You might find it bewildering to choose among Cancún's many hotels, not least because brochures and websites make them sound—and look—almost exactly alike. For luxury and amenities, the Zona Hotelera is the place to stay. In the modest Centro, local color outweighs facilities. The hotels here are more basic and much less expensive than those in the Zona. If you want to be in the heart of the action, northern hotels near Punta Cancún are within walking distance of the nightclubs. Quieter properties are located at the southern end of Boulevard Kukulcán and in the residential streets between El Centro and the Zona Hotelera at Laguna Nichupté near the Pok-Ta-Pok Golf Course.
Many hotels have all-inclusive packages, as well as theme-night parties complete with food, beverages, activities, and games. Take note: generally the larger the all-inclusive resort, the blander the food (and the more watered-down the cocktails). For more memorable meals, you may need to dine off-site and essentially pay for food you're not consuming.
Many of the larger and more popular all-inclusives will no longer guarantee an ocean-view room when you make your reservation. If this is important to you, check that all rooms have ocean views at your chosen hotel, or book only at places that will guarantee one. Be sure to bring your confirmation information with you to prove you paid for an ocean-view room. Also be careful about lost wristbands and unreturned towels, since many resorts have started charging up to $150 per day for the former and $25 for the latter. When checking out, make sure the hotel hasn't tacked on excessive phone or minibar charges, as some tend to do. At check-in, ask if your “all-inclusive” rate includes tips—some resorts are now automatically adding 15% gratuities—and "resort fees," which tend to be hidden supplementary charges.