If cruise ships can aspire to copy the best attributes of resorts, why not the other way around? Tucked in among the many new resort openings in Cancun this season, is one property designed to combine the look of a cruise ship with the family-friendly feel of a hotel on land.
With new owners, a new name and an $8 million renovation just wrapping up, the Seadust Cancun Family Resort (on the site of the Great Parnassus Casino) is the largest privately owned hotel in Cancun and it is reaching out to North American travel agents to help make it stand out in a crowded market.
It does resemble a cruise ship on land; and it offers a similar experience, with 11 dining options, a 9-to-9 children’s program for kids from 18 months old and up, five evening shows a week, and at least a partial view of the ocean in every one of its 505 rooms. Outside, there’s a new rock wall, a zipline and a miniature golf area by the pool, plus one thing no cruise ship can offer — a beautiful sand beach.
Since no cruise is complete without a casino, Seadust Cancun offers one of those as well — but with a family-friendly twist. Every guest gets scrip with which to play; if you lose, you are out nothing. And if you win, you get to keep the prizes.
The real advantage of a land resort, though, is the space it can occupy, and Seadust Cancun makes the most of its size in its rooms and meeting space. Its largest suites boast huge balconies with Jacuzzis; its new Family Rooms have specially built bunk beds that hold three kids instead of two, to accommodate families of five. For groups, there is meeting space for up to 950; and destination weddings on the beach. And on the walls, 50” smart TVs let guests watch what they like from their own devices, 24 hours a day.
As no good cruise is complete without food, Seadust Cancun has been focusing on its menu as well. There is a new chef and a new director of food and beverage, and all the menus in the restaurants have been changed. In 2018, it will add a Starbucks, as well.
“This is a completely new hotel and it’s mainly for families,” said Director General Pedro Pinhal at a press preview in December. “Our Family Rooms are almost 600 square feet; there’s no other hotel in Cancun that has Family Rooms as big as ours.”
Seadust Cancun has rolled out a loyalty program to encourage travel agents to visit and recommend it, offering points, free stays and cash back, as well as “surprise rewards” for those who register online.