Best in Playa del Carmen: Resorts

In Playa del Carmen & Tulum, Stay by Suzanne Koch

White sand beaches and turquoise waters abound at these stunning stays.

Andaz Mayakoba

The newest of Mayakoba’s four resorts and the brand’s debut in Mexico, Andaz Mayakoba was built from the ground up and has a fun, upbeat vibe. We recommend booking a stay in a beachfront suite or guestroom which are primely located near the pool, the beach and two of the resort’s restaurants, OllaTaco and OllaCeviche, both serving beach eats like ceviche and tacos. This colorfully decorated hotel is perfect for the younger crowd or anyone looking for a more casual yet still upscale experience.

Fun Fact: The water feature and oculus at the center of the lobby is designed to frame and reflect the stars and the sky, a nod to the importance of astrology in Mayan culture.


Rosewood Mayakoba

Keeping in line with Rosewood’s elevated experiences, this sophisticated resort offers an upscale, contemporary feel with a quiet atmosphere. Its most recent debut, Aquí Me Quedo (translated to “Here I Stay”), is the resort’s newest destination. The adults-only retreat was inspired by the residential style of a seaside home and the laid back vibes of nearby Tulum. Here, guests will find open-air living and dining rooms, three sunken infinity-edge pools with rotating seasonal amenities (think poolside spa treatments, popsicles, frosé and more); La Cantina, an open kitchen serving the best of Mexican street food and drinks; and La Palapa, a beachfront indoor-outdoor palapa for events and fitness classes.

Fun Fact: Guests may come across larger-than-life Alebrijes (wooden, Mexican folk art sculptures) around the property, which each take at least 13 people and four months to create


Viceroy Riviera Maya

All accommodations at this all-villa resort feature a private patio, plunge pool, outdoor shower, hammock and high-ceiling thatched-roof palapa. Guests can enjoy the lagoon pool, Mayan-inspired spa with a traditional Temazcal sweat lodge or wander down to the resort’s private pier. Other notable features include the hotel’s 500-bottle wine cellar, stocked with selections from boutique Mexican wineries, and the property’s Soap Concierge, which stops by your room post-arrival to curate handmade soaps using ancient traditions and regional ingredients.

Fun Fact: Guests may stumble upon easels and paints where they can create their own artwork in the rainforest.


Vidanta Riviera Maya

For the traveler who loves luxury and options, Vidanta Riviera Maya is home to five different resort hotels in the verdant jungle. A Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, two spas, more than 10 dining options, pools, and an array of nightlife and entertainment are just some of the many amenities to enjoy.

Fun Fact: The resort is home to JOYÀ, a one-of-a-kind theatrical culinary experience and the first and only permanent Cirque du Soleil show outside of the U.S.


Mahekal Beach Resort

“Steps from the ocean” takes on whole new meaning at this beachfront resort. Located in the heart of the hustle and bustle of world-famous Quinta Avenida, this hotel has the best of both worlds. On property, you’re in a jungle oasis but just steps from the lobby (literally), you’re amongst street vendors, nightlife and authentic dining. Like something out of a tropical lookbook, this property has it all: branded coconuts, bohemian décor, beachy wooden swings, outdoor Moon Showers and patio hammocks hung upon arrival.

Fun Fact: Country singer Jason Aldean and former American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr tied the knot here with Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson officiating the ceremony. Guests included Heidi Klum, Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo.


Thompson Playa del Carmen

While the hotel’s Main House is located in the heart of trendy downtown Riviera Maya on 5th Avenue, the nights can be lively and loud; you’re offered earplugs to sleep with if needed. If that’s not quite your vibe, opt to stay at the hotel’s more intimate oceanfront Beach House, located a few blocks from the Main House. Guests will enjoy a quieter stay and still have access to the downtown building, highlighted by its 30,000-sq.-ft. “rooftop playground,” which houses an infinity-edge pool and two restaurants.

Fun Fact: The resort has been visited by A-listers including Shay Mitchell, Steve Aoki, Bella Thorne, Nelly, Fetty Wap, Jason Derulo and Calais Campbell.


Fairmont Mayakoba

The first and largest of Mayakoba’s four resorts, Fairmont Mayakoba is located in the center of the development with the largest beach area, which was recently renovated in 2017. Home to a special children’s program, a kid’s pool and a variety of activities, the resort boasts the most family-friendly vibe in Mayakoba. Guests can choose from a slew of accommodations, from jungle rooms to sprawling beachfront casitas with warm wood accents and bright colors. Hungry diners can indulge in renowned Latin cuisine from new Executive Chef Diego Sobrino, pull up a seat at the Chef’s Table or kick back at the stunning lobby bar with picturesque views. Additional amenities include five pools, the Willow Stream Spa, culinary activities and access to the El Camaleón golf course. In 2018, Fairmont Mayakoba was awarded its 13th consecutive AAA Five Diamond Award, a prestigious honor they’ve earned every year since their
opening in 2006.

Fun Fact: La Laguna Restaurant’s Edible Insect Degustation allows guests to snack on dried grasshoppers, maguey worms, ant eggs, crayfish, escamoles and more, all perfectly paired with mezcal.


Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the most exotic resort in Mayakoba is only getting better. This June, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is introducing MK Blue, a 10,385-sq.-ft. indoor-outdoor event space that can seat up to 500 guests. State-of-the-art equipment, stylish decor and a stunning setting make it the ideal location for events. A stay here includes the brand’s signature Asian hospitality along w ith unbeatable amenities like Far East cuisine, an in-jungle Mayan experience, a luxury spa and more to treat all the senses. Each villa includes a private pool and a landscaped garden along with two complimentary bikes per villa, perfect for cruising the hotel’s three-mile nature trail.

Fun Fact: The resort offers a Bee Part of the Melipona Community workshop which supports the conservation of the Melipona Bees, an endangered species sacred to the Mayans. The spa even incorporates the Melipona honey in many of its treatments.


This article originally appeared in the 2019 Spring/Summer issue of InMexico Magazine. Click here for the full digital version.

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