As promised, here is Part 2 of our Unico 20°87° travel review. In case you are new to the blog and possibly missed Part 1, well you can find it here. Part 1 is all about our general thoughts on the hotel, it’s location and it’s aesthetics. This post will be all about what made the stay at Unico 20°87° special to us. The finer details… you know the kind of stuff that stays with you long after the trip is over. For some reason (well, obvious reasons I guess) this place really stayed with us, we’re still not over how amazing it was.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Not the beginning of the trip (ain’t nobody got time for that), but rather the beginning of the day. Watching the sun come up over the hotel is just absolutely mind-blowing. It’s something impossible to describe really, how do you describe a sunrise? Lucky for us a picture is worth 1000 words, and the picture you’re about to see is worth millions. The next photo has undergone no retouching or colour enhancing, it is as it was captured by our camera. I have never seen colours like this anywhere in the world.
Is your mind blown yet? It should be.
Watching the sun come up in the early hours was one of our favourite things. A little moment of calm. The hotel’s dead quiet, the pools are empty and you haven’t yet had a Margarita – But more on those delicious Margaritas later.
The hotel is built around 2 massive pools that pretty much become the focus of the day. Complete with a swim-up bar, a volleyball net, basketball hoops and a DJ building up the young party crowd as they do Tequila shots shouting “whooo hoooo”. Pretty standard for this part of the word I guess – and really fun if that’s what you’re in the mood for. If not, you can simply retreat to La Escondida, for mellow music and a serene atmosphere with a hydro pool that lets you get away from it all. As you can imagine getting a poolside seat is always a priority on a vacation like this but never seemed to be a problem during our stay. There seemed to be endless pool lounges, pool beds and poolside cabanas, so there’s always somewhere to throw your towel down and join the pool party! And man can these guys throw a pool party!
All the pools offer a poolside bar and snack service and there are loads of staff around to serve you cocktails and snacks to your heart’s content. This is one of the best things about staying at an all-inclusive hotel. You eat and drink what and when you feel like it and your holiday is never ruined by a surprise bill at the end. We spent our days working down the cocktail list only stopping for Margaritas and tacos in-between. It was heaven!
Eating and drinking is always a massive part of our vacations. Elzaan and I often reflect back on a meal or drink we had somewhere as some of our happiest memories – truth be told we nearly licked the screen at the sight of those tacos and corn chips earlier. So it goes without saying that food is important to us, and we’re always worried that an all-inclusive hotel will be one giant mass produced buffet after another. We’re happy to report that Unico 20°87° was nothing like this. As touched on in my first post, there are 3 main restaurants for dinner together with a bunch of smaller restaurants and cafe’s scattered around for all-day dining. We were lucky enough to experience all 3 and so I’ll give you a quick breakdown on each.
Cueva Siete serves up dishes deeply rooted in Mexican flavours and traditions. It’s not your typical Tex Mex restaurant so don’t expect quesadillas or tacos here. Cueva Siete works on a chef-driven concept where the chef will be rotated every so often. With former Top Chef Mexico contestant, Christian Bravo currently at the helm, a distinguished take on both familiar, and lesser known, Mexican dishes is what you can expect. We loved the fact that all our local dishes were paired with local wine.
Mura House was possibly our favourite of the three. Much to our surprise, we found one of the best Japanese restaurants we have ever visited, slap bang in the middle of a Mexican hotel! The restaurant aims to achieve a balance between tradition and uniqueness by bringing together three different styles of Japanese cuisine-teppanyaki, yakitori, and sushi. We tried them all and everything was delicious, our only regret was having had lunch that same day and not being hungry enough to taste the entire menu – though we came pretty darn close.
Mi Carisa focuses on the traditions and practices of coastal Italian cuisine. Again this was one of the best Italian restaurants we’ve ever eaten at. Everything from the bread to the wine was just spectacular. The carpaccio was outstanding and I can say without a doubt that I had the best steak of my life there. As with the two restaurants above, every detail is immaculate, from the tableware to the decor, nothing is overlooked.
Elzaan and I agreed that the quality of all 3 restaurants was so outstanding that if they existed as independent restaurants back home we would visit them without question. This was one of the details that really stuck with us during our stay – it was the last thing we expected from an all-inclusive deal.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that your all-inclusive experience includes anything from selected Spa and Salon treatments to tours and excursions (all with just a 20% service fee payable). Our group was lucky enough to experience the Extreme Mayan Jungle Tour, where we literally got dropped off in the middle of the Mayan jungle to spend the day swimming in the local cenotes and ziplining through the treetops.
On a side note… For some strange reason, it seems that ziplining is the thing to do while in Quintana Roo. No matter where we drove it seemed that somewhere offered the highest, fastest or longest zip line through the jungle. I’m convinced you can make your way down the entire province just via zip line.
The whole day is a unique experience in a private reserve shared only by 3 other hotels. Our hotel representative was a great guide (and an all-around funny guy), giving us just enough history and culture so that we learned something new without getting bored. The day of swimming and zip lining ended with a traditional lunch at a Mayan village. Perfect timing as we were all starved by then. We were treated to handmade corn tortillas, grilled pork and a slow-cooked Mayan chicken in a little village in the middle of nowhere. It’s not something I’ll soon forget.
I feel like I’ve really raved about how great our stay at Unico 20°87° has been. I sometimes worry that it doesn’t come across as authentic, but then I remember that no one is paying me to write this review and I feel like I need to remind you of that. Sure the hotel invited us to come and stay, but the views will always be our own. A quick scroll through Trip Advisor or Hotels.com will echo everything I’ve said above – “excellent”, “amazing” and “incredible”.
If you’re looking for good food, great location and huge value, I sincerely suggest booking a week here. We may even go back for our honeymoon. : )
Okay. Bon voyage and stay fancy.