My husband turned 40 at the beginning of 2021, and we had been planning a week at an all-inclusive as a celebration. Neither of us had ever done an all-inclusive before and it sounded like a fun way to splurge and treat ourselves. Of course, the pandemic made it impossible for us to go, but instead of canceling our reservation, the resort allowed us to postpone it…. and then postpone it again. We were finally able to take this much anticipated vacation in February 2022. And it did not disappoint!
Two of our close friends went with us, and none of us had ever been to an all-inclusive before but we have done cruises, with similar levels of amenities and services. We wanted a calm vacation dedicated solely to relaxing, turning off our brains, and having absolutely no plans. And that’s exactly what we got! Check out my review of the Majestic Elegance Costa Murjeres all-inclusive beach resort below!
We picked Cancun because it was a quick and easy flight (but no longer super cheap, booooo) and wouldn’t give us jet lag.
This resort is located in the northern stretch of beaches of Cancun, north of the city and away from the Hotel Zone. It’s a relatively undeveloped area that will likely be filled with more hotels but for now it was much quieter and empty comparatively.
Getting there from the airport took about 40 minutes, much of it along unpaved or poorly paved roads taking us up that long narrow piece of land. But once you get there, it’s lovely!
Modern, clean, open, beautiful. Lots of clean, straight lines in the architecture which juxtaposed nicely with the natural beauty of the area. The landscaping was tasteful and well-maintained. The decor and general ambience never felt ostentatious or like they were trying too hard; conversely, it also did not feel cheap or half-assed. We really enjoyed how spacious the property felt, how we never felt crowded. Simple, easy to navigate layout. After looking at dozens of resort websites, they all start to look similar, with that fresh white sandy beach aesthetic; it’s like they design the resorts to kind of fade into the background since the beach and gorgeous blue water are the real reason any of us are there in the first place.
Well, if i’m being honest, the POOLS are the real reason I’m there. I could take or leave sand. But the many pools on property were calling to me and they delivered! While the heated water was still a teeny tad cool for my tastes in February, they did feel welcoming and refreshing in the sun, especially on the warmer days. Of course, the small private pool in our room was THE BEST but I’ll talk more about that in a minute 😄
It could be challenging to find THE PERFECT lounge chair since the prime spots went fast, but there were so many places to sit and relax, that it didn’t matter. People moved about throughout the day, so if your dream spot isn’t available in the morning, it might be in the afternoon.
One thing that stood out to me was how wide the pathways were, and how seemingly accessible much of the property was. We saw a few guests in wheelchairs and many families with strollers who didn’t have to go super far out of the way to get around.
When we first decided, several years ago, to do an all-inclusive, I said my ONE requirement was that we could get a swim up suite. And I made the CORRECT decision. Im not sure I would want to go to a resort like this WITHOUT my own private water area.
At first, I was disappointed that our room faced outwards away from the property (staring at an empty lot, actually, that must be waiting for another resort to be built) because I thought the swim up suites that connected to the public pools looked so cute. But the privacy of our room was STELLAR. (If you want to hear a funny story about this…. maybe I’ll share, hehe). The water was so warm, as it baked in the sun all day. All of the other swim up suites were in full view of everyone enjoying the main pools. I would 100% want an outward facing room again. The privacy was IDEAL.
Many hours were spent a lot of time floating and reading in this little pool. In my next life, when I’m a bajillionaire and have custom built my dream home, I will have a plunge pool like this, just off of the master suite. It’s the perfect size.
I definitely utilized the plunge pool much more than the jacuzzi on the deck, though we did have to try it out! The jets were a fun touch.
The room itself was spacious, modern but warm and inviting, with an open bathroom floor plan. While I don’t mind that for the vanity/sink area, I do not understand the doorless toilet situation. The toilet stall did have a glass door, but it did not latch and there was a gap at the top, just like the shower stall. So it was as if there was no door at all, given how much a tile bathroom echoes. I hate this part of modern hotel bathroom design. I did really enjoy the soaking tub; I’ve never been in such a long, comfortable bath tub. Another item for my dream home. 😉
The Food & Drinks
Free unlimited alcohol including spirits, cocktails, wine, and beer. (No hard seltzer.) Pretty much the same menu at all bars, with a few exceptions. The piano lobby bar specializes in martinis, which are also only available at the lower lobby bar. Cocktail quality and availability varied randomly between all of the bars. Some of it is due to language misunderstandings and some of it seems due to lack of knowledge or resources. Our friend ordered a whisky sour and received a sweet and sour. None of the bartenders measured. A margarita ordered at one bar may be quite clear and served in a margarita glass and be lime green and heavy on the orange liqueur, served in a tiki glass at another bar. In many ways, drink ordering was a crap shoot — but not an untasty one! You could literally have a drink in your hand 24 hours a day, if that’s your jam. You just may not get what you think you ordered.
Though expansive and never-ending, the food was probably the lowest point, if I’m being honest. Having had some seriously good food on two previous cruises, we were hoping for a similar experience: several restaurant options of medium caliber, each one doing a few things really well. Unfortunately, one of them did many things really well, and the rest of the restaurants were underwhelming. (Though 18-hour room service was a lovely perk!)
