Inside Mexico’s Ultimate Gated Resort Wonderland — the Secrets of Mayakoba | Paper City Mag

Originally published by Paper City Mag.

MAYAKOBA, Mexico – Come as a guest, stay as a local. This is the philosophy adopted by Mayakoba, the exclusive luxury hideaway along the turquoise embellished beaches of Riveria Maya.

The entire property of Mayakoba is a recipe for a dream vacation with finely curated ingredients — four luxury hotels, renowned golf and tennis facilities, award winning spas and top restaurants — all simmered in a serene Mexican landscape of jungles, white sand beaches and authentic Mexican culture.

After a quick two hourish flight from any major Texas city and an easy 30 minute ride from the Cancun airport, visitors can arrive in a swanky retreat with all the best of Mexico and its deep rooted Mayan traditions.

Mayakoba and its four resorts hone in on a new type of traveler who seeks out cultural authenticity to accentuate their luxury vacation experiences. Mayakoba understands this growing need and aims to provide an immersive adventure while clinging to the utmost standards of service and luxury.

And it’s all set inside the gated walls of the 1,600-acre oasis.

A perfect compliment to the sparkling beach front, the uniquely beautiful canals and lagoons that fill the property’s inland are not only lined with rare species of wildlife, but also charmingly polished duffy boats that travel through the clear blue waters between the four resorts making it easy for guests to experience all that Mayakoba has to offer.

The activities and experiences are endless and there’s a real push for authenticity.  This exclusive enclave aims to up the ante for other beach destinations.

Mayakoba Hotel Options

Along the canal banks and perfectly manicured gardens of Mayakoba, four top resorts, each with their own take on the indigenous passion of Mexican Culture, stand within the walls of Mayakoba.

If the budget allows, a splurge on staying at the Rosewood Mayakoba will more than impress. Each room is its own private lagoon living space complete with private docs, garden showers and plunge pools. Held to the impressive Rosewood standards, this Mayakoba resort puts individualized service at the forefront with its peaceful surroundings and custom experiences like beachfront yoga and poolside spa treatments.

Around 3 pm every day a team of fun loving servers peruse the beach with shirts announcing “Champagne O’Clock,” handing guests a glass of bubbly for the ultimate afternoon pick me up.

The Andaz Mayakoba is the new cool kid on the hotel block, only having opened two years ago. While being in touch with its old world Mayan and Latin American cultural heritage, it is the life of the party in Mayakoba. The hotel touts its modern take on its counterparts.  With a lively beachfront scene and brightly colored murals depicting the birds of Mayakoba, the Andaz sets the scene for fun.

At check in, each guest is encouraged to follow in the Mayan tradition of making a wish by throwing a rock into a symbolic Cenote in the heart of the lobby. It immediately sets the tone for a one of a kind experience.


The Fairmont Mayakoba offers something for everyone. The most kid friendly of Mayakoba’s hotels, this resort brings a laundry list of amenities and activities with space for large conferences and large group getaways.

The Banyan Tree Mayakoba harmoniously blends the Asian influence of the hotel brand with the Mexican culture of its home. Each villa, which comes with their own plunge pool and private entrance, is designed with Mayan architectural influences and reflect the precise and respectful traditions of hospitality from the Far East.

It is easy to move from resort to resort by water taxi or golf cart throughout the day to get the best of all worlds.

The Spa Life

Mayakoba brings a complete and unique spa experience. The Rosewood’s Sense Spa is both swanky and serene.  While attendants guide you through pre-treatment rituals of exfoliation, steaming and a series of hot and cold pool plunges, you are immediately transported into the essence of the relaxing nature of the property.

The Banyan Tree Spa implements very authentic iterations of traditional Asian methods of detox and relaxation. The Rainforest — a sensorial hydrotherapy circuit that begins with a self reflecting, acupressure therapy rain walk and continues with scented aroma steam chambers, saunas and the messaging water jets of the vitality pool and water fall — is designed to take you on a journey towards ultimate rejuvenation.

Banyan Tree Lobby Mayakoba

The Naum Wellness and Spa at the Andaz features Mayan rituals for clarity, rest, strength and connection and encourages guests to travel through a maze at the end of their treatments for a truly unique experience.

Mayakoba Restaurants

Mayakoba’s restaurants are as unique as its hotels. From sushi to steak to traditional Latin American food, the fine dining on the property, all just a golf cart or duffy boat ride away, is diverse.

Casa Amate, a favorite at the Andaz, uses all locally sources ingredients to bring together all the wonderful elements of Latin American cuisine. The chef is also a certified nutritionist inspires who believes that food good for your body can also be an incredible indulgence.

Walk into the Banyon Tree’s signature restaurant Saffron and you’re greeted with fresh fuchsia orchids for all the women in your party to put in their hair. Located on a dock over the lagoon, this is a stunning setting to enjoy Thai food.

All four resorts offer their own breathtaking beach front dining paradise complete with palapas, spectacularly fresh seafood and frozen cocktails aplenty. You can nosh on coastal food while sitting in a lounge chair in the sand with an ocean backdrop at the Aqui Me Quedo food truck at the Rosewood Beach.

The freshly grilled oysters and tiger shrimp at Sotavento restaurant on the Andaz beach and OllaCeviche Bar poolside are also favorites.

The Fairmont’s beachside dining destination would have a serious chance of winning a best ice cream sandwich in the world contest.

Golf, Water Splurges and More

Mayakoba’s El Camaleon Golf Course plays host to The Mayakoba Golf Classic, Mexico’s only PGA Tour event and a highlight of the calendar. Each fall, top golf pros, power players and elite fans descend upon the lagoon laden hideaway and partake in a celebration of the sport unlike any other.

In Mayakoba, golf fanatics can get up close and personal with the pros. The villas and bungalows with patios along the golf course book up years in advance for intimate golf watching soirees.

Golf’s not your thing?

Mayakoba recently unveiled a new Van Dutch yacht, which has visitors cruising the turquoise waters of the Caribbean seas. The Van Dutch comes fully-equipped with snorkeling equipment and underwater scooters, allowing you to explore the wildlife amongst the legendary coral reef.


For an even more romantic water move, the Ixchel — a traditional trajinera boat — is available for charming private dinner cruises through the canals. Kayak tours of the freshwater canals are also available.

Or take a break from the white sand beaches to bike or walk through the incredible nature trails among Mangrove forests.

The locals are passionate about the many Cenotes scattered about the property and are excited to show guests the tropical little swimming holes. These groundwater filled cavelike rock formations are a staple in the landscape of Riveria Maya and are full of Mayan history.

Some notable guests of Mayakoba have even been known to extend their stay for more than three months like Canadian power couple Stephen and Brenda Leopold, who escape their snowy Canada each year to soak up the magic of Mayakoba.

Sometimes you’re ready to fly south for the winter — and the summer, the spring and the fall.