Where to Get Away From it All – Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Who can resist an all-villa resort, a vivid blue ocean with private beach, and a world-class luxury spa? Peter and I certainly couldn’t, which is why we chose to spend several days at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba located on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Banyan Tree Mayakoba is just one of two such resorts in the America from the renowned Asia-based luxury hotelier (the other is in Acapulco). And it was luxury everywhere we turned!
When you drive up to Mayakoba gate you wait in anticipation to see what lies behind such grand walls. As the gate security clears you for entrance you drive through a winding road lined by a lush jungle. The five or so minute drive brings you to the grand Banyan Tree entrance. You’re greeted by friendly staff that gives you a bracelet made of fresh flowers. You’re given a fresh cold towel and delicious drink. As you walk into the open-air lobby you can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped into another world. A world that your vacation dreams are made of.
A Romantic Escape
The Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a romantic location for couples, where you stay in private villas that allow for indoor/outdoor living. Our villa was peaceful and relaxing. When you’re in your villa you don’t hear any outside noise, just the sound of nature right outside your door.
Our living area had a small terrace adjacent for meals, a large bathroom that featured an outdoor bathtub, as well as the requisite large flat screen TV and great coffeemaker (that we used every morning). The large outdoor space, which was bigger than our villa, featured a sun deck for tanning, a patio with two chaise longues, private swimming pool, beautiful landscaping, as well as a lounging hammock. (One of my favorite places to hang and relax!) Other villas contained such amenities as an indoor rain shower, wine fridge, mini kitchen, and additional beds or bedrooms.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Restaurants – A Cultural Experience
Eating is a cultural experience at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, featuring predominantly Latin American and Asian flavors. One-of-a-kind culturally immersive outdoor dining experience Haab’ owes a nod to the ancient Mayans and their customs and cuisine. This dining and cultural experience allows guests to be immersed in the ceremonies surrounding the culture, and dining on some really terrific food that is prepared as it was over a thousand years ago. This is a must-see, must-do culinary experience.
There is also Saffron, a small dockside restaurant featuring Thai food, and Tamarind, both open only for dinner. Saffron is actually a restaurant that is in all the Banyan Tree Resorts located around the world. The recipes and menus stay the same no matter which Banyan Tree Resort you visit.
Sands restaurant is a lunchtime spot located at Banyan Tree’s private beach. To get to this restaurant you can walk, bike, or a staff member can quickly get you there in a golf cart. Here you can enjoy delicious seafood and cocktails near the pool or on the beach. Peter and I found the perfect beach lounges and enjoyed an afternoon there. We ordered fresh tuna tostadas and chicken fajitas. The food was amazing to say the least and service was impeccable. I even got a fresh coconut! Another must when in Mexico.
There is Oriente, where we enjoyed delicious breakfast buffets. These luxury breakfast buffets are unlike any other breakfast buffets I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy. There were so many food options, something to please everyone. I loved their made-to-order mini quesadillas and traditional atole. As you can see in one of the photos, they even have the great Mexican jarritos de barro for your atole.
There is also a special two-person boat cruise meal, and a tapas cruise, if you so desire, as well as upscale snack shacks and bars and lounges scattered across the grounds. Believe me, you will not go hungry and every morsel is a treat. (And for those of you loathe to leave your comfy villa, a chef will even come and prepare a barbecued meal especially for you!)
A World-Class Luxury Spa
Banyan Tree resorts are well known for their spas and spa services, and Mayakoba was no exception. This award-winning spa focuses on hydrothermal therapies, but also offers a variety of massages, scrubs, and other tension-reducing indulgences. The spa itself is gorgeous, a mix of Asian and Mexican influenced décor, and the therapists are well trained and very professional. No vacation is complete at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba without a spa service.
As you can see from the picture, we went biking around the property. Bikes are free for guests to use and we took advantage and biked the 3-mile nature trail. The trail is great for bird watching or a morning jog, if you are so inclined.
We also spent significant time at the private white sand beach, which was pristine, and offered comfortable lounges, umbrellas, as well as food and beverage services.
There are also tennis courts and a fitness center. The Banyan Tree Mayakoba also has a championship golf course. El Camaleon is an 18-hole course that winds its way through the jungle, dense mangroves, and along the clear blue ocean.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba also offers a wonderful boat tour around the Mayakoba mangroves. On this tour you get to see the gorgeous crystal clear waters and lots of iguanas, birds, fish, and we even saw an alligator. As you can see in the boat photo below, you can see straight to the bottom.
Nearby is the town of Playa del Carmen, a great place to wander around, do some shopping, and get a cold beer by the beach. You can also take a boat across to Cozumel, tour Xcaret Eco Theme Park, or head to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba or Chichen Itza.
The Banyan Tree Mayakoba is an absolute gem with impeccable service and perfect for a romantic escape. We felt pampered, rested, and well fed by the time we reluctantly left. I’m sure you will too!