This Mexican Resort Converted Me Into a Beach Resort Lover

Ken Hayden/Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Privacy, culinary, and service. What more could you ask for?

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There are many different types of travelers. As for me, well, I always considered myself more of an adventure or city type tourist. If the itinerary didn’t include some sort of physical feat or full days filled with exploring museums and restaurants, I pretty much skipped it. The thought of sitting on a beach for hours at a time honestly stressed me out. That is until I stayed at Rosewood Mayakoba.


Ken Hayden/Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

I was looking for a place to go with my family in Mexico for a few days before heading to Mexico City. I heard great things about the five-star American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Property located in the Riviera Maya. There was no doubt it would be nice, but I still assumed it would be another fancy beach resort with crowded pools, overpriced food, and no authentic character. That assumption started to change from the moment we touched down in Cancun.

Our waiting driver at the terminal greeted us before turning his attention to our 20-month-old son, who was greeted by name, given a stuffed animal, and offered a selection of juice. As anyone traveling with young kids knows, it can be stressful staying at a nice hotel since you can sometimes feel like a burden. This warm welcome instantly released that fear. And it only got better from there.

Upon arrival at the property—about a 40-minute drive from the airport—we were placed on a small boat to get to our room. Yes, most of the 129 suites and six villas are situated along winding lagoons offering every guest nearly complete privacy. The quick ride over was quiet with nothing but animal sounds coming from the jungle-like landscape. That is until we pulled up to our individual dock. It was there a mariachi band was playing Baby Shark, and our butler was waiting to greet us.


Courtesy Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Yes, every room has a butler who is available to arrange a golf cart to bring you to the beach, to have housekeeping come at a specific time, or to set up a special moment. It’s nearly instant communication through the resort’s app, making it easy to get whatever you need whenever you want it. We even used it to ask the butler what strange creature was running around our patio. (It was a coati).

You could spend all day in the suite with a private plunge pool and garden shower and feel as if you are in a remote jungle somewhere. Even getting to the mile-long beach is a bit of a walk or bike ride (there is a golf cart available) along a greenery-covered road. And once there, you won’t hear loud music playing or endless rows of beach chairs. There’s always an open lounger and delicious guacamole waiting at the beachside restaurant Punta Bonita.


Ken Hayden/Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Resisting the attempt to turn this into a full-blown love letter, I do have to mention two other features that ultimately aided in my conversion. 


 Durston Saylor/Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

One of the nights we arranged for a babysitter to come (the resort has several available at all times) and attended the communal dinner at La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen. A multi-course tasting menu is prepared and served at a long table in the garden where you are sat with other guests and staff. It felt like a fancy hostel getting to meet people from all over the world while sipping on tequila and celebrating Mayan traditions of open-flame cooking.

Lastly, the spa. Not only is it designed around a cenote and sits on a private island, but the services offered range from Ayurvedic experiences to ancient Mayan techniques. You can even request a session with the on-property Shaman. I did the sensorial apothecary massage, and it was just as cool as it sounds. 

Ultimately, all of these high-end amenities are bound to make for an incredible stay. But, it was truly the attention to detail and personalized hospitality that made me reconsider my feelings on beach resorts. 


From left: Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba; Courtesy Jordi Lippe-McGraw

On our last night, for example, our butler arranged to have our giant tiled bathtub filled with balloons making for the most epic bathtime for our son. And that’s what any vacation should be about. Creating these types of moments and memories was just something I only ever thought achievable outside of a resort setting.