Beautiful things are often found in smaller packages.

That’s what I discovered during my recent stay at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, a 144-room hotel that offers a luxurious alternative to the gigantic, all-inclusive beach resorts that dot Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Now, the hotel will be more prominent in the market as it is the inaugural property for Registry Collection Hotels, a luxury brand that Wyndham Hotels & Resorts just launched. Registry Collection Hotels describes the hotel as a “flagship hotel”, a brand that allows independent luxury hotel owners to benefit from global brand recognition and marketing support, while keeping their property’s individuality.

The most luxurious property in the Royal Resorts portfolio is Grand Residences Riviera Cancun. It’s located between Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Puerto Morelos, making it an ideal spot for those who want to be close to the beach.

The airport arrival process is part and parcel of Grand Residences’ pleasure. Grand Residences offers a relaxing experience.

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A decidedly upscale vibe is evident throughout the property; in some areas, the hotel exudes the elegance of a traditional hacienda (think: terra-cotta architectural elements, soaring arches and dark wood furnishings), but with beautiful contemporary contrasts, such as glass sculptures reminiscent of the work of sculptor Dale Chihuly, and plenty of high-tech amenities, including waterproof wristband IDs that serve as room keys and resemble a Fitbit device. Because the property is compact, guests can walk only a few steps to one of the many swimming pools or the sparkling beaches. There are no golf carts required.

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A suite at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
A suite at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

Credit: 2021 Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

The attractively traditional decor theme extends into the accommodations at Grand Residences. I stayed in a 1,789-square-foot, ocean-view master suite with 1.5 bathrooms, a large living and dining area (with a table for eight people) and a large, fully furnished kitchen, complete with a full-size refrigerator, an oven, a stove and a laundry room. The best feature was the large balcony that offered me a stunning view of the Caribbean Sea and beach. I also enjoyed the open-air Jacuzzi. The ability to accommodate small groups is a major selling point of Grand Residences Riviera Cancun. My suite could accommodate eight people, thanks to the two murphy beds that were in my living room and one that was in my bedroom. Many guestrooms and suites can be connected throughout the property, making it convenient for friends and families to stay together. There are also fully equipped master suites and junior suites available that include a microwave and minifridge. Grand Residences, unlike other luxury resorts on the beach, has its own parking. This is convenient for those who want to rent a car and explore the Riviera Maya and Cancun. Another attraction is

Gourmet cooking. You can choose from either an all-inclusive or European dining plan. There are many culinary options. El Faro Grill is a charming restaurant that offers indoor and outdoor seating. It specializes in fresh seafood, steaks, and delicious meals. I also enjoyed a memorable meal at Flor de Canela (the elegant Mexican-themed restaurant) and a wonderful lunch at Heaven (the picturesque, open-air beach-bar). There are also themed nights that offer a variety of cuisines, including seafood, French, and Italian.

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To help guests work off those delicious calories, access to the 24-hour fitness center is free (the facility is staffed until 11 p.m.; after that time, guests enter by using their room key). Grand Residences Spa offers a wide range of treatments, including body wraps, facials, and milk baths. It is a small, but elegantly designed spa.

Spa treatments at Grand Residences spa include facials, body wraps and milk baths.
Spa treatments at Grand Residences spa include facials, body wraps and milk baths.

Credit: 2021 Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

While relaxing at the pool or on the beach might be enough for many people, Grand Residences offers a wide-ranging schedule of activities every week, including Zumba classes, tequila tastings, Spanish-language lessons and cooking classes, to name a few. There are many activities for children at the club. A guided bike ride to Puerto Morelos was my favorite. It gave me plenty of time to visit the shops, restaurants, and photo opportunities. Puerto Morelos, like the hotel itself is smaller and more relaxed than other areas. This is a great reason to visit.

The Details

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun