Mayakoba, a retreat nestled on Mexico’s renowned Riviera Maya, is one of the world’s most enchanting destinations. Carefully nurtured by a team of biologists, architects and designers, Mayakoba is a natural wonder surrounded by picturesque lagoons fronting the ocean with a mile of stunning beachfront. Three luxurious hotels, a number of refined residences, and a spectacular 18-hole Greg Norman golf course are woven into the enclave’s 1,600 acres, all connected by six miles of freshwater canals surrounded by mangroves and filled with a rich variety of exotic flora and fauna.
Occupying a prime position in the Mayakoba enclave is the Asian-inspired Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Riviera Maya’s most exclusive five-star eco resort. Each of the property’s open-plan villas features a private pool and an artful mix of handcrafted Mayan furnishings and modern amenities. The architecture of the main buildings manages to be dramatic and quietly awe-inspiring without intruding into the landscape thanks to the use of neutral tones, natural materials, lush landscaping and water features. An Asian air of Zen calm pervades the property, with every aspect geared to the utmost in relaxation.
The property recently unveiled an incredible $50 million expansion, including 34 newly built Beachfront pool suites, and the stylish Sands Beach Club, encompassing an infinity oceanfront pool, fresh seafood restaurant and chic raw bar, beachfront lounge, a larger interactive Rangers Club for kids and ocean view massage rooms operated by the Banyan Tree Spa, with pristine views of the Riviera Maya coastline. This June, seven over-the-water Lagoon Pool Villas will be added to the list of luxe accommodations, and putting Banyan Tree in top position among Mexico’s 5-star eco resorts. The internationally renowned Mexican firm Sordo Madaleno Architects oversaw the expansion project.
The main draw is the direct waterfront Beachfront Pool Suites, which span 1,740 to 3,155 square feet and feature both king and two queen options. All offer an interior patio, outdoor shower and whirlpool bathtub, as well as a private solarium with a heated private pool. The Beachfront Sunrise Pool Suites span 1,675 to 2,470 square feet, with breathtaking views of the turquoise ocean waters and stunning sunrises. These feature a king bed, private solarium with heated private pool, outdoor shower, whirlpool bathtub, and an interior patio. The Lagoon & Sunset Pool Villas, the resort’s first overwater villas, are positioned in the crystal-clear lagoon, just steps away from the beach. These two-story villas span 2,385 square feet with an open layout and “organically infused” indoor-outdoor atmosphere.
An exclusive selection of services and amenities for the new villas and suites, as well as for all existing beach villas, will include a dedicated host, packing and unpacking services upon request, beach amenities, and two complimentary bicycles per suite for their use during each stay. “What’s so unique about all of the design features of the expansion is that they draw inspiration from multi-sensorial experiences,” the property’s General Manager, Peter Hechler, tells The Status Life. “The new Beachfront Pool Suites soak in Mayakoba’s natural surroundings of turquoise sea, meandering waterways, plush lagoons and mangrove forests. Harmony and integration of these indoor-outdoor areas are achieved with a neutral palette of local materials such as chukum, a limestone-based stucco, and tropical woods combined with marble. Traditional Mexican artistic accents are used throughout the spaces and colors of the art reveal the creative possibilities of Mexican clay as a raw material. And every aspect of the traveler’s stay is an experience—the pathways that lead to one place from another are all unique and take guests on a journey through design.”
Hechler notes that, “The feedback from guests regarding the overall expansion has been overwhelmingly positive. Guests love Sands Beach Club, which has become the vibrant heart of the property. The Beachfront Pool Suites redefine private accommodations and guests enjoy the direct beach access they provide.” If you want to keep your stay fully focused on the resort’s unbelievable beautiful beach, then the new accommodations are exactly what you’re looking for, and then some. Reservations should be made well in advance, especially as word gets out.
Though it is not located directly on the beach, one of Banyan Tree Mayakoba’s main attractions is Saffron, a true gourmet Thai restaurant in much more than name only. As one of Asia’s premier resort companies, with a number of posh properties in Thailand alone, Banyan Tree knows a thing or two about Thai cuisine. Chefs are brought in directly from Phuket to create a contemporary menu of authentic dishes served in an incredible setting overlooking the lagoon and mangroves. Three over-water decks offer intimate spaces for enjoying what many consider to be the Riviera Maya’s best restaurant, also attracting diners from other properties as well.
Though Saffron enjoys the most exalted reputation, it is only one of a number of dining options at the resort. In addition to in-villa dining, an option preferred by many who wish to take full advantage of the sybaritic accommodations, the resort offers Ixchel, or “Goddess of the Moon”, a private dinner boat where you can indulge in local and international dishes while calmly navigating the lagoon, tended to by a “culinary host.” Other restaurant options include Cello, a world-class, waterside Northern Italian restaurant where the connection between food and wine is explored with the utmost finesse; and Oriente, the site of a bountiful breakfast buffet; and beach and pool bars. La Copa, an elegant rooftop bar offering small plates as well, is one of the best places to enjoy a cocktail on the entire Mayakoba reserve.
The Banyan Tree Spa brings the brand’s world-renowned Asian therapies to the area. Utilizing their considerable resources to the fullest, Banyan Tree Spa therapists undergo formal training at Banyan Tree Spa Academies in Indonesia, Thailand and China before coming to work in Mayakoba. The Spa’s signature Rainforest is a complete hydrothermal experience combining the best of European hydrotherapy and Asian wellness philosophy, while treatments like the Thai Herbal Detox and Javanese Lulur indicate their exotic origins. There are few spa experiences in all of Mexico to rival that of Banyan Tree, and as a basis for a visit the spa is every bit as enticing as the beach; but enjoying both is the essence of an ultimate Riviera Maya escape.
Image Source: Banyan Tree