By { Angela Fairhurst

With frequent nonstop flights from major U.S. and European cities, captivatingly swimmable turquoise waters and a delicious climate, the Mexican Caribbean draws visitors back to Cancun time and time again. Now there’s yet another reason for luxury travelers to return to this paradise on the Yucatan Peninsula—the $40 million, head-to-toe renovation of the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa and its New Point of Blue concept.  

Inspired by an excerpt from Popol Vuh, a work of Mayan literature chronicling the creation of humankind, designers Martha Gaos and Claudia Gonzalez of G+G Interiorismo have brought an authentic sense of place to the project. The result is modern, yet reflective of the area’s indigenous culture. Each element of the resort has been carefully thought out to deliver a sense of serenity and harmony. 

All 447 ocean-facing guest rooms and suites have been reimagined in a color palette of ocean blue and sand, with herringbone-pattern floors made of natural materials. Locally crafted wood furniture features textiles showcasing the traditional cross-stitch embroidery typically seen on the attire of the ancient Yucatan people, with patterns that incorporate sacred Mayan spiritual symbols, such as hummingbirds, quetzals and four-petal flowers. Sumptuous decor in the suites also includes gorgeous ceramic tile floors and rugs reminiscent of coral reefs. Artwork made by local craftspeople consists of fossils and amate bark paintings. In the ample-size bathrooms, blue and white marbled art above freestanding soaking tubs depict aerial views of cenotes, the sandstone sinkholes found throughout the region. Granite vanity tops with double sinks, rainfall showers and luscious aromatherapy amenities further elevate the comfort level.  

Sweetening the experience are small but meaningful touches, such as a signed note card from turndown attendants; a nifty Tips for Travelers card with the precise amount of water to drink per hour of flight and suggestions for sitting positions in airplane seats; and a TSA/customs-friendly wellness departure gift.

“With every activity at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, we like to ensure that we keep wellness in mind with thoughtful gestures,” says Tiffany Holmes, the hotel manager. “This has also become very personal to me, as I have been on a yearlong journey to wellness. As a frequent traveler myself, I know that air travel can be uncomfortable. We wanted the wellness departure gift to remind those travelers that they can do a few simple things to continue their own personal wellness journey anywhere, at any time, including being at 30,000 feet.” 

The property’s new Micro Break package is a three-day, preset itinerary for chilling out. After a friendly bienvenido at check-in, guests are whisked away for a quick 30-minute meditation to jumpstart their vacation Zen. Then it’s off to dine at one of the complex’s 10 international restaurants. Everything is included, from morning fitness classes and cabana rentals to a jungle boat excursion through the mangroves and a pasta-making class. Luxe accommodations, a mini massage, healthy continental breakfasts, a $75 daily food and beverage credit and airport transfers are also part of the deal. 

The resort’s 35,000-square-foot spa embraces the Mayan vibe in an ultra-modern setting, with breathtaking views of the sea from the large adults-only indoor swimming pool. Treatments and therapies are designed to soothe and balance mind, body and spirit. The Hunab Ku Ritual, a traditional Mayan massage, includes healing strokes and an abdominal massage technique to enhance energy flow. The Ichtaca Mayan is a secret treatment designed to help connect with nature and the cosmos; it facilitates total tranquility with an herbal body scrub, followed by a full Mayan massage focusing on the tensest parts of the body.

Kicking up the wellness experience another notch, there are sunrise yoga classes, beach bootcamps and classes at the fitness center. A special purification ceremony performed by a shaman is intended to release negative energy by burning special herbs. Plus, vitamins C and D come courtesy of sunshine aplenty, with two outdoor pools, private beachfront cabanas and daybeds.

Special perks awarded to guests who upgrade to Club 91 rooms, located on the 12th and 14th floors, include express check-in and check-out services, preferred spa reservations and exclusive access to the Club 91 Lounge, an inviting space for relaxation and socializing, where breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, an open bar and after-dinner pastries are offered daily. 

When in Mexico, drink margaritas. This resort makes that easy, with a menu of 150 variations on the cocktail, including classic, modern, fusion and exotic recipes that call for tequilas (silver, resposado and anejo) and mezcals, plus beetroot, black tea and serrano chili, among other unexpected ingredients.  

Dining here is a special treat. There are a total of 10 world-class culinary options from which to choose at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa and its neighboring sister property, the Marriott Cancun Resort, including Gustino Italian Grill, Sedona Grill, Mikado Japanese Teppan Yaki, Sasi Thai, Sacbé Beach Shack and Champions Sports Bar. 

The New Point of Blue’s emphasis on rejuvenation “encompasses everything from the healthy snacks and meals offered as a part of our ever-evolving culinary program, to the holistic spa experiences that were inspired by ancient treatments and remedies of the Mayan culture,” says Dominick Esposito, director of food and beverage. “The idea is for guests to fly home feeling refreshed and re-energized, and that’s achieved by offering light, locally inspired dishes and cocktails.” Misión cumplida! Blvd. Kukulcan Km 14.5, Lote 40-A, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, +52.998.848.9600,