I wanted to share in case it might be helpful to other brides. My FH and I visited the area August 1st-5th. We stayed at the Now Jade but also visited the Now Sapphire, Hard Rock Cancun, Beach Palace, and Hyatt Ziva. We pretty easily narrowed it down to the Beach Palace and the Hyatt Ziva. Now we are deciding between the two but leaning towards the Beach Palace.
I'll start here since this is where we stayed.
First of all the hotel: it's great. I really don't have much to complain about here. The staff is wonderful, the grounds are well-kept. One big thing that bothered me was that it was incredibly slippery around the pool. I couldn't walk in flip-flops. I couldn't help but think about how dangerous it would be for my older family members for the wedding. Also keep it mind it's not near anything. No quick cab right to a bar or mall from here. It's very isolated which is beautiful but can also be inconvenient.
Food/Drinks: Overall pretty good. The absolute best was the French restaurant. It was OMG amazing. The sushi/hibachi restaurant was really delicious too. We also tried the Italian and Mediterranean and both were just so-so. Breakfast was a buffet which was hit or miss. The made to order omelettes were awesome. Everything else was just fine, no complaints, no raves. I did LOVE starting every morning with bottomless mimosas and coffee. It's not brunch unless you're double-fisting the two. I was disappointed the sit-down breakfast restaurant is for preferred guests only. Room service was really bad. The timing and service was wonderful but the food was SO bland. We couldn't figure out how since the rest of the food on the resort was really decent. No complaints in the drinks department. I particularly loved whatever brand of champagne they served.
Beach/Pool: Beach was beautiful, hardly any seaweed. BUT there are these huge rocks under water that you will stub your toe or scrape your knee on, almost guaranteed. That was kind of a bummer because we are big beach people. The water was really rough while we were there because a tropical storm was brewing but we didn't mind the waves, just the rocks. Also we lost our GoPro in the waves. It was our own fault though, obviously! The pool was beautiful, not too crowded at all in the water. I loved the concrete loungers that were under water so you could sit in the pool and look at the ocean. Chairs were generally pretty full but we were always able to find a couple, even if they were in a less than prime location. They did run out of towels a couple times. Overall, we were pretty pleased with both the beach and the pool.
Weddings: We met with Jacqueline. She was wonderful, very informative and professional. Things we liked: lots of dates available, good reception venues. Things we didn't like: ceremony locations. The pergola was the best location by far, over looking the water in a somewhat secluded location. BUT, in my opinion, the structure itself looked pretty cheap and kind of just thrown together. I'm sure it could be done up nicely but it would need some work. Ditto for the structure they had set up on the beach for a beach ceremony. You can also have it in the garden which is pretty but right in the middle of the resort and little ocean view. Overall, just no WOW location to us. There were definitely a couple of nice reception spots overlooking the water though.
Overall: I gave it a 7/10, FH gave it 6/10.
View from the beach chairs at Now Jade:
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Going into it, I thought this would be my pick.
Resort: We liked the overall look and feel of this resort much better than the Jade. It's more what you think of as "Mexican" decor and design. It's also almost entirely outside but covered with a roof which we liked. Same as the Jade though, far from the airport and other amenities. We ate lunch and really enjoyed it. Pretty much the same food as the Jade. But the place we ate had 2 resident iguanas roaming around looking for leftovers. That was neat. Also should note there are no elevators.
Food/Drinks: Only ate 1 meal here. Good, very similar to lunches at Now Jade.
Pool/Beach: Pool is AMAZING. It is huge and beautiful. Lots of room. Beach... not good. Very narrow and just piles and piles of seaweed. There were a couple of guys out there with wheel barrows but there was no way they could keep up. Honestly, we could smell it too. There was hardly anyone on the beach. I thought this was strange because I had read many reviews saying the beach at the Sapphire was better than the Jade. Not even close when we were there though.
