The Resort: Planet Hollywood Beach Resort
The Place: Cancun
Cancun needs no introduction. The tourist hotbed on the Yucatan Peninsula, the part of Mexico that’s closest to South Florida, is one of those places with just about every kind of tourism experience imaginable on offer.
The Museo Maya de Cancun contains Mayan artifacts from around the peninsula and sits alongside an archaeological site. A number of Mayan sites are easily accessible from Cancun; most famous and grandest among them is Chichen Itza. Inland from Cancun and with numerous tours and ways to get there, Chichen Itza was once one of the great Mayan cities. Its most impressive site is the great pyramid El Castillo.
Another can’t-miss, and one of the most unique museums you’ll ever visit, is the Underwater Museum. It’s just as it sounds – a series of sculptures and installations in the ocean. Divers can get the best views, but snorkel and glass-bottom boat tours are also available.
Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun sits surrounded by mangroves in Costa Mujeres, a peninsula that’s near everything but away from Cancun’s crowded hotel zone.
As you’d expect from this particular brand, there’s plenty of film- and entertainment-themed fun to be had onsite. That includes Shipwreck Cove and Jurassic Splash Park water parks and the Labyrinth hedge maze. There’s also mini-golf and Planet Play Adventure Park, which boasts a trampoline zone, VR experience, golf simulator, basketball court and arcade. For the little ones, Stars Kids Club offers fun that stretches the imagination. And for the grownups there’s Adult Scene, the 18-and-up resort-within-a-resort.
There are 11 restaurants in the all-inclusive resort, as well as PH Spa & Beauty Bar and a fitness center. Tours and excursions to nearby sites of interest can be arranged at the resort. And of course, there’s an onsite movie theater.
The Resort: Margaritaville Beach Resort
The Place: Nassau
The nearest international capital to Fort Lauderdale offers that mix of exotic and familiar. The usual tourist trappings are all there – if you want a wide beach, a luxurious spa or a night out that, depending on your needs, is either family-friendly or stretches into the early morning, you’ll find it without much trouble. But culture and history should also be on your list in this compact but exciting city.
In the city center’s historic Villa Doyle, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas offers an interesting mixture of cultural heritage and contemporary art. The city’s three forts saw action in everything from pirate battles to the American Revolution, and the restaurant at the historic Graycliff Hotel offers an amazing wine list to complement its five-star food. In a nod to the Bahamas’ British ties, it also offers an elegant afternoon tea during the week. Historic walking tours, of which there are several, give more perspective on a place with a fascinating history.
In terms of accommodations however, it’s possible to go somewhere brand new. Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau opens this month, and it offers a little bit of everything.
The resort’s conveniently located at the east end of Junkanoo Beach, on the edge of central Nassau and an easy walk to the cruise terminals. If you’re coming in your own vessel, it’s also got a 40-slip marina.
Nassau beckons, but it’s possible to have a great vacation in the resort alone thanks in part to 12 different restaurants and bars. JWB Prime Steak & Seafood offers high-end fare, while there’s more casual food on at places like Italian eatery Frank & Lola’s. Meanwhile, the Graycliff Sky Lounge offers, as you might expect, stellar views to go with excellent drinks.
For family fun, visit Fins Up Water Park or the park’s private movie theater. The St. Somewhere Spa offers all the relaxing treatments, while there’s also plenty of shopping to be done in the collection of on-grounds shops.
The hotel itself is made up of two towers featuring 300 rooms, 68 of which face the ocean. The Hotel Tower offers traditional rooms, while the One Particular Harbour Tower is home to premium suites with balconies and full kitchens.
The Resort: Ka’ana Resort
The Place: Belize
Not quite as well known a tourist destination as its neighbors, Belize is a place worth searching out. The small country’s robust national park system means much of its coastlines, rainforests and other natural splendors sit in protected areas. For divers, its 185 miles of barrier reef is the largest in the Northern Hemisphere.
The sheer diversity of outdoor pursuits on offer in Belize is something to behold. Diving at Turneffe Atoll, hiking the highlands at Mayflower Bocawina National Park, exploring the Maya ceremonial cave of Chechem Ha, kayaking the reef or down a rainforest river – options are bountiful.
And this experience can only be heightened by staying at a place that offers luxury while also being bound up in the nature. Located inland near the country’s western border, the Ka’ana Resort mixes luxury with local culture and cuisine. Gardens and bungalows in lush foliage make for an authentic jungle experience and whatever you’re into, it’s close in proximity.
Nearby there’s cave tubing and ziplining, horseback riding and a handful of Mayan sites. The onsite La Ceiba restaurant uses produce from the resort’s on-site organic garden, while The Wallace bar offers a “jungle-casual” atmosphere and craft cocktails with a tropical twist. And if you fall in love with the cuisine, Maya cooking classes are offered onsite.
Home to mystical Mayan caves, wonderous aquatic habitats and lush national parks, Belize is one of Central America’s most biodiverse countries, touting tropical jungles, wildlife reserves, and cascading flora and fauna. Located along the Caribbean Sea, Belize offers over 7,000 hotel rooms, the aforementioned 185 miles of barrier reef, family-friendly attractions, and numerous adventures waiting to be had.