Mexico: Next level all-inclusives

Cancun and the Riviera Maya are already firm favourites for all-inclusive holidays and their appeal is set to widen even further thanks to continued investment, says Bev Fearis

When it comes to all-inclusive holidays it’s hard to beat the diversity on offer in the neighbouring Mexican resorts of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Along this stretch of the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll find everything from intimate, boutique-style properties to the all-singing, all-dancing mega resorts with multiple pools, kids clubs, spas, nightly entertainment, and so many food and drink options that you could take a two-week break and still enjoy a different dining experience every mealtime.

And, due to strong demand for all-in breaks, the choice is widening.

Big but boutique

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AVA Resort Cancun

Welcoming UK guests from November 2024, the AVA Resort Cancun is promising to take the all-inclusive concept to the next level by offering the best of both worlds.

From AIC Hotel Group, the people that brought us Eden Roc Miami Beach and Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, AVA is promising the luxury and personal service of a boutique five-star hotel but on a much larger scale – 1,622 rooms, suites and villas, in fact, and all of them directly facing the Caribbean Sea.

Resembling two giant cruise ships, the AVA will have beachfront access (with a breaker to ensure calm waters to swim in). For those who don’t want to get sand between their toes, there’s a 2.8-acre, eco-friendly saltwater lagoon, with floating cabanas.

Guests can choose from a further six swimming pools, a 66,000 square feet spa with 55 treatment rooms, 11,000 square feet of elite fitness space, and numerous boutiques and souvenir shops.

Helmed by award-winning chefs and mixologists, there are no less than 27 restaurants and bars, all accessed from one central internal boulevard which runs in each direction from the vast, stylish lobby.

Brand new

Already well represented in Mexico with its countless brands, Marriott is demonstrating its commitment to the all-inclusive market this summer by reaunching one of its Marriott branded properties – previously offering B&B or half-board – as Marriott Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort.

Although it already has a collection of hotels under its All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy brand, this will be the first Marriott branded hotel on an all-inclusive basis.

In the Costa Mujeres area, on a wafer-thin peninsula stretching upwards from Cancun, the hotel is re-launching with renovated rooms, new pools and a water park.

Later this year, Marriott is joining forces with Playa Hotels & Resorts to create the Paraiso de la Bonita, a Luxury Collection Adult All-Inclusive Resort in Puerto Morelos.

Previously under Hyatt’s Zoëtry brand, the hotel will re-open with 100 oceanfront suites, three restaurants and a sushi and ceviche bar.

A ‘resort within the resort’ will have 10 suites with private plunge pools and beach access, an intimate exclusive pool, and two dedicated restaurants with a private chef.

Take five

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Beachfront by The Fives

With just 38 rooms, the new Beachfront by The Fives is another adults-only boutique all-inclusive. It opened earlier this year on Xcalacoco Beach in the Riviera Maya.

It’s the fourth hotel from Spanish group The Fives Hotels & Residences and all guests here have full access to the larger Essence at The Fives Beach next door.

The group also owns its own Dive Centre and all four of its hotels offer bespoke diving packages, from three-day courses to advanced five to 10-day packages.

Mayan style

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Bahia Principe, Aukumal

Guests can enjoy a more exclusive experience at the recently-refurbished Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal thanks to two new room types: Junior Suite Premium and Junior Suite Deluxe Swim Up, with direct pool access.With wood furnishing and rustic touches, both take inspiration from Mayan culture.

Surrounded by tropical jungle and with direct sea access, this family-friendly resort also has an exclusive adults-only beachfront area with an infinity pool.

Next door is the PGA Riviera Maya professional golf course and guests are also offered unlimited access to the à la carte restaurants and bars at the three other Bahia Principe resorts within the Bahia Principe Riviera Maya complex.

Foodie heaven

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Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Major investment at the five-star all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has brought a host of enhancements at Heaven, the adults-only side of the resort, including three new restaurants, deluxe swim-up rooms, poolside cabanas and a new lively pool.

Umo, a new Mexican Yucatan inspired restaurant, offers traditional menus and Mayan PIB oven-style dishes along with handmade artisanal tortillas.

Meanwhile, Wai specialises in Thai with handmade noodles cooked at the wok show station, and Faro is a food hall inspired by fish and farmers markets.

Immersive experience

At the Melia Paradisus Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, guests in superior rooms can now visit a local cenote guided by a Mexican shaman for a private meditation and yoga class as part of the group’s new Destination Inclusive initiative, designed to give guests a flavour of the destination they are staying in.

Launched last year, each Melia resort offers a carefully-curated range of unique local activities inside and outside the hotel, with other experiences available to guests in all room types.

Holidaymakers who want to venture outside of their all-inclusive resorts on excursions can now book tours with TUI Musement – even if they haven’t travelled with TUI.

There are dozens of TUI Collection excursions or National Geographic Day Tours in the Cancun and Riviera Maya area, and thousands across the world, available at or via the new TUI Musement app.

Book it…with Fives Hotels & Residences

A seven-night all-inclusive stay for two people sharing a Junior Suite at The Fives Oceanfront is £3,204, including flights with British Airways.