Weddings: We met with Ramon. He definitely knew his stuff but I wasn't crazy about his demeanor. Felt a little maybe.. condescending? I don't know, just not my favorite person we met with. There are basically 3 different places you can have your wedding: beach terrace, tequila terrace, and preferred pool. All 3 involve getting married directly on the beach. At the Beach terrace, you can have the ceremony on the landing where the stairs from the beach air. Maybe they really make this place nice for weddings but to me it just looked like they randomly set up a wedding ceremony in between the pool and the beach. The tequila terrace was nice but pretty much just a plain porch, half had a roof. The preferred pool was the prettiest in my opinion but there is no ocean view from there. Then what I really didn't like is you have to pick 1 location for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. You can mix and match but there is a $1,000 fee for each additional location. There are a couple of gazebos over the pools which were pretty but I didn't even ask about them because I didn't want people in the pool just feet away from the ceremony.
Overall: I gave it a 6/10, FH gave it 7/10.
Hard Rock Cancun
We chose this one over the Hard Rock Rivera Maya because the beach was reviewed much better at the Cancun location.
Resort: Really beautiful grounds. Pretty spacious on the non-ocean side of the hotel with a separate building for the kids, a separate building for the gym, and a huge outdoor amphitheater for nightly shows. We LOVED that and the number of shows they offer. It's definitely evident you are at a Hard Rock the moment you step foot on the resort: the decor, the music, the atmosphere all fit the bill. If you don't want that vibe, you won't like this resort. I told my FH it really doesn't even feel like you're at the beach until you see the ocean. However, it was a really festive atmosphere with music and activities all over the place. It was incredibly CROWDED everywhere we went. From the main lobby to the pool to the beach, just packed. I realized later that's because it has 601 rooms! The rooms are beautiful, the best of any we looked at by far. Keeping in mind, I'm sure they showed us a couple of the upper end on the price scale.
Food/Drinks: Didn't eat here but we were amazed by the sheer number of options around the pool area. Tons of different places to grab a bite in your swimsuit. A detail my FH loved is that the room service food is the same as the foods served at Hard Rock restaurants around the world- a far cry from our room service at Now Jade.
Pool/Beach: Pool is nice, very crowded. Beach is beautiful: white sand, blue water, no seaweed. BUT again, incredibly crowded.
Weddings: Which brings me to my next point: the beach is the only place to have a ceremony here. And they have it set up really close to the resort rather than closer to the water so you would definitely have people in the background of your photos. When I asked the girl that gave us our tour, her name escapes me but she was from sales, not weddings, she simply said the photographer would have to edit the people walking behind the ceremony out. Also I just double-checked, the only non-ballroom options for a reception are the pool and terrace or the beach at extra cost. I really don't remember her pointing out the pool as a reception option. I have no idea where you would set a reception up in that area. The terrace is nice but it faces the lagoon, not the ocean. So you do get the sunset there but in my mind, you go to Mexico for the ocean/beach, not the sunset. By my rough estimates the wedding package here was the most affordable of the 5 resorts by a couple thousand dollars. I was calculating based on a group of 40 which is my guesstimate for my wedding group.
Overall: I gave it a 6/10, FH gave it 7/10.
We looked at this one first thing in the morning and were blown away by the sky terrace.
Resort: It's basically what you think of as a hotel in the States. Just 1 tall building but it really wasn't crowded at all. 285 rooms compared to the 601 at Hard Rock! Really clean, modern look overall. Not my first pick in vibe but very nice overall.
Food/Drinks: Didn't eat here but took a look at the lunch buffet and it looked fine. Oh I lied, we did have ice cream from the ice cream shop by the pool. Yummy. Several pool-side lunch options here too.
Pool/Beach: Pool is great! Very large, swim up bar, water slide. I believe there is a "kid" side and an "adult" side although anyone can swim on either side. Beach is exactly the same as Hard Rock: stunning, blue water, white sand BUT nowhere near as crowded.
