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Fairmont Mayakoba 4.5

Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Beautiful white-sand beach (largest in the complex) with shaded loungers
  • Gorgeous gated complex with jungle nature trails, wildlife, and canals
  • Five pools, plus a waterslide and whirlpool
  • Three excellent restaurants in partnership with a celebrity chef
  • Four bars, including a beach, pool, lobby, and tequila bar
  • Unique experiences from craft beer tastings to insect gastronomy
  • Optional all-inclusive plan
  • Free welcome drink and Wi-Fi
  • Free boat, bike, and electric golf cart transportation around resort
  • Pets under 25 pounds are welcome

Cons

  • Resort fee
  • Room decor is a bit simple for a luxury hotel
  • Thick jungle area separates the beach from the resort
  • Large property that often requires transportation assistance
  • Kids' club has limited free hours per day

Bottom Line

Fairmont Mayakoba is a luxury resort known for its gorgeous jungle grounds, wildlife sightings, and excellent food options. Foodies will appreciate three excellent gourmet restaurants and the resort's partnership with a celebrity chef, while the pet- and kid-friendly features such as dog kits, a kids' and teens' club, and waterslide are popular with families. An expensive restoration project has widened the beach and renovations have modernized a few public spaces, though decor in most of the 401 rooms, casitas, and suites feels a bit simple and underwhelming for a hotel of this caliber. Standout features include a fantastic spa with hydrotherapy, cooking classes, and insect gastronomy, and several resort activities are included in rates. All-inclusive packages are available. For a smaller beachfront luxury property with great food and walkable grounds, consider Le Reve Hotel & Spa

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Scene

Huge jungle property with wildlife, beach, and secluded vibe

Fairmont Mayakoba is the oldest and largest resort property within the Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya Resort Community, which also includes the Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Rosewood Mayakoba. Fairmont Mayakoba is surrounded by gorgeous, natural jungle landscaping and features several canals snaking through the complex, which actually takes its name from the Mayan words "maya" and "coba" that means "city on water". The resort has over 150 species of birds and 300 species of wildlife that can be spotted on the grounds and nature paths, giving the space a natural wild feel. The Fairmont is popular with both couples and families looking for a scenic getaway that's suitable for kid-friendly fun and romantic seclusion. Expect open-air public spaces, beautiful nature views, and slightly underwhelming decor in rooms with some lovely pops of bright color. 

Location

Inside a huge private resort community a 40-minute drive from Cancun airport

Fairmont Mayakoba is located within a gated, beachfront resort community with its entrance right off the main highway, about a 40-minute drive from Cancun International Airport. There's nothing within walking distance aside from other resorts, but day trips to the vibrant touristy shopping town of Playa del Carmen are just a 20-minute drive south. Popular eco-adventure parks like Xplor and Xcaret can be reached in 25 minutes by car, while the towns of Akumal and Tulum are around a 45-minute and one-hour drive, respectively. 

Rooms

Large, sparse rooms with luxe features and balconies that vary most in location

Fairmont Mayakoba has 401 guest rooms with a heavy focus on casitas. Entry-level Fairmont Rooms are in the Bamboo tower building within close proximity to the main lobby, but they're the farthest from the beach. These rooms are large, with big windows to let in natural light and sparse decor that doesn't quite hit the mark for a luxury hotel -- think attractive wooden furniture, beige marble floors, and linens in orange and fuchsia. Teal or coral accent walls are cheerful additions. The hotel's prized casitas and suites have a similar look. Casitas are spacious and consist of one main room and a large bathroom, while suites are nearly double the size and have a large living area. For the most part, the only notable differences in these categories are their locations, as Deluxe Casitas are positioned deeper in the jungle, Signature Casitas are located on the canal, and Beach Area Deluxe Casitas and Beach FrontCasitas score positions by the beach (though farther from other resort features). 

All rooms have mini-fridges that can be stocked on request, large flat-screen TVs with cable channels, and furnished terraces. Swish bathrooms have rainfall showers and separate baths, plus hairdryers and digital scales. Luxury features include Nespresso machines, twice-daily turndown service, and Lelavo bath products in a custom fragrance, plus mosquito repellant during certain times of the year. Upgrades include larger TVs (up to 52 inches in suites), decorative tiling in the bathrooms, and more contemporary artwork. 

