The X Factor is in full swing and about to embark on its annual jaunt to the Judges Houses this weekend. This year sees the boys category travel to Mel B’s ‘house’ in Mexico, which is filmed at the stunning Occidental Grand Xcaret, in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Located adjacent to the eco-archaeological Xcaret Park and just minutes from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, this resort has it all – we certainly give it four big yesses!
A 7 night all-inclusive package costs from £899 per person, including return flights from the UK.
Plus one child stays free!
Upgrade to the Unlimited Xcaret Xperience from £75 per person per week.
Best At Travel’s Joanne Ellis has recently returned from a stay in this spectacular resort and gives her account below:
“To be honest I was a little sceptical about a hotel with such a weird name – Xcaret what was that all about? It didn’t sound very Spanish to me and how on earth do you pronounce it?! Turns out it’s from the Mayan language (a crafty civilisation that inhabited the area from perhaps as early as 2000 BC) meaning small inlet of water and the ‘x’ part sounds like sshhh and it ends up sounding like shcarate.
With a lot of talk about how Americanised the Cancun area of Mexico is, I was so pleased when I arrived at the Occidental Grand Xcaret to see it had been created to feel like a Mexican village, it wasn’t a typical hotel at all, the grounds were huge and set within the local ‘jungle’ terrain. I loved being able to explore these extensive grounds and was rewarded with sightings of plenty of wildlife (including cute coatis and large butterflies) and even some small archaeological sites (actual Mayan ruins along the lovely coastal path!). I also discovered refreshing watering holes and tempting swimming pools, being an all-inclusive hotel there’s an incredible 11 restaurants, 9 bars and 5 pools plus an impressive kids’ club & activity programme. With all these wonderful things I almost forgot to mention the inlet of water where the unusual name came from – there’s a white sandy cove with tranquil turquoise sea perfect for paddling and teeming with tropical fish!
Don’t be put off that there are over 700 rooms within the resort – with 200 acres of land there’s plenty of space! The hotel is credited with the EarthCheck Silver award for sustainability; so not just a pretty face either.
Adjacent to the hotel is one of the area’s most popular visitor attractions the Xcaret eco-archaeological park (bit of a mouthful!) a natural sanctuary which has a breathtaking range of sights and experiences showcasing the area’s wildlife, culture and natural beauty with some spectacular underground rivers you can snorkel along and a heavenly beach to enjoy. You can actually upgrade your stay at the Grand Xcaret by opting for the ‘Unlimited Xcaret Xperience’ deal which on top of the all-inclusive basis at the hotel you get unlimited access to the eco-park next door! It’s well worth it and my top tip to make the most of your time by this unique part of the Riviera Maya coast.
The Grand Xcaret has a great range of facilities, is very family-friendly and is an amazing introduction to the local culture plus Xtraordinary great value too!”