Our ManAboutWorld correspondent Paul VanDeCarr visited the Oasis Sens, an adult-only, all-inclusive resort in Cancún, Mexico. Was it as gay friendly as they promoted? Read our new column CheckOut and, well, check it out.
An “adults-only” resort hotel on the beach featuring outdoor pools, multiple restaurants with various cuisines and a friendly but not obsequious staff. Plenty of entertainments and activities such as Spanish lessons, yoga sessions, stage shows at the “Kinky Club” and cheesy but fun Mayan dance performances out by the pool. Small-to-moderate complaints like problems with the key cards or untidy spots in the common areas prevent the Oasis Sens from being a luxury hotel, if that’s what you’re looking for. The feel here is of folks splurging on a little easygoing beach vacay: the straight lady from Kansas who seemed to relish going topless, the college boy recommending “Dude, you totally have to go into the ocean wasted!!”, the middle-aged Russians in on the direct flight from Moscow, the trash-talking dykes from Dallas and the cute queeny 20-something gay friends from New York.
In Cancún’s hotel zone, which feels about “authentic” Mexican as a Taco Bell. But the real attraction here is the beach, which is gorgeous. To go directly to and from the airport you have to take a shuttle (about US $15) or taxi (about US $30) respectively. Or you can take a US $1 bus ride downtown, and from there catch a cheap “colectivo” van to the airport. Downtown itself is a bit of a hike—too far to walk—though it sports a couple fun gay clubs. Don’t confuse the Oasis Sens with its sister property down the road, the Grand Oasis Cancún, which has the reputation of being a party hotel for drunk college students.
The rooms are airy and bright much of the day, thanks to the (almost) floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and, depending on your room, balconies that look out onto the ocean or the lagoon. The beds are comfortable, the closet space is sufficient unless you’re a clothes horse, and the outlets run on the same currency as in the U.S., so American travelers don’t need a converter. Plenty of channels on the TV set, if you want to watch telenovelas or subtitled American movies. Rooms are painted in basic white and are slightly, if endearingly, outdated in their design.
Nice enough but nothing to email home about. Stationary glass partition on the showers, good size tub and a counter with the basic bathroom needs.
The fitness center is small, just a half-dozen weight training machines and a treadmill for running; that’s in addition to several outdoor pools, though none suitable for doing proper laps. There are nine restaurants (one of them costs extra) serving, variously, Mexican fare, better-than-expected Italian food, tapas, fast-food snacks and a buffet with plenty of fresh fruits and salad fixings in addition to the standard assortment of breakfast and dinner offerings. Fine dining this is not, but it’s good and nutritious. You can also use your hotel wristband to try the eateries at the sister hotel about 3 kilometers down the beach. Restaurants close at 10:00 or 10:30pm, so grab some bananas or other snacks from the buffet if you tend to get peckish at night.
Operates 24/7, at least theoretically. But I have my doubts.
At first glance, what with the “Kinky Club” logo of the silhouette of a naked woman, the hotel doesn’t scream gay. But check out those stage shows with the drag queen host and slinky dancing boys, or meet any of the fair quotient of satisfied gay guests around you, and you may change your mind. Same-sex PDAs are common enough as to be unremarkable, and the anything-goes beach vibe casts a bit of a spell over guests gay and straight. There are a couple out gay employees (you can’t help but notice the gracious queen hosting at the Cobá restaurant!), and the hotel courts gay guests and is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Travel Association. Wireless costs extra and can be spotty, especially in the rooms. Speeds are generally good enough to check Grindr, but do not expect to stream Netflix.
Prices per night start at about $180 single occupancy or $250 double occupancy, and some deals are available through travel-booking websites. This being a more or less “all-inclusive” resort, the price gets you a room, drinks, meals, stage shows and beach umbrellas and lounge chairs. Wireless is extra, as are room service, late check-out and a couple other amenities, and of course gratuities. VIP upgrade includes the package of extras, plus access to the unremarkable VIP lounge.
A relatively carefree spot to stay for a few days or more, whether as a stand-alone beach vacation or as a stopover going to or coming back from nearby locales like the popular beach town Playa del Carmen or the more historical coastal town of Tulum.
Reservations 888-774 0040 or 305-774 0040 from U.S.
Hotel +52 998-891-5000
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