We just returned from a great week at Crown Paradise Club (CPC) Cancun from December 2 to 9, 2008. Janet and I are experienced travelers to resorts in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. We were looking for a place to spend my 50th birthday on the beach, and we weren’t disappointed. We got a very good deal on the CPC as that week fell in the low season and the resort was only about half full.
We flew with Air Canada and you had to pay for everything. Headphones for the entertainment system were $3. We paid $6 for a cold sub sandwich. The charter companies like Sunwing, Air Transat , Canjet and Conquest provide superior service.
Rooms: Since we had a great price, we booked an upgraded Crown Club room. The bellman took us directly to the Crown Club Hospitality Suite on the 8th floor of the Crown Tower and our hostess checked us in. We also booked our dinner reservations at the a la carte restaurants while we were at it. We were assigned room 2804 which was right around the corner from the hospitality suite. We had an awesome view of the whole resort and the ocean. Our room was large, with a king sized bed and a Jacuzzi in the room. The bathroom had the toilet in a separate room. There were double sinks and clear glass doors on the shower area with no tub. Everything was extremely clean, was in very good shape, and worked well. However, I did notice some very small ants or whatever crawling around the sinks. I’ve noticed these in most resorts that we have been in. There were plenty of pillows, but we found the bed to be extremely hard. The mini bar fridge in the room was stocked daily with water, juices, soft drinks and beer, but we were concerned about the small amount of bottled water available for drinking. However, all the literature claims that the tap water in Cancun resorts is safe to drink. You can actually smell the chlorine when you turn on the taps. Just to be on the safe side, we bought bottled water for the coffee maker down at the store in the lobby.
The maid service was excellent as they checked the room about 3 times a day. However there was one day that the room wasn’t made up when we went back for our 4:00 siesta. There were always clean towels and facecloths available when we needed them. On my birthday, the maid had the room decorated with a Happy Birthday banner and lots of balloons which was a nice touch. We usually left a US$1 tip for the maid each day.
Food: The food at the CPC was the best that we have had at an all inclusive resort so far. We usually went for breakfast at the Crown Club Hospitality Suite which was very good. We went to the La Palapa main buffet a few times for breakfast, lunch and supper. The food and service were excellent. We tried a little bit of everything and we never found it boring. We had lunch a few times at the Tutuch snack bar which is located beside the main pool. They offered hamburgers with all the fixings, hot dogs, fries, chicken wings and taco chips with cheese and salsa. Beside this was the Fujiyama Japanese snack bar which offered deep fried coconut shrimp and beef noodle stir fry to name a few, and had all kinds of sushi rolls. We also stopped at the Midway Grill near the lobby bar one night on the way home after midnight and picked up a steak sandwich. The Italian restaurant La Piazza had good red wine, and a salad bar. Wayne’s Boots is a steakhouse that features rides on a mechanical bull at 7:00pm & 9:00pm. I rode the bull but didn’t stay on too long. We had a nice chocolate brownie with ice cream for desert which was delicious. We saved San Soucis the French restaurant for my birthday dinner and we were not disappointed. We had red wine with crepes and a perfectly cooked beef tenderloin. Then we had after dinner drinks of Bailey’s and Sambooka.
We should note that not all the restaurants were open every night as the resort was not full. The French is adults only, and men must have long pants and shirts and no open toed shoes. I ended up wearing my sneakers. All other restaurants have a very good children’s menu which is definitely a priority at this resort. The Steakhouse was a little disappointing in that only 1 kind of steak was offered, but you could get chicken or ribs if you wished. Nevertheless, the food was absolutely the best, with very little waiting time between courses.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The main focal point of our week was the adults only Club Caribe pool and swim up bar. It is located off the 1st floor of the Paradise Tower. It is a quiet area with no children and is a perfect place to spend the afternoon relaxing. Elf was the bartender and he did a very good job of providing whatever it was we wanted to drink. We met some great people from all over the world herel. We hung around the Main Pool on most mornings, but we usually moved around lunch time. The Concha pool is beside the main pool and is totally in the shade by about 1:00 pm. Generally, the water temperature in the pools was cool and it took me some time to get in. However, there are some heated pools up at the Adults pool.
The beach near the CPC is very narrow, but it is wider down to the right of the resort. There is an abandoned resort to left side. However, the beach is very clean with nice fine sand. The beach is public property and local venders were roaming around trying to sell you things. However, they weren’t much of a bother, but I ended up buying a bracelet. The CPC beach bar was closed for repairs while we were there, but I did notice a waiter serving drinks down at the beach. The ocean was very rough and the red flags were up on most days. However, we did manage to get in for a swim a couple of days when it was yellow flagged. You need to be careful getting in and out of the water as the waves can knock you down.
Bars: The bars at the CPC open at 10:00 am. The lobby bar is very small with only a few tables. On the other side of this is the Collage bar which is quite large and has good table service. The only draw back is the children running around which is allowed in the Collage. We spent most evenings at the adults only Trafalgar bar which opened at 6:00 pm. Carlito was the bartender and he was very friendly and he could make just about any kind of drink. I would suggest you try an apple martini which is a good drink before supper. After supper we would go back for drinks and play pool or cards and hang out with our new friends.
All the resorts in Cancun are now Smoke Free as of about 6 months ago. They do not allow smoking anywhere inside, similar to the smoke free laws in Canada. It would be nice if the CPC provided some kind of outdoor smoking lounge where a person could sit and smoke while enjoying a drink. Ash trays at the entrances to the lobby and other buildings are required so people can butt out before entering.
Activities: The resort’s theater is inside and is just down the way from the front desk in the main lobby. The shows start at 8:00 or 9:00 pm each night. We caught a couple of shows and they were better than average. The staff works hard to include the children. We were approached by a man on the first day who asked if we were interested in going for a 90 minute presentation on the CPC VIP package. He offered us gift certificates and other items if we went to the presentation. We apparently agreed probably because of the many tequilas and margaritas we had consumed that afternoon. We were surprised when he telephoned our room early the next morning to remind us. But we politely declined, and we were not approached again by anyone throughout the week. We took the local transit bus into down town Cancun one day and did some shopping at the famous Market 28. The bus stops in front of the resort and only costs 6.50 pesos but we gave the driver US$1 each. Market 28 has the best prices in Cancun for tee shirts and other souvenirs. We then went to Wal Mart more for curiosity than anything else. But we ended up buying Tequila and Kahlua to take home as the price was better than anyplace else, including the Duty Free shop at the airport. The buses run every couple of minutes and it is no problem at all. Just be prepared to hang on! However, I would recommend wearing sneakers and socks when going into Cancun as the streets can be very dirty.
Our CPC vacation package also included green fees at the Pok ta Pok golf course. This is not to be confused with the Hilton Golf Course which is right across the street from the CPC. We had to pay for a mandatory power cart rental at US$35 per person and we rented clubs at US$45 per person. The course is rated 70 from the white tees and plays over 6400 yards. We noticed a lot of lizards on the course which we were wary of. There is no deep rough or anything like that where scary things can lurk. The course is a good test but we rated it at about 5 out of 10 when compared to similar priced courses at home. At the end of the round, we were provided with a cool cloth to wipe our faces which was a nice touch. We took at cab from the CPC to the course which cost US$13 each way.
In summary, we had a wonderful week at the Crown Paradise Club in Cancun. The resort is very clean and compact. The service is excellent, and the staff are very friendly and co-operative. The price was a bargain and we’d definitely go back.