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Monday, January 2, 2012

Cancun, Mexico / JW Marriott

Christmas weekend 2011, 2-nights, Club 91 guestroom #1229

Arrival experience
A bellman requested our name when we arrived, and then we were escorted to the Club floor for check-in. Our guestroom was ready, and the check-in process did not take long.

Guestroom
Room #1229 is located directly under Club 91. Fortunately, the club was not open when we were trying to sleep because we could hear chairs moving around overhead. I had expected a guestroom on the club floor since all our reservation confirmations and correspondence clearly said: "Club level, premium ocean view," and, "Club 91 rooms are non-smoking and all located on the club floor." I inquired about our room assignment, and I was told that the rooms on floor 12 are also club floor rooms and that the rooms on both floors are the same. Guestroom 1229 looks exactly like the king room photo on the Marriott website. I thought I had read that the club floor rooms are larger, although I could not find this information after our stay. The information on the Marriott website lists all the guestrooms (except the suites) with the same sq ft descriptions. I thought it was odd that we had been assigned this room--close to the elevator and directly below the lounge--when my reservation details were noted with: high floor, quiet area, non-smoking. It seemed to me that we had received a standard king ocean view room, rather than a club floor "premium" ocean view room.
view from balcony

The guestroom size was sufficient since we also had a balcony with nice seating. It looked like all of the balconies were similar with the same furnishings. The view was good, although I expect it would have been better from the ocean front rooms. This room is located in the wing that is set back from the ocean. The view overlooked the small pool on the side next to the CasaMagna. Our guestroom also had a connecting door, and it smelled slightly of smoke. I called Club 91 (as this was our service contact), and I was told housekeeping would come to "spray." Someone did come and spray an undesirable scent that merely masked the odor. Later, it seemed as though the smoke smell was coming through the ventilation system, because I smelled it off and on during our stay. 

The bed and all furnishings were supremely comfortable, and we did not hear any hallway or neighbor noise. The room contained a couch, soft chair, desk and chair, flat screen TV on a large armoire, minibar, robes and slippers, and a safe. There was no coffee in the guestroom, and coffee was not available in Club 91 before hours. We did not have a safe charge on our folio. This may have been because it was included with our points redemption. Or, maybe it was included in the taxes that we paid on the $100 upgrade. Part of the Marriott website says that there is a charge for the safe, and some areas do not state this. I did not use the Internet because my status was Silver during this stay, and the charge was "around $14," I was told. We received turndown service the first night; however, we did not receive it the second night. I should have called to request this because we wanted to shower again the next day before checking out. In addition to the room refresh the first night, turndown service left two milk chocolates.

The large marble bathroom was impressive. There were two sinks in the large vanity, and a back counter and side shelf with enough room for our shower bags. The walk-in shower was across the room from a separate bathtub. The toilet was located behind a private door. A spacious closet, which contained the safe and a set of storage drawers, was located across from the bathroom. 



Club 91
After reading about what is provided in Club 91, we decided $100 a day was worth upgrading to the club floor, and it was the best upgrade money we ever spent! I can not say enough good things about the food, beverages, and service provided in Club 91. We would have spent well over the upgrade cost, if we had purchased the included items separately. Here is a brief summary and photos of some of the food and beverages provided.

Breakfast: 3 hot plates--eggs, meats, potatoes, and such; many breads and pastries; salmon with all the fixins'; cereals, yogurts, cheeses, and cold meats; high quality coffee and cappuccinos, juices, milk, and mimosas! 

Lunch: 3 main plates--small sandwiches, wraps, and such; salads, snacks, desserts, beverages.



Dinner: 3 hot plates, small portion sizes--steak filets, stir fry, fish, and more; many cold salad and seafood plates, desserts and cheeses.

Bar: Pretty much anything you wanted--champagne (yay, for me!), and brands such as Kahlua, Baileys, Tanqueray, and Absolut.  

Misc.: Bottled water and sodas were always stocked in the fridge. There were food items like fresh wrapped cookies available all day long. I was told that it was okay to take bottled water and coffee from the room. Even though our packet said not to take items from the room, I observed people taking food and sodas from the room as well. 

Club 91 bar
The service was great. Most times, we did not need to go to the bar for our beverages; staff members filled wine glasses and served drinks whenever they observed a guest waiting. We exchanged US dollars for pesos at Club 91 for the exchange rate of 13.95. This was a better rate than we got at our next hotel.

Pool & beach
Even though the pools are heated, I thought the temperature was a bit cool. The water temperature was hot in both jacuzzi tubs--perfect, we thought. There were cushioned lounge chairs around the pools and mesh lounge chairs on the beach. The pool towels were plush, and everything was clean and well maintained. 

The first morning, we did not have any trouble finding lounge chairs in the pool area under a hut overlooking the ocean (after breakfast around 9 AM, or so). The second morning was a different story. My husband went down before breakfast around 7 AM because we had hoped to get seats under a hut overlooking the ocean near the infinity pool. When he returned, he said we were lucky to have gotten the seats we had the day before because there were towels on most of the loungers in good locations. Later that morning, I heard people asking others what time they had come down to get seats. The poolside beverage service was great, and so were the Bloody Marys! 

Misc. & overall
We loved this resort and Club 91. I was slightly disappointed with our room and the fact that we did not receive turndown service both nights, but the rest of the stay was fantastic. The cost for us was 60,000 points +$100 (for Club 91) per night. I also had Marriott cash, so the cost was even less. If I had made better plans far enough in advance, I would have booked our stay for three nights at the JW. We had to pay $32 for the lousy shuttle service, which is free for guests staying three or more nights in a Club 91 guestroom. Our shuttle experience is covered in my Cancun airport review

view of the CasaMagna from our balcony
Originally, we had planned to stay at the CasaMagna next door because the rate was only 50,000 points per night (still a lot of points, although less than what it cost at the JW). By the time I decided we would be happier at the JW, I did not have enough points for three nights, and the cost for a Club 91 room was well over $300. I thought $100 per night was a great deal for the upgrade; however, I did not think our room and the club was worth $300 - $400 per night. There is a walkway between the two resorts, and I had read that guests can use both facilities. I also read that the pools are not heated at the CasaMagna, although we did not check the water temperature when we walked over there. From the outside, the guestroom balconies look larger at CasaMagna, and the pool area looks nicer at the JW.