Whatever you and your partner consider the ideal backdrop for some alone time — a big, sexy all-inclusive resort or a bohemian beach hideaway — we’ve got you (two) covered. Oyster reporters traveled all over Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Caribbean coastline to find the most romantic hotels in the region. See our list of the most romantic hotels in Playa del Carmen, Playa Maroma, Tulum, and Puerto Moreles.
The Rosewood Mayakoba is ideal for a peaceful retreat for couples. It is set on a mile-long stretch of beach near Playa del Carmen's attractions, but it has a serene, sophisticated atmosphere perfect for a romantic getaway. The resort attracts couples with its upscale restaurants, gorgeous spa, and beautiful pools. The 128 suites feature attractive contemporary decor -- picture clean lines, white walls, and rich woods -- as well as high-tech amenities and private outdoor plunge pools. They have an open-air vibe, with many floor-to-ceiling windows, and the overwater lagoon suites have swim-up access.
It doesn't get much better than this. The Banyan Tree Mayakoba is one of the most sought after resorts in Playa del Carmen for a romantic getaway, and for good reason -- the property offers 118 casually stylish villas complete with private pools set in lovely gardens and large, luxurious bathrooms with rainfall showers and outdoor bathtubs There's also an acclaimed spa featuring treatments for couples, a few fantastic restaurants -- one juts out into the lagoon -- and dozens of wonderful activities perfect for couples, such as yoga classes, tennis, snorkeling and eco tours.
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. The gorgeous spa, excellent restaurant, and relaxing pools with ocean views are highlights.
Children under 14 are not allowed here, so couples looking for a secluded, romantic retreat will be sure to find it here. The seriously upscale Viceroy's 41 private, rustic-luxe villas are awash with extravagant touches: enormous partially canopied beds topped in fine Egyptian linen and plush down pillows and private gardens with large kidney-shaped plunge pools, woven Mayan hammocks, and rainfall "moon showers." The Mayordomo (butler) service also provides the villa with such treats as hand-cut artisan soap and super-romantic turndown service on your last night (think rose petals, flickering lanterns, and mood-setting incense). The spa with outdoor treatment rooms and massages for couples; the upscale but casual dining options; and the serene pool overlooking the seven-mile stretch of white-sand beach are also great perks for those looking to spend some quality time together.
The 412-room Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun is a romantic, adult-only all-inclusive, 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.
This upscale 65-room boutique between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos has a beautiful setting on a white-sand beach, amid a jungle preserve. Contemporary rooms are equipped with original artwork, furniture from the hotel’s own workshops, king beds, and either a terrace or a balcony. The great amenities on offer, including three pools, upscale dining, a wonderful spa, and a gorgeous beach, make this a solid pick, but prices are quite steep.
Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Perla is one of the best adult-only all-inclusives in Maya Riviera. This chic property 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. The spa is romantic, with a water ritual, sexy day beds, and an expansive treatment menu.
Few properties in Riviera Maya offer the level of privacy the Fairmont Mayakoba does. The 401 contemporary rooms are set amid tropical forests and lagoons, and feature modern amenities, upscale bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers and separate jetted tubs, and nice views, either of the lagoons, the forests, or the ocean. Granted, sprawling grounds mean guests will need a golf cart or one of the BMW bikes the hotels provides to move around. Property highlights include a high-end spa, a number of dining options, five attractive pools -- including a 10,000 square-foot main pool and an adult-only pool -- and a great location on a white-sand beach a few minutes north of Playa del Carmen. However, it’s not an all-inclusive resort and there are a few pesky fees.
The Royal Hideaway 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.
The 20-room, adult-only Beach Tulum is a popular upper-middle-range option in the heart of the Hotel Zone, and for good reason. Its 20 charming rooms are right on the beach (you can step out onto the sand from the ground-floor units); all artfully combine rustic and modern elements and have ample outdoor space and ocean views. The beachfront restaurant, Ziggy's, has great food (and a generous free breakfast with fresh juice and smoothies), and the small size allows for lots of personalized attention from the staff. Property features are impressive for a boutique, and include a pretty, meandering pool, outdoor whirlpool, and daily yoga classes. Free Wi-Fi and parking add to the value, although year-round mosquitos can be an issue.
