It was our butler who first mentioned the “White Party.”
You read that correctly. We had a butler on our five-day trip to Cancun. And while his name wasn’t Jeeves or Belvedere, he was every bit as fabulous. Honestly, I don’t know how my wife and I ever went this long in life without one.
Normally we aren’t the kind of couple who requires a butler. For one, we are not rich nor have fancy tastes. When Sunwing sent us to Royalton Suites Cancun – me wearing drugstore sunglasses and a faded blue “Suns Out Guns Out” tank top, while my wife, Danielle, clutched a carry-on suitcase with a broken handle and three good wheels – we laughed at the idea that a person would be waiting on us hand and foot.
“Seriously, what do we need a butler for?” asked Danielle.
The answer: To make sure your vacation is literally that – a vacation.
That includes everything big and small, from unpacking your suitcase and ironing your clothes to stocking your hotel room fridge and making dinner reservations. Heck, they’ll slather sunscreen on that hard-to-reach spot on your back if you really wanted. I passed on having Alberto iron my Old Navy T-shirts. But if he really wanted to, he could bring us a bottle of vodka on ice. After all, it’s our vacation.
The butler service is one of the many amenities offered to Diamond Club guests at the Royalton Suites Resort and Spa, a new 180-room all-inclusive five-star property nestled on the sparkling white sand shores of Cancun and near the city’s vibrant hotel zone that officially opened on Feb. 1. And though being a Diamond Club guest is an extra upgrade, it really is worth it. Diamond Club guests also have a private pool (and a private swim-up bar!), a secluded section on the beach (where you don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. to put a towel on a beach chair), and enjoy exclusive access to the rooftop pool and patio.
That Sky Club concept is new to the Royalton resort.
White sand beaches and crystal clear water are part of the appeal of being in Cancun. But even the beach can get boring after a day or two. If you want something a bit more private and more upscale, the rooftop is where you need to be – especially if you’ve left the kids at home or let them play on their own at the Clubhouse Kids Club or Hangout Teens Lounge for a few hours.
No other hotel in Cancun has a rooftop pool. Even if they did, it’s unlikely that it would be anything like this.
Get off the elevators on the top floor and your olfactory senses are hit with the scent of sandalwood as a relaxing backbeat of tropical house tunes pulses through the speakers. The first thing you see is the infinity pool, which you cannot miss since it’s designed sort of like a lazy river, curving and stretching across nearly the entire rooftop in a shape reminiscent of a giant Tetris block.
This is more Miami than Mexico. There are private cabanas and hot tubs, as well as a full-service bar that seems to stretch across the width of the hotel.
This is where you can grab a drink and relax on a queen-sized day bed while smoking a strawberry-flavoured hookah and enjoying the most stunning views in Cancun. On one side of the hotel is the Caribbean Sea. On the other is the Nichupte Lagoon. Overhead is nothing but blue skies and the sun.
The best part: You have to be 18 years or older to come up here. Kids are great, but sometimes you need a break from them and their uncanny ability to play Frisbee right next to your beach chair. No one is splashing or peeing in the pool up here. There are no crying babies, no tantrums, no one loudly telling their moms and dads that they’re bored and “what can they dooooo?” And because there are no kids, there are also no energetic workers asking you to play beach volleyball or take part in something called Zumba.
I don’t know what Zumba is. But if it’s not served in a tall glass with a tiny umbrella in it, then I don’t want it. I’m on vacation, so leave me alone.
This patio is for that type of traveller.
There are two bars and a restaurant on the roof, but both are unnecessary, since there is practically a waitress assigned to each guest making sure you’ve got either a Summer Soiree (vodka, strawberry and coconut milk) or a Captain Lopez (rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut syrup) in your hand at all times.
After several hours of doing nothing – and loving every minute of it – we head back to the room to change for dinner. The Royalton Suites offers a massive all-you-can-eat restaurant called Gourmet Marche, where you can have everything from steak and seafood to pad thai and pasta (there’s even a crepe station). But if you want to sit down and be served, there are also several a la carte restaurants – Hunter Steakhouse, Agave Mexican Cuisine, Jade Asian Cuisine and Gracie Italian Trattoria – as well as a private culinary experience where your personal chef takes your tastebuds on a tour of seven courses with musical selections accompanying each dish.
There’s a hockey game on this night, so we opt for Score Sports Bar Pub & Grill, where you can order Buffalo wings, bacon cheeseburgers and poutine, and then wash them down with a selection of craft beers (they have Heineiken on tap!) in a frosty mug.
With full bellies, we head back to the room to get ready for the White Party.
Cancun might be filled with some of the best nightlife in North America. But while the Royalton Suites is literally a 10-minute walk from Senor Frogs and Coco Bongos and alcohol-filled blue slushies, there’s no reason to leave the resort. Not when there’s a martini bar, a lobby bar, a cafe lounge and a sports-themed bar with big-screen TVs and pool tables. There’s also nightly entertainment, featuring Michael Jackson impersonators and trivia contests.
And then there’s the rooftop cabana lounge, also known as Level 18.
As our butler mentioned, tonight was the White Party, a once-a-week exclusive party for Diamond Club guests where everyone is encouraged to dress in their whitest of whites and enjoy a night of music, dancing and entertainment. We had our doubts. The last time we were in Cancun, Danielle and I had been told the resort had a disco. It turned out to be a small room with a DJ playing the Macarena and Mambo No. 5 on repeat.
This was different. Much, much different.
What had been a relaxing lounge during the day is now a glow-in-the-dark nightclub, with everyone’s white clothing shining brightly against the night sky. Level 18 has it all. Cirque du Soleil-type performers are walking around on stilts, trapezing above the pool and juggling glass orbs. A Beefeater gin station has been set up offering guests specialty drinks. The DJ isn’t playing cheesy Latin songs from the ’90s – he’s pumping out everything from old-school hip-hop to current house tunes and whatever else is keeping everyone on the dance floor.
The next morning, Danielle asks if Alberto should make us a reservation for parasailing. Don’t bother, I tell her. After all, the view from the rooftop pool is even higher. And, as an added bonus, we can enjoy the view with drinks in our hands – and without a harness giving us a world-class wedgie.
IF YOU GO
Sunwing offers seasonal flights to Cancun International Airport from 20 airports across Canada: Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Kelowna, Windsor, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Bagotville, Val D’or, Mont Joli, Quebec City, Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, St. John’s, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Montreal.
Sunwing offers a number of different options for passengers to customize their travel experience. You can upgrade to Elite Plus from $50 per sector, which includes extra leg room (35-inch seat pitch), complimentary advance seat selection, priority check in and boarding, increased checked baggage allowance up to 30 kilos, free headset and priority baggage handling. More information at sunwing.ca .
Find out more about Royalton Suites Cancun at royaltonresorts.com/royalton-suites-cancun .
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