On our friends’ last night, we all had dinner at the seafood restaurant, which provided maybe the most disappointing meal of the week. Service was suspiciously slow, some of the food was barely warm when we received it, and the next day none of us felt right. T & A ended up delaying their flight a day due to pre-flight illness and the airline’s requirement for a doctor’s note to travel. I felt queasy for most of the day and didn’t really leave the room, and Justin –who rarely gets sick or feels unwell– had no appetite and didn’t eat much for most of the day. So take that for what you will.
The best food we had was at the Mexican restaurant; we ate our first and final night dinners there. I was also impressed by the two buffets: the breakfast buffet was the LARGEST breakfast buffet I think I’ve ever seen: a smoothie station, a juicing station, an egg station, a meat station, a huge pastry table, a large fruit station, a station with traditional Mexican breakfast items, another with all of the breakfast potatoes. Im not even sure that I sampled all of the sections! The lunch and dinner buffet was similar in size with lots of international crowd-pleasers (sushi, tacos, various Asian noodle dishes, a salad + crudités bar, a bread & cheese station, a poke and ceviche counter, various fried items, a HUGE dessert area). Plus you get table beverage service, including drinks! So order coffee and a mimosa. It’s all included!
Super friendly service! Everyone wore a smile, and all of the interactions felt authentic in that I did not feel as if anyone was putting on a happy face just for me. Everyone was keen to help, even if the information was inconsistent from one part of the resort to another.
Service at all of the restaurants was lovely, if occasionally slow. Though the Japanese place provided the weirdest service, in my opinion; no personality, very aloof, some misunderstanding, no level of urgency… it just seemed very amateur compared to the rest, as if the waitstaff were all brand new.
I wish we’d thought to bring a bunch of singles or $5s. Everything is supposed to be included in the price, including tips, but we had planned to bring a small amount of USD cash to distribute amongst all of the awesome service people, but we totally spaced, and had to just leave a few single large tips and we arent sure those will get shared the way we intended. Alas.
Entertainment, Activities & Excursions
Once we got to the resort, we never left, though had we wanted to, there were activities and excursions galore to keep us busy. Onsite, they had a daily agenda of entertainment, classes, and games. I took advantage of one of the rootop yoga classes, and our group enjoyed dancing to the live band one night. Karaoke, water aerobics, bingo, trivia, Polynesian fire performers — there was something for everyone.
The entertainment staff kept up the energy throughout the day, hyping upcoming events, and doing their damndest to get participation. They tried to learn names and would greet you as they saw you around; it was very much like being on a cruise in that regard, because you did keep seeing the same staff over and over again. And they were all delightful!
I decided to splurge and treat myself to a few spa treatments. One day, I got a body wrap and massage. And another day I got a beach massage. I have thoughts about it all. My first real spa experience was…. confusing, but lovely.
I got there early because they had said I could use the sauna before my service for up to an hour. But, after being given a robe and changing, I was just led to this balcony overlooking this amazing little mock cenote, with a pool and massage tables in it. I sat there, alone, for 20 minutes because no one came back. No idea what was supposed to happen or if I was supposed to ask to go to the sauna (?) but they had asked me if I had ever been to a spa before and I said no…. sooo… I had been hoping for a little guidance. Maybe if I was an experienced spa-goer I would have known what to do or would have appreciated being left alone, but as a first-timer, it was very strange.
Finally, a middle-aged lady retrieved me from the waiting area and took me into a cozy, warm, dark room with very soft ambient lighting. In the middle was the massage table, and off to the side was a shower stall. I got an exfoliating body wrap and massage that ended with the most amazing cranial massage, I can’t explain it. It felt as if my whole body was undulating. I dont know what the woman was doing to the pressure points on my head but it was absolutely one of the most relaxing experiences of my life. I cant explain it but It felt strange and healing and soothing and peaceful all at once.
Even though I didn’t get to experience the sauna or the hot tubs in the spa, I left the spa feeling more relaxed and at peace than I had all year!
The beach massage was also wonderful but I think I prefer the quiet, controllable, predictable environment of a massage room. The beach windy, noisy with people and waves. And I did feel a bit exposed being half naked in an open air hut on the beach. But my masseuse beat me up just the way I like it.
Observations and Recommendations
- Book a ride to your resort IN ADVANCE. Do not add any sort of stress to your dream vacation in paradise. Book that shit ahead of time so you don’t even have to think about it.
- When you land at the airport, gird your loins: you’re going to be attacked by hawkers on your way out of customs. IGNORE EVERYONE. March forward. Do not stop, do not pass go, just keep walking until you get your ass out of the sliding doors into the hot, humid weather you came there for. Then find a guy with the sign of the company where you booked your ride.
- I didnt bother packing sun block because I figured we’d save the luggage weight and buy some there like we usually do. The CHEAPEST bottle of sunblock that was available at the gift shop was $22. Bring your own damn sunblock.
- The Cabanas on the beach are FREE. You don’t have to book them. It was nice to walk down there, sit on a lounge bed for a while, and go back without feeling like we had to make the most of our rental period.
Final Thoughts: Would we go again?
We will most definitely do another all-inclusive in Cancun, or similar tropical locale, again. Totally worth the money. I wouldnt stay at this exact resort, mostly because I crave variety and would want to try another one out.
Have YOU done an all-inclusive vacation? Where’d you go? What was great about it? Would you do one again?