Two bars with fresh ceviche and extensive tequila/mezcal menus
Spa with beautiful treatment rooms, hot tubs, and ancient Mayan rituals
Three pools, including one for adults only
Rooms lack TVs (pro for some)
Nothing in walking distance (most guests remain on-site anyway)
Non-motorized water sports not included
Whirlpools not hot
Automatic service charge to meals
Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa is a 63-room, tranquil boutique hotel located on beautiful white-sand beach in Riviera Maya, in between Cancun and Playa del Carmen (and about a half-hour drive from both). It's one of the top luxury options on gorgeous Playa de Punta Maroma, and the exclusive vibe lures mostly couples. The 63 rooms are charming and airy with traditional Mexican decor, and extend to thatched-roof terraces. Suites can have outdoor showers and plunge pools. Free breakfast, with cooked-to-order quesadillas, gets high marks from guests (as does the food at the resort in general). Several restaurants and bars are on-site, with notable tequila and mezcal menus, and sustainably sourced contemporary Mexican cuisine. Standout features include the trio of palm-fringed outdoor pools and the destination spa with ancient Mayan rituals. This property definitely feels away from it all and rooms lack TVs (by design) -- unlike those at the nearby Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, an adult-only all-inclusive that's bigger and has a more contemporary style.
A luxurious boutique set away from it all in the jungle
This exclusive boutique property has a super calm vibe -- expect to hear nothing but the sound of the ocean, tropical birds, and wind moving through the palm trees. This is the type of place where guests come to truly relax -- and to help, there are no TVs in the rooms, an excellent spa, and daily yoga classes. A sandy dirt road leads to the property, which is carved from a coconut grove and surrounded by a 200-acre jungle, with the beach in front (expect to spot wildlife such as iguanas and coatis). Paths wind through the lush grounds and into the jungle -- guided tours are available -- and are candlelit at night for a romantic touch. The hotel comprises whitewashed buildings with thatched roofs, while inside, the open-air spaces feature graceful archways, stone floors, and traditional Mexican decor. Bright pops of yellow, blue, turquoise, or pattern in furniture and pottery crop up throughout the interiors.
This small, authentic property tends to make its guests feel pampered, with thoughtful extras such as free fresh fruit or popsicles from the attentive beach staff, staffers who try to remember guests by name, and morning coffee or tea delivered to rooms. These touches help it stand out against the competition, and many guests prefer the Belmond Maroma to the nearby Secrets Maroma Beach, which has over 400 rooms (compared to the Belmond's 63). Those seeking even more intimacy (and larger rooms) may prefer the nearby Kin Sol Soleil, which has just 10 rooms -- though it is less luxurious.
One one of the region's best beaches, removed from the crowds
The beautiful, relatively secluded beach is one of the main reasons people come to this stretch of Riviera Maya. The Playa de Punta Maroma is deservedly famous -- it's long, with powdery sand, and it's a great base for snorkeling and diving trips thanks to its proximity to the Mesoamerican Reef (though don't expect to be able to snorkel right off the beach). There are only a handful of resorts on this stretch of sand, adding to the isolated, jungly feel. Seaweed can wash up, but the resort is diligent about raking it up.
The resort is about a five-minute drive from the main road, where there are a couple of restaurants, but otherwise there's little in the immediate area other than the few other resorts on the beach. In other words, this is the ideal place for a quiet vacation away from the hustle and bustle of nearby resort towns. Playa del Carmen, a tourist town with lots of shops, nightclubs, and restaurants, is a 25-minute drive south. Puerto Morelos, another active spot about 20 minutes north, also has plenty of dining options. Maroma Marina, about a 15-minute drive (or 30-minute walk down the beach), offers water sports and various activities like shark tours. Tulum, with beaches and an ancient ruins, is about one hour away. Cancun International Airport is a half-hour away by car, and the hotel can arrange for transportation (for a fee). The shopping, dining, and clubs of Cancun are about 45 to 50 minutes' drive from the resort.
Traditional charm and terra-cotta terraces -- but no TVs
Rooms and suites at the Belmond Maroma have an open, airy feel and authentic cultural decor. Traditional Mexican decorations and indigenous art combine with handcrafted wood and rattan furniture, and terra-cotta or polished-stone tile floors. King-size beds are covered in white bedding and brightly colored pillows, and some are draped in mosquito nets. Aromatherapy turndown service is a nice touch.
Free breakfast, tequila-ceviche bar, three pools, and a destination spa
Free breakfast at the hotel get high marks from guests and includes fresh fruit juice, breads, yogurt, and cooked-to-order quesadillas, followed by a main course. El Restaurante serves regional dishes like Baja California tacos during the day, and modern takes on traditional Mexican cuisine for dinner. El Sol restaurant is open for dinner, with a focus on responsibly sourced, contemporary Mexican cuisine and international wines. La Cantina bar has impressive tequila and homemade beer selections, plus traditional snacks, but is only open Wednesdays for dinner. Freddy's Tequila and Ceviche Bar, a beachside venue with a sizable collection of tequilas and mezcals, is open daily from morning until late-night. Food across the board is excellent, but it can be pricey; to help with that, the resort does offer a meal plan option that includes a three-course lunch and dinner (but no drinks aside from a welcome drink -- not even water). An Observation Tower with 360-degree views over the resort is open for private dinners.
The hotel has three swimming pools: one large pool for families, another suited for laps, and another smaller option for adults only, all lined with palm trees. Many activities can be arranged by the resort, from touring Mayan sights to golfing to snorkeling and scuba diving. (There is a dive center on the beach.) A fitness center is well-stocked with cardio and weight-training machines and there are also two tennis courts. The Kinan Spa is a destination itself, with a full menu of massage treatments, plus yoga and healing Mayan rituals with, for instance, heated rocks and herb-infused water. The spa also has its own bee hive and harvests honey for different treatments. Herbs from the on-site Healing Garden are used in a selection of products for sale.
The hotel offers free bike tours (and wildlife spotting) of the grounds' jungle, which walking paths also wind through. The on-site boutique, in a thatched-roof casita, sells authentic Mexican items such as art, clothing, and jewelry. Families are well cared for with a games center, beach games, kids' welcome kits, and special menus at the restaurants. Small pets are allowed, for a fee. The El Tambor space offers computers with Wi-Fi, books on Mayan culture, and DVDs for guests to borrow and use in the common TV at no cost.
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