Beach

Beautiful jungle-front beach with slow service and expanded sand area

In the past, Fairmont Mayakoba's beach received flack for its erosion and size, prompting the resort to invest millions of dollars in a beach renovation. Now, it's the largest white-sand beach within the complex, housing a volleyball net, non-motorized water sports, and several well-spaced palapas with padded sun loungers available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reported downsides include slow drink and food service, occasional choppy waters, and a hard-to-reach location that requires most guests to catch a free ride on golf carts. 

Pools

Five pools, including an adult-only pool and one with a waterslide

There are five pools, though the Bamboo Pool is exclusive to guests staying in the resort's Bamboo building. Three pools are located on the property's central island and make up a large pool area with decent shade options, a shallow baby pool, and small family pool with a waterslide and whirlpool. Noise and privacy aren't too much of an issue thanks to the design of the pool. The main pool's amorphous shape helps create pockets that are perfect for distancing sunbathers from noise of the more active family areas. For a no-kid zone, there's the resort's adult-only infinity pool, a relaxing space that overlooks the canal and jungle edge. Far out by the beach, the Brisas pool has an infinity edge and easy access to the Brisas Restaurant. 

Food

Restaurant partnership with a celebrity chef, several casual options, and 24-hour room service

A partnership between the resort and celebrated Mexican-born chef Richard Sandovar brought revamped dining spaces featuring open terrace seating, open kitchens, and designer decor, plus three gourmet a la carte restaurants with elevated menus showcasing Mexican and Latin-fusion dishes, like chipotle miso black cod at the popular El Puerto Restaurant. Guests can expect breakfast choices of buffet or a la carte options and casual lunch options, from modern Mexican fare (and tequila bar) at La Laguna to casual dishes at the beachside Brisas grill, pool and beach bars, and Lobby Lounge. Dinner reservations are recommended but not required and dress codes state no flip flops, beachwear, or shorts, though it's rarely enforced. Two coffee shop-style spots (including the El Cafecito in the complex's El Pueblito area) serve up light bites, and room service is available 24/7 (fee). Cooking classes are offered for an extra fee. 

Features

Free activities (but no discounts on golf), and some unique experiences for a fee

Fairmont Mayakoba is a massive property full of top-notch features, and the resort's 3500-square-foot Willow Stream Spa is at the top of the list. Fresh fruit, hot tea, a huge relaxation area, and traditional treatments delivered with cutting-edge technology aim to relax, while the rooftop hydrotherapy circuit with a Swiss shower, whirlpool, and sauna are open to anyone with a treatment or day pass. The resort's gym is bland but decent, with high-tech extras like on-demand fitness programs, resistance training, several machines, and barre workouts. 

Value extras here are mostly experiential and include unique services like guided catamaran tours, boat rides through the canal and to other properties within the complex, and free electric golf cart transportation around the property. Other freebies include include free use of kayaks, snorkel gear, archery, tennis courts, and a capped number of hours per day at the Discovery Club for kids ages 4 to 12. Parents can also count on separate kids' menus at all restaurants, kid cooking classes, a baby room for infants to four-year-olds, and an active teen program with activities like stargazing and beach games. Guests can also shop for souvenirs and peruse local artisan crafts on-site. 

Fairmont Mayakoba also has a handful of unique experiences at an extra cost like insect tastings, craft beer tastings, stargazing, and cooking classes. Guided educational hikes through the property's wild areas are also available for a fee, though guests are free to wander along the five miles of paths on their own. The Fairmont complex's El Pueblito area gives guests a glimpse into local life as a replica of a small Mexican town, complete with a church, village area, gift shop, and small cafe. This area is also home to the hotel's El Camaleon Golf Club and the Jim McLean Golf school, though there are no guest discounts for greens fees. 

Guests generally report good value when opting into the hotel's "Appetite for Luxury" all-inclusive plan, which includes all meals and most beverages, though things like room service, menu upgrades such as lobster, and certain alcoholic drinks still cost extra. This resort is known for having some of the best conference and meeting facilities in the complex, with the largest room accommodating up to 800. Dogs and cats under 25 pounds are allowed for a per-night, per-pet fee, which includes a bed mat, bowl, treats, poo bags, and a special door hanger. Dog sitters cost extra and pets cannot be left alone in the rooms. 

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Things You Should Know About Fairmont Mayakoba

Address

Carretera Federal Cancun, Km 298, Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico

Phone

52 (984) 206-3000

Room Types

  • Beach Area Casita Room
  • Beach Area Casita Suite
  • Deluxe Casita Room
  • Fairmont Room
  • Fairmont View Room
  • Oceanfront Casita Suite
  • Oceanfront Premium Suite
  • Signature Casita Room
  • Signature Casita Suite

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