The Sophisticated Side to Cancun, Mexico

When most people think of Cancun, they think of 18-year-old kids on spring break, and I thought much the same. I had been to Mexico before, but I had never been to Cancun. When I was a senior in high school, my dad didn’t even let the word Cancun come out of my mouth. Instead, I went to the Bahamas, and Cancun fell off my radar until recently.

I was invited to stay the weekend at Nizuc Resort and Spa, which was named one of Travel and Leisure’s Best New Hotels in the World for 2014. Not only was I going to dine at its restaurants each night, but I also was there to attend a Black Carpet event, or an event organized to thank the local (and very affluent) members of the Cancun community for their support and patronage to Nizuc’s five restaurants.


I landed in Cancun and felt like I was hitting a brick wall he moment I stepped outside of the airport. New York summer had been anything but hot, and the blazing Cancun sun made me feel like I was right back in Indonesia. It was at the airport where I met Dorothy, another journalist and TV presenter from the city, and her sister Danielle who would also be on the trip with me.

Nizuc is only about a 20 minute drive from Cancun airport and in an area called Punta Nizuc. What was once a presidential retreat, Nizuc is now the adult’s side to a more sophisticated and luxurious Cancun.

The hotel is protected and hidden away behind high, tall walls. There was a set of large, wooden gates that opened up as we entered the resort.

The first thing I saw when I stepped into the lobby was the sea. The three of us were floored, and we had to talk ourselves down from the thrill and excitement of being in such a palatial resort. I’ve been lucky in the past year or so to have stayed at some really amazing properties in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and in Australia, and Nizuc definitely fast became one of the best.


The resort sits on 29 acres of land and has more than 270 suites and villas. Given its isolated location on Punta Nizuc, Nizuc offers private beachfront property that place it a world away from the Senor Frogs partiers.


Simply put, my room was beautiful. My balcony had its own private pool and a view of the waters that wrapped around the resort. The room was modern and sleek. It was incredibly large with a couch, an enormous bed, and a generous area for the bathtub and showers and such. Each day some kinds of treats – be it cakes and cookies or fruits – were placed in my room to nibble on.





Shortly after arrival I had to get dressed and head to dinner at La Punta Grill, which is situated next to the adult pool and has an upscale island vibe to it. A highlight of the night was meeting Elton Brand, an NBA basketball player; though I had no idea who he was at first, I eventually came to learn that he plays for the Atlanta Hawks, so I managed to nonchalantly sneak in a comment about how I used to be really good at basketball when I was growing up.  My favorite restaurant at the resort, though, was ni, where I learned about and ate black cod for the first time in my life. If you’ve never had black cod before, let me tell you this: it is life changing and is literally the most delicious thing (maybe even more delicious than steak) in the entire world.

The next day we went out on a yacht and cruised through the gorgeously clear waters of Mexico. It’s crazy how quickly life can change, and as we sat there on the front of the boat, sunbathing and chatting with one another, all I could think was, is this really my job?



And it is (to some degree). We eventually anchored at an underwater museum, a concept I had never heard of before and that my imagination ran wild with.

The underwater museum, or MUSA, started in 2009 by a nonprofit organization based in Cancun that sunk more than 500 life-size statues by the end of 2013 in the name of conservation. The statues were all different, and my favorite was that of a man sitting on a couch with a tray of food on his lap and watching TV. The project started in the waters of Cancun National Marine Park in the hopes to create  an artificial reef area where coral reef could grow and in which marine life and fish could inhabit and breed, as the area had been badly damaged by storms.

And as if I wasn’t enjoying myself enough, I had an hourlong Espa massage that was so calming and so amazing I actually drifted off to sleep. Seeing as I was once someone who hated the concept of a massage (I was scared after my first massage experience in Beijing, China), I would now gladly and 100 percent indulge in a massage without the slightest of hesitations.

The weekend at Nizuc was surreal from start to finish. Everything about the experience was smooth, easy, and luxurious. It’s an interesting comparison when I think about my life as a backpacker against my life as a travel journalist. I mean, I’ve slept on roadsides in Cambodia and a maid’s closet in Malaysia (that I shared with two other backpackers who had no accommodation that night), but I’ve also stayed in some of the world’s best hotels and eaten at some of the world’s best hotel restaurants also.

Lucky little life I live sometimes.


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