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A couple days ago I got an email from a couple who reads this site thanking me for posting about the all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara that opened in late 2013. They said that some of those posts help spur the idea of a long weekend kid-free getaway from the cold this February, and that they ended up loving the resort. I was thrilled to hear they had a great trip, and since I haven’t yet had a chance to go to one of the all-inclusive Hyatt resorts yet I asked if they would be willing to share a few details of their stay. Luckily they said yes, so here are some tidbits about the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun courtesy of James and his wife.
We stayed at the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun in February and really, really liked it. The restaurants were all very good, I loved that it was adults only (though we do have kids back at home). It had a great lobby, nice pools, and a very nice beach. We thought it was a great use of 25K Hyatt or Chase Ultimate Reward points (transferred to Hyatt) per night. It was extremely relaxing to not worry about what anything cost since all food, drinks, tips, etc. were included in the award stay.
The place is gorgeous and every room is a suite with an ocean view. They have a good variety of restaurants (all included) plus they have a 24 hour lounge with light snacks and a coffee/smoothie/pastry shop for any sort of in-between-meals-snacks. There were even things like a bike tour of Cancun that were included in the all inclusive award stay price. Here are a few tips in case anyone else wants to use their points to visit the Hyatt Zilara Cancun.
- I would definitely NOT use additional points to upgrade to a better room since as a Hyatt Passport member (which you are, if you’re using points) they typically give you a small room upgrade. It isn’t worth it to me to get “premium” liquor (since they already use a lot of top shelf liquor), or a slightly better room.
- If you’re in the Chicago area as we are, American Airlines has a direct Chicago to Cancun flight, which means it is only 20K British Airways Avios round trip if you can find the saver availability.
- You can only book on points by calling Hyatt. They still don’t allow online bookings for the all-inclusive resorts on points.
- You can ask about availability, then hold on the line while transferring points from Chase UR to Hyatt. The transfer took <1 minute (YMMV, but seems to be typical) and then I booked while still on the same phone call.
- WIFI connection was fantastic. Hopefully you’re not working while here, but if you are I did a speed test on my phone and got about 20Mb/s (both upload and download), which is faster than I get at home or work.
- Some cabanas are reserved (for the top end rooms) but the majority are first-come-first-serve. I never had any problems getting one, but the better located ones do get picked up earlier in the morning so plan accordingly. Between napping, watching the ocean, going from the pools to the ocean, and reading on a Kindle we spent a bunch of time in the cabana. Because of the great internet connection, you could download a new Kindle book in a matter of minutes.
My only complaint that I had while there is that the lobby area gets loud at night (they play music and have a nightly show), so if you are trying to have some quiet time or go to bed before 11PM, it can be distracting. They do have 24 hour room service, and it’s fine, but definitely not as good as the rest of the restaurants. Also, I’m not sure why, but there’s a lot more information about the resort at the realresorts.com website (more than the Hyatt site). For example, they list all the different restaurants and bars.
From Tripadvisor reviews, it looks like there were some teething problems with the switchover to Hyatt back in November/December. I haven’t previously stayed at The Royal (from before Hyatt took over), so I can’t definitively compare, but it looks like the reviews are more positive now. Regardless of what the other reviewers say, we loved it.
Scenario: Four day weekend getaway for two from cold Chicago
Flights: AA ORD -> CUN, 20K British Airways Avios per person, 40K Avios total. The flight is less than 4 hours in duration and in the same Central time zone, so there was virtually no jet lag.
Hotel: 25k Hyatt Gold Passport/Chase Ultimate Reward points per night, 100k points total (or use two free nights via the Hyatt Visa). This total will not only cover your room, but also pretty much all of your expenses once you get there!
Total cash costs for us ended up being a couple hundred dollars consisting of $120 in taxes on the flight ($60/per person), parking at O’Hare, taxi transfer in Cancun, and that was it.
Cents Per Mile/Point in Value:
Flight: Retail cost for the flights was about $800 per person. We spent 20K points + $60 in taxes each, so the 20K points saved us $740 over the going rate for the flight, and resulted in about 3.7 CPM.
Hotel: For two people, it costs $500/night for the dates we were there. Paying 25K points is about 2 cents per point. That is not amazing for Hyatt/Ultimate Rewards, but definitely a good and worthwhile use (since I could never justify spending $500/night for a hotel, but I have the points set aside for fun and vacation.
Thanks again to this great couple for sharing their thoughts about this resort. I have to say that the idea of being able to spend 25k points per night and not have to spend more on top of that for food and activities is pretty great!