CANCUN – How does any hotel stand out in crowded Cancun, let alone earn the No. 1 ranking on TripAdvisor?

“It’s all about the service,” says Mercedes Hernandez, a sales executive at LeBlanc Resort & Sp, the all-inclusive AAA Five Diamond owned and operated by Miami-based Palace Resorts. “We make guests feel very pampered all the time.”

The resort caters to well-heeled adults with all-inclusive rates that include ultra-premium alcohol and chef-driven restaurants such as a chic French eatery.

During my recent half-day tour of the property, I was greeted at the hotel’s stark white entrance by a man holding a silver tray of cold, orange-blossom-scented towels. He used tongs to hand me one, which I used to cool my face and hands on the hot, humid day.


Walking inside, I saw a dramatic, large open-layout lobby that at the opposite side gave way to views of vivid turquoise water outside. Inside, white gauzy floor-to-ceiling curtains act as floating walls. The stylish look that reminded me of a whiter version of the Delano South Beach’s lobby, initially designed by Philippe Stark.

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Driving to LeBlanc from my hotel, I’d passed dozens of beachfront properties including a Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott and Hyatt so – if those branded properties were run well – the competition for TripAdvisor’s coveted No. 1 rating was likely fierce.

“We are a big destination and we have a lot of quality hotels everywhere. There are a lot of nice properties,” Hernandez acknowledged. “You can go anywhere.”


As a result, the hotel handles a very particular crowd.

“People have many options and when a guest comes here, it’s because they have very high expectations,” she said. “It’s because they’ve searched for it on the Internet and read all of the guest comments. Once you decided on a place, it’s because you have very high expectations. LeBlanc is not value priced. Our guests travel a lot around the world. They have many things to compare our hotel and services to. That’s why they have very high expectations.”


Rooms – 70% of which have Caribbean views – average about $800 for two people in one room during high season. The hotel fills its bathrooms with Bulgari amenities and an upscale Chi hair dryer. Rooms are stocked with premium brands of liquor and snacks free for the taking. All rooms regardless of size or view come with butler service, she said. Guests typically ask them to retrieve a special pillow, draw the Jacuzzi, perhaps shine shoes or, for a special occasion, decorate their room.

Readers: How often do you book or consider booking the No. 1-rated property on TripAdvisor whether in Cancun, New York or another destination?

Hoteliers: How important is it to achieve that No. 1 rating on TripAdvisor?

Photos by Barb DeLollis.