Ever since we got into the points and miles game, my mom and I have been curious about the Hyatt all-inclusive resorts. We finally scheduled a trip to Cancun and booked both the Hyatt Zilara (adults-only) for three nights and Hyatt Ziva (family-friendly) for two nights. Originally we had booked four nights at the Zilara but after hearing from multiple people that they preferred the Ziva we decided we needed to visit both so we could see for ourselves. Today we are going to answer the big question, which resort is better, the Hyatt Zilara or Hyatt Ziva Cancun?
There actually is also a Hyatt Ziva Riviera Maya but we didn’t make it to that one. You can also find Zilara and/or Ziva Hyatt all-inclusive resorts in Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
Before you decide where to stay, you will need to earn some points! Both the Zilara and Ziva will cost you 25,000 points a night. That includes food and drinks for two guests. Each additional guest will cost you 12,500 points a night. Kids two and under are free.
To earn points to stay at either resort, you can open a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred, World of Hyatt card, or World of Hyatt Business card. You could also use points from a Chase Freedom or one of the other Ink business cards, but you’ll need a Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred in order to transfer the points to Hyatt.
Hyatt Zilara is located in the Hotel Zone in Cancun. We didn’t leave the resort. The beach is nice, and the water is beautiful. The waves out front were a bit strong, but people were swimming, and there is a lifeguard on duty. Check the flags posted daily (red, yellow, green) to know the current conditions. There is seaweed, but the hotel does a good job cleaning the beach daily.
The Hyatt Ziva is located on a peninsula, and because of that, it is surrounded by an ocean on three sides. There are two great beaches to choose from. Both beaches were nice and calm, and we didn’t see any seaweed there. From our balcony, we could see Zilara. The hotels are about a 5-minute drive away from each other. We took a taxi from Zilara to Ziva that the hotel had arranged for us. So who wins in location? Hyatt Zilara or Ziva Cancun?
Winner: Ziva – You just can’t beat having two great beaches!
There are 7 restaurants to choose from at Zilara. Spice is a buffet with many choices and views of the ocean, serving all three meals. Pelicanos is the restaurant by the pool with great views and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Asiana, as you would expect, is Asian food and Teppanyaki. We actually didn’t eat here because I can’t have soy. Casa del Cafe is a convenient little spot where you can grab a quick drink, pastry, ice cream, or sandwich. It is open all day long. There is a classic Mexican restaurant as well as a gourmet restaurant as well. If you want to enjoy a fancy multi-course meal, you can eat at Chef’s Plate, but this is only available to select room categories. Then of course, you can also order room service throughout the day.
To be honest, we didn’t love the food at the Zilara. I really wished they had wood oven pizza, a crepe station, better deserts, and poolside food service. Ordering lunch at the pool is one of my favorite things to do on vacation, so I missed that. They did come by and take drink orders, and my mom and I enjoyed Cranberry and Mango Coladas. A grilled lunch is offered out by the pool between 12-3 each day, and we had really good cheeseburgers! We did really enjoy the meal we ate at the Mexican restaurant Maria Marie! I’ll be the first to say that my mom and I might be a little picky when it comes to food quality (although we both don’t mind some McDonald’s fries every now and then, so I’m not sure how accurate that is-lol) but we both felt like the food here was what you’d expect to find at many all-inclusive resorts.
Ziva has a lot more choices! There are 17 options (including bars). La Bastille is an adults-only French restaurant. We didn’t make it here, but if we had one more night, we would have come here for dinner. They also had a buffet, El Mercado, but they had many more choices here. We had breakfast there one morning, and it was great. They had made-to-order omelets, freshly squeezed juices, a crepe station (my favorite), ham, and much more. There is a diner (Chevy’s), an Italian restaurant (Lorenzo’s), a Mexican restaurant on the beach (Habaneros) which we loved, a steakhouse (TradeWinds), and more!
The food at Ziva was great. We didn’t have anything here that we thought wasn’t good. We loved that there were so many options. Another thing we liked was the little stands and food trucks throughout the resort. There is a yummy churro stand and a food truck that serves nachos and burgers, and in the mornings, there is a juice and smoothie bar. One of our favorite “restaurants” was Pasteles. Pasteles is a dessert shop, and it is so cute and fun! There is cake, cookies, suckers, soft-serve ice cream, gelato, cake pops, cotton candy, and more. It is a kid’s dream come true…or if you are like my mom and me, then an adult’s too :). Like Zilara, only drinks are served poolside, although I did see menus by the cabana, so it looked like you could order food if you rented a cabana.
