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Mayakoba Luxury on the Mexican Riviera

We can all agree: Although nearly over, the summer of 2021 will have been all too short. Le sigh. It’s best to just bite the bullet and face, head-on, your next big project: planning winter travel.

Yes, luxury accommodations supersede all other priorities. But, if proximity and a vast selection of options weigh heavy on the top of your must-have list, this winter’s can’t-miss destination is the Mexican Riviera and its premier locale, Mayakoba. With four meaningfully placed luxury hotels — Andaz Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Fairmont Mayakoba, and Rosewood Mayakoba — the vast resort is defined by distinct personalities and amenities that all perfectly complement one another.

While it would require a special issue of Social Life to provide a comprehensive overview of the endless reasons to visit Mayakoba, we’ll err on theside of brevity. Herewith are our top five reasons to visit. (Note: I don’t golf, so I won’t talk about it here, but Mayakoba has one heck of a course.)

THE SUITES AT ROSEWOOD MAYAKOBA

Suites at Rosewood

Stay here. Built along winding lagoons and a mile-long arc of pristine beach, the 129 suites offer private plunge pools, rooftop sundecks, garden showers, and exceptional in-room design and detail. As is the tradition with any Rosewood, everything is in the details, like 1) arriving at your suite by boat; 2) upon arrival, your personal butler preparing you a craft tequila cocktail; and 3) the burning of an unforgettably intoxicating essential oil of myrrh and orange with every night’s turn-down — trust me, you won’t ever get that scent out of your senses . . . and that’s a good thing.

Rainforest

THE RAINFOREST HYDROTHERMAL SPA AT BANYAN TREE SPA

You have to experience it to believe it. Luxuriate and detox in the hamam (Turkish bath). Immerse yourself in different experience-showers. Relax in the warm sauna. Then cool down with a brisk rub-down from the ice fountain, followed by restorative acupressure jets in the vitality pool and waterfall. Eau my god.

CASA AMATE AT ANDAZ MAYAKOBA

There is no shortage of restaurant options at Mayakoba, but if you have to choose just one (don’t!), Casa Amate is a best bet. Open exclusively for dinner and serving diverse Latin American cuisine, Casa Amate has a unique and sophisticated residential concept designed to resemble the home of an eclectic traveler passionate about Latin culture. The restaurant is built around a courtyard overlooking the resort’s surrounding lagoon with a special amate wild fig tree, which gives the venue its name. Each intimate room is specifically designed as one would find in a house, including a bar studio, library, living room, and dining room. Try the local catch.

Fairmont beachfront

THE BEACH AT THE FAIRMONT

While all of Mayakoba has easy access to beaches, the best bet goes to Fairmont. Secluded alongside one of the world’s most extensive reefs, this white sand oasis is pure heaven. Mayakoba is distinctive for being a carefully maintained ecosystem of dunes, mangroves, and freshwater lagoons, home to a myriad of indigenous species of fish, birds, and mammals, and providing endless opportunities for unforgettable activities.

LA CEIBA GARDEN & KITCHEN AT ROSEWOOD

I admit it: I’m kinda private, and the thought of eating with more than a dozen strangers made me anxious. La Ceiba, however, was an experience like no other. This communal event for 18 in a 20,000-square-foot outdoor dining area spotlighted traditional Mayan cooking techniques through an interactive, fine-dining concept.

Guests partook in cooking demonstrations, tastings, and even foraging for their own produce.

A garden mixologist guided us on what garden herbs and spices would enhance our cocktails to pair with dishes such as the coffee-ancho, pepper-cured, prime ribeye and pickled beet salad with tomatillos. Divine.