Hyatt Ziva Cancun debuts

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Some rooms at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun open directly onto the pool.
Some rooms at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun open directly onto the pool.

After a soft opening in November, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun pulled out all the stops for its grand opening in January.

The official ribbon-cutting by Hyatt Hotels and Playa Hotels, which manages the resort, was followed by a celebration with acrobats climbing the walls and flying over the main pool, costumed stilt walkers and delicacies from many of the resort's restaurants and bars.

While guests won't be treated to such spectacles on a regular basis, they can expect some unusual amenities at the 547-room, all-inclusive resort, which underwent an $85 million expansion.

Its location on Punta Cancun means three sides of the property face the Caribbean Sea beach. Add in a picturesque lighthouse and three lagoon-style pools (plus a rooftop pool and swim-up suites), and the view is guaranteed to impress from anywhere onsite, including ocean views from most guestrooms and restaurants as well as the 24-hour fitness center and the spa's hydrotherapy circuit.

The Hyatt's location was formerly occupied by the Camino Real; its funky, pyramid-shaped building has been revamped with new guestrooms. The resort also includes a redo of what was the Triangle Tower as part of the Dreams Resort and is now the 18-story Club Tower, with private check-in, a club lounge and other upgraded amenities. The new Premium Tower is an adults-only enclave in the family-friendly resort, an alternative for weddings and multigen family outings.

In addition to a buffet and Italian restaurant, there were other restaurants that caught the attention of the press group I was with for the opening. We sampled ceviche, empanadas and other Mexican specialties at Habaneros, an open-air, casual restaurant on the beach; fine steaks and well-prepared fish at Tradewinds; and classic hamburgers and shakes at the '50s-style Chevy's (we were tempted to take the booth in the retro, turquoise Chevy but let a family enjoy it instead).

Other highlights were family-friendly and some more adult-oriented. Pasteles is a dream come true for all, a whimsical dessert shop where pink-haired attendants served up flavored cotton candy, chocolates and pastries and chocolate fountains take center stage. Adults have a choice of several bars, including the aptly named Tres Cervezas, a sports bar featuring the only hotel microbrewery in Cancun, a master brewer and three custom-crafted beers that you won't find anywhere else. And Juana Margarita is home to nearly 150 tequilas, with an onsite tequila sommelier to help guide guests through the choices.

Several other restaurants and bars round out the options, and in the evenings, guests can also enjoy the restaurants at the nearby sister property, the adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun.

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