7 things to know before booking a stay at Marriott's Planet Hollywood Cancun
Planet Hollywood Cancun, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort, is located north of Cancun, Mexico, about 22 miles from the airport. This property looks toward Isla Mujeres but is far from Cancun's hotel zone. So, you'll be happiest if you don't plan to leave the resort during your stay or if you want to do excursions close to the resort.
The Planet Hollywood brand claims to let you "vacation like a star." Here's my take on the property as a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite after a two-night stay this spring.
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Planet Hollywood Cancun is part of Marriott Bonvoy's Autograph Collection. You can book directly with Marriott to get elite benefits and earnings. I paid $285 per night for single occupancy. But, you can currently expect to pay $299 to $448 for double occupancy per night ($224 to $336 for single occupancy per night) to stay in the base-level room (a junior suite with a resort view).
You can also redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for a stay. This property was a Category 7 property before Marriott removed its award charts. As such, you can expect to redeem between 50,000 and 70,000 points per night for single or double occupancy for stays through the end of 2022.
Everything you need at the resort is included, although there are some add-ons you can purchase, such as romantic dinners, FlowRider day passes and access to the Planet Play trampoline park and arcade.
I was informed at check in that I'd get Star Class perks due to my Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status. I got access to the Star Class areas of the resort, but I didn't get many of the other benefits Star Class is supposed to provide. For example, my Personal Agent never contacted me, I didn't get to choose preferred drinks and snacks for my room and I didn't get preferential reservations in a la carte restaurants.
Related: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth?
Things I loved
- Access to Star Class areas and a room with an impressive view as a Marriott Titanium Elite.
- Absolutely beautiful property, including a beach with natural beauty and pools with pink umbrellas that just pop on clear days.
- Excellent dining, including an extensive breakfast buffet, ample restaurant options for dinner and great burgers at Guy's.
- Hard-working, friendly staff (although some were overly focused on getting their names on TripAdvisor).
- Quality activities that went according to the schedule.
- Check-in was disorganized and lengthy.
- Guests are left to figure out most things by themselves (some information is on the TV, but Star Class guests should demand to be connected with their Personal Agent).
- Award rates are inflated.
- Room location is critical, as some rooms are likely to hear music until midnight or later.
- The resort is far north of Cancun; a taxi from the resort to the airport costs $55 or 1,100 pesos, according to the bellhops.
Vibe: Everyone welcome
This resort has a party vibe while also being family-friendly. Pool bars opened daily at 10 a.m. and closed at 6 p.m. to encourage the party to move toward Twist Social Bar. When I stayed up late on a Saturday night dancing to the resort DJ at this bar, people seemed disappointed when the bar closed and the music stopped at midnight.
There's an entire children's water play area in one corner of the resort.
The resort mostly plays top 40 music, although some evening shows feature older music. The foam party was family-friendly, with the entertainment team warning parents to keep a close eye on their children in the foam and for the partiers to be aware of kids also being in the pool.
However, the resort got a little wild at points. For example, during the entertainment team introductions before the foam party, several staff members pretended to strip and many did suggestive thrusts. And I noticed some intoxicated people standing on tables in the pool dancing. But overall, I didn't see anything totally out of control.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that the adult-only Planet Hollywood Adult Scene Cancun, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort, is co-located adjacent to the everyone-welcome resort. As an adult with Star Class, I had no issues walking around the Adult Scene section and using the pools in this section. However, it was unclear whether doing so was explicitly allowed.
Related: TPG’s guide to the best all-inclusive resorts you can book with points
For the most part, my room could be found at a high-class Marriott anywhere. But the decor certainly leaned into the Hollywood vibe and the pay-to-fill liquor station screamed pre-pandemic all-inclusive.
The "ph" light at the entrance was a nice touch, as was the massive bathroom with plenty of counters and shelves.
The bed was comfortable without being too soft. But, I hated that the curtains wouldn't stay closed enough to block the morning light, even after I clipped them with a clothes hanger.
The couch was covered in a spill-resistant material, which made sitting on it rather uncomfortable. The director-style chairs across from the couch were cute but not practical or comfortable.
The mini bar was well stocked with beers, juice, sodas, water and some snacks.