Weddings: This is the WOW factor- the sky terrace. Right when the elevators opened to the 14th floor, I think we both said "wow" out loud. It is stunning ocean views all the way around until you see the lagoon side which is also very beautiful. Glass all the way around the terrace. 2 pools and 2 bars up here, 1 side is closed off for wedding events. We would have our cocktail hour and reception in this area. It's beautiful with the pool and the glass all the way around overlooking the ocean. Just gorgeous. There is also a sky deck which is up 1 story (stairs only). Same deal- just beautiful. The only issue we had with that is that it's almost like you are too high. The view is all sky, you can't even see the beach or the water unless you walk up to the glass. But still stunning. We are thinking we'd have our ceremony on the beach though just to have a different look for the ceremony and reception. The ceremony location here seems like it's closer to the water so any guests in the area could simply walk around the wedding rather than behind. The other HUGE perk here is the group rewards. For a certain number of room nights you can get your cocktail hour and reception for free and possibly unlimited events (welcome dinner, rehearsal dinner, farewell brunch, etc.) The overall cost of the wedding is about the same as the other resorts until you account for the group rewards then it's the best by far. Oh and I've had fantastic response times from David Morel so far on the logistical end. Suzette gave us the tour and was wonderful.
Overall: I gave it a 9/10, FH gave it 9/10.
Standing on the sky terrace at Beach Palace:
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If money were no object, this would be our pick hands down.
Resort: You walk into the lobby and are just blown away by the view. Stunning ocean for miles. This resort sits right at the top of the hotel zone so it has ocean on both sides. It's also comprised of multiple buildings so you don't feel like you are in the hotel zone at all. Much more of a resort feel vs hotel. We loved that. The staff was amazing. They put their hands over their hearts every time they see a guest. We actually thought this was a liiiittle over the top and couldn't help but return the gesture which left us laughing hysterically multiple times. But seriously I could go on and on about how beautiful this resort is. Oh and they have a dolphin lake area on site, my FH was sold as soon as he saw the dolphins .
Food/Drinks: Didn't eat here but looked around and it looked like there were tons of options.
Pool/Beach: There are so many pools, just beautiful and perfect. This is the only resort where we saw tons of empty chairs which is awesome. There is a little cove where the water is super calm which would be great for small kids to play in. The main beach is actually a pretty long walk from the rooms and I think technically not even on the Hyatt Ziva property. The sand is white and pretty but it's kind of rocky, lots of small shells and rocks. Once you get to the water, it's perfect though.
Weddings: Honestly, I teared up a little bit when I saw the wedding gazebo. It's like a scene from a movie, but real life. It's out on a cliff with ocean on both sides and the most gorgeous waves I've ever seen crashing against it. The structure itself is white and very solid and well-made. Just stunning, beautiful, I can't come up with enough adjectives. Anyone would just die to get married here. Amazing. The reception location I would use is the sky terrace. It's gorgeous too, probably about five stories up with a great ocean view. Both locations are totally private which is awesome. Marta gave us our tour, she was great. So sweet and informative. They are a little on the slow side so far via email though. The big factor here is cost. The wedding would cost us more than any of the other resorts and has ZERO group rewards.
Overall: I gave it a 9.5/10, FH gave it 10/10.
I forgot to mention the lighthouse!! So pretty:
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The reception terrace:
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Standing in the gazebo:
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Standing on the path to the gazebo:
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I keep going back and forth between the Hyatt Ziva and the Beach Palace. I think the Hyatt Ziva is the best choice for the wedding itself but if we choose the Beach Palace, we can take that extra money and make the overall weekend amazing (excursion, extra events and activities, etc.). I was so sure that the Hyatt Ziva would be more expensive for guests but, at last quote, it was actually slightly cheaper. At this point, I am definitely leaning towards the Beach Palace but writing this review has me second-guessing myself again! Such a tough decision!
Edited by rkilmer0319, 18 August 2016 - 07:00 PM.