Selina Cancun Downtown: A Detailed Review

So, you’re thinking about staying at Selina Cancun Downtown? Awesome! I’ve stayed there twice and am here to give you an honest Selina Cancun Downtown review.

Wondering how you can trust me? Selina didn’t pay for my stay. In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this at their hostel in Playa del Carmen, they don’t even know that I’m on a mission to review all the Selinas in Mexico.

Lucky for all of us, I’m a Selina fan. But it’s not sunshine and roses all the time, so I’ll be showing you the good with the not so ideal.

Accessibility Note: Selina Cancun Downtown is not wheelchair accessible. For advice on accessible hotels, check out our post on Wheelchair Accessibility in Cancun.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Selina Cancun Downtown Vs. Selina Cancun Laguna Hotel Zone

I’ll be posting a detailed review on Selina Cancun Laguna Hotel Zone soon. But for now, when you’re considering which Selina to stay at in Cancun you’ll be faced with these two choices.

Here’s what it boils down to—location.

Selina Cancun Downtown is the best option if you’ll be arriving in Cancun by plane or bus and plan on only spending a night there before heading elsewhere. It’s also a good fit for people wanting a more local experience. We’ll talk more about Selina Cancun Downtown’s excellent location next.

On the other hand, if you’ll be calling Cancun home for two or more nights, Selina Cancun Laguna Hotel Zone is probably your best option. Located directly on the beach, it’s in the heart of the tourist center of Cancun.

That said, you can easily travel between these two Selinas by taking a local bus. The bus ride is cheap and takes around 15 minutes.

Google’s Rating vs. My Opinion

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s start with an overview. At the time this post was written, Google gives a “3-star” label when you type in “Selina Cancun Downtown.”

That’s generosity at it’s finest, my friends.

Let’s set the record straight—I’m a fan of Selina Cancun Downtown. But we have to see it for what it is; a hostel.

Yes, it has above average amenities. And yes, if you book a Suite room, you won’t feel like you’re at a hostel. But at the end of the day, there are plenty of shared bathrooms that can get messy, loud music that plays well into the evening, and a backpacker vibe (shout out to my fellow backpackers!).

Kitchen at Selina Cancun Downtown.
Shared kitchen.

Selina Cancun Downtown Location

Selina Cancun Downtown is located around the corner from the ADO bus station. It’ll literally take you two minutes to walk there if you’re walking really slow.

From the ADO bus station, you can take buses to and from the airport (around a 25-minute journey from Selina Cancun Downtown), around the Yucatan Penninsula, and…well, practically anywhere in Mexico you want to travel to.

Here’s why staying at Selina’s downtown location is better than its Hotel Zone location—if you’re traveling to the Selina Cancun Laguna Hotel Zone, you’ll have to hop on another bus once you arrive at the ADO bus station by Selina Cancun Downtown.

Once you’re settled into Selina Cancun Downtown, you’ll be able to walk around the (other) corner of the hostel and you’ll find yourself at Parque del Artesano.

This park is packed with permanent and, depending on the day, mobile street food vendor stands. You can get super cheap and delicious Mexican food there.

If you want to head to the beach, you’ll find a bus stop a short walk down the street from Selina. The bus follows the Hotel Zone coastline, and within 10 minutes you’ll start seeing Caribbean water. Feel free to hop off at any stop that tickles your fancy.

A Note About Booking Bus Tickets

ADO is by far the best company for travel in Mexico. Their buses are new, clean, comfy, and equipped with air conditioning and WiFi. If trying to book your bus ticket on ADO’s website makes your head spin, I recommend booking your ADO bus ticket through Bookaway.

I use Bookaway for most of my Mexico ground travel. You can even book a private transfer with them if that’s your style.

Hostel Setup

Selina Cancun Downtown has among the weirdest setups of any hostel I’ve ever stayed at.

The main entrance to the hostel is on Avenida Tulum. When you enter the building, you’ll pass through a tastefully decorated foyer area. Once you emerge from there, you’ll be greeted by a large, open lobby area. Easy peasy.

View of the Selina Cancun Downtown lobby from the second floor of the main building.
View of the lobby from the second floor of the main building.

What’s not so easy is what comes next.

Selina Cancun Downtown is actually two separate buildings, which are divided by a parking lot with an entrance leading out from a side road. You’ll either be assigned a room in the main building where the lobby, kitchen, library, and activity room are located. Or, you’ll be assigned a room across the parking lot, past the restaurant/bar, beyond the pool, to a smaller building.

