Playa del Carmen Travel Guide
Mayakoba Hotels / Rosewood Resorts / Fairmont Hotels / Banyan Tree Resorts / Rivera Maya Hotels / → All Tags
The Mayakoba resort community near Playa del Carmen, Mexico sits on 240 acres of tropical forest with eco-friendly lagoons and surrounded by the Caribbean shoreline.
Unlike many resorts in Mexico, there is much more to do than just drink margaritas on the beach (although we like that too). Biking via the extensive shady paths, golfing and scenic boat tours around the canals are just a few.
The hard question is this: Which of the three resort properties should you choose for your stay-- the Fairmont, Rosewood or Banyan Tree? Here is a brief overview of each:
The Fairmont Mayakoba struck us as the most kid-friendly with its waterslide and kids pool, even though all three resorts have kids clubs. It’s also apparently dog friendly as we saw this little number poolside (sadly the Paris Hilton-y owner was not actually Paris Hilton). Casitas are scattered throughout the property, some of which are beachfront with stairs leading right to the ocean and some have oceanfront private plunge pools. The Mexican craft beer tasting with tapas is a must do. The Fairmont is the largest of the three with 401 rooms but it is also the least expensive (although certainly just as lovely as the others.) Off-season prices start at less than $300 per night.
Turndown Service / Hotel Turndown / Hotel Packages / Viceroy Hotels / Mexico Hotels / Beach Hotels / Beach Resorts / Riviera Maya Hotels / → All Tags
If you’re looking to heat things up at night, this may just be the turndown service for you.
The Viceroy Riviera Maya is now offering a new Plunge Pool Romantic Turndown that involves aromatherapy, candles and lanterns, music, food, and drink – all set under the stars on your private terrace with its own plunge pool.
At the prescribed time, the hotel’s Concierge arranges for the turndown with the options you’ve pre-selected:
• Aromatherapy choice includes Relaxation, Romance and Rejuvenate
• Mood music may be anything from love songs, Latin rhythms or your own iPod playlist
• Lanterns and flower petals rim the perimeter of the pool, and candles are floated in it
• Choice from the special turndown food and beverage menu, from champagne and fruit to after-dinner drinks and dessert creations by the pastry chef
• Plush robes and towels to cozy up in
The Plunge Pool Romantic Turndown is $99. Other romantic options are available for an additional cost, such as a bouquet of three-dozen red roses for $105.00 and Chocolate Fondue for $25.
The 41 villas at the Viceroy Riviera Maya start at $393 in July for a Sun, Sea and Solitude package in a Deluxe Villa, which includes breakfast and a $100 resort credit.
[Photos: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts]
It's Monday and just the right hour for some work procrastination. Take a minute and play Witty Wordsmith with us, whydontcha? That's right, it's time to Name.This.Caption!
It was the wild scampering on our thatched roof at the Viceroy Riviera Maya that sent us running around our villa, wondering WTF was on our roof. Was it on fire? A crazy Mexican thunderstorm? Did we drink too much the night before?
But it was none of these things. Suddenly the scampering stopped and turned to jungle canopy thrashing.
We finally identified the crazy: two spider monkeys hanging out above the outdoor shower. Fumbling for the camera, we snapped this pic of this gray-bearded Papa Boo. But what is he doing there?
We’ve recently mentioned a boatload of celebrities visiting hotels near and far, from rappers and rockers at the ever-popular Andaz 5th in New York to teen sensations at the Hilton Los Cabos. Today, we get a peek into another Hollywood-escape haunt, the Viceroy Riviera Maya, just 15 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen and 40 minutes from Cancun airport. Beauties Rashida Jones of The Office, and Jamie King who stars in CW’s Hart of Dixie, recently visited the Viceroy for some cool-down time between tapings.
The 41-room resort, once called The Tides (and Ikal del Mar before that), became a Viceroy this year. Perhaps the name change is a factor, but the hotel is now getting a good share of rich and famous clientele, and with good reason. It’s ϋber-secluded thanks to its jungle surroundings, making it the perfect place to dodge prying paparazzi eyes. But we’re nicer at HotelChatter, and keep our stalking at respectable levels, so we can still get the 411 on these sightings.
When you pull up to the porte-cochère at Rosewood Mayakoba, you're welcomed by friendly staff offering cool towels and glasses of green juice. They tell you it's chaya juice and even if you don't know what that is, you throw back the drink because it's hot outside and the juice is cool and refreshing.
