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‘It’s like Jurassic Park,’ says someone – it could even have been me! – as we step into the hard-to-remember-the-name NIZUC in the nicest part of Cancún, the Mexican holiday resort handy for – and beloved of – Americans.

It’s not that there are any velociraptors lurking to take our heads off, it’s just the size of the place. You sweep in, past a huge fire bowl (just wait till you see it lit later: it makes you want to sacrifice people) and are deposited behind vertiginous walls at the entrance to what looks like it could easily be a pyramid. Up the slope and in front of you is a huge water garden with what may be the sea, may be a lagoon beyond. If a pterodactyl flew in right now, you wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.

And that pterodactyl would have no problem flying around the lobby. Its wings wouldn’t even hit the walls while the ceilings are so high they must have to ride brontosauruses to change the light bulbs. You get it. It’s big. Even the lizards that amble into the pool area are two-foot iguanas.

And it’s not just upwards that it’s big. NIZUC is so spread out – from the spa way down that way to the adult pool looking out over the speedboat school that way – a flotilla of golf buggies is necessary to get the people where the people need to be. Up there for a tennis lesson, down there for an Italian lunch by the long pool looking out over mangroves; up there for modern Mexican at Ramona or down there for a hydrotherapy treatment. You think you might walk but you never do.

And the style of the place is absolutely in keeping with its grandeur. Mayan-meets-Asian-via-grown-up-glamour, in that there’s an emphasis on dark woods, greys, stone, slatted woods, a Zen sort of atmosphere with those reflecting gardens and doors that go way up to the ceiling and a calming silence, save for the clatter of champagne glasses. Never mind that the main pool, the one with the swim-up bar and views out over the gardens – huge, by the way! Oh, you knew that – gets buzzy in the afternoon (with plenty of LGBT+ couples and groups of friends to give it that welcoming, cosmopolitan, international flavour we all approve of) it never seems crowded.

And they have used the scale of the space to their advantage with six restaurants, all of which seem to have their own very specific vibe. In internationally-recognised pan-Asian Indochine, there are sculpted wooden screens, beautifully lit, concrete walls and a reflecting pool in front of the terrace, while at Italian Terra Nostra, which can whip up an amazing specially-ordered pasta dish on the spot – in our case a perfect Aglio Oglio, whose garlic & chili is the gift that keeps on giving – the atmosphere is low-key rustic with vaguely Tuscan pinks and a pizza oven blazing in one corner, but nothing too gimmicky or ‘theme’.

As for rooms, as you can imagine, there are a range of possibilities. Ours is up on the third floor, looking out over a mangrove and then the Caribbean Sea with a built-in stone hot tub right there on the balcony. It is – no prizes – huge. Again with a bit of an Asian feel – rough-hewn woods, driftwood lamps, colonial-smart piped furniture, dark slate flooring, sliding screens and a free-standing bath – it’s calm and neutral and very glamorous.

And to serve this city unto itself, an absolute army of foot-soldiers, all uniformed, all of whom give you the hand-on-heart salute every time you pass and all of whom give you their names, even though you’re clearly never going to remember 3,500 people in just one week. And all of whom are charm itself, asking you about your stay, your plans, your trip. It’s the level of service Americans demand… and they might have a point, though you do sometimes wish these lovely people would relax and not worry so much. Maybe that’s a British thing.

We’re not saying they should introduce dinosaurs into the mix here at NIZUC but if they ever get that DNA technology right, there’s really no reason they shouldn’t. (The nice dinosaurs that purr. Not those crazy-ass ones in Jurassic World.)