Saturday, January 14, 2012

Le Meridien, Cancun - Not my favorite

We spent one night in Cancun before heading down for a week in Cozumel. Having been happy with our stay at the Westin, at the start of the Zona Hotelera, we thought we would try the Meridien, which is supposed to be more upscale than the Westin. Not true! The hotel was a big disappointment in pretty much every dimension. The lobby was small and plain, the staff that did the check-in was, unfortunately, unbelievably inefficient. A check-in which should have taken no more than 5 minutes (we had prepaid the rooms with Starwood) somehow managed to take over 25 minutes. The front desk was full of unhappy people, one family next to us quite upset to find that their reservation had magically been canceled, the family to the other side of us, unhappy with the noise from the construction (which was not mentioned on their website) and wanting to get moved to a different room. While there were many staff people at the front desk, there was no manager in site, and several of the people must have been trainees or something since they only stood around and watched.

While it would be hard to complain about the beach at Cancun under any circumstances, I will say that the location of this hotel - about mid way along the zona hotelera - is not ideal. The waves were quite strong, and while this could be attributed partially to the strong wind that was blowing, I think the surf tends to be stronger here than at the start of the zona which has a bit of a cove effect. 

The biggest thing the beach/pool area has going against it is the shadow thrown by the massive building going up next to it. Even if one ignores the inconvenience of the noise from all the construction - since at some point in the future this will end - the sun disappears very early in the day. All the hotels here have the problem that the sun hits the beach in the morning, but in the afternoon lays in the shadow of either the hotel itself, or its neighbors. This is something we liked about the Westin, which has pools on both sides of the hotel, with one getting the sun in the morning and the other in the afternoon. 

In these photos you see the pool area shaded by a large concrete wall from the new construction, and in the background of the beach shot you see the huge building going up next to the Meridien. 

The new building is bigger than any of the other neighbors and our porter said that pay-offs exchanged hands in order to get the plans approved. I would say that this building is the kiss of death for the Meridien. Stay elsewhere!

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