Some villas are far from the beach and require transport by golf cart (free bikes also provided)
Well-preserved nature creates some mosquito issues
The five-pearl Banyan Tree Mayakoba is one of Playa del Carmen's most sought-after resorts. Set on beautiful beachfront grounds teeming with lush greenery, lagoons, and mangroves, the resort comprises 118 stylish villas complete with private pools set in lovely gardens and large, luxurious bathrooms with rainfall showers and outdoor bathtubs. The grounds also offer several public pools as well as a gorgeous stretch of white-sand beach, while an array of features includes a high-end spa, a plethora of outdoor activities (golf, tennis, snorkeling, and eco tours), and fantastic dining -- though food and drink are notably expensive. It's easily one of the area's top luxury resorts; only the Rosewood Mayakoba can compare.
Luxury beachfront resort blends sleek architecture with lush landscape
Set in a lush landscape amid mangroves and freshwater lagoons, the five-pearl Banyan Tree Mayakoba delivers a luxurious experience aimed at travelers seeking a private, tranquil getaway. The secluded resort comprises 118 private villas set on extensive grounds rife with lush greenery, tropical plants, palm trees, and pretty pools. It was the first property by the Banyan Tree brand in the Americas; the first-ever resort from the brand was in Thailand, and it has other world-class luxury properties in the Maldives, Seychelles, and Indonesia.
The brand's Thai heritage is reflected in the architecture and interior decor, which Mayan and Asian influences. The result is a look that's sleek and contemporary, with traditional accents adding style and character. The landscape and lush greenery of the grounds are highlighted by lots of open-air structures and spaces that allow the outdoors in. The sprawling lobby, for instance, offers plenty of seating on wooden sofas padded with white cushions in an open-air space that overlooks an enchanting reflection pool skirted in greenery. Decorative mosaic tiling accents the floor in a burgundy strip of patterns, while candle light fixtures hang from the ceiling. The resort's other public spaces, like the restaurants and bars, adhere to the same style.
It's a luxurious experience, for sure, and one that comes for a price. Well-heeled clientele consists mainly of couples on a romantic vacation, many celebrating honeymoons or anniversaries, though families and groups are also attracted by the spacious villa accommodation.
Set on sprawling beachfront grounds in a secluded area of Playa del Carmen
The resort occupies a secluded beachfront location near Playa del Carmen, a beautiful and charming resort town and the third largest city in Quintana Roo on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. More specifically, it is within Mayakoba, a private development that's home to a golf course, beautiful river, jungle, gorgeous beach, and other luxury resorts, including the Rosewood Mayakoba and Fairmont Mayakoba.
The sprawling grounds offer plenty of privacy and tranquility, and there's not much else in the immediate area. The center of town is around a 20-minute drive away and offers restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Because many of the businesses are European-run, the town retains a hint of European flair. The main tourist thoroughfare of Playa is the cobblestone-lined, pedestrian street Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue). There are plenty of fun outdoor activities in the area as well, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing, and the offshore reef is part of the second largest reef system in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
Cancun is an hour's drive north of the resort, while Tulum is an hour south of here. The island of Cozumel can be reached in about two hours. Cancun International Airport is around a 40-minute drive from the hotel.
Spacious luxury villas with tasteful decor, modern amenities, and private outdoor areas with swimming pools
The resort's luxurious villas all feature beautiful outdoor areas with private pools. It's worth noting that the pools are much larger than your average plunge pool, including the plunge pools at competitor Rosewood Mayakoba. The indoor spaces feature tasteful and elegant Mayan-inspired decor that pairs neutral hues and sleek wooden furnishings with a smattering of vibrant accents, like colorful patterned textiles seen on pillows, throws, and rugs. The spacious units are full of light, with large windows and sliding doors that open onto lovely private, tranquil gardens with sunbeds or hammocks overlooking the pools.
All villas have large living areas as well as outdoor dining areas, while Ocean Front Three-Bedroom Pool Villas at the Haven and the Three-Bedroom Family Residences also have full kitchens. Standard amenities include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, well-stocked minibars, iPod docks, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Each villa is also equipped with two bikes that guests are free to use, a convenience for getting around the massive grounds. Two-Bedroom Villas have extras like jetted pools and stocked wine fridges, while Spa Villas have outdoor spa pavilions with treatment beds. Bathrooms are large and luxurious, offering both walk-in rainfall showers as well as beautiful outdoor deep soaking tubs, plus plenty of high-end toiletries.
Several lovely pools, beautiful beach, luxury spa with array of features, and many outdoor activities
The resort's lush, well-tended grounds offer several lovely outdoor pools, all skirted in pretty palm trees, flowers, and tropical greenery, creating beautiful spots to lounge in and soak up the sun. Comfortable padded loungers offer plenty of seating and there are lots of quiet areas to relax in -- though not many guests make use of the main pools, opting to enjoy their own private ones instead. Guests can also head to the beach, a beautiful stretch of white sand that offers umbrella-shaded loungers, a beach volleyball court, and water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking, and canoeing.
The Banyan Tree Spa offers an extensive menu of treatments, massages, and facials conducted by Thai-trained therapists that can be enjoyed in one of 16 pavilions or in the privacy of guests' villas. There's also a peaceful relaxation lounge, as well as lots of other features like a hammam, sauna, ice fountain, aroma steam chamber, and a vitality pool. The Rainforest is the spa's signature hydrothermal experience, incorporating a Chinese herbal steam bath, Swiss shower, and warm dip pool, among other stops. The on-site fitness center is a bright and airy space that's well equipped with modern machines, plus yoga classes are available.
The resort's extensive grounds include an 18-hole golf course, which holds The Mayakoba Golf Classic every year, the only PGA Tour event in Mexico. A variety of activities are available at the resort, including free mangrove boat tours with nature specialists, nature trails, archery, and tennis. Guests interested in exploring the area further can book excursions to nearby sites like the ancient city of Chichen Itza, the archaeological park of Xcaret, and beaches in Tulum.
Families are catered to with a kids' club offering various activities and a play room for those ages 5 to 12. Other on-site amenities include several meeting and event spaces -- including wedding facilities and services. There's a business center on-site, and Wi-Fi is free throughout.
Various dining options and excellent cuisine -- but food and drink are pricey
The resort offers myriad on-site dining options. Saffron serves Thai fare in a lovely setting with outdoor seating on wooden decks over the water, while Sands offers beachfront dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tamarind serves fine European dishes; Haab' offers authentic Mayan cuisine in a jungle-like setting; and Oriente serves an international breakfast buffet every morning. There are several bars as well, including pool and beach bars, and an intimate wine cellar. In-villa dining is also available, and the hotel offers other culinary options like picnic baskets, cooking classes, wine or tequila tastings, and breakfast or dinner on a traditional "trajinera" boat sailing down the canals and mangroves. Guests consistently rate the food as excellent -- but then for the price, it should be.
Everything from intimate beachfront weddings to grand events
The Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a popular destination wedding venue, and can arrange multiple types of events, from a small beach service at sunset, to a torchlit ceremony on a timber deck, to a traditional ballroom event, among other options. There is a dedicated "romance concierge" to help coordinate your event.
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