“Get Out There” is a column for itchy people, written by Blake Snow, a longtime Paste contributor. Although travel is different now, it is better than ever. Today we visit Jimmy Buffett’s newest all-inclusive resort in Margaritaville.

Diary: I wrote this story two days before Buffett’s unexpected death, which is sad because I particularly loved his music A1Amy favorite record of his.

Billionaire Jimmy Buffet built quite the empire. In addition to his famous music, best-selling books and Margaritaville restaurants, the “Tropic Rock” star owns more than 30 hotels and resorts. after Review of his first comprehensive program 2 years ago (4.5/5 stars) I returned to Cancun this summer for a review The second, for adults only, is all-inclusive, just three minutes away from the first. The latter is larger, brighter and completely new.

But is it better?

Comparing apples to apples

no not like that. But hardly.

Although the unpretentious atmosphere, happy staff, comfort food, pools and inviting cabanas are just as good, the Margaritaville Island Reserve Riviera Maya (new) is inferior in terms of building materials and decor. While Margaritaville Riviera Cancun (the first) is distinctly elegant, this hotel is a bit upper middle class. I’m comfortable with that. But with nightly rates 10-15% higher than the older but slightly more impressive premier resort, the value is a bit low.

My biggest problem with the new resort is the lack of a proper beach. At the all-inclusive First Margaritaville, there’s an actual beachfront filled with beach chairs, umbrellas and sand to enjoy. There is basically nothing here – a sea wall that meets the water at high tide and provides only a few feet of actual beach at low tide. The end result is that no one uses this area because they can’t. This is disappointing (if not misleading) for a property that is billed as a beach resort. “Oceanfront resort” is more accurate.

Those two criticisms aside, Margaritaville Riviera Maya is a laid-back, great place to escape in the Mexican Gulf. But I would be remiss if I didn’t compare this apple to the other.

All things considered

Although I didn’t meet many (if any?) kids at the first Margaritaville resort, this resort is strictly for adults only. The staff, service, live bands, and food were all outstanding, just like the first resort. natural views? excellent. Fire dancers? Good enough to make Hawaiians proud.

Although the amenities weren’t exactly pretty (except for Frank & Lola’s amazingly charming Italian restaurant), I still enjoyed the loud, indulgent decor And Clean food and boat drinks at the five restaurants, four bars, three pools and one café. Better yet, Margaritaville Riviera Maya probably has more comfortable beds and a better design. Although twice the size of the first resort (350 vs. 150 rooms), this resort elegantly encapsulates everything in a semicircle of paradise, with rooms and buildings surrounding the back three sides of the resort with the ocean in front. It’s more spacious and easier to move around.

There’s also a fantastic two-court pickleball complex overlooking the Mayan jungle, as well as beach volleyball. Some of my favorite memories were a moonlit night over the ocean, endless poolside seating, wondering how the grounds team planted so many palm trees, and all about the aforementioned Italian restaurant, endless guac, roasted cauliflower, picanha steak, and gorditas Mushrooms. The food, staff and relaxing results were all worth writing home about.


The last word

If you’re new to all-inclusive deals, you’ll love the Margaritaville Riviera Maya. It’s 18 minutes from Cancun Airport which is better than most of the other all-inclusive hotels I’ve reviewed, even if it’s not on the same level as its larger counterpart. If you’re a fan of all-inclusive services, you’ll still appreciate the distinct environment Buffett’s team has created here. It’s not perfect, but it’s still great. Four stars out of five.

Blake Snow He contributes to luxury publications and Fortune 500 companies as a freelance writer for hire and a frequent travel columnist. He lives in Provo, Utah, with his teenage family and two dogs.

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