The CasaMagna Marriott Cancun and JW Marriott Cancun are nestled along a strip of white-sand beach in Cancun, Mexico, just a quick jaunt from the airport. Although connected by a skybridge, the two very different hotels exude luxury in their own ways—CasaMagna is a AAA four-diamond hotel and the JW Marriott holds five-diamond status—offering planners double the ROI and meeting, event and incentive possibilities.
“The feedback I’ve gotten from a lot of the meeting planners is that they like the atmosphere and the fact that the JW and CasaMagna are connected by a bridge, so you have two totally different environments but you get to go to all the restaurants,” says Christopher McDowell, director of event management, JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa and CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort.
The regal lobby of the 448-room JW Marriott is covered with marble from the floors to the majestic columns by the front desk. If you happen to be passing by the lobby bar in the evenings, you’ll be greeted by the sounds of a live singer, setting the scene for a soothing lounge environment. Walking past the lobby, guests can easily cross the bridge leading to the 450-room CasaMagna. The lobby is filled with plenty of natural light that filters through arched windows, featuring beautiful chandeliers and pops of color throughout, like the red glass mosaic behind the lobby bar.
While both hotels boast beautiful guest rooms, all of JW Marriott’s rooms offer ocean views from private balconies or terraces that are perfect for listening to the rustle of the ocean waves. Accommodations here are spacious with more than enough room to spread out on the couch or at the desk in the living area, and the marble bathrooms feature separate showers and tubs.
With 22,214 sf of indoor/outdoor meeting space between the two properties, there are plenty of options for meetings and events. The JW Marriott offers 10 meeting rooms, accommodating up to 1,800 pax, while CasaMagna boasts five meeting rooms with space for 990 guests.
“We have the beach, which would probably be the best place to host an event. At JW, we have seaside gardens off of the lobby bar, and at CasaMagna we have the open-area pool garden and the terrace for smaller events with fountains,” McDowell explains.
A recent event hosted 1,500 guests who were spread out between the two hotels’ beaches with seven buffet lines. During our stay at the resorts, we saw the staff preparing for an annual buyout of both properties, setting up cocktail events along the beach with tiki torches and South Beach-chic fuchsia couches in the sand.
Another option for events is the spacious and lofty Tulum Terrace, which can accommodate up to 1,800 guests. The semi-outdoor space connects the two hotels and has floor diffusers to keep the area cool, which is perfect for warmer months in Mexico.
Working with local DMCs, the hotels can also arrange shopping tours, swimming with whale sharks during season or swimming with the dolphins and stingrays. One of the major benefits of Cancun is that it is less than two hours from the Mayan ruins, downtown district of Playa del Carmen and beaches of Isla Mujeres, making it easy for planners to arrange tours to nearby areas.
We ventured via ferry from bustling downtown Cancun to Isla Mujeres to explore the island and have a beachside lunch, a great option for groups to get out of Cancun without having to go too far. White sand and Ibiza-style beach clubs greet guests after a short ferry ride to the island. Our group settled in for a beach lunch at Playa Lancheros, a restaurant known for Yucatecan Tikin Xik, a Mayan dish comprised of a whole fish roasted in a banana leaf with spices and peppers.
“There’s a lot to do in Cancun, and I almost feel like the city is a hidden gem that is really close to the U.S. You have the Mayan ruins, you have Tulum, you have a lot of the parks around here that people can visit. People don’t realize how much there is to do in Cancun, and in addition to that there is the Mexican flair when it comes to restaurants,” McDowell says.
– Lane Nieset