Upon arriving at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rosewood Mayakoba in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, you know something special awaits when a small covered boat glides through the property’s winding canals to drop you off at your room.
There’s countless reasons why the hotel tucked inside the 1,600-acre Mayakoba resort area is such an exceptional stay. But here are the ones that continually make us long for a return visit to Rosewood Mayakoba, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary:
In our debut Verified Lists, Rosewood Mayakoba achieved a rare feat: it was one of only eight properties to earn both the 2018 World’s Most Luxurious Hotels and Spas honors.
The hotel takes luxury over the top, showering every guest with the VIP treatment. A personal butler will ensure you won’t want for anything, whether it be dinner reservations, a golf cart shuttle to the beach, excursions or transportation to the airport. Plus, for added convenience, he’s available via text through the hotel’s app.
For further proof of the elevated experience that’s in store, look at the memorable welcome amenity: a bottle of Mezcal Japo, made exclusively for the hotel by master mezcalero Hildegardo “Japo” Joya in Jalisco, sits on your dining room table along with juice, mint leaves and simple syrup. Message your butler, and he’ll pop over to mix some fresh cocktails.
Rosewood calls itself an all-suite hotel. But the sprawling spaces go beyond traditional suites. The Lagoon Suites’ secluded terrace offers a heated plunge pool (which lights up for nighttime laps), chaise lounges and a private dock. The accommodations also have an outdoor shower and a rooftop patio with cushy furniture.
Two-story Oceanview Suites put the plunge pool on the upper level so you can get mesmerizing vistas of the Caribbean Sea. In the Beachfront Suites, the pool sits on the sand.
No matter which option you choose, the stylish unit comes with a living room and dining area with stone walls and an earthy color palette.
And don’t overlook the bathroom. When we recently stayed in one of the Lagoon Suites, the highlight was the round, mosaic tub. Once we added bubbles and lit a candle, we never wanted to leave the sizable stone oasis.
Sitting on its own island, Five-Star Sense, A Rosewood Spa at Mayakoba provides a tranquil jungle escape.
One of its newest offerings is the Marry Oneself Journey. The three-day, four-night Mayan-inspired spa retreat aims to connect you with your inner self. The customized experience includes guided rituals with the soothing Fernanda Montiel, hotel’s resident shaman. “You will go inside to find your ancestors and the water, wind and fire within you,” the third-generation healer told us. The journey also includes more traditional services like massages and facials and ends with a ceremony of self-commitment.
But indulgent treatments aren’t the spa’s only lure. The lush landscape invites you to unwind. Rest on a lounger near a cenote (a natural sinkhole filled with groundwater), wander around a frond-shrouded waterfall or take a dip in the outdoor pool. Or simply go to the open-air lounge, where you’ll be plied with refreshments like a chilled hibiscus drink and a coconut jelly treat studded with cranberries.
Leave ample time for the well-equipped wet facilities. Circulate among the sauna, steam grotto, hot and cold plunge pools, and sensory showers. And be sure to try out the array of complimentary scrubs. Selections might include honey dust, yellow cornmeal, citrus mint and chamomile.
When hunger strikes, you can head to the lobby’s Agave Azul Sushi & Tequila Bar for fresh fish and more than 100 different types of the Mexican liquor, or Casa del Lago for Mexican-influenced Italian fare.
The fun dining options are by the beach. At the poolside Punta Bonita, order a tlayuda. The Oaxacan street food looks like a pizza, but it’s actually a crunchy oversized tortilla. The chicken pastor tlayuda comes with the achiote-marinated meat, bean sauce, roasted pineapple chunks, Oaxacan cheese, scallions and dollops of avocado dressing. Wash it down with a Maya margarita (passion fruit and ginger).
Be sure to share the filling tlayuda so that you can indulge in dessert, including popsicles with interesting flavor combinations, like the hibiscus, cinnamon and candied lemon option. The churros, a guest favorite, are also tempting (ask for them if you don’t see them on the menu). The piping-hot cinnamon-sugar dough tubes arrive with dulce de leche and vanilla ice cream.
Tucked away from the action is the Aquí Me Quedo (which means “Here I Stay”) food truck. The blue-and-white-striped truck serves cold coconut cocktails (with mint, cucumber and Tanqueray gin) and memelas, toasted masa cakes with an array of toppings.
If you want to learn how to make local food, sign up for the new Taco Academy Series. To show how to make authentic tacos with different ingredients, Rosewood Mayakoba kicked off this new class that allows you to cook alongside world-class visiting chefs for three days in the lovely outdoor La Ceiba Kitchen & Garden.
Chicago’s foremost chef of Mexican cuisine, Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo), and Iron Chef Jose Garces (of Five-Star Volvér in Philadelphia) were among the instructors. Study under Enrique Olvera from November 16 to 18 at the Taco Academy. The well-respected Mexico City toque helms Pujol, one of the city’s most exciting restaurants.
While the hotel has an adults-only spa pool and an expansive pool near its lobby, everyone is drawn to the beachfront infinity gem. Of course, they all want front-row soak overlooking the white sand and Caribbean Sea.
And with amenities like Punta Bonita and a choose-your-own-syrup snowcone cart, the pool also serves as a natural gathering spot for families. Understandably, it can get crowded and loud when younger guests are frolicking about.
But Rosewood Mayakoba has a solution for those seeking serenity amid the mile-long beach. In late November, it will open Aquí Me Quedo (whose name was inspired by the hotel’s popular food truck), an adults-only beach club adjacent to the family pool deck. The $2.5 million project will include three pools sunken in the sand, a Mexican cantina churning out street food and grilled fare and indoor and outdoor spaces for lounging and dining.
We predict the beach club instantly will become the hotel’s most popular spot. And it’s yet another excuse to return to Rosewood Mayakoba.