Inside the Mexican hotel with rock-star suites and free guitars
It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’ve just seen Marvel’s Green Goblin fly over a crowded dance floor to do battle with a Lycra-clad Spider-Man.
I’m at the legendary Mexican club Coco Bongo – and no, I’m not hallucinating after a severe sunstroke.
Located on Cancun’s main strip, the club sometimes makes Las Vegas look amateurish.
Tickets start from £70, but for those willing to splurge, a VIP pass for around £150 includes 15 drinks and gets you a front row seat to the venue’s bewildering spectacle.
Everything from the Game Of Thrones Night King breakdance and air artist warriors, to the surprisingly impressive Freddie Mercury and Moulin Rouge tribute numbers, are jammed into the two-and-a-half-hour show.
The weird and wonderful experience doesn’t end when I head into the warm night either.
Next door is the equally wild Senor Frogs, where Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee had their first official date in the 90s.
It may claim to be a restaurant and bar, but if it does serve food, don’t expect casual dining and chatting with friends.
Instead, I’m greeted with Conga lines where revelers get free shots of tequila poured into their mouths, and scantily clad performers twerk above the bar.
The venue has recently seen a revival – though it never really went out of fashion – after featuring in the Disney+ series Pam & Tommy based on the relationship between the Baywatch beauty and outrageous Motley Crue drummer.
I’m sure if it had been built at the time, the couple would have checked into my base for the week – the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, just a ten minute cab ride from the clubs and bars of town.
Powdery white sand
Of course, they would have chosen the 2,511-square-foot Rock Star Suite — complete with Elton John and police memorabilia, and a terrace with stunning views and its own sound system.
But more than half of the hotel’s 600 rooms have stunning ocean views — and as with all things rock ‘n’ roll, everything about Hard Rock is OTT — from the giant headboard in snakeskin from my king-size bed to the whirlpool tub in each room.
Rooms also come with large walk-in showers, his and hers sinks, and fully stocked minibars.
In a nod to the venue’s roots, for true music lovers, a record player and matching LPs can be ordered in the room.
The hotel even offers a guitar rental service, where a Fender can be ordered to the room for free.
For beginners like me, a step-by-step guitar learning program is also available on the hotel TV system.
The hotel is next to a wide array of powdery white sand, or there is an expansive infinity pool as well as chilled rooftop pools for those in Rock or Royalty rooms.
Hot stone massage
There’s live music and foam parties most days, and cocktails on tap at the two swim-up bars.
With five restaurants, including an Italian, a Mexican and a steakhouse, as well as pop-up outdoor stalls, you won’t go hungry at the Hard Rock.
Some all-inclusives can be underwhelming when it comes to dining, but Hard Rock’s extensive selection is among the best.
Offering rib eye and sirloin cuts as well as roast chicken and salmon, Ipanema Grill should be high on the list of places to try.
Although I recommend hanging snacks by the pool before going to the grill as the portions are huge.
For an unusual dinner, Zen offers Japanese teppanyaki tables that can accommodate up to 11 people. I watched my meal prepared by the chef, who caught the eye with various tricks and bursts of flame.
Meanwhile, Italian Ciao offers a fine dining experience that’s perfect for a sophisticated evening.
And don’t miss the vodka, walnut and truffle rigatoni.
After dinner, Hard Rock offers a free nighttime show to all guests.
When I visited, these included a Michael Jackson show as well as magic tricks.
For further relaxation, the Hard Rock’s on-site spa offers a fabulous range of treatments. But while the Rock Spa is first-class and the perfect place to unwind from poolside DJs and free frozen cocktails, it doesn’t come cheap.
A 50 minute massage will set you back £176, while an 80 minute hot stone special costs £220.
After a week in Cancun, I’m an odd mix of totally relaxed after days of lounging in the sun and tired after evenings spent visiting wacky Vegas-style bars.
But one thing is for sure, I fell in love with both the city itself and the Hard Rock.
For the young and young at heart looking for a lively trip without sacrificing the comforts of home, it really ticks all the boxes – and some.
GETTING THERE / STAYING: Seven nights’ all-inclusive at 5H Hard Rock Hotel Cancun is from £1,575 pp, based on two people sharing a Deluxe Room with balcony and hot tub.
Includes flights with Tui from Gatwick in September and October and transfers. See tui.co.uk.
MORE INFORMATION: For more details on Hard Rock Cancun, see hrhcancun.com.