Riviera Maya, on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is a region known for its upscale resorts, gorgeous beaches, and laid-back ambience. See our picks for the top luxury hotels in Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Playa Paraiso, Playa Maroma, and Puerto Aventuras in Riviera Maya.
This Rosewood property attracts well-heeled couples with its mile-long beach, serene atmosphere, gorgeous spa, and large suites with private plunge pools and high-tech conveniences. Top-notch amenities include a Greg Norman-designed golf course, three gourmet restaurants, several pools -- including a gorgeous infinity pool -- and an excellent kids' club with tons of daily activities. Wonderful freebies, such as Wi-Fi, fruit, and bottled water, don't hurt either.
The Banyan Tree Mayakoba has 118 casually elegant villas featuring high-end furniture, walk-in showers, private plunge pools (it's worth noting that the pools are much larger than your average plunge pool), walled-in grass lawns, patios with hammocks, huge outdoor bathtubs, and fully stocked bars. When you consider the acclaimed spa (with hammam, sauna, ice fountain, and aroma steam chamber), plethora of activities (yoga, tennis, snorkeling, and eco tours, including free mangrove boat tours), and exceptional dining (plus cooking classes and dinner on a traditional boat), it's very hard to find anything wrong with this property.
The Grand Velas -- set on over 80 acres of mangroves that meet a postcard-perfect beach of white sand and turquoise waters -- is one of Riviera Maya’s most sophisticated properties. It features 491 top-notch suites spread out in three different buildings (two family-friendly, one adults-only), all with their own stunning pool complexes, gyms, andrestaurants. The property is so huge guests will need to take a three-minute shuttle ride from the farthest building to the beach, but the hotel’s spotless service, outstanding food, luxurious spa, and wonderful amenities make it a great pick for discerning (and well-heeled) travelers.
The former estate of an Italian duchess, the ultra-luxurious Esencia oozes Mediterranean elegance and style. With just 29 rooms spread over 50 acres, the property feels intimate and exclusive, and shows a thorough attention to detail in everything from the services to the decor. Upscale, contemporary rooms are housed in two-story buildings set amid lush tropical grounds, and feature lots of high-end amenities, including pre-loaded iPods, Molton Brown toiletries, and in some, even private plunge pools. But not all have bathtubs, and in those that do, the tubs can be small. The gorgeous spa, excellent restaurant, and relaxing pools with ocean views are highlights. Though it may lack some of the features of properties lower on this list, its butler service, numerous freebies (free yoga classes, free breakfast, free use of snorkeling gear), intimate size, personalized service, and gorgeous beach put it a cut above.
The Belmond Maroma offers amenities found in larger resorts -- including three outdoor pools, daily activities, a beautiful spa, two bars offering tequila tastings, a wine cellar, and several dining options -- plus great extras, such as free snorkeling trips (one per guest), free a la carte breakfast served in the restaurant or delivered to the room, and yoga and Reiki classes. Its 65 rooms are decorated with original artwork and furniture from the hotel's own workshop, and feature marble or Mexican tile bathrooms, balconies or terraces with hammocks, and handmade soap and aromatherapy sets.
Located on the Riviera Maya, south of Cancun, the 412-room Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun is a romantic, adult-only all-inclusive resort, set on a private white-sand beach lined with sunbeds, cabanas, and palapas. In addition to the buffet, a wide range of high-quality dining options are available, including Japanese teppanyaki, French cuisine, a wine cellar with over 200 different vintages, and, for an extra charge, romantic dinners for two on the beach. A stunning destination-style spa offers couples' treatments in private outdoor cabanas on the beach. Rooms are large and tasteful, with four-poster canopy beds, separate sitting areas, and private balconies; ground floor rooms are swim-up suites. The hotel is especially popular for honeymoons and destination weddings, though numerous additional fees can make a stay here pricey.
For a relaxed upscale getaway, the Viceroy delivers. It offers 41 private rustic-luxe villas with reception areas, lofty thatched-roof bedrooms, roomy bathrooms, and gardens with large heated plunge pools, woven Mayan hammocks, and outdoor rainfall showers. The casual but top-notch restaurants (including a sea-view restaurant with an outstanding breakfast menu); serene jungle spa with stone steam baths and Mayan-inspired treatments, and temperature-controlled pool with views of a seven-mile, white-sand beach round out the experience.
The Fairmont is a gorgeous beachfront property located a few minutes north of Playa del Carmen. It offers 401 contemporary rooms set amid tropical forests and lagoons, each featuring modern amenities; upscale bathrooms with Le Labo toiletries, glass-enclosed showers and separate jetted tubs; and views of the lagoons, forests, or ocean. The high-end spa, acclaimed dining options, five pools (one a 10,000-square-foot freeform pool), and beautiful surroundings make this one of the most luxurious properties in Riviera Maya. It's a sprawling property, but guests can borrow BMW bikes or golf carts to move around the grounds.
