story and photos by John Lamkin
Driving the short ten to fifteen minute distance from Cancun Airport to the resort I was amazed at how beautiful the scenery was. Instead of going through the town of Cancun and down the long, crowded hotel strip this was an eye-pleasing, leisurely drive on a tree-lined, landscaped road.
Entering Nizuc, the first thing I noticed was the lush tropical landscaping and the modern architectural details. Next was the courteous staff, from valet, to concierge, to butler and on to the rest of the staff — everyone I met was extra friendly.
The beautiful lobby is luxurious with a touch of the rustic with water vistas, ponds, and fountains everywhere. Looking out one end of the lobby you see the small bay that fronts the resort and beyond that the many colors of the Caribbean. The shape of the bay and peninsula give the resort its name, Mayan for dog's nose. Nizuc has capitalized on the name, using the Mayan dog glyph everywhere.
Cancun is well known for its amazing white sand beaches and the awesome colors of the Caribbean. But Nizuc is one of the most fabulous locations along the entire coast from Cancun to the Riviera Maya. A tropical paradise.
We were shown by the concierge to our spacious suite overlooking the beach and the bay just in time to watch a couple of para-skiers gliding across the bay. The beauty of the room repeated the luxurious, openness of the lobby. Outside were table, chairs and chaise lounges for enjoying the spacious balcony. Every detail says luxury: the über comfortable king–size bed, fine furnishings, and in the bath suite, ultra-modern bathroom fixtures. The décor, the layout of the space, and the high–end amenities were the max in luxury and comfort. And, the view of the sunsets where spectacular.
The property was owned by the Mexican government, much before the development of Cancun. At one time one of the country's presidents had his beachfront home here. The home still exists, it's now a fine restaurant with premium views of the Caribbean, an infinity pool stretching its length, and a beach in front. The restaurant is surrounded by lush tropical growth and at one end a path leads past sleeping iguanas to a pier with a great view of the whole of Nizuc across the small bay and, turning around, of the ocean. It's a great place to watch the area's incredibly dramatic sunsets. The Mexican government sold it to a Japanese company a few years back. With construction almost done that company then sold it to a Mexican firm that brought in architects from Mexico City to finish and decorate the property. The result was a beautiful resort that stands apart. I call the style "Zen luxury."
If you really want to go in luxurious style get the Nizuc Suite or the Presidential Suite. Counting the outdoor lounging space with their own pool, both are more than 5,000 square feet. For the same luxury and a great ocean view go for the Penthouse suite.
Nizuc is a great venue for weddings, honeymoons and couple's retreats, but the family is not left out. There is a special building for children with all that's necessary to keep them entertained. Baby sitting service is also provided. There are many places around the property that allow privacy and seclusion for adults and couples though.
If you are into tennis, Nizuc has tennis courts and tennis programs with a PBI Tennis Professional. Nearby is a Jack Nicklaus golf course. Also available are 24–hour concierge service and several special services such as the Chef's table, private dinners, and wine pairing at the Santo Tomas wine cellar. The hotel does feature the very fine wines from Mexico's Guadalupe Valley—some rivaling the wines of Napa Valley or France.
Nizuc claims the best beach (one of two on the resort) in the area, located on a tranquil bay separate from the glorious waters of the Caribbean beyond. There is an abundance of beach chairs, chaise lounges, and places to enjoy the beach. Overlooking the bay and beach is a large infinity pool—one of three on the property — with an inviting swim–up bar.
A stay at the resort should allow enough days to try all of its fine restaurants. I had excellent meals in four and look forward to coming back and trying the rest. Nizuc employs some of the area's best chefs in their six gourmet dining spots. You try Cafe de la Playa on the beach; Ni restaurant for Peruvian cuisine; Ramona's, especially notable are Chef Bladimir Garcia's gourmet interpretations of Mexican cuisine; La Punta Grill & Lounge, casual outdoor atmosphere; Indochine for Asian fusion and finally Terra Nostra for Mediterranean style. There are three lounges at which to enjoy the drink of your choice. I recommend the awesome margaritas at La Punta.
Also your stay should include a visit to their fabulous 30.000 square foot, ocean–front ESPA spa. Recommended is one of the massages or oriental healing modalities followed by the complete hydrotherapy routine. This includes steam room, cold shower, sauna, sun room with wrap on a heated chaise lounge, the large room–size jacuzzi with many different types of jets and water massage device, then the cold room with cold mist and an ice fountain in one end to really chill with. After these treatments you will be ready for more beach time (I was ready for a cool drink and hanging on the terrace of our room).
Tours outside of the resort can include several Mayan archaeological sites within a day's trip and the world's second largest barrier reef, which is not far away.
Cancun and Mexican Caribbean coast, already known for some of the finest hotels in the world, has raised the bar another notch with the opening of Nizuc Resort and Spa.
Most major airlines fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN) and Riviera Maya is easily accessible from CUN by land transport.
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John Lamkin is a born-again travel journalist and photographer based in Taos, New Mexico and in Mexico. He writes (and photographs) about travel, food, wine, luxury, budget, gear, tech. and more. He is Global Membership Chair of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. He travels the world in search of something new in culture, cuisine and drink. Look for John Lamkin's photographs in a new BOOK, OUR INTERWOVEN LIVES WITH THE ZAPOTEC WEAVERS: An Odyssey of the Heart written by Examiner's Susanna Starr with Photographs by John Lamkin