When holidaying in Cancun, you can either locate yourself in the Hotel Zone, as many people do, or you can locate yourself in downtown Cancun. The former is a long strip of mainly luxury hotels within close proximity of the beach and Western-style nightlife. The latter is a good option for those on a budget and is also convenient for catching buses to other towns and cities, but it does involve a bus ride to the nearest beach.
I opted to stay in downtown......and specifically at Hotel Antillano.
Hotel Antillano is a good budget option located on the main thoroughfare in downtown Cancun, Avenida Tulum. The main bus terminal is just a 5-10 minute walk along the road, while the shops, bars and restaurants of Avenida Tulum, Avenida Yaxchilan and the surrounding streets are just a few minutes away.
I paid approximately 600 Pesos (circa 35 GBP) per night for my two week stay in February/March 2006.
For this, I got a clean, well air-conditioned room with two single beds and an en-suite shower room. The room was cleaned every day of my stay and fresh towels and toileteries were provided. There was always hot water when I wanted a shower.
The room also had satellite TV (with 50+ Mexican and North American channels), adequate wardrobe and cupboard space, a desk with a chair, a telephone and a pool view.
Breakfast was also included in the price. This was an all-you-can-eat buffet affair. The choice was the same each day: cornflakes, French toast with butter and jam, a selection of cakes and muffins, a handful of different flavoured fruit juices and coffee or tea.
The staff were very attentive, and perhaps a bit too attentive at times (eg insisting on pouring my cornflakes into my bowl for me).
There is a small swimming pool with a few sun loungers, but I never used it during my stay.
Daytrips can be booked from a kiosk in reception and car parking, safety deposit boxes and a beach club can all be used by the hotel's guests.
Unique Quality: Overall, this is a very good value hotel and I will definitely stay here again if I ever return to Cancun. However, the following minor criticisms might deter some guests:
Location: As stated above, this hotel is located in downtown Cancun. Downtown Cancun is perfectly safe, is a very modern city and has ample tourist facilities. However, Cancun is a big place and downtown is a long way from the beach. On a few occasions I walked for 90 minutes to reach the beach at the 8km point of the Hotel Zone. This was through choice, not through lack of transport options. Generally, you'll need to catch a bus to the beach. Buses run between downtown and the Hotel Zone 24 hours a day and cost just 6.50 Pesos each way. The beach is a long way away - but not that long by bus!
Facilities: The hotel is modern and well equipped. But, some facilities fall far short of those provided by more expensive hotels in the Hotel Zone. Given the price difference this is hardly surprising. The swimming pool for example is tiny and the area in which it is located is shaded most of the day. There is no restaurant on site, but you can buy burgers, hotdogs, snacks and drinks from the bar in reception. There is no activity club to keep children entertained and no evening entertainment beyond the bar. None of this mattered to me, I just wanted a clean place to sleep, but if you are used to these luxuries you won't find them here.
Air-conditioning: The air-conditioning in the rooms is not individually controlled, it just blows in automatically. While it is generally welcome in the hot conditions, there were a few occasions when I felt cold but couldn't adjust the settings or turn it off. Not a big deal, though.
Lack of catering facilities: Again, not a big deal as I ate out every night, but it would have been nice to at least have a fridge to keep drinks cold.
If you decide that staying in downtown Cancun is right for you (and think about it carefully!), then this is a great choice of hotel!
Directions: Facing on to Avenida Tulum, but with the main entrance on Claveles. A 10 minute walk from the bus terminal.
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Address: Avenida Tulum Y Claveles 1, Sm 22, Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula, 77500, Mexico