Located in the southern section of the Hotel Zone next to the Omni is Emporio Hotel and Suites Cancun. Formerly known as the timeshare Royal Mayan, Emporio Hotels bought the property in 2013 and is still in the process of renovating the resort. The project has definitely been on the slow track with completion scheduled in the near future. Expect minimal disruption to one’s vacation during the renovation process, new guest rooms, newly redone elevators, a new spa (there was none as of 2016), refurbished conference and meeting facilities, and a general change in décor.
While renovations are going on, current vacationers can expect a mid-size resort (399 guest rooms) with a Mayan theme set on a wide and lengthy stretch of white sand beach. The beach is the highlight of the Emporio and boasts a plethora of loungers, shade palapas, Bali beds, a beach bar with swings, and several volleyball playing areas. While the water is the beautiful turquoise blue expected by Cancun visitors, waves can be rather large and strong at this location which makes swimming challenging, particularly for young or inexperienced swimmers.
If the beach is not a huge vacation draw, guests may want to spend their time at one or both of the two freeform pool areas. The northern section is designed for children with its pirate ship and waterslides, while the southern section is generally quieter and offers a swim-up bar and separate area with a five-foot depth. Both sections offer loungers and shade umbrellas, while man-made shade structures and several poolside Bali beds are located on the southern section. Sunbathers who don’t wish to spend time by either pool have the option of finding loungers on one of the several beachfront, Astroturf-covered areas–many have excellent ocean views.
Although the spa has yet to be built, Emporio offers the “Spa Express” which consists of several massage tables in an open-air structure with a palapa roof. The resort also offers bicycle tours, a fully-equipped fitness center located by the pool, an iPod lending service, several computers for guests’ use, and an onsite photographer for those who want a professional photo reminder of their visit. Adjacent to the resort is the Museo Maya de Cancun and San Miguelito Archeological Site for those guests who want to learn more about the Mayan culture and explore a smaller version of a Mayan ruin. Guests wanting to engage in water sport activities can sign up at Aquaworld which is a ten-minute walk from the resort. Those looking for something to do at night will have to go elsewhere since the Emporio does not have a theater, nor does it have any other type of regularly scheduled evening entertainment (a bus ride to the clubs at Plaza Forum takes only 10 minutes and costs $1). This is a quiet, family-oriented resort and it is therefore presumed that most guests will be retiring early.
Since the Emporio used to be a timeshare where many guests either ate out or made their own meals, it is not surprising that suites include fully-equipped kitchens. Also, suites include a massive amount of balcony space–two-bedroom suites can hold up to two tables and eight chairs. The current “downside” of all rooms is their outdated look–wicker furniture, laminate countertops (in the suites), dark bathrooms with shower curtains, and stained lampshades all point to the necessity of room renovations. There have been some reports of shared balcony space between Superior rooms and suites (Superior rooms are typically “lockouts” and can be booked with other adjacent suites to hold larger families); however, Superior rooms typically have access to only a Juliette balcony so this may not be a resort-wide issue.
Guests wanting to take advantage of the all-inclusive optional package will find only two onsite restaurants including a buffet and one Italian a la carte. While there is a Deli Market and Coffee Shop, these items are an extra cost and not included in the all-inclusive plan.
The Emporio Hotel and Suites Cancun has been known to be a budget-friendly resort popular with families, couples, and retirees; Spanish-speaking vacationers are the norm at this location. While many resort employees do speak English, there have been reports of some difficulties with employees fully understanding English-speaking vacationers’ needs or requests.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly, all-inclusive optional
Pro: Beach, family of five+ friendly, free WiFi, kid’s water park, stocked convenience store
Con: Rooms need renovation, dining choices, lots of stairs, no spa, some instances of shared balcony space
Best Suited For: Families with young children (ages 4-8), couples and singles looking for a budget-oriented resort in the Hotel Zone, vacationers with some ability to speak Spanish.
No. of Rooms: 399
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace (Superior rooms have smaller Juliette balconies), mini-bar, digital safe, flat screen TV, telephone, radio alarm clock, DVD player, microwave, iron/ironing board, coffee maker, hair dryer, tub/shower combo, toiletries, and free WiFi. There is no room service. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Superior Room: Two dbl beds, Juliette balcony. Resort or ocean view.
- Jr. Suite: Separate bedroom with king bed, bureau, table and two chairs, living room area with sofa, two armchairs, coffee table, two twin Murphy beds, adjoining kitchen area with table and six chairs, flat screen TV, kitchen area with oven, stovetop, full refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, toaster, blender, limited pots and pans/utensils, balcony with table and chairs. Resort or ocean view.
- Master Suite/Villa: Master Suites are comprised of a Jr. Suite and a Superior Room. Resort or ocean view. Some are oceanfront.
- NOTE: There have been instances of shared balcony space between some Superior guest rooms and suites.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Not available. This resort has a lot of stairs, so those with mobility issues may have difficulty maneuvering around the building and grounds.
Resort Amenities: Two pools (kid’s water park in one and swim-up bar in the other), beachfront massage tables, fitness center, bicycle tours, snorkeling and golf club check-out, beach bar with swings, Bali beds, pool and beach wait service, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), iPod check-out, convenience store (sells water, liquor, food, gifts, sundries), coffee shop, business center, computers for guest use, photographer, tour desk, concierge.
Restaurants/Bars: There is one buffet (Condimento) and one Italian a la carte (Bácoli Trattoria) which has three seatings–6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9 p.m.; the a la carte requires reservations. Daytime snacks/light lunches are also served at the pool bar (guests may eat food poolside and on the beach). Those interested in ordering pizza at Bácoli may want to inquire whether take-out is still being offered. There are three bars including the swim-up bar, the pool bar, and the beach bar with swings for seats.
Entertainment: There is no scheduled evening entertainment; however, there are daytime staff who schedule games and activities for guest participation.