Mayakoba, a three-resort complex on the Riviera Maya, is unique for both its eco-conscious foundation and the coexistence of its three upscale, but quite distinct, properties.
Bangkok-based Banyan Tree, Toronto-based Fairmont and Dallas-based Rosewood have all built luxurious resorts here, where they each maintain their brands’ distinct character while cooperating to maintain the preservation of Mayakoba’s square mile of mangrove forest and jungle and mile-long Caribbean beachfront.
They will be joined in 2015 by the 213-room Andaz Mayakoba.
It took almost a decade to build Mayakoba because its developers, the Spanish company OHL Desarrollos, brought in a team of biologists to help architects and designers preserve the flora and fauna of Mayakoba’s freshwater lagoons.
The complex’s defining feature is the six miles of canals connecting the lagoons and weaving through the three hotels. The waterways are a main focus of each resort’s design, with private villas built along the canals. At the Rosewood, check-in occurs via boat, and each hotel offers canal tours.
“The unique surrounding, with water canals, have helped the location become fondly known as ‘the Venice of the Caribbean,'” said Paulina Feltrin, director of public relations at the Fairmont Mayakoba.
Each hotel is distinct, but they do share a main entrance gate, a security system, tennis courts and a new nature trail where all guests can hike, jog or ride bikes. The properties cooperate by allowing guests from one hotel to charge meals and amenities to their room at the other two. Shuttles and a water ferry both connect the properties.
The three hotels have their own style of accommodations; the Banyan Tree and Rosewood are at the higher and more exclusive end, with only about 130 rooms each. Banyan Tree offers one- to three-bedroom villas, while Rosewood has large suites as well as multiroom villas. Fairmont, the largest of the three hotels with over 400 keys, provides more traditional hotel rooms in addition to private casitas. Fairmont also offers the lowest entry rates.
Here are some other features of each resort:
Opened in 2006, the Fairmont was the first of the Mayakoba properties. It bills itself as family-friendly, and with 13 room categories, rates start at $399 per night in high season. Accommodations range from deluxe rooms to suites and casitas on the canals and the beach.
The property has five swimming pools, six restaurants, a children’s Discovery Club and Adventure Camp and the El Camaleon golf course. Starting in January, the resort will offer complimentary sea kayaking and programs at its golf school. Fans of the brand will be at home here, especially with the outpost of the Fairmont spa brand, the Willow Stream, boasting two mineral pools.
The second of the three Mayakoba properties, the Rosewood was built in 2008. Its 128 suites, built over several islands and its beachfront, each have a private plunge pool, rooftop sundeck and garden shower. There are nine room categories, with rates beginning at $575 in high season. The hotel has two main restaurants: a casual, beachfront Mexican eatery and an upscale restaurant overlooking the main pool and lagoon. Its tequila bar serves a tapas menu.
Rosewood has become more popular among families, and its beachfront pool, one of three, has a kids camp. Its adults-only spa is built on a private island and is designed around a cenote. (Cenotes are groundwater holes fed by the Yucatan’s underground rivers and were sacred to Mayans.) Rosewood was recently awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certification for its eco-conscious operations.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
The newest Mayakoba property, the Banyan Tree boasts 132 private pool villas built along the canals and on the beach. Banyan Tree brings its signature Southeast Asian style wherever it goes, and Mayakoba is no exception. The Banyan Tree here offers a mix of Thai and Mexican flavor in its design, menus and service. The Banyan Tree Spa’s therapists are trained at its center in Phuket, Thailand. Signature treatments include the Thai Herbal Detox package highlighting the unique Salt Pot Body Massage.
Banyan Tree has four restaurants: the Mexican Oriente; the Thai Saffron, located over three lagoon decks overlooking the main lobby; Tamarind, offering fine dining cuisine; and the beachfront Sands, offering seafood and Mexican specialties. The starting rate in high season is about $520 per night.Source: TRAVEL WEEKLY. Photos: travelzoo.com, teeofftimes.com