Mayakoba, an Oasis on The Riviera Maya
Are you feeling the winter blues and need a mini-vacation? Consider sneaking off to an oasis on the Riviera Maya called Mayakoba. It’s only 2 hours travel time from Houston’s Intercontinental Airport and has everything you need to refresh.
Mayakoba is an eco-complex with four luxury hotels
The area is set over 1,600 acres of mangroves, canals, and lagoons that stretch from the entrance nearly to the beach. There are four Mayakoba hotels on the property along with a championship golf course, hike and bike trails, and a shopping village.
The little things are what make Mayakoba stand out from the other areas of Riviera Maya. There are so many activities to do in Mayakoba that it’s impossible get bored over a long weekend. Each guest is issued a bike to explore the paths to the beach, along the lagoons, and between each resort. Guests can also take free boat tours through the canal system to spot crocodiles, turtles, birdlife and more. Some of the properties like The Banyan Tree have also curated very special Mayan themed dinners.
One thing that can’t be underestimated about Mayakoba is the lack of seaweed on its beaches. The beach is situated a bit better than the other areas of the Riviera Maya. Each hotel also runs mechanical seaweed removal every morning and staffs teams on the beach to continually remove seaweed all day.
Last but not least, Mayakoba is a highly secure area. Though managed by different hotel brands, all the buildings and common areas are owned by the same company. They provide 24/7 security at the entrance gate and all around the complex. The properties also share El Camaleon Golf Club, a highly acclaimed golf course and host the PGA tour every year.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Staying at the Banyan Tree for three nights was a huge treat! The most important thing to remember about Banyan Tree in general is that this is the brand to choose if you’re looking for space. Every room here is HUGE and has a massive plunge pool. The hotel also has a good number of options for 3-bedroom villas.
Though the hotel has touches of local decor, it’s roots are in Asia. That shines through in the very warm service and especially at the spa. Thai massage is perfected here, with highly experienced masseuses FROM Thailand. The spa also has a unique treatment called The Rainforest Experience – I highly recommend it!
My favorite experience at Banyan Tree was coming “home” to my heated 1,000 square foot pool, having friends over for a swim, and enjoying a few drinks under the stars. The word villa hardly begins to explain the oasis that is each guest room at The Banyan Tree.
This property is right for you if you like a LOT of space, a huge pool, very warm service, and a classic luxury beach club.
After staying at the Banyan Tree I popped over to spend one night at the Rosewood Mayakoba. If you’re familiar with other Rosewoods, I promise this one will not disappoint! There are several different room categories, but my favorite is the deluxe overwater lagoon view suite. Rosewood is under renovation and I got a sneak peak at some of these rooms – they are stunning!
Each room at the Rosewood also comes with a butler and they are fantastic! From heating your plunge pool, to mixing you a drink, or making you dinner reservations – the staff here makes sure you have your own concierge at all times.
My favorite experience at the Rosewood was hanging out at the new adults only pool. It’s a big departure from the typical luxury pool/beach setup. A few small pools are set flush with the beach and are intermixed with seating options, lounge chairs, a taco truck, and comfortable swinging couches. The staff at the beach club is impeccable too. In addition to serving food and drink, the staff shower you with free amenities like mango sorbet, head massages, and sunglass cleaning!
This hotel is right for you if you want the perfect beach shot for your Instagram, are on a romantic getaway, and like to be truly spoiled.
Viceroy Riviera Maya
Though not within Mayakoba, I also stayed at a third hotel on this trip to check out something different. If you prefer boutique hotels and want to be a bit closer to Playa del Carmen and people watching – The Viceroy Riviera Maya is a great option!
Viceroy Riviera Maya is a small property with about 40 rooms, a pool and beach area, and two intimate restaurants. Each room here has a large outdoor patio set in the jungle with a beautiful plunge pool. Of all the hotels I visited, these might be the most romantic. Because of the intimate nature of the property, very few families stay here making it a haven for couples, honeymooners, and those celebrating special occasions.
The amazing level of service here adds to the charm. When I arrived, I was offered a lemongrass coconut welcome drink (typical Mayan beverage I was told) and did in-room check in. The butler also came by to offer fresh cut soap. All the staff on property knew my name somehow – they really go above and beyond to make you feel special.
The beach is narrower here than at Mayakoba and you’ll see locals and other tourists strolling by. The beach chairs are under palapa huts and the whole area has a really local feel. The spa also ties into it’s Mayan roots – my treatment started by going into the “kitchen” and choosing from fresh herbs. They were ground in a traditional mortar and pestle and used for aromatherapy during my massage. Ask for an outdoor massage experience – you won’t regret it.
This hotel is right for you if you don’t like big resorts but still want your own plunge pool and amazing service!
There are so many amazing choices on the Riviera Maya – from Mayakoba to the Viceroy, venturing up to Tulum or Holbox, or staying even closer to Cancun. The moral of the story is, you deserve to treat yourself to a mini-getaway! If you’re in Texas like me – it’s easier to get to than Florida and faster than driving to San Antonio. So get going already!