Family Travels: The Hard Rock Hotel Cancun

We hit the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun over spring break with our kids – and a whole bunch of college students.

Confession: Cancun didn’t immediately come to mind as a family destination, and I don’t know why because it’s a fabulous spot. Spring break snuck up on us so I handed the planning reins over to my favorite travel agent with instructions to find me something warm, family friendly, and a short flight from Dallas. Cancun fit the bill, and of all the options, the Hard Rock Hotel topped the list.  What I found is that it was a decent mix of family and partiers, and for the most part, all lived in harmony that week.

Here’s how the it rated for us:

The Hard Rock Hotel Cancun offers a pretty wide assortment of rooms. We were looking for something family friendly, so we booked a Deluxe Platinum Double room. It had two double beds, a wonderfully sized balcony with a spectacular ocean view…and a double hydro-spa tub. In the middle of the room – I guess to better enjoy the view!

(We mostly used it to for drying swimsuits…)

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Of course, it came with a nicely stocked mini fridge (bottled water, soda, juice and Coronas) as well as a liquor dispenser – in case you missed all the awesome bartenders EVERYWHERE on the property. The room attendants were fabulous, the beds were comfy, and the room served its purpose nicely.

The view from our huge balcony was FANTABULOUS.

When it came to food there was diversity of choice at the HRH Cancun. They offer five sit-down restaurants: Zen (Asian, featuring teppanyaki tables), Ipanema (a Brazilian steakhouse), Ciao (Italian), Frida (traditional Mexican cuisine), and The Market (an international buffet).

 

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In addition, they also have Pizzeto – an open air wood-fired pizza grill – and a multitude of food stations during lunch time offering everything from grilled food to make-your-own tacos, along with a fun kind of “snack” station set up in the Smash Bar, offering coffee and pastries in the morning, cookies and munchies during the day, and light bites early evening. Room service is also available 24 hours a day.

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Honestly, if you go hungry, you just aren’t trying hard enough.

Our favorite, hands down, was Zen, for both the food and the entertainment factor! We enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we ate there twice – the second time at my 11yo’s request to celebrate her 11th birthday.

Tip: you DO need to make a reservation for the teppanyaki tables because space and seatings are limited, but it’s well worth making the effort.)

The pools and spas were gorgeous! There is a beautiful freestyle infinity pool which spans the width of the resort. It curves into an arch, and at each end there is a swim up bar. It’s also bordered with a tanning ledge on which more lounge chairs sit, letting you rest just in the water if you like.

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The North Pool is the site of all the activity – pool games, water volleyball, and the DJ. The South Pool was quieter. (I’m sure you can guess where the spring break party crowd hung out!)

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The separation was nice, as it left room for everyone, although seating was still tough because, like everywhere, people hit the chairs early to reserve them. That’s ok, though – we were there for the beach.


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As we are pretty landlocked in Dallas, we spent all of our free time at the beach.
The sand was soft, and the ocean bottom was clear and scattered with starfish! The water was a bit rough due to a few storms passing through, so there was a bit of seaweed in the surf and the lifeguards were careful not to let anyone stray out too far. It was good to know that they were keeping such a close watch on the swimmers.


The first two days were incredibly windy – too windy even for umbrellas. On the third day, however, attendants were on hand to offer up umbrellas and dig them deep into the sand.

Also available on the beach were cabanas, which features comfy dual reclining beds and great service (and of which we took advantage of those resort credits to book one for Miss Thing’s birthday.) They said they would give her a “Rock Star Day” and they did! There was an ice bucket full of wine and water bottles and even a mister of Evian in case the princess got too hot. They brought us food and drink – all we had to do was ask.

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The drink service on the beach was as stellar as by the pool. The friendly servers kept us fully stocked with both bottled water, mojitos (for us) and virgin daiquiris (for the kids). There was even an attendant that passed through during the day to sweep the sand off the bottoms of our lounge chairs – that’s service.

One of the big draws for us was the Music Lab. This is offered to guests twelve and over. They offer several experiences: Jam Band, Mix, Rocktube and Studio Time.

My son chose Studio Time. He’s a drummer, and the Music Lab staff set him up in their recording booth with a sleek set of electronic drums. He picked a song, they ran through it a few times for practice, then they recorded him playing it, overlaying his track onto the original. It took about a week for the to edit and mix his version before sending it to us. He had a blast.

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The most important thing IF you want to take part in any of these activities is to sign up for them as early as you can as there are only several openings per week for each one, and they book quickly. For more information on the music lab, click here.

Of course, the hotel itself was decorated as one would expect from the Hard Rock franchise: plenty of rock memorabilia to admire in the lobby and in the bars/lounges.

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Smash Bar was a great all-around hangout spot.

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In the interest of full disclosure, we DID have some issues/run-ins with the party staying next door, but it was as much a function of those particular guests as it was a flaw in that specific room. Friends down the hall could not hear their neighbors at all.

We talked to the concierge and security about it during our stay (hating to be those people, but the stories I could tell -but won’t -about the, erm, education my kids received…) and the while it wasn’t dealt with properly while we were there, Hard Rock Hotel management did respond in an appropriate manner when we returned home. Overall, however, we had a great time there despite the guests we shared a wall with.


(Editing to add: they did respond to the issue when we got home and promised to rectify the situation but then failed to follow through. I’d prefer a “sorry not sorry” than to promise me to make things right and then fail to follow through.)

Overall, we had a really good time. There were good and great food options, the service was friendly and helpful, the resort was manageable in size and we felt very safe staying there. Our room came with an abundance of resort credits which we used on an excursion and the cabana rental, so that was a huge plus as well.

Have you stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun?

Dropping a shoutout for our travel planner extraordinary,  Candace Raley at Kissed by the Sun Vacations. While I usually plan all our travel because I’m Super Planner (tosses cape), it was nice to turn over the reins to a professional – she took really good care of us!

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Comments

  1. Very nice rooms, great food, and plenty to do. Beach is very nice. Love the many all inclusive restaurants. Jose from the restaurant Pizzeo was such a pleasant and helpful server. My 3 y/o grandson still talks about him! Andy at the kids park is a natural with kids and keeps them happy and busy.

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