Because the parking lot is open to the street without anyone regulating if it’s Selina guests that are entering, it gives the feeling that the buildings belong to two separate hostels.

On the bright side, if you’re driving, parking shouldn’t be an issue.

Rooms at Selina Cancun Downtown

Let’s move on in this Selina Cancun Downtown review to the hostels’ rooms.

If you’ve ever stayed at Selina or taken a look at their website, you probably know two things: they offer several room options for different budgets and the rooms have tasteful decor (the exception to this is dorm rooms which are typically plainer).

Air conditioning is on a lot of people’s minds, so rest easy knowing that all dorm and private rooms are equipped with it.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of rooms available.

Dorm Rooms

A bunk bed.

Selina Cancun Downtown offers the following types of dorm rooms:

  • 4 bed
  • 6 bed (Male & female)
  • 6 bed (Female only)
  • 8 bed
  • 10 bed

All dorm rooms come with sheets and a personal locker (you need to bring your own lock). Some also have an en-suite bathroom. If the bathroom in your room is occupied, there are plenty of other communal bathrooms you can use.

Towels and blankets are available for rent. You’ll need to ask the front desk for details.

The dorm beds at Selina Cancun Downtown leave a lot to be desired compared to some of Selina’s other destinations. They have an approximately 2-foot board by your head, which offers minimal privacy.

However, you’ll have access to a small shelf and an outlet near your bed. The beds themselves are decent, especially by hostel standards.

Travel Tip: If you’ll be spending a lot of time staying in dorm rooms, consider bringing your own blankets and/or sheets. Snag a bottom bunk, then use the sheets to form your own little private tent.

Example of a fort tent you can make if you have a bottom bunk in a Selina dorm room:

My bunk bed with hanging blankets and sheets for privacy.
This setup kept me sane during my 3-months of dorm room hostel living in Mexico.

Private Rooms

In good ‘ole Selina style, you’ll have plenty of private room options to choose from. They’re not cheap, but they’re stylish, comfy, and most importantly, yours and yours alone.

The Micro: An ultra-tiny room with a full-size bed and barely enough floor space to put your luggage. It’s the most economical option on this list and perfect for those wanting privacy without an extra-big price tag. You’ll need to share a nearby bathroom. It can hold up to two people. It comes with towels and free toiletries.

The Standard: A more spacious option than The Micro for up to two travelers sharing a full-size bed. You’ll have a private bathroom and a balcony. It comes with towels and free toiletries.

Standard Triple: Perfect for three traveling friends. You’ll have one bunk bed and one single twin-sized bed. It’s equipped with an en-suite bathroom.

The Twins: An option for two traveling friends. You’ll have a private bathroom.

Family Room: This private four-person room comes with either one bunk bed and two twin size beds or one bunk bed and one queen-size bed. You get to choose the style, subject to availability. You’ll have a private bathroom.

The Suite: A spacious and beautifully designed room with a private bathroom and Selina’s premium in-room amenities. It comes with towels and free toiletries.

The Suite+: Treat yourself to luxury with this comfortable getaway room. You’ll have a king or queen-sized bed, a table, sofas, chairs, and a private bathroom. Some Suite + rooms even come with a balcony. Towels and toiletries are included.

Studio Apartment: Perfect for the long-term traveler, the Studio Apartment has all the comforts of home, including a mini kitchen. In addition to the regular Studio Apartment, Selina also offers the Studio Apartment +, which has more space, and the Studio Apartment with Terrace.

A Note on Selina Pricing

Selina operates on a flexible pricing schedule. The following factors determine the price of your room:

  • How far in advance you book. The farther ahead you book, the cheaper your room will cost.
  • The number of nights you stay. The longer you stay, the cheaper the price per night will be.
  • Refundable vs. non-refundable rate. The non-refundable rate is cheaper than the refundable rate.
  • Whether you book with or without breakfast. Selina’s breakfasts are seriously amazing, so I recommend booking with breakfast included!
  • Whether or not they’re running any promotions. Promotions happen often, so keep your eye out for them.

At the end of the day, you’re more likely to get a good deal on your room (and encounter availability) if you aim to make your reservation as soon as you know your travel dates. It’s pretty amazing speaking with fellow travelers and learning just how much they paid for their last-minute stay!

