Sunset Royal Beach Resort occupies an enviable stretch of beach in the Hotel Zone and is conveniently located within walking distance to popular nightclubs, restaurants, and nearby shopping malls. These factors alone make this a desirable property for many vacationers who visit Cancun. Before deciding whether this is the ideal vacation property, potential guests should be aware that Sunset Royal Beach is under the management of Sunset World, a “vacation club”/timeshare company, which also operates several other Cancun and Riviera Maya resorts. As such, there is a definite emphasis on the timeshare aspect in how this resort is run which, at times, leaves the ordinary guest feeling like a second-rate vacationer. Examples include the following:
- the upper three floors in this nine-story building, especially ocean view rooms, are reserved for “elite” members/owners (those who continue to upgrade their contract)
- recent renovations have focused on finishing rooms for members/owners first
- rooms with Jacuzzi tubs are often given to members/owners
- ocean view rooms tend to go to members/owners
- roped-off beach and pool areas and upgraded cabana beds are reserved for members/owners as well
Vacationers who don’t mind dealing with these issues may find the Sunset Royal Beach to be a wonderful vacation choice.
The primary selling point of the resort is its wide beach with soft white sand, easy ocean entry, and the amazing turquoise Caribbean Sea for which Cancun is famous. Cabana beds, cushioned loveseats/chairs, and padded loungers make a day in the sun more comfortable and relaxing; palapas and umbrellas are provided since there is not much natural shade in this part of the Hotel Zone. Make sure roped-off areas are avoided unless one is a member/owner of Sunset World properties.
A flight of stairs leads guests to the pool area above with its fountains and sun shelving; the pool is somewhat small considering the number of guest rooms and the padded loungers surrounding the pool are also lacking in sufficient numbers. There are two adjacent decks, however, which hold additional loungers–one is roped-off for member/owner use (it has the curtained cabanas), while the other offers padded loungers and shade umbrellas. While there is no swim-up bar, there is a pool and snack bar nearby.
Since not all guests have the all-inclusive meal plan, all rooms have some variety of kitchen amenities; while a microwave, coffee maker, and utensils are included in each room, sinks and stovetops are not always present. Non-member/non-owner guests lucky enough to get an ocean view room will find a Juliet balcony (one to two feet of standing room only), while lagoon-facing rooms have space enough for a small table and two chairs. Room renovations are supposed to be finished in 2016 with member-owner rooms on top floors having already been completed.
All guests have access to Sunset Royal Beach’s sister resort, the Sunset Marina Resort and Yacht Club which is located on the lagoon across the street from Riu Palace Peninsula Resort. There is a complimentary shuttle and water taxi service with access to Sunset Marina’s amenities which is a definite plus for boating enthusiasts and those who enjoy motorized and non-motorized water sports. In addition, resort guests may also visit the Hacienda Andalucía Equestrian and Polo Club–horseback riding and an evening dinner show are an extra charge.
It may be difficult to not book the all-inclusive meal plan unless one is a Sunset World member-owner or an RCI exchange member. Vacation club members/owners, those who rent directly from members/owners, those who are guests of members/owners, and vacationers who book directly with Sunset World have the option of booking the all-inclusive meal plan while other guests do not. The resort’s website lists several “exclusive offers” or package deals which include extra perks, such as a lobster dinner, access to the exclusive Sky Lounge, and one-way airport to resort shuttle transportation. It may be worth it for some to book directly with the resort for these extra perks rather than through third party travel websites.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly. The all-inclusive meal plan is optional for vacation club members/owners, guests of members/owners, or those who book directly with owners or Sunset World.
Pro: Beach, walking distance to nightclubs, free WiFi, stay at one play at two
Con: Timeshare emphasis, no standard size ocean view balconies, some room renovations still occurring April 2016
Best Suited For: Singles and couples wanting an affordable, more quiet all-inclusive vacation experience while still being within close proximity to Cancun’s nightlife
No. of Rooms: 234
Room Amenities: King, queen, or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace (ocean views have a Juliet balcony), mini-bar or larger refrigerator, digital safe, flat screen TV, telephone, microwave, coffee maker, utensils, ceiling fan, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, hair dryer, and shower (bring toiletries). Some rooms also have Jacuzzi tubs, but these are usually reserved for members/owners. Room service is from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and is free to all-inclusive resort guests. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Deluxe Room: Two dbl beds, table and two chairs, most do not have a sunken living room. Lagoon or ocean view.
- Jr. Suite: Queen bed in sunken living room, sectional sofa bed, coffee table, breakfast bar with two or three chairs, stovetop, small sink. Ocean view.
- One Bedroom Suite: King or two dbl beds, sectional sofa bed and coffee table in sunken living room, dining room table and chairs, stovetop, small sink. Lagoon or ocean view.
- Two Bedroom Suite: King bed in one bedroom and two dbl beds in another, sunken living room with sectional sofa bed, coffee table, dining room table and chairs, stovetop, small sink, two bathrooms. Lagoon or ocean view.
- NOTE: All ocean view rooms have a Juliet balcony while lagoon view rooms have enough room for a small table and two chairs. Also, be aware then when booking on major travel websites, cheaper room rates may be contingent upon attendance at a vacation club/timeshare presentation. Read the fine print.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Main pool (no swim-up bar), Jacuzzi, spa with sauna and steam room (all-inclusive guests are entitled to a USD $30 credit voucher on select treatments), fitness center, complimentary shuttle/water taxi to Sunset Marina Resort and Yacht Club with access to motorized and non-motorized water sports, bicycle tours, pool and beach wait service, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), child care, theater, business center, computer use ($), free WiFi, laundry, concierge, tour bookings, car rental, ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: There is one buffet restaurant (Acuario) with an additional breakfast and lunch buffet on the weekends (Capriccio), two a la cartes including Italian (Capriccio) and Asian (Bamboo)–reservations are required at a la carte restaurants (check with the front desk the morning of the desired reservation). There is also an evening dinner show four times a week with a pre-show buffet, while late night snacks are available at the Aqua Grill restaurant area from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Guests with the all-inclusive meal plan are entitled to one lobster dinner at one of the a la carte restaurants–this must be booked in advance (bring the confirmation letter). There are two bars that everyone may use including the lobby and poolside bars (there is no swim-up bar), while the Sky Lounge is usually for members/owners. Depending on the package booked, some all-inclusive guests are entitled to access the Sky Lounge for dinner and drinks once per stay.
Entertainment: Evening dinner show several times a week, live evening music in the lobby, and casino night. This resort is less than a ten minute walk to the clubs in the Plaza Forum area of Cancun.