There are suitcase counters if you want to live out of your luggage, but there aren't all that many drawers if you're looking to settle in. And the hangers pre-stocked in the room were limited, so you may need to order more (for free) via the TV menu.
My balcony had two chairs, a table and a small drying rack. But, especially considering the water focus of the resort, it would have been good to have more locations for hanging wet clothing to dry.
Although I didn't get an upgraded room type as a Titanium Elite, the resort gave me a room with an impressive view. I loved looking out over the resort and seeing the ocean.
Related: 8 lessons I learned from my 1st all-inclusive vacation
Dining and drinking
You can see the hours for each restaurant and bar on your television.
I couldn't try all the bars and restaurants during my two-night stay. But, I started with lunch at Guy's. I ordered a bacon burger and fries. I loved the seasoning on the fries, but they were served very hot, so I had to eat my burger first while I waited for the fries to cool. Sadly, they ended up looking better than they tasted.
I ordered room service through my television twice, once for breakfast and once for dinner. Breakfast took 40 minutes to arrive, while dinner took 50 minutes. But, the food was still warm when it arrived in both cases.
For breakfast, I ordered a coffee with milk, two fried eggs and hash browns. So, I was thrilled when an entire carafe of coffee arrived as well as a plate of bread to accompany my meal. The eggs were fried perfectly and the hash browns were still crisp.
For dinner, I ordered a smoked salmon platter, chicken noodle soup and grilled salmon. But, a few minutes after placing my order through the television, a representative called to inform me that the kitchen was out of smoked salmon. This wasn't an issue though, as I found the grilled salmon dish filling and the soup tasty.
One night, I showed up without a reservation at East, the teppanyaki and sushi bar restaurant. No teppanyaki seats were available, but I was seated almost immediately at a normal table. I opted for two starters — maguro sushi and miso ramen — as well as a chicken teriyaki main. The tuna was excellent, but the sushi rice tasted old. And the ramen broth was solid, but the chicken on my main dish had a strange texture.
I tried the breakfast buffet on my last morning. There, I found at least three egg stations and a buffet selection of various pre-made egg dishes. There's also a vegan area, a vegetarian area, a smoothie bar and a Mexican area that includes breakfast tacos. I was impressed by the breakfast buffet options and enjoyed everything I tried. For example, the horchata was rich and creamy, and the omelet was fluffy, tender and not at all greasy. Honestly, I can't think how the breakfast buffet could have been better.
After the foam party, I ordered a strawberry daiquiri from the bar at the main pool. There was no wait to place my order and it took the bartender just 45 seconds to prepare and blend my drink. The liquor used was generic and I didn't like the pre-made strawberry daiquiri mix, although the drink was reasonably strong.
Related: 13 mistakes to avoid at all-inclusive resorts
Most activities center around the pools and resort area. For example, there's a mini-golf course, giant chess board, hedge maze and sport courts on the family-friendly side.
There's also a large, water-focused area that includes a lazy river. The lazy river travels past the grotto bar, which is a great place to stop and get a drink to enjoy from your float. There's even a slide for children that ends in a pool connected to the lazy river.
There's also a large kids' water playground with plenty of seating and a bar. Next to this play area is the kids center.
There are three large pool areas: one for everyone, one for Star Class guests and one just for adults. There were always empty chairs in each area.
Near the adults-only pool is a yoga area where I attended a yoga class one morning.
And around the Star Class and adults-only pools are cabanas with plunge pools that you can rent.
The beach and ocean activities aren't the highlights at this resort, although there are plenty of chairs at the beach, two bars, some first-come, first-served sun beds and some kayaks and windsurfers you can borrow. The beach is pretty but has some strange metal containers partially buried in the sand. A red flag kept most guests out of the water throughout my stay.
You can find a weekly schedule of activities on your television.
The road from Cancun to the resort is filled with potholes, and points redemption rates are inflated compared to cash rates. The hotel also needs to improve its arrival, check-in and departure processes — hiring more bellhops and check-in staff would be a good start.
But, I wasn't ready to leave and would consider returning — especially if I could snag a stay for two guests at a similar rate. The resort is beautiful, and as a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite, I got extra perks during my stay. In short, I feel like I got a solid experience for the price I paid.