Situated on 100 acres of secluded coastline and tucked behind the Yucatan peninsula’s lush mangroves, the Waldorf Astoria Cancun is a cherished sanctuary in Cancun, removed from its vibrant counterpart.
There are few hotels I think about long after my stay, but the Waldorf Astoria Cancun has etched itself into my memory as a haven of unparalleled luxury and relaxation. After a long weekend dancing away in Tulum, I craved nothing more than to be pampered with the waves within my line sight. I booked myself into the Waldorf Astoria Cancun, and it delivered.
Situated on 100 acres of secluded coastline and tucked behind the Yucatan peninsula’s lush mangroves, the Waldorf Astoria Cancun is a cherished sanctuary in Cancun, removed from its pulsating counterpart. The resort has quickly become an oasis for travelers craving a serene, luxurious escape.
Before I even stepped out of the car, a staff member opened my door, greeting me by first name and promptly placing a delicious margarita in my hand. Lost in the tequila-jalapeño goodness, I almost missed the part where my luggage was whisked up the entrance and into my room. I could immediately tell that no detail would be spared at a well-oiled establishment like this one.
Behind the 20-foot entrance doors, the Waldorf Astoria’s grand lobby is adorned with chandeliers, marble tables, and wooden accents. The breathtaking architectural design casts a warm glow over the space, immediately evoking a sense of grandeur and glamor without any hint of stuffiness. Elements of tasteful Mayan décor from local artists tie the large space together. The check-in process is refreshingly painless, with guests invited to sit on cushy sofas as staff check you in. With no formal hotel counter, there are no long queues or raucous phones ringing.
The property boasts two oceanfront infinity pools with plenty of space and palm trees offering seclusion. Multiple restaurants are scattered throughout, while the chic lobby bar centers the hotel. And, of course, service here is flawless, with staff anticipating your every need before you can even think of it.
Every detail has been curated with comfort in mind — from 400-thread-count linens to floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing all 173 bedrooms to offer breathtaking views of the ocean. Guest rooms here are large enough to feel like your very own private suite. Décor is sleek with neutrals and splashes of Mayan art, adding just enough interest to a carefully crafted aura of calm. All rooms are equipped with a Nespresso machine and aromatic shower products from the Mexican skincare brand, Vervan.
The jaw-dropper is by far the bathroom. Spanning the length of the bedroom, it’s complete with an ensuite toilet on one side and, on the other, a spacious rainfall shower that opens onto a deck with a built-in soaking tub. Magnetic marble slabs hold dual vanities, while a roomy closet filled with necessities—including plush robes and a sewn beach bag for use around the resort—is tucked swiftly behind.
In a sea of boutique resorts and restaurants, the culinary options at the Waldorf Astoria Cancun stands out among the nearby competition. Throughout my stay in Cancun, travelers and locals alike unfailingly suggested that some of the best restaurants in the city are at the Waldorf Astoria. Lucky for me, it fell into my cards. The property boasts five dining spaces with distinct atmospheres, including stylish décor and cuisines that showcase local ingredients.
Whether you’re here for a light bite by the poolside or a fine dining feast, the experience at Malpeque feels polished and elevated from start to finish. Malpeque is by far the resort’s headliner, and centers around an upbeat open kitchen, where dishes are smoked, grilled, and charred in front of you. The fiery foreground is contrasted with a soothing ocean backdrop, making every angle of the restaurant more picturesque than the last. Given that Malpeque specializes in fresh catches of the day, I was immediately sold on the raw bar options. I shared the classic Caribbean spiny lobster and Alaskan King crabs, alongside a few sides. Both dishes were cooked to perfection, with a naturally sweeter bite balanced by a savory buttery flavor.
Ja’o, on the other hand, is a lively Mexican cantina, complete with a margarita cart that rolls right up to your table, ready to customize and serve. The gorgeous interior is worth the visit alone. Reminiscent of many Tulum establishments, wooden chandeliers and hues of beige are complementary accents to the warm lighting. If you want to enjoy the cool Yucatan breeze, snag a spot outside and be sure to order the red velvet churros – you won’t be disappointed.
Guests can flock to Chaya for breakfast, where the à la carte menu serves up plates that tastefully add a local flair to international favorites. The airy and bright dining area, coupled with maybe the friendliest service you’ve received, will have you chipper for the morning. Taking our server’s recommendations, I was blown away by both the Huevos Benedictinos con Cangrejo (Crab Eggs Benedict) and the Pan Francés con Mezcal (Mezcal French Toast). I ended breakfast each day with the refreshing Ensalada de Sandía – a watermelon salad topped with mint, agave, queso fresco and confit orange.
Standout experiences at the Waldorf Astoria Cancun include an array of on-site activities from weekly mezcal tastings to paddle-boarding and even a cooking demo.
I seized my moment to try out the private cooking class and would highly recommend it to anyone eager to get a taste of Mayan history. While sipping a Kukulun Smoke cocktail (a mezcal-based drink with hibiscus and ginger), we crafted four dishes, ranging from an Adobo Lobster Tlayuda to a deconstructed Tres Leches cake (pictured), all while hearing stories from our chefs about their upbringings in nearby pueblos. The experience not only equipped us with signature Mayan cooking techniques but introduced us to the vast history behind Mexican food. With new techniques under my belt, I was thrilled to realize that I could access most of the ingredients we cooked with back at home.
A visit to the holistic spa is worth the trip out here alone. At 40,000 square feet, the expansive space includes a secluded pool, sauna, thermal area, relaxation lounges and spa treatment rooms galore. With a menu of spiritual treatments based on Mayan ancestral ceremonies, I indulged in their signature Yaxché journey, and wow, was it incredible. The ritual, both a spiritual and physical journey, is carried out by the resort’s Shaman and began as a ceremony over a fire before moving to a treatment room where Ceiba leaves are brushed gently over you throughout the massage.
While the allure of the Waldorf Astoria name may attract many, the resort goes above and beyond all expectations. From its Mayan touches, lavish offerings, and premium dining, the experience marries cultural richness with sophistication. Honest Cooking Magazine can’t wait to come back for more.
Waldorf Astoria Cancun
Carr Federal Libre 307