Caribbean editor Gay Nagle Myers recently toured the site of
the 450-room beachfront JW Marriott Resort & Spa, now under
construction in Cancun. Here is her report:
CANCUN -- Hardhat tours are not for the faint of heart,
especially when experienced in the Mexican Caribbean during the
These tours require sneakers, gallons of bottled water and the
ability to look beyond the concrete, cranes and cement to visualize
the finished product.
In the case of the JW Marriott being built here, that means an
immense finished product.
Marriott's newest resort, which opens Feb. 1, will have 450
guest rooms, including 79 suites, each with its own balcony; five
restaurants and bars; a deli-style market; a freshwater lagoon
winding through the property; a free-form pool; a smaller,
adults-only pool, and an 18-foot-deep dive pool.
I traipsed through every inch of the 30,000-square-foot spa,
peeked into its 14 treatment rooms in various stages of
construction, as well as its fitness center, aerobics room, beauty
shop, solarium, Jacuzzi and, according to Marriott, Cancun's only
indoor lap pool.
Renderings, blueprints and floor plans helped translate what I
was seeing into what guests will experience when the resort opens
Conference facilities are also built on a large scale. I
inspected them too, from the 14,400-square-foot Grand Ballroom and
nine meeting rooms to the business center and reception areas.
Marriott's CasaMagna resort, next door to the JW, will be linked
by a skywalk or connecting bridge so that the meetings facilities
can be used by both properties simultaneously.
Matthew P. Shackel, area director of sales and marketing for
Marriott & Renaissance Offshore Resorts, said that advance
reservations for the new JW property "are strong. Our books are
open and we are taking blocks of group bookings."
This is the first JW Marriott in the Caribbean region, and there
are no plans for additional JWs either in Mexico or the
The JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa in Hawaii is the only
other property in that group.
The initials JW stand for John Willard, the founding father of
the hotel chain.
"JW resorts are our luxury tier properties within the Marriott
block," Shackel said. "That is how we are positioning these
Created in 1997 to combine the sales and marketing efforts of
Marriott's four properties in the Caribbean and Mexico, the
Offshore Resorts division now consists of eight resorts, including
the JW Marriott in Cancun.
They are: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino; Curacao
Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino, which joined the
division in March; Casa-
Magna Marriott Resort in Puerto Vallarta; CasaMagna Marriott
Resort in Cancun; Renaissance Grand Beach Resort in St. Thomas;
Renaissance Jamaica Grande Resort, and Marriott Frenchman's Reef
& Morning Star Beach Resorts in St. Thomas.
Shackel explained that Offshore Resorts provides "each property
with an integrated sales, marketing and revenue- management
He said the integrated effort creates awareness and demand and
"maximizes sales and revenue" for the entire portfolio of
Room count for the division stands at 3,000 plus, and the new JW
in Cancun will boost room inventory by another 450.
Shackel said that 47% of the market comes from the metropolitan
New York area, 27% from the Midwest and the West Coast and the
balance from the rest of the U.S.
The JW Marriott Cancun is located along the island's hotel
strip, two miles south of the convention center, 11 miles from the
airport and a two-hour drive from several Mayan ruins and
Guest rooms will feature twice-daily maid service, robes and
slippers, purified water systems, individual climate control, color
television with Spanish networks and U.S. cable stations, two-line
telephones with voice mail, an in-room safe, a coffeemaker, a
minibar, an iron and a hair dryer.
Bathrooms will have a double-vanity sink area and separate
bathtub and shower.
Restaurants and bars include the Mexican-themed Cafe Salsa,
Gastino's Italian Sea Grill, the Parisian-style Buddha Bar, a beach
bar and grill, a deli-style market, a lobby bar and 24-hour room
Resort activities will revolve around the water sports center,
the three pools, two tennis courts, sauna, children's club and game
The Pok-ta-Pok golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, is
15 minutes from the resort.
The concierge and on-site travel agency will arrange sightseeing
tours and activities, such as bullfights in the downtown arena,
sailing and snorkeling at Isla Mujeres and deep-sea fishing
A car rental agency will also be on site.
Room rates will range from $329 to $439 per room, per night,
double, through April 21 and from $149 to $254 from April 22 to
Packages will be available as well.
JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
Phone: (800) 223-6388
Group Bookings: (888) 778-4722
CRS: All major systems