JW is opulent without shouting about it, if you don't count the vaulted lobby's marble columns, chandeliers, and small forest of fresh flowers. Guestrooms look understated by comparison, though they're warm and staunchly top-caliber, each with an ocean-view terrace. With a quietly efficient staff that remembers your name, the resort manages to feel intimate despite its towering 448 rooms. A relatively narrow beach means you'll have to claim your palapa before breakfast in high season, but the two big, meandering pools beyond a broad expanse of lawn feel sparsely populated even when there's a convention in residence. A separate 14-ft. dive pool, just for scuba lessons, boasts its own artificial reef. The resort opened its BeachWalk Game Center in 2013 to keep teens and tweens busy with Ping-Pong, air hockey, and football tables. Also getting a makeover was the three-level, 35,000-sq.-ft. Maya-inspired spa, which offers special men's and kids' services, an indoor pool, ocean-view showers, and a fitness center where you can do your cardio while facing the sunrise over the ocean or the sunset over the lagoon.
- Christine Delsol