Beachy Keen

A Mexican Retreat

Got the winter blues now that the holidays are over and those cold, rainy days have set in? Emerald blue waters, soft sandy beaches and balmy weather exist a short flight from New Orleans in Cancun, Mexico. 

There’s plenty of hotels to choose from along the “Hotel Zone” of the Cancun peninsula, but Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach provides an amazing array of possibilities — numerous dining options, an enormous world-class spa and one of the best beaches in Cancun — all in one place. 

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find at the all-inclusive resort with its 602 oceanfront guest suites with private balconies. For those who want an upgraded experience, the Infinite Club off additional amenities. 

Le Basilic to La Joya

The resort offers several restaurants on property, including a lobby bar, coffee shop, beachside Isla Contoy and Vina Del Mar serving a wide variety of both American and Mexican dishes via an expansive buffet. Le Basilic is the property’s AAA Five Diamond restaurant, helmed by Chef Henri Charvet of Paris who will happily speak French to visitors. The elegant dinner consists of several courses with wine pairings and is complemented by a ballet performance and pianist. The colorful La Joya serves Mexican specialties, including delicious tequila cocktails, with a nightly Mariachi band.

The Table

New to the resort is the immersive visual experience of The Table, open twice a week for only 16 guests at a time. Visitors are served an eight-course meal of traditional Mayan and Spanish dishes while learning Mexican history through video that surrounds them and is projected on the table. While a narrator tells of the history and culture of the Yucatan, music of the era is performed by a multi-talented folk arts band. Occasionally, interpretive dancers act out the scene. It’s a feast for all the senses. 

Gem Spa Experience

The Gem Spa replaced 14 tennis courts so imagine its size. The spa and salon comprise 40,000 square feet and offer a variety of massages, wraps and facials within its vast walls, but start any treatment with the 10-step Hydrotherapy Ritual. Guests receive their own guide who takes them through the “circuit,” including aromatherapy steam room, multi-jet shower, clay steam room, ice room, sauna, rain shower and whirlpool, finished with an oversized “pool of sensation” filled with bubbles and floor geysers, water cascades and neck jets. 

KidZ Club

Another 40,000-square-foot space was created to appeal to children of all ages. Young tykes may shop in the Mercado or enjoy story time in the reading space while older kids can explore the ancient Mayan ruins (fake of course) in the outdoor space. There’s a computer bank, theater and video game arcade as well.

Isla Mujeres

Literally next door, a 45-minute ferry takes visitors to nearby Isla Mujeres where colorful stores and restaurants make up the picturesque town. Rent a golf cart and travel to the eastern end of the island where the sun first hits Mexico every morning and where, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot iguanas among the sculptures. Other attractions not to miss are the cemeteries, filled with elaborate tombs to honor the departed, a scene reminiscent of New Orleans’ Cities of the Dead.

If you go

You’ll need a passport to travel to Mexico and be required to enter customs when you disembark at both countries. Dollars (and credit cards) are accepted throughout Cancun so no need to change currency. The Cancun airport offers duty free shopping but the Selecto supermarket across from Grand Fiesta sells Mexican souvenirs and food products at much cheaper rates. 

For more information on the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, call (888) 830-9008 or visit

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