Presidente Intercontinental Cancun Resort Review
The Intercontinental Cancun is located on the north-eastern edge of the hotel zone in Cancun which hosts most of the resorts in the area.
I had used a number of Chase Free Night certificates as the hotel charges - 35,000 points or $400 per night (during the busy New Years' season).
We arrived somewhat early and got an earful from the security staff that we could not drive up the lobby (it was under construction) but we also could not wait in the car park area for a few minutes (while unloading). There was no help for our bags either - I find that less welcoming than it should be.
Check-in was slow and involved a lot of paperwork - however, eventually, we got a room on the eighth-floor facing the road. The road is busy and cars run 70 mph. It is just a few meters from the hotel itself. With the number of cars and the close proximity, it is really loud in the room. The Intercontinental is likely the closest hotel to the road anywhere in the 'Hotel Zone'. This isn't a problem for rooms facing the beachside but a huge downside for rooms facing the street. Double pane windows would solve the problem but that has not been done.
The room itself looked more akin to a Holiday Inn - Spartan but functional.
It must have gotten a remodel not so long ago. It definitely did not feel luxurious like most Intercontinental I stayed at (i.e. Osaka, Lagos, or Phnom Penh). I felt it was more akin to a decent low-end 3-star hotel.
Unfortunately, the room was so far down the hall that the Wi-Fi would not work at all. It was 1 Mbit or less. I immediately called the front desk but since it was a busy day nobody would pick up. Eventually IT service was available but could not do anything since no repeaters or routers were available. The hotel also throttles Wi-Fi at 5Mbit (in all areas) instead of the 10MBit required by IHG.
We requested to change to a room with better reception. We finally got through to the front desk at 6 PM and all rooms were taken by then. A new room was promised for us the next day but it only happened at 3 PM after endless back and forth with several front desk staff.
The room (facing the ocean) was much better - it was cooled down properly, the Internet worked properly as well, and it was quiet. It still did not feel luxurious but the view was much better.
The hotel has two pools and great access to the beach. Indeed the stretch of beach is wonderful with clear water and soft sand. Because of its protected location, it is ideal for swimming or small children to play in.
Most beaches in Cancun are for strong surf making it impossible for non-expert swimmers to really enjoy the ocean.
The only downside is the frequent jet skis (from other resorts) that emit an exorbitant amount of exhaust. If the wind goes that way the beach will be smelly.
The pool area was clean but definitely needs a refresh. The available beach benches would be gone come 9 AM by the (mostly Brazilian) guests.
We ordered breakfast a few times and it was decent. Not the worst hotel food I ever had but only slightly better than starving. It was not overly expensive.
The staff was mostly missing and it was hard to get a hold of anyone. We had the most success with Victor at the front desk (if he was available).
Check-out was another long process (mind you there was nothing really to pay or do).
In sum - the hotel has a great location with beach access that is rather unique. Everything else about this 'resort' resembles an old and tired Holiday Inn Express at a US airport. The grumpy staff that could not care less, mediocre food, rooms that are moldy, many barley work, and some rooms are incredibly loud.
Do yourself a favor and stay in one of the more modern hotels in town and take the bus (that works quite well to go to the beach) unless you really have planned a beach holiday only.
P.S. I reached out to IHG support and the GM Sonia Ramos. After two weeks no reply yet :(