Luxury and nature come together seamlessly throughout the hotel located inside the Mayakoba complex, where the Yucatan Peninsula meets the Caribbean Sea.
VIBE With 2,755.5 square feet of space, the subtle modern Asian touches in my three bedroom golf view residence are as zen as they are luxurious. An open kitchen, spacious living area and large bathtub in the master bedroom. My afternoons are spent on the roof deck lounge, dipping in the private pool overlooking the spectacular Greg Norman-designed El Camale golf course or star gazing at the brilliant night sky.
DINING The sun gently sets over the calm mangrove as I begin dinner at Saffron. Chef Renu Homsombat’s contemporary Thai menu begins with plate of ceviche, papaya salad and satay chicken with peanut sauce, followed by a spicy and sour lemongrass Tom Yum Goong, with straw mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, coriander and shrimp. The meal ends with a trio of refreshing ice cream: lemongrass, sesame and ginger. Breakfast dreams are made of the spread at Oriente. Full of traditional Mexican fare and conventional breakfast staples. My order from the quesadilla station includes chicken tinga, Oaxaca cheese, pico de gallo and crema, quickly devoured alongside warm atole (a traditional Mayan drink) served in a ceramic vessel.
SPA From the rainforest trail that incorporates eight different hydrothermal therapies, to the extensive treatment menu and relaxing atmosphere, it’s little wonder that the Banyan Tree Spa Mayakoba has won multiple World’s best spa awards. The unique Melipona Honey Bliss treatment using honey oil gathered from Mexican bees known for its detoxifying and healing properties, combines a cleansing ritual, followed by a thorough massage and finishes with a steam bath to ease muscle tension. Not only is it one of the best massages I’ve had, but the full treatment leaves my skin feeling as soft as a rose petal.
PLAY Why not rent a bike to get around property? Spot alligators wading in the water by the golf course, opt for an archery lesson (a must for competitive spirits), or go for an early morning kayak around the meandering waters of the mangrove. The educational way to explore the property is an eco tour with guide Paola Rubio, who eagerly points out the multitude of flora, fauna and conservation efforts of Mayakoba.
THE LOWDOWN Listen for the sound of a blowing conch shell, and lookout at 6p.m. every night for the Mayan ritual. Two warriors decked out in full Mayan costume sail a boat toward the lower level reception. They dock at the central banyan tree (a local variety). Don’t forget to get a photo later when the warriors make their way to the lobby.
DETAILS Imagine sitting by the Reflections Pool Bar – deliberating over several delicious chocolate coated ice cream popsicle options. But, these beauties are not just for kids. From green and pink mini meringues to toasted coconut and fresh fruit, the masterful sweet treats are a grown-up dessert unto themselves.
This original article initially appeared in the Winter 2015/16 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.