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White Caribbean beaches and award-winning culinary experiences in Mexico
Cancun, Mexico is widely regarded as one of the Caribbean’s most energetic cities. More than four million tourists make the journey each year to visit the famous white beaches, sample the culinary highlights and take in the archaeological sites of ancient Mayan civilisations.
While many seek out budget accommodation and all-inclusive packages, the discerning traveller is able to find world-class luxury accommodation.
In this respect it is hard to look much further than The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun.
The award-winning hotel raises the standards of premium hotel accommodation in the region and, in doing so, stands out as one of the finer holiday locations in Central America.
Each of the hotel’s 365 sea-facing rooms has a private balcony and is decorated with distinctive Mexican accents throughout. The residential style of the beachfront accommodations is homely while the Club level rooms and suites offer some of the district’s largest hotel space.
As in many Ritz-Carlton hotels it is the personal service and attention to guest needs that makes the hotel stand out. “Mexico is known as being very hospitable. The fact that we have such genuine people working here combined with the philosophy of The Ritz-Carlton ladies and gentlemen means we hands-down have the best service in Cancun,” said Ana Parra, Public Relations Manager at the hotel.
It is as a culinary epicenter, however, that The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun sets itself above regional competition. For a start there are the award-winning restaurants. The hotel picked up the AAA Five Diamond rating for two of its fine dining outlets. “The Ritz-Carlton is the only ocean-front hotel in North America to have received this honour for two separate restaurants,” says Parra. Winning the highly-coveted awards puts the restaurants in question, Fantino and The Club Grill, among the top .25% of the 62,000 establishments rated by the American Automobile Association this year.
So strong is The Ritz-Carlton’s reputation for culinary excellence that the hotel has opened its own cooking school. Fronted by Chef Rory Dunaway the grandly-named Viking Culinary Center is the place to learn gourmet secrets of professional chefs. “Chef Dunaway and the team create menus in a way to please everybody. Mexican dishes with a twist and the cooking lessons are based around the idea of constant interaction with students,” says Parra. “We want our guests to be very relaxed and the idea is that although this is a school people should enjoy what they are doing”
The Culinary Center has embraced the local Mayan heritage and avid food-lovers can explore the foods of the Yucatan Peninsula.
2012 marks a momentous time representing the rebirth of a new calendar cycle in the Mayan civilization. The spa is an area of the hotel with strong links to Mayan traditions. A selection of treatments is on offer to mark the end of the 5,126-year Mayan calendar and are all offered in the custom-built facility. “We want our spa to have a boutique atmosphere so visitors are not overwhelmed by the experience. It is about rest and relaxation in a private tropical oasis,” says Parra. Treatments such as the Mayan seashell massage and Mayan healing ritual are designed with regional traditions in mind.
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun is well located for exploring the many tourist highlights of Mexico. Helicopter tours to Chichen-Itza, one of the modern wonders of the world, are particularly recommended. The ancient pyramids and temples of Chichen-Itza were once the foundation of one of the Yucatan’s most vigorous city during the 10th to 12th centuries and should be experienced by first-time visitors.