The Caribbean coast of Mexico offers some of the world’s most exclusive luxury resorts set amid the jungle and pristine white beaches.
From suites where you step out onto the sand to residences spanning over 15,000 sq. ft., we go back to one of our favorite getaway spots. The top resorts and suites of Riviera Maya are the subject of this week’s issue.
1. Grand Velas Riviera Maya
U.S. News reports: This 85-acre, all-inclusive property approximately 5 miles northeast of central Playa del Carmen, Mexico, garners rave reviews from its guests. The accommodations impress with whirlpool tubs, 42-inch plasma-screen TVs, and at least 1,100 square feet of space. Meanwhile, guests consistently praise the resort’s excellent customer service, its gourmet cuisine, and its revitalizing spa services.
During your stay, you can sign up for invigorating treatments like the Mayan Jade Facial or the Coffee & Cocoa Experience. If you’re more interested in staying active, consider breaking a sweat in the fitness center, signing up for a free fitness class, or borrowing complimentary kayaks and boogie boards at the beach. The all-inclusive rates also cover meals at the property’s eight restaurants and other privileges, such as kids and teens club activities, 24-hour concierge services, and drinks.
Each of the five Presidential Suites spans at least 2,400 sq. ft. You’ll find spacious private terraces, contemporary classic décor, with special attention to rich fabrics, textiles, and art: here, hand-painted abstract frescoes, multi-colored marble inlays, and warm mahogany paneling.
More Grand Velas suites.
2. Rosewood Mayakoba
Conde Nast Traveler writes, “Once you arrive at this gorgeous ecological enclave in the Riviera Maya, don’t expect to rush anywhere—chances are, you’ll want to gape at the interior details, like hunks of Yucatán limestone and renewable wood, as well as wooden lattices and glass doors that punctuate the guest rooms.
On your Rosewood Mayakoba to-do list should be the Sense spa, which sits on its own private island overlooking limestone lagoons. Try out one of its unique Mayan-influenced treatments, like the Cenote Temazcal Purification—you’ll start by meditating in the garden, and work your way to a detoxifying steam bath, scrub, and massage.”
La Villa Magna
The 16,300-sq.-ft., six-bedroom La Villa Manga was envisioned by prominent architect Javier Sordo Madaleno of Mexico City-based firm Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos (SMA) and designed to reflect a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor living that celebrates Mayakoba’s natural elements.
At the heart is a stunning, open-air courtyard that weaves through the villa, connecting each room just as the winding emerald lagoons due throughout Mayakoba. The oceanfront terrace is anchored by a 92-foot infinity-edge pool spanning the entire width of the luxury villa, while the expansive sundecks offer unobstructed views of the white-sand beach and crystal-clear sea.
There is virtually unlimited space for entertaining. Highlights include dual-master suites featuring panoramic ocean views and ultra-private garden terraces, custom walk-in closets and spa-like baths; a Garden Suite with its own separate entrance, three guest bedrooms complete with ensuite baths and private terraces, a workable media room ideal for private screenings, and a chef’s-caliber kitchen with premier appliances and perfectly situated for desired gatherings.
More suites and villas at Rosewood Mayakoba.
3. Banyan Tree Mayakoba
U.S. News reports: The Asian-inspired Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers vacationers easy access to the Riviera Maya’s maze of mangrove forests, freshwater lagoons and, of course, the second-largest coral reef system in the world. Apart from communing with nature, guests can unwind in their villas, which feature Mayan-inspired decor, floor-to-ceiling windows and private pools and sun decks.
If you’re not one to stay cooped up, Banyan Tree Mayakoba also features a bevy of facilities, including The Shack Beach Club, pools and a spa that pampers with signature treatments like The Rainforest hydrothermal therapy session. The resort’s numerous dining facilities also earn praise, but for an unforgettable meal, book a seat aboard the romantic Ixchel dinner boat, which cruises through the scenic Mayakoba lagoon.
Beachfront Three-Bedroom Pool Villa
Just steps away from white sands and turquoise waters, this 5,511 sq. ft. beachside enclave features a heated pool and jet pool, outdoor bathtub, entertainment pavilion, living and ding areas.
More villas and suites at Banyan Tree Mayakoba.
4. Fairmont Mayakoba
Conde Nast Traveler writes, “Designed around a network of crystal clear waterways, the Fairmont Mayakoba is situated deep within 240 acres of dense tropical forest. The hotel is home to five pools—including an adults-only infinity edge pool—and El Camaleón, the 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman, has two water features.
“El Puerto restaurant captures the flavors of regional Mexican seafood, while Las Brisas blends traditional Latin flavors with global ingredients. Willow Stream Spa focuses on traditional Mayan techniques and offers a top deck with unbeatable ocean views. And if you want to design your own adventure, take out an electric lanchita—a small, electric boat—to explore the grounds.”