Later, you come across the chaya juice again in the relaxation areas of the resort's fancy SENSE Spa, since they like to begin treatments in the Mayan way, and chaya is found in the region surrounding the resort--which is of course rich in Mayan history. But what exactly is in this concoction?
The Rosewood Mayakoba peeps kindly shared their chaya ingredient list with us, so we now we know that it contains:
* Flat Leaf Parsley
* Pineapple juice
* Orange juice
* Fresh lemon juice
Hotel Fashion / Riviera Maya Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / Stephanie Johnson / Hotel Shopping / Hotel Giveaways / → All Tags
Usually, when fashion designers get inspired by fancy hotels and resorts, it's bikinis they churn out. But in the case of designer Stephanie Johnson, what we get is a new range of travel accessories. And the hotel that took Johnson's fancy? The Fairmont Mayakoba, on Mexico's Riviera Maya.
We haven't stayed at this property but we've stayed at one next door that's on the same Mayakoba development of lush jungle rolling down to the ocean. Can't say we blame Johnson for getting inspired--it is indeed very pretty!
So is the new line of bags, which includes an iPad case and a few small cosmetics bags that double as cute clutches for a night out on the town—or on the beach at the resort's bar.
All of the big five-star resorts and convention-ready hotels may be off the highway between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, but if you want to experience the activity of a Mexican town and still be a short stroll from the beach, you need to stay in Playa Del Carmen.
You won't find the Fairmonts, Rosewoods and Tides of the world here, but you will find smaller, independent hotels lining the beach and streets off of Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue). The newest--although actually a longtime resident, now coming out of an expansion and renovation--is Acanto Hotel & Suites.
The new villas look like places we'd happily swap our apartments in the States for -- hell, we'd even sleep in the new gym with floor-to-ceiling views of the beach. Luckily, we didn't have to resort to that and stayed in one of the Tides' existing villas, which happily looks exactly like the big, glossy photos on the hotel's website. (No switch and bait here.)
Even though we only had a short hop over to Cancun from Miami, any lingering sense of obligations at home vanishes with the resort's welcome ritual--a Mayan blessing performed at the entrance to the spa. And then there is the Soap Concierge...
Sweet Suites / Celebrity Hotels / Riviera Maya Hotels / Rosewood Hotels / Overwater Bungalows / → All Tags
However, after returning to the property this fall, we were introduced to a new breed of sexy hotel suite: the Lagoon Suite.
At first, we were all like, "why would we wanna stay here, where we might see a crocodile swimming below our bedroom floor?" Then we had the pleasure of bunking down in a lagoon suite for a few nights and voila! We were converted. And now we know why so many of the celebs who stay at this ritzy Riviera Maya retreat also opt for the lagoon over the ocean view suites. (Said celebs may or may not include: Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp, U2, TomKat and Suri, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.)
Scroll down for a few more reasons to love the lagoon...
Tequila / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Mexico Hotels / Rosewood Hotels / Riviera Maya Hotels / → All Tags
Forget your frat days and sloppy Day of the Dead celebrations: this is pure class. At Rosewood Mayakoba's tequila bar Agave Azul, a tasting is structured similarly to a wine-pairing dinner. Of course, you can slide up to the bar and order your shots straight if you know what you want--but we highly recommend opting for the pairing that comes with some snacks and little glasses of sangrita--a spicy little chaser.
Here's the thing about spa treatments: in cities like NYC, we could get the best massage ever but our zen totally evaporates when we step out onto the streets or hit the subway. In resort locations, we're often so relaxed by the warm breeze and a margarita that hitting up the hotel spa is an afterthought.
But! We have now experienced a spa treatment that has made our skin sparkle and taken away all our worries in the process--and it all took place before we even stepped inside the treatment room for our massage.
It's called the Riviera Maya Water Journey, and you'll find it at the huge, $15-million Spa at Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The concept of a water journey is not new, but what struck us about this one was how detailed the multi-process step was and how helpful it was to have a spa attendant guide us through the whole thing. (Often when we see all those pools and showers, we just hop from one to the other, willy nilly, which is fun, but doesn't always lead to the desired state of mush.)
It may feel like a jungle outside with this heat wave, but you can visit an actual tropical forest at the Tides Riviera Maya. Though if you wait until December to stay at the Playa Del Carmen resort, you'll be able to check out its newly renovated digs.
The all-villa resort has a lot of plans for its renovation, which will finish sometime in December. The biggest one is that it's adding 11 private luxury villas to the property and giving its existing villas—which all come with a private patio and plunge pool, outdoor shower and a thatched-palapa roof—a makeover.