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You might know Cancun as a party town, thanks to the spring-breakers who flood the Mexican city each year. But far from the crowded nightclubs and resorts on the Riviera Maya is a luxurious new oasis perfect for a sweet romantic escape. Opened less than a year ago, the Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is built on an isolated stretch of private white-sand beach lapped by the famously blue Caribbean Sea.

Though just 15 minutes from the airport, the sparkling new resort is literally miles away from the bustle of Cancun’s glitzy hotel zone. But once you experience the all-inclusive luxury of the Royalton Riviera, you won’t feel an urge to leave anyway. Like travelling on a cruise ship, you’ll find everything you need in one place, including restaurants, bars, shopping, swimming pools, an ice cream parlour, coffee lounge, fitness centre, full-service spa – even a casino.

You’ll never go hungry with nine restaurants to choose from, whether you’re in the mood for steak, sushi, Mexican or Mediterranean, or feel like grazing your way through an international buffet. And you can indulge in an icy beer, fine wine or craft cocktail at a mix of bars indoors and out, including bar service right on the beach.

Afterwards, you can simply roll on back to your room. Even the most basic suite at the Royalton is a mini paradise – bright, sleek and modern with glass doors leading out to a balcony, terrace or swim-out pool, plus a gleaming marble bathroom complete with an inviting Jacuzzi for two.

The resort offers three distinct sections of accommodations, with the Diamond Club section providing decadent extras like personal butler service, a private lounge and exclusive beach area. The Hideaway section, essentially a chic boutique hotel within the resort, caters to adults only with a dedicated restaurant and bar and a relaxing pool that’s (blissfully) free of kids.

Staying at the Hideaway means access to all the amenities at the Royalton, including the Royal Spa. You truly will feel like royalty here, especially after a soothing hot stone massage or purifying facial. Not to be missed is the spa’s elaborate hydrotherapy circuit – step inside a dramatically lit space worthy of a movie set, where you’ll be guided through a series of enticing pools and gloriously pulsating water for the ultimate in muscle relief. Of course, the spa also offers full beauty services, including a separate suite for wedding parties.

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If you’re in fact considering Cancun for your destination wedding, the Royalton Riviera has you covered. Several wedding packages are available, all of which include the services of a professional wedding planner. There’s even a free option, featuring a complimentary ceremony and dinner reception when you book a minimum seven-night stay for 10 guests (five rooms).

You can sink your toes into the sand during your beach ceremony, or aim for the sky by booking the resort’s Sky Terrace for a private ceremony and cocktail hour. Dinner options include semi-private dining at your choice of on-site restaurants, plus various add-ons like a candy buffet or late-night food station.

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Need to entertain your guests (or yourselves) before or after your wedding? The Royalton Riviera makes it easy, thanks to an on-site Nexus Tours office. The friendly staff can help you choose from several day trips, all with pick-up directly from the hotel entrance. For water lovers, tours include driving your own speedboat through tropical jungle, snorkelling at nearby Isla Mujeres and swimming with dolphins or even whale sharks. But to escape the hot sun – or tropical rain – consider heading underground to Rio Secreto (the “secret river”) to explore the magnificent caves and wade through a crystal-clear subterranean stream.

For an unforgettable cultural experience, don’t leave Cancun without exploring at least one of two iconic archaeological sites nearby. Named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is a long-abandoned Mayan city famous for its soaring stepped pyramid and an ancient ball court dating back some 1,400 years. For spectacular sea views along with your history lesson, take a guided tour of Tulum, south of Cancun. The only Mayan city located on a coast, the former seaport houses the ruins of a 13th-century castle and temples built on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean.

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After your day’s adventure, settle back for your air-conditioned ride back to the Royalton Riviera and ponder what would hit the spot best: a frosty mojito or a glass of chilled bubbly. Thanks to the resort’s all-inclusive luxury, you won’t even need to choose.


>>>>>>>> IF YOU GO

Sunwing Vacations offers complete “champagne service” vacation packages to Royalton Riviera Cancun with direct flights from Vancouver to Cancun, airport transfers included. sunwing.ca

The Royal Spa at Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort provides a full range of face and body treatments, massages and beauty services, plus a comprehensive hydrotherapy circuit. Wedding packages are also available. royaltonrivieracancunhotel.com

Nexus Tours operates several tours and excursions in the Cancun area, including pick-up and drop-off at local hotels. Options include day trips to Chichen Itza, Tulum, Rio Secreto, Isla Mujeres and other popular attractions. nexustours.com/mexico/cancun