Mayakoba is a private resort comprised of four luxury hotels (The Fairmont, The Andaz, Banyan Tree, and Rosewood), that were built around channels of water that are surrounded by a tropical jungle. Mayakoba is known as the "Venice of Mexico" because of all the bridges and canals that connect the four properties to one another. Once you enter the massive, heavily secured gates of Mayakoba there is no need to step foot off the property. After entering the vast, lush land, you won't want to leave. Everything you need is located on this massive property and guests can charge their room at any hotel on the resort. Golf cart shuttles run regularly throughout the hotel transporting guests around the grounds. This is not a walkable property and you'll need a shuttle or bike to get around. Mayakoba, located on the eastern side of Mexico, on the Riviera Maya, along the Caribbean Ocean, is just a thirty-minute drive from Cancun Airport. You'll find yourself reveling in ultimate levels of luxury and leisure at every moment of your stay.
Located inside the private resort community of Mayakoba, The Fairmont maintains 401 guest rooms nestled in a tropical forest with beachfront access to the pristine beaches of this side of Mexico. There are five pools including one massive, 10,000-square-foot pool with a swim-up bar and slides. There are several fine-dining restaurants, a gorgeous spa, and tons of activities that can keep you happy here for weeks. You'll need to hop on the complimentary shuttle to get around this massive property as everything is super spread out adding to the exclusive and seclusive vibe that permeates the grounds. You'll also need to snag beach chairs and umbrellas early (during the season) because they are a little competitive to find. The service stands out as impeccable. The staff is incredibly well-trained to take care of each and every guest. The restaurants are consistently fantastic. Staying at The Fairmont is the definition of a luxury vacation at its finest.
The rooms are well-maintained and immaculate. You'll love the little touches like robes and slippers, largely built-in closets, deep soaking tubs, glass water bottles, and opulent bath products. I especially loved the bottle of insect repellant, which you'll need no matter what time of year you'll visit.
Canal Ride The Fairmont offers guests a private, complimentary, forty-five-minute boat ride through the canals. Just make sure to reserve the tour in advance. Miguel is one of the knowledgeable guides who eagerly shares his knowledge about how the developers of Mayakoba helped bring the underground natural rivers to the surface when they used dynamite to break the limestone caves. He is also well-informed about the wildlife- you'll leave learning about many of the 150 species of birds, tons of turtles (we spotted dozens), caves with stalagmites, and ten resident crocodiles (we got to get up close to one!) that live on the nature reserve. The reflections of the lush vegetation in the water are so picturesque and the continuous flow of bridges you'll drive through will transport you to Venice just momentarily because you'll quickly realize you don't want to be anywhere else but Mayakoba.
Mayakoba has easy access to the second largest reef in the world, second to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a marine region along the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. I strongly recommend that you book a tour with your Mayakoba hotel for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Our guide led us to a section of the reef on a small sailboat, a few hundred feet from shore. You can't imagine the underwater world you'll witness. Thousands of colorful fish will swim alongside you as your guide points out hard-to-spot lobsters, the names of rare fish, and even jellyfish. This will be one of those magical memories that you will treasure forever. Make sure not to miss this rare opportunity.
Where to Eat:
Fuego at The Fairmont Mayakoba
This beachfront property will tantalize your tastebuds. Toes in the sand, tequila in hand, and fresh Tlayuda in a basket with three dips... what else can you ask for? Be prepared for Fuego to deliver the most delicious Mexican-inspired dishes made right in front of you on an open flame. The menu is rather small but it delivers big flavors. You'll love it.
Casa Amate at The Andaz Mayakoba
Casa Amate is consistently ranked as one of Mexico's Top 120 Restaurants by Guía México Gastronómic. This Latin American fine dining establishment creatively prepares dishes with outstanding flavors. You won't be able to stop eating. Some must-tries are the celery root salad, the Totoaba sashimi, marinated octopus, red snapper wrapped in banana leaf, and the short rib proudly cooked for eight hours. Each dish has added heat with hints of serrano peppers and Morita chili and each recipe include unique vegetable preparations like fried corn and roasted oranges. Make sure to leave room for their exceptional desserts. Not only is every bite divine, but the artistic presentations are also equally captivating. Reservations are required.
Saffron at Banyan Tree
From the moment that you are greeted by the bellmen at Banyan Tree you know that a unique experience lies ahead. The team at Banyan greets you by name, without you mentioining this information to them, and nonchalantly mention that your private boat is awaiting to escort you to Saffron, known as the best restaurant in Mayakoba. To further set the mood, before entering the restaurant your hands will be washed with rose water and ladies will have an orchid placed in their hair. The setting is truly spectacular. You'll dine among the mangroves, under the stars, on a deck overlooking the water. Needless to say, the Thai inspired cuisine is sensational as well. Each dish bursts with exotic flavors; make sure to try plenty of the dishes for a comprehensive idea of what exceptional culinary talent tastes like.
Hix Bar and Lounge at The Fairmont Mayakoba
For great cocktails and pre-dinner Japanese-inspired snacks, hit this chic and cozy bar in the main lobby of The Fairmont.
La Laguna at The Fairmont Mayakoba
A beautiful breakfast buffet will await you at La Laguna. There is a delicious spread of freshly-baked pastries, juicy local fruit, cheeses, salmon, freshly squeezed juices, and several hot items including, chilaquiles, of course.
Brisas at The Fairmont Mayakoba
An open-aired beachfront restaurant, Brisas is the perfect lunch destination for fresh seafood. The ceviches are outstanding and so are the sea views.
Mayakoba is designed to cater to every guest's whim ensuring that there is no need to leave the resort. For the ultimate relaxation and foodie experience, you need to search no further. Rooms aren't cheap but the hotels honestly don't gouge you for drinks, meals, and activities like other five-star resorts often do. You won't want to travel here to explore Mexico. Instead, this is where you'll want to plant yourself for an optimal vacation of fun in the sun and sea.