El Camaleon Presidential Suite
The 2,205 sq. ft. two-bedroom oceanfront Presidential Suite leads to the white sandy beach via a private stairway. Offered in combination with an Ocean Front Casita, it becomes a sprawling three-bedroom suite. The complement of accommodations includes a master bedroom with a king-size bed and a family bedroom with two queen beds, separate living and dining rooms, and a four-piece marble bathroom with a luxurious soaker tub and private glassed shower stall.
More suites and residences at Fairmont Mayakoba.
5. Viceroy Riviera Maya
Travel+Leisure says, “Set between the beach and a lush, tropical forest in Mexico’s booming resort region on the Yucatán Peninsula, the Viceroy Riviera Maya still retains a sense of exclusivity and seclusion. Flip-flop-wearing travelers unpack in one of 30 stand-alone villas (all of which are more than 1,000 square feet with marble bathrooms and outdoor terraces).
The 1,700 sq. ft. Beachfront Villas feature a King bed, uninterrupted ocean view, and direct. beach access. There is also a heated private plunge pool, outdoor rain shower, and hammock.
More villas at Viceroy Riviera Maya.
6. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa
A Conde Nast Readers’ Choice award winner since 2017, the magazine writes, “Belmond Maroma’s white stucco buildings with thatched-roof terraces were entirely handcrafted by one family of Mayan masons, and the attention to detail inside is equally impressive: white-walled rooms are decorated with hand-loomed bedding and rugs, and oversized tubs are lined with vibrant Mexican tiles.
The dinner menu at El Sol includes Kumamoto oysters, foie gras with almond, prickly pear, and aged balsamic, plus all manner of grilled and roasted fish and meat. On the beach, Freddy’s Bar serves craft cocktails and mocktails, plus snacks like fish chicharrones. The service is out-of-this-world—15 on a scale of one to ten.”
Casa Leo and Casa Aries
Spanning 7,664 sq. ft. Casa Leo and Casa Aries provide your own private compound of four suites with king-size beds, four bathrooms, including a walk-in closet, two vanity areas, a large bathtub, and indoor and outdoor showers, two air-conditioned fitness rooms, and two separate children’s rooms with twin beds. There’s private access to the beach and four private plunge pools.
More suites and villas at Belmond Maroma.
7. Hotel Esencia
U.S. News reports: “Situated only 17 miles south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the 50-acre Hotel Esencia lures those seeking seclusion. The guest rooms, suites, and villas feature minimalistic decor, with white stucco walls, built-in shelves, and brightly colored pillows and throws – all of which add to their spacious allure, according to past visitors. Each accommodation also comes with high-tech amenities, including a large flat-screen TV and an iPod docking station, along with one king or two queen beds (some of the two-bedroom suites also feature private pools and terraces).
“In terms of dining, you can enjoy inventive Mexican cuisine at the resort’s three eateries (and grab quick beverages at the coffee, juice, or cocktail bars). Recent guests said the boutique hotel’s food was flavorful and the service was impeccable. Guests also compliment Hotel Esencia’s well-manicured grounds and the on-site spa, which offers unique services such as the ‘Ritualito del Sol’ (a body treatment that incorporates lavender, chamomile, and a Mayan mud wrap to soothe sunburned skin) and the ‘Tropical Ritual’ (a replenishing hibiscus flower and strawberry body wrap).”
This Caribbean-style beachfront bungalow is set on its own 30,000 sq. ft. lot and has all the comforts and signature amenities of Hotel Esencia. Under a large palapa roof, you’ll find a master king bedroom overlooking the sea, an adjacent living area convertible to a second bedroom, a spacious master bathroom suite with double sinks, bathtub, and shower, a large walk-in closet, a guest bathroom with a shower, and a large wrap-around outdoor terrace with unobstructed views of the paradisiac Xpu-Ha beach.
There are 120 feet of private beachfront with sunbeds and a large beach palapa for lounging or beachfront private dining.
More suites at Hotel Esencia.
8. Chablé Maroma
Conde Nast Traveler writes Chablé Maroma is “a rare Mexican beach hotel that takes wellness and spirituality as seriously as it does poolside mezcal cocktails.” It ranks the resort 3rd best in Eastern Mexico.
Forbes perhaps describes Chablé the best. “Wellness is a bit wily. We all want it—and plenty of products and services are promising to deliver it to us—but we don’t know exactly what it is. Is it green detox juice and a vegan bento box? Is it sound therapy and shamanistic healing? High-impact intervals and massages? A glass of fine mescal and that Cuban cigar you allow yourself every once in a great while, surrounded by friends old and new? If you answered yes to any of those questions, Chablé was designed for you.”
The 5,813 sq. ft. Presidential Villas are two stories providing plenty of space. On the ground floor is the master bedroom with a spacious living room, dining room, full bathroom with a bathtub, double sinks, two rain showers, a romantic moon shower with access to the private pool.
They have a large terrace to create the perfect end of your night. The second-floor features two more bedrooms, one with a king-size bed and one with two double beds, an oversized balcony with an additional seating area, an outdoor leisure bed, and a private pool.
More villas at Chablé Maroma.