With only 90 suites, the Zoetry Paraiso offers a romantic, wellness-centric boutique experience in the Mayan Riviera. The unique layouts of the suites offers different experiences to guests, including Terrace Suites with small bath-side indoor gardens, and Plunge Pool Suites with small personal outdoor pools. Even though warm, Mediterranean style is a bit different in each room type, all are spacious with comfortable furnishings and Bulgari toiletries. The pool area and beach are relaxed with double-wide lounge chairs (perfect for couples), and the on-site dining keeps the resort's wellness theme alive with delicious, healthy meals (no buffets: all-inclusive meals are all cooked to order). Included amenities not standard at most all-inclusive resorts, such as a "welcome" bottle of tequila, daily bottle of Champagne, a one-hour Catamaran sunset sail, three-times-daily maid service, and private chauffeured airport transfers, make this resort a standout among Puerto Morelos' finest properties (though expect the price to reflect that).
An adult-only escape a half-hour drive south of Cancun's bustling Hotel Zone, Secrets Silversands is a luxurious, 433-room all-inclusive resort. No spring-break shenanigans here; instead, there's a classy, jet-set vibe. 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).
El Dorado Casitas Royale, the intimate, more upscale section of El Dorado Royale, is an adult-only all-inclusive between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. While amenities are the same on both sides of the resort, El Dorado Casitas Royale is quieter and feels more secluded than the rest of the property. Rooms are large and luxurious, with wood-beamed ceilings, huge bathrooms with outdoor showers, and two-person hot tubs. Some rooms have private swim-up terraces, or balconies with infinity-edge plunge pools. Most guests choose to spend their days at one of the hotel’s several pools (some have a swim-up bar) because the beach is small and rocky, and not so suitable for swimming. The on-site restaurants serve an array of cuisine types, but the food is mediocre at best.
The 540-room Valentin Imperial Maya is an adult-only, all-inclusive luxury resort set in an exclusive area of the Riviera Maya known as Playa Secreto. The draws here are the long white-sand beach, massive main pool with two swim-up bars, lazy river (select rooms have swim-out access), quality food, lively entertainment, beautiful grounds, and full-service spa and fitness center. 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).
This small, service-oriented beachfront boutique has a quiet spot on the southern end of the Hotel Zone that remains in walking distance to restaurants, bars, and shops. The mid-range Encantada is strongly focused on preserving and sharing local culture: Its restaurant serves authentic regional dishes; its bar pours local craft brews and liquors and hosts local music nights; and the property uses regional artisanal goods throughout. The eight spacious, eco-friendly guest rooms have no air-conditioning or TVs, but they do have fans and private furnished terraces.
The mid-range El Pez at Turtle Cove is ideal for couples and small groups or families looking for a rustic and chill spot along the rocky Tulum coastline. All 19 rooms have cool tile or concrete floors, personal patio space, and come with free breakfast, 24-hour electricity and air-conditioning, organic toiletries, and great ocean views. Thanks to the hotel’s location -- in a semi-restricted area -- guests get a mix of coastline spots from a soft sand beach to elevated grassy banks to a rugged and rocky beachfront. Alas, the water here is choppy and not made for swimming. There’s also an excellent on-site restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a fantastic bar with tasty cocktails and healthy smoothies, and a small pool.
The Ahau Hotel could best be described as eco-chic. An upper-middle-range, 26-room property that has hosted the likes of Richard Branson, the hotel blends handcrafted artwork and bohemian decorations with rustic architecture that used 100 percent locally sourced materials. The rooms have outdoor space and most have great ocean views, but the entry-level Bali Huts really are little more than huts with beds (and no AC). There are daily yoga classes, bike rentals, windsurfing classes, and two attached restaurants, plus pets can roam freely. Free Wi-Fi and parking add to the value, although year-round mosquitos and limited cellular reception are issues.
Located in the southern end of the Hotel Zone, Cabanas Tulum is an upper-middle-range property with tons of extras making it feel like a steal. The 16 spacious, hip rooms have air-conditioning, safes, attractive open-plan bathrooms, and furnished terraces, but no TVs. Extras include personal yoga mats, outdoor clothes lines, and beach bags. A quiet on-site beach with powdery white sand has loungers and a swing set. Guests can also make use of the small pool, yoga classes, and bike rentals. Or they can head to the off-site restaurant, bar, and beach club where a free breakfast is served.