This standard, somewhat older Holiday Inn Express is the least expensive lodging you can find in the Hotel Zone and still get clean, updated rooms. On the interiors, think lots of white with beige accents, extremely comfortable beds and pillows, and amenities like flat-screen TVs, toiletries, washcloths, irons and ironing boards, coffeemakers, and safes. There's also a business center with internet computers and a free breakfast buffet with varied offerings. The hotel has a large, beautiful outdoor pool—actually two pools connected by a bridge—with stone arches and a waterfall. The location is in a quiet residential area about a half-mile from Bulevar Kukulcán, which can be good or bad, depending on the kind of stay you have planned. Mexican guests far outnumber foreign tourists, which is a refreshing departure for Cancun; while not all the staff speaks English, there's always someone around who does. On the downside, the property doesn't have a full restaurant, bar, fitness center, or spa, and it's at least a 10-minute walk to the main drag. If you don't have a car, going out for dinner takes some planning, but there's a taxi stand right in the parking lot and a small grocery store across the street for snacks. Though it won't please the beach-and-party crowd, this is a great option for travelers on a budget who don't want to give up creature comforts.
- Christine Delsol