini fridge, living room, bedroom, small walk-in closet, and two bathrooms! It has two balconies, one is accessible from the bedroom, and the other from the living room.

We decided to eat dinner at the Italian Restaurant Gustino. I ordered the Chicken Parmesan and my wife ordered the Pasta Carbonara. The food was amazing and the pasta sauce was some of the best we have ever had. Hopefully that opinion will change when we go to Italy next year.

The buffet breakfast has many options from eggs and bacon to breakfast tacos and paella.

Breakfast Taco

Throughout our stay, JW Marriott recognized our Elite status by providing various treats like popsicles, chocolates, Bellinis, and more. The staff were some of the nicest and most helpful we have ever experienced at a hotel chain. The food was top notch and we didn’t have a single bad meal. The only downside to the property is that Cancún’s beach is not really that nice when we compare it to other Caribbean destinations we have been to.

The main purpose for this trip was to visit the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá. In addition to that, we also visited Tulum and Coba.  See our other posts regarding those excursions.

Photos from my trip to the Mexico in 2023