Ventus at Marina El Cid: Subdued Yucatan chic

The Ventus at Marina El Cid, a luxury complement to the sister Hotel Marina El Cid next door in Puerto Morelos.
The Ventus at Marina El Cid, a luxury complement to the sister Hotel Marina El Cid next door in Puerto Morelos.

Mazatlan's El Cid Family Resorts empire is full steam ahead with an east coast expansion. The resort brand, which has four properties in Mazatlan, one in Cancun and one on Cozumel, recently debuted a luxury concept in Cancun as a complement to the existing property. The Ventus at Marina El Cid is an elevated experience, a step up from the Hotel Marina El Cid, which is taking the brand into the future.

Guests are greeted by a sleek, modern lobby washed in white with views over the main pool area and the sea in the distance. The resort opened its doors in early November, bringing 290 luxury suites. Guests can upgrade the whole experience to VIP with Platinum Club Level service, which includes personalized check-in, a personal butler, special in-room amenities and use of an exclusive lounge with VIP services.

A junior suite at the Ventus.
A junior suite at the Ventus.

Suite options include luxury double or king suites, which start at 575 square feet, and span all the way up to three-bedroom suites, which have two king beds, two double beds, four marble bathrooms, a private balcony with Jacuzzi plus an independent living/dining area. These rooms cap out at 2,854 square feet. Select rooms are swim-up suites, offering private access to an outdoor pool.

In keeping with today's all-inclusive trend that emphasizes quality over quantity, the restaurants at the Ventus are a cut above what you might expect from other resorts.

No doubt the gourmet hub of the resort is the Mercado de Dolores, an epicurean experience open for lunch and dinner. The elevated food hall features seven different cuisines, from pizza to freshly caught seafood, to Mexican, to pan-Asian, to a creperie, to healthy make-your-own-salads, to Aromas, which serves fresh coffee and pastries.

For fine dining, Ile de France serves French cuisine from an a la carte menu. By day, Ile de France operates as the breakfast buffet. There are also three bars and lounges. Adults will love the Zanza Lounge bar, which is located between the main pool and an adults-only pool.

The Ile de France restaurant at the resort.
The Ile de France restaurant at the resort.

To really see this resort flex its muscles, book a Kukulkan massage at El Cocay Spa. The 13,000-square-foot spa's signature treatment is an 80-minute, four-hand escape done beachside in a private palapa, or open-sided shelter.

The incredibly creative experience takes travelers through the Mayan journey from the underworld to Earth and to heaven, as symbolized by three animals: eagle, snake and jaguar. 

Two masseuses re-create the sensation of each animal throughout the massage, for an incredibly unique experience. The whole journey begins with a Mayan ritual that involves a smoke cleansing. The spa also has a traditional temazcal (a sweat lodge), hydrotherapy facilities, meditation areas, massage cabins, steam room and sauna.

Guests at the Ventus also have full access to the Hotel Marina El Cid (and vice versa), which is connected to the resort. While the hotel swings more traditional, family all-inclusive, it is a good complement to the more subdued, chic vibe at the Ventus. The dining options at this resort maintain the same standards as at the Ventus, with highlights being Trattoria D'Gulio for homemade pastas and brick oven pizzas as well as the Hacienda Arrecife for whimsical, fun Mexican food.

Families can cut loose at the Hotel Marina El Cid, with its free-form pool, peppered with waterfalls and swim-up bars. And, of course, there is full access to the spa and fitness center.

Affiliated with the resort are tour operators running excursions out of the marina, such as a three-hour catamaran sailing that takes travelers out to the reef for a day of snorkeling, snacking and relaxing. Other activities at the property include sport fishing, windsurfing, boogie boarding and kayaking. And for the seafaring traveler, the marina has slips for 120 vessels as well as a dive shop, minimarket, hardware and bait and tackle shops, a laundromat and a seafood restaurant.

But one of the biggest perks to the resort is its location in Puerto Morelos, a sleepy fishing village between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Its distinct island vibe is driven home with sugar-sand beaches and electric-blue water.

Hot and lazy during the day, Puerto Morelos comes alive at night as restaurants and bars move tables out on the street for a vibrant and festive experience. Travelers may not ever feel the need to venture off-property, but should they have the desire, Puerto Morelos provides a charming cultural and local experience.

Rates for a junior suite begin at $195 per person, per night. See https://ventus


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