Located on the upper part of the “7” and within walking distance to the Playa Linda ferry service to Isla Mujeres, Ocean Spa Hotel is an older hotel which recently underwent renovations to its restaurants and other public spaces. It is under the management of Sunset World, a “vacation club”/timeshare company which also operates several other Cancun and Riviera Maya resorts. Guests should be prepared for being approached by representatives/”concierges” to attend a 90-min. presentation to the resort–this will most likely last three to four hours unless one is firm in their resolve to say “no” and leave after the 90-min. is up. A majority of guests staying at this resort do so at greatly reduced prices since they are generally required to attend a timeshare presentation (check the specifics of your booking). The upside is that guests do have an opportunity to explore and enjoy the amenities at several other sister resorts by way of the onsite complimentary shuttle. For those wanting to enjoy quintessential Cancun with its turquoise ocean water, there is the Sunset Royal Beach Resort, and for boating and watercraft enthusiasts there is Sunset Marina Resort and Yacht Club which is located on Nichupté Lagoon.
Although the front entrance is rather plain with nothing much to distinguish it, the lobby is actually quite nice with its modern look. There are many wide columns scattered throughout the space, a lengthy reception desk, lobby computer, and scattered clusters of comfortable seating areas, some of which offer views of the grounds through large floor-to-ceiling windows.
The grounds themselves are well-maintained with palm and coconut trees along with large grassy areas but generally lacks shrubbery and floral blooms. Most paths lead to the main pool with its adjacent shallow children’s pool and separate Jacuzzi; the main pool does have a swim-up bar which is a pleasant surprise given the resort’s budget-minded orientation. The angular shape of the pool lends visual interest to the space; however, the pool is on the small side and can be difficult for individuals with mobility problems to enter or exit since the only access is a small ladder. Although there is a lack of poolside shade umbrellas, there is an overhead canopy which does offer some protection from the sun.
The beach is just a short distance from the pool deck and offers comfortable and contemporary beach furniture including round daybeds, sectionals, cabana beds, small and regular loungers. There is no roped-off area for timeshare owners on this beach, so everyone is free to enjoy the furniture since it is first-come first-served. Although the beach itself offers soft white sand, ocean entry and ocean swimming may be disappointing with seaweed, a rough ocean bottom, and shallow depth. The swimming section is also in between two boat docks which can create a crowded environment from time-to-time. On a more positive note, kayak and hobie cat use is complimentary while guests can order drinks from beach wait staff or from the beach bar.
Rooms include most of the basics (some rooms do not have a mini-bar or balcony, however), and are decorated in orange, white, and light brown with tile floors. Upgraded “Spa Deluxe” rooms do have additional amenities like glass-paned showers, mini-bar, flat screen TV, and unlimited access to “wet” spa area. All Spa Deluxe rooms do not include in-room Jacuzzis, only rooms with a king bed have the Jacuzzi. Most guest rooms offer pool or partial sea views since the resort is only three and four stories high. Only a few guest rooms offer full-on sea views, and these are typically reserved for owners or those who choose to buy into the resort.
Another pleasant surprise at Ocean Spa Hotel is the number of onsite restaurants. In addition to the buffet, there are three a la cartes–Italian, Mexican, and Asian–along with a beachfront eatery which serves pizzas and calzones baked in an authentic brick oven. Although food is not readily available 24-hrs. a day, guests can always request a box lunch in advance and save it for their late-night snack.
For those who don’t object to sitting in on a timeshare presentation, this resort can be quite a find for the budget-minded vacationer. Although it does not offer all the bells and whistles of a 5* resort, it has all the basics for a quiet beach or pool vacation with easy access to the surrounding area (the bus stops right in front of the resort on both sides of the main road) as well as access to several other resorts all for one price.
Families bringing young children to this resort should take note that Temptation Resort Spa, located just west of Ocean Spa Hotel, is a topless-optional resort. This may be an important vacation consideration for families with younger children who spend a lot of vacation time on the beach, or for those who have an issue with this kind of lifestyle resort.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Stay at one play at two or three (depending on the all-inclusive package purchased) via complimentary shuttle, near Isla Mujeres ferry, free lobby WiFi.
Con: Ocean swimming, rooms need renovating, pool entry, heavy timeshare emphasis.
Best Suited For: The budget-minded vacationer who doesn’t mind dealing with timeshare emphasis by resort staff.
No. of Rooms: 151
Room Amenities: King, queen, or two dbl beds, A/C, digital safe, TV, ceiling fan, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, shower, and toiletries. There is no room service; free WiFi can only be had in the lobby for one device. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Standard: King or two dbl beds with above amenities.
- Spa Deluxe: King bed (with in-room Jacuzzi) or two dbl beds (no in-room Jacuzzi), hydrotherapy shower, mini-bar, robe and slippers, unlimited access to “wet” spa areas, and above amenities.
- NOTE: This is a three and four-story resort with only one small elevator by the lobby–you may have to climb stairs. Also, the resort may request that toilet paper be discarded in a separate container.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Main pool (with swim-up bar), children’s pool, Jacuzzi, spa with sauna and steam room, non-motorized water sports, tennis, complimentary shuttle service to Sunset Marina Resort and Yacht Club/Sunset Royal/Sunset Lagoon resorts, complimentary lobby WiFi for one device per room, beach and pool wait service, gift shop, concierge, and car rental service.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet restaurant (Terraza Caracol–no A/C), and three a la cartes including Mexican (Frida), Italian (Siena), and Asian (Fussion–reservations required by 4 p.m. the day of dining, no teppanyaki tables), and an outdoor brick oven which serves pizza and calzones. There are four bars including the lobby bar, poolside bar, swim-up bar, and beach bar.
Entertainment: There is an activities team which initiates poolside games during the day, while occasional live entertainment, karaoke, and Casino night occur in the lobby or main bar area. Staff can also arrange for guests to book VIP club packages.