Amenities

Activities center at Selina Cancun Downtown.
Activities center.

A Selina Cancun Downtown review wouldn’t be complete without covering the extras it offers.

Selina does a lot of things right, and providing a plethora of amenities is one of them. Here’s what you’ll get to enjoy by staying at Selina Cancun Downtown:

  • Swimming pool
  • Bar
  • Convenience store
  • Free live music and activities
  • Free filtered water
  • Movie room
  • Library
  • Communal kitchen
  • Free parking
  • Free WiFi
  • Tour desk
  • Spacious rooftop activities center
  • Cowork space

As a bonus, you can even bring your dog! (Just as long as you book a private room).

Selina Cancun Downtown Cowork

Selina Cancun Downtown’s Cowork is large and modern. They have a desk attended by a staff member during the day.

I’ll be honest—my travel dates in Cancun fell during off-work days, so I didn’t get to try out the Cowork myself. However, I did take a peek inside to see what it was all about.

Selina Cancun Downtown cowork.

They have complimentary free water and coffee as well as “insulated” phone booths. I put insulated in quotations because, based on nearly every Selina I’ve ever worked at, their phone booths are far from it. But who knows? Perhaps Selina Cancun Downtown’s cowork holds the key to effective phone booths!

Based on pure observation, there’s really nothing negative to say about this cowork space other than its lack of windows. The room is tucked back in the building and, as far as I could tell, has little to no access to natural light.

So, if you want to see the sun, I recommend heading upstairs to the nearby activities center. It’s nearly always vacant, and the WiFi is excellent there.

Are you thinking about purchasing a colive package? If so, make sure to check out my Selina Coliving Review. I’ll show you when Selina’s coliving is a deal and when it’ll drain your money.

Important: The cowork space isn’t included with your room price. You’ll need to book and pay for this separately. There’s usually not an issue with availability if you book it upon your arrival.

Safety

One of the reasons I love staying at Selinas is because they take safety seriously. However, I feel like they fall short with their Cancun Downtown location.

The front of the hostel is well secured with an entrance right by the front desk. All Selina guests must wear a wrist band, although it’s unlikely anyone will check that you’re wearing yours. But that’s not where my real qualm is, since this is common among most of Selinas.

It’s the backside of Selina that makes me question the hostel’s safety. Remember that parking lot we talked about earlier? It gives easy and under the radar access to anyone who wishes to stroll onto the property.

What complicates this even more is that there’s no gate to close off the entrance to the parking lot at night. And since some rooms are located across the parking lot from the main building, it’s the equivalent of walking out on the street to get to and from your room.

Chairs and ping pong table at the bar area.
The area where the pool/bar/restaurant and some rooms are on the opposite side of the main building.

I hope Selina fixes this issue since it would be an easy situation to take care of by simply installing a gate at the parking lot entrance and/or putting a security guard there at night.

Cleanliness

I was happy with the cleanliness during both of my stays at Selina Cancun Downtown. The staff clean the bathrooms regularly (of course, you can always hit it at a bad time—these are shared bathrooms we’re talking about here).

The staff was also very friendly and welcoming.

Selina Cancun Downtown Review: The Good

  • Great location for people traveling by bus
  • Lots of parking spaces
  • Excellent WiFi
  • All rooms have air conditioning
  • An array of amenities
  • Huge kitchen with two stoves
  • Option for a female-only dorm room
  • Good cleaning practices
  • Friendly staff
A cozy convenience store, which is Selina owned.
Selina’s Convenience store.

Selina Cancun Downtown Review: The Not So Good

  • There isn’t a control in the room for the air conditioning
  • Safety is questionable on the backside of the building
  • You’ll need to take a taxi or bus to get to the beach

Selina Hopping?

If you’ll be staying at other Selinas in Mexico, check out my reviews on a few of their other properties:

Selina Isla Mujeres

Selina Mexico City Downtown

Selina Oaxaca

Selina Playa del Carmen

Selina Puerto Escondido

Wrap Up

I thoroughly enjoyed my two stays at Selina Cancun Downtown. The staff was approachable and the hostel had lots of hang out places to meet fellow travelers.

Do you have questions about staying at this Selina location? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help. Did I miss something in this Selina Cancun Downtown review? Let me know about your experience in the comments section—potential Selina-goers will surely appreciate it!