Cancun: Sun and Fun at the Oasis Sens
Cancun has long been popularized as a spring break destination. Thousands of collegiate partygoers looking to blow off steam descend on the city and wreak havoc, kick back Jell-O shooters and get doused in wet T-shirt contests. All of this is considered a much-deserved distraction from their academic toils and troubles, with little regard to the consequences of binge drinking and worshipping the porcelain God into the wee hours.
This isn’t exactly the picture-perfect pristine ideal that most LGBT vacationers are looking for in a destination far from the dull-drum of city life especially in the midst of escaping winter weather storms. Although the Circuit party regular can relate to the music festival scene that dominates the Cancun beaches, one particular resort is expanding on its profile and drawing travel savvy vacationers into a little carved out piece of paradise.
The Oasis Sens (part of the Oasis Hotels chain of resort locations) is an LGBT-friendly, adults only resort that is far more than just a Mexican beach getaway. This all-inclusive experience leaves pampered guests with little reason to wander beyond its grounds or far from its private beaches, though the property is still within striking distance of the fine shopping and nightlife of the nearby Tulum Avenue thoroughfare.
There’s a good cross-section of visitors to the resort, which is one of the adults-only properties in the Oasis family of hotels. Attracting an equal number of American vacationers as it does Europeans and South Americans, the diverse crowd includes couples and friends alike, mostly in their 20s and early 30s.
You will find a handful of gay and lesbian travelers comfortably enjoying the grounds as well, and the Oasis Sens is hoping to increase their profile within the LGBT community. They’ve created LGBT-specific wedding packages and romantic excursions. Gay weddings have been performed on the outside veranda with the spectacular sunset in full view.
Reinventing the "All-Inclusive"
Some travelers may be weary of the all-inclusive resort experience. At the Oasis Sens there is nothing to cause worry except to decide when to lounge near one of the three Olympic-size pools, take a dip in the adjacent clear water beaches or make arrangements at the spa for a specialized massage or treatment. And then there’s deciding at which restaurant to dine.
There are 156 oceanside rooms with expansive views of sun and surf as well as private terraces - some of which include their own two-person pools for lounging under the moonlight in the warm, evening breeze. Designed with contemporary touches and modeled with ample space and comfort, the Oasis Sens encompasses a total of 332 rooms and suites with amenities including stocked minibars, coffee service, large HD flat screens, free WiFi, full in-room dining and evening turndown service. Though you will find little reason to stay inside this home-away-from-home especially with so much to do and participate in on the entertainment calendar.
The lobby of the Oasis Sens is as welcoming as it is spacious, and not the least bit ostentatious. The hospitality staff is remarkably friendly and equally fluent in English as they are in Spanish.
Checking into the VIP hospitality suite is really the way to go. As you get yourself settled in and pick up the master keys to your room, guests are immediately treated to the full service bar and coffee station. Once you’ve received your Oasis Sens all-inclusive band (there are several different tier designations depending on the level of service you’ve requested) you’ll be able to tuck that wallet away in the wall safe in your room, and not worry about carrying loose change while on the Oasis Sens property. Conveniently located adjacent to the VIP lounge is the resort’s unique Sensoria Spa.
At the Sensoria Spa, guests can arrange for special couples’ treatments, including facials, body wraps and therapeutic massages - some can even be performed on the private outdoor deck if you’d like to enjoy the soothing tropical breezes during your particular treatment.
Any accumulated guilt from the week’s 9 to 5 seem to go out with the tide. Cancun has begun to fashion itself as a Rivera-alternative getaway tailored to the interests and attractions of the gay tourist looking for something grounded and still sophisticated.
The pristine beaches should of course be the winning draw, the ocean is colored in a palette beyond nature’s design - the sand is pearled in its hue and even in the winter months, the water heats up to a balmy bikini-ready temperature. Just steps away from the sand and surf, sunning yourself on the stretch of beaches that extend practically to either end of the horizon, visitors will feel as though they are miles away from the static of city life.
World Class Dining
There are nine restaurants and an additional nine bars on the Oasis Sens property. All provide the finest in dining and refreshments to keep guests happy and exhilarated. For lunch time nibbles there are several fast-food alternatives including freshly ground beef burgers from Mr. Wimpy and tasty sandwiches from Happy Chicken - all served poolside so you don’t miss a minute of that sensational suntan.
Drinks are all top shelf and lean toward tropical favorites like mojitos and margaritas. Best of all, they are included in the price of your package. Kindly tip the waiters who nary let you go an hour without bringing you a fresh and frosty one while you bask under the sun.
The Sunset Cigar & Martini Bar gives visitors a once-in-a-lifetime view of Cancun’s golden sun as it settles into the horizon. Whether indoors or out, the view is spectacular. For the more casual experience, the Lobby Piano Bar gives visitors an opportunity to gather in the spacious lobby. There’s also an in-pool bar and the beachside Sushi Bar, which offers refreshing tuna rolls and other specialties.
With so many options, dining at the Oasis Sens is its own adventure. Resort staff recommends that on lighter evenings guests begin by sampling some of the extensive wines inside the Box Wine Bar. Indulge in an international selection of cheeses and aged ham to enhance your wine selection. Then adjourn to the Moonlight Trattoria for a delectable Italian feast, which includes an array of menu options ranging from casual pasta dishes to succulent pork with gorgonzola cheese and rosemary potatoes. You can choose indoor or outdoor seating near the pool deck where you can enjoy the live entertainment.
There are plenty of other world cuisines to experience. Al Sur provides guests with a unique Moroccan style menu with exotic African-influenced spices and preparations. The restaurant is also ready to provide its guests with a very sexy, romantic dinner menu and show that is certain to stimulate the senses.
Taste the local flavor with Mexican dishes at Muérdeme Mucho. Delicious and fresh seafood burritos are highly recommended - or take advantage of the expansive buffet dining at Cobá that serves a variety of dishes including made-to-order omelets for breakfast and homestyle preparations for dinner. But the singular indulgence that must be experienced is the Spanish-inspired Benazuza.
A formal reservation must be made to dine at Restaurante Benazuza. It’s a full culinary innovation once inside the warmly decorated and roomy restaurant, which is accessed downstairs through the main lobby. The more than twenty-course menu begins at the cocktail bar. Guests are served whimsical treats like the "Invisible Margarita" (which packs quite the kick) and the "Piña Colada & Cotton Candy" concoction. Eight apéritifs stimulate your palette for the dinner that awaits.
Michelin-star Chef Rafael Zafra is the mastermind behind the molecular dinning experience that allows the dishes to revel in a culinary narrative that is a mind-blowing sensory overload. A disciple of Ferrán Adriá (elBulli), Zafra reinvents even the simplest sounding dish, such as the guacamole or steamed "tacos." Other standouts include oyster ceviche, "Tikin-Xic" style fish and chicken with mole.
The meal concludes with dessert "bubbles," more "Cotton Candy," an incredibly juicy "Cherry" and "The Shot." It is followed with a margarita, bringing this culinary extravaganza full circle. Benazuza experience is a must for visitors to the Oasis Sens. Dining at Benazuza is an additional cost, unless you are traveling VIP as a Sian Ka’an Club Guest.