The Royal Hideaway wows at first sight. A red carpet placed along a wide, airy hallway dotted with colonial-style benches and plants guides guests to a stunning, two-story reception area, where the concierge welcomes them with a flute of champagne and a cool towel. The 200-room hotel is a member of exclusive hospitality consortium Leading Hotels of the World, and as such is one of the most luxurious properties in the area. It features upscale rooms with high-end amenities, a full-service spa with great treatments, several pools, and the best food around. The beautiful grounds, overall sophisticated vibe, adult-only policy, and beautiful beachfront location a short drive from shopping on Playa’s Fifth Avenue make it one of the most attractive options for couples in Playacar.
Set on beautiful beachfront grounds full of lush plants and tall palm trees, this luxury adult-onnly resort offers a tropical vacation teeming with activities, dining options, pools, and pamper sessions in beachside treatment huts. The abundance of marble and columns throughout the property might be a bit too ostentatious for some, but it's definitely impressive -- as are the rooms. The rooms feature hot tubs and open bathrooms, which shouldn't be a problem for most visitors choosing an adults-only resort. All have terraces or balconies, and a gorgeous stretch of beach is right outside the door.
Part of Iberostar's five-hotel Playa Paraiso complex, the 310-room Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso is a Las Vegas-style resort set on a private beach on the Riviera Maya. Everything about the resort is on a grand scale, and the architecture takes cues from the iconic Bellagio in its Baroque- and Roman-inspired styles, with columns and fountains aplenty. The high-end experience starts with champagne upon arrival, and continues with premium liquor, fine dining, a full-service spa, and several pools, including one dedicated to tranquil relaxation. The opulent decor incorporates marble and mosaic floors, glass chandeliers, modern artwork, and artisan-crafted furnishings. The lush, landscaped grounds complete the picture. Rooms are large and upscale, with jetted tubs, glass shower stalls, and personalized minibars.
Popular with newlyweds, couples, and party-oriented 20-somethings, this adult-only all-inclusive has an extensive range of features, including seven restaurants and five bars, an Olympic-sized pool, a wedding center, and a spa. Other draws of this 507-room resort incude its proximity to the nightlife of downtown Playa del Carmen (especially bustling Fifth Avenue), its gorgeous stretch of beach, and the sophisticated rooms with two-person jetted tubs.
The Secrets is an adult-only property located on a secluded white-sand beach north of Puerto Morelos, a half-hour drive south of Cancun's bustling Hotel Zone. There's a classy, jet-set vibe; children under 18 are not allowed. Extensive features include a white-sand beach (that's smaller than those at competing properties), eight pools, nine restaurants, and abundant bars -- plus nightly entertainment to keep things lively. There is a full-service spa as well as a nicely outfitted fitness center, not to mention regular yoga and water aerobics classes. Rooms are spacious, spotless, and modern, all with amazing whirlpool tubs and balconies or patios. Really fantastic free Wi-Fi is offered throughout (reception can even be found on the beach).
This chic, adult-only property is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Maya Riviera. Paradisus is located directly on the Caribbean, but the patch of white sand is narrow and it's a bit far from downtown Playa Del Carmen. No kids allowed means the gorgeous swimming pools remain calm and serene; there's a swim-up bar and waiter service, but guests tend to be seeking peace and quiet rather than a rowdy party scene. Even the most affordable rooms have marble floors and free minibars stocked daily. An upgrade means access to a semi-private swim-up pool and/or butler service. A huge variety of all-inclusive restaurants and bars get high marks for quality and service. Thespa is romantic, with a water ritual, sexy day beds, and an expansive treatment menu.
The Valentin Imperial Maya draws plenty of repeat guests, and for good reason. The adult-only all-inclusive stands out for its truly excellent pools, great stretch of white-sand beach, quality food, live entertainment, and beautiful grounds. The 540-room hotel's massive main pool has two swim-up bars and a lazy river (select rooms have swim-out access). Rooms have traditional, earth-tone decor, and all have outdoor space -- some have ocean views, though they can be obstructed by vegetation on lower floors. There are 11 bars where top-shelf liquor is included, and eight a la carte restaurants where reservations are not required (though Privilege Package guests can make reservations to avoid a wait).
Sensimar Seaside Suites & Spa is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort located on a secluded beach halfway between Playa del Carmen and the famous Mayan ruins of Tulum. This hotel offers 282 spacious suites with double Jacuzzis, terraces or balconies, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. While the location is fairly isolated, this resort has a long list of amenities including a great spa, tennis court, outdoor yoga sessions, and scuba clinics. There are many spots here to relax, including three pools and a total of 12 restaurants and bars. This resort is a great pick for relaxing days with a significant other, but travelers looking for nightlife and shopping might want to consider options closer to Cancun.
This stunning, all-suite luxury property in Puerto Morelos has 103 incredibly spacious rooms with huge balconies or patios. Though many have full kitchens, there is only one on-site restaurant, El Faro, which serves international and Mexican cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- but the menu can get repetitive, especially for those on the all-inclusive plan. There are three beautiful pools, including one for children and one for adults that has a swim-up bar. The beach is superior to many in the area, with soft white sand, calm waters, and a lack of seaweed. The hotel offers free parking and Wi-Fi, and has an excellent on-site gym, but the tiny spa is a bit of a letdown.