Winner: Ziva was the clear winner between the Hyatt Zilara and Ziva Cancun
The service at Zilara was great. All the staff members we came across were so kind and courteous, and they all wore masks at all times. It took us a day or so to get a hang of how the resort works- where things are located, like towels and such, and we both said it would have been nice to get a little more information during check-in.
The service at Ziva was really amazing. Everyone was so personable and helpful. We were always asked if we needed anything. When we checked in, they explained the mask policy- it was only required at the buffet restaurant. Like Zilara, the staff wore masks at all times.
Winner: Ziva – While both were really good, the service at Ziva was just a bit better.
Our room at Zilara was large and spacious, but it felt a little dated. All of the rooms here face the ocean, which is great! We were in room 212, which is right in front of the pool, where all the activities happen. If we had wanted to come back and take a nap during the afternoon, it would have been difficult with the music and partying happening at the pool. If you want to be in a quieter area, then I would ask them to put you away from the pool with all the activities. We were fine, but I would have preferred to be on the other side of the resort. Our room had a giant jacuzzi tub in the living area, a large shower, a stocked mini-fridge, a small balcony with seating, and a large shower.
The rooms at Ziva are newer and nicer, but they are smaller. As a disclaimer, we were upgraded to a club-level room. By being at the club level, we had snacks and food in the lobby of our building. Our room had an incredible ocean view! That was my favorite thing about it. Our room also had a stocked mini-fridge with some snacks (just like Zilara). The picture below was very similar to our room but is what you would probably expect to book without any upgrades.
Winner: Ziva – I prefer the newer, updated rooms
The Zilara has two pools that are right next to each other. As I said above, there is a more lively pool area where they have pool parties and games, and the other pool area is quieter and more relaxing. This is nice and allows people to choose what appeals to them most. There are cabanas available at the pool and also on the beach. Some cabanas are free, while you can reserve and pay for more premium ones. We didn’t have any trouble finding them- we went with the free ones. I loved sitting on the cabana bed, reading a book in the shade.
Ziva is all around a much larger resort. The grounds are beautiful! There are two main pool areas; if you stay in the adults-only Turquoise Tower, you will have access to your own rooftop infinity pool. One disappointing thing is there are no free cabanas to use at Ziva, and most of them sat unused while we were there. At the pool area we visited the most, there wasn’t a lot of seating. We both thought they could add more seats or at least add some more umbrellas. There is seating out on the beach as well, and those have umbrellas. There are fire pits to sit around at night, and we enjoyed relaxing there and listening to the waves. Who do you think is the winner in the pools/ground category between the Hyatt Ziva or Zilara Cancun?
Winner: Ziva – The grounds are beautiful! They could add some more umbrellas or, even better, have the option of some free cabanas like Zilara.
There is plenty to do at the Zilara. The busier pool has daily games and activities (pool volleyball, bingo, blackjack, etc.). We spent some time at the spa, and both really enjoyed our 80 minutes massages. Tip: Book your massage at check-in, and you’ll save some money. We each saved $35. We had to book a couple’s massage, but we each got our own room. There is also a fitness center, the ocean is steps away, and you can find companies offering to take you parasailing and jet skiing. Each night there are also shows/activities in the lobby (Michael Jackson show, Circus show, Glow Party, etc.)
Ziva had a lot of the same activities and nightly shows. They have a few more fitness classes, kayaks, and paddleboards available to use. One thing I liked at Ziva was that nightly shows are outside, vs. at Zilara, they are in the hotel lobby, which meant we could hear the noise from the shows from our room. It didn’t bother us, but it was noticeable.
Winner: Tie – You will find plenty to do at either resort.
For us, Ziva was hands down our pick. That being said, we have heard from many people who love Zilara! Zilara might be the best for you if you want a smaller feel and no kids. Zilara, at times, had a spring break party vibe which isn’t our thing, but it was nice to be able to go to the other pool, where it was quieter. We preferred the updated rooms, better food, and overall feel at Ziva much more. I think it comes down to what you are looking for and your travel style, which you might prefer.
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