Unplug At Andaz Mayakoba, a Chic Resort on the Riviera Maya
An expansive family-friendly resort with beachfront and lagoon-side rooms
If you’re after a fly-and-flop holiday on the east coast of Mexico, Andaz Mayakoba is sure to deliver: a peaceful haven just 15 minutes from Playa del Carmen.
Review: Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya
Set amid 595 acres of lush jungles, beaches and lagoons on the Riviera Maya sits Mayakoba, a gated complex complete with four hotels. All are five-star and offer luxurious facilities, from private beaches to fine dining restaurants, but each brings something unique to the table. The newest is Andaz Mayakoba, opened in 2016 – Hyatt’s first hotel in Mexico. It’s the most family-friendly of the bunch, but works equally well for couples’ holidays, with an excellent food and drink offering, a pristine white sand beach area and a programme of activities offering everything from water sports to margarita making.
The first thing that will strike you upon arriving at Andaz Mayakoba is its sheer size – but fear not: bikes and golf carts are provided to save long walks in the heat. There are 214 rooms dotted all over the resort, plus five restaurants, two large pools, a kids’ club and a spa. All rooms are spacious, but it’s worth splurging on one of the 41 suites, which have terraces overlooking either the sea, the lagoon or the golf course.
We stayed in a Lagoon View Plunge Pool Suite, an expansive suite spanning over 1,000 sq ft, with a king sized bed, a living room, a bathroom with a walk-in shower and a balcony with a plunge pool, where you can sit and soak up the tropical scenery. Decor is beachy and stylish, with a warm colour palette and jazzy Mayan touches.
This vibrant design is seen throughout the hotel, with nods to the local culture and Mexican artworks dotted around. Guests arrive at a sculptural lobby which is anchored by a circular water feature, inspired by the region’s cenotes (natural sinkholes), and colourful Senkoe murals of birds and jaguars line the pathways.
Ultimately, this is a place to come to kick back and relax. The relaxed atmosphere of Andaz encourages guests to completely switch off: reading by one of the pools, cocktail in hand, or snoozing on the beach. With so much space, it never feels crowded (and you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to reserve a sunbed).
Continue the zen vibes at the hotel’s spa, Naum – named after the Mayan goddess of consciousness. The 10,000 sq ft space is a tranquil haven nestled amid palms and greenery, with two hydrotherapy areas and six airy treatment rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. A wide variety of treatments are on offer, from soothing facials to body scrubs and meditation, plus special rituals using local ingredients with wellbeing benefits, such as cacao and melipona honey, sourced from bees endemic to the Yucatan. There’s also a well-equipped gym, and sunrise yoga sessions take place on the beach.
Guests can also organise various activities on the lagoon. Book a guided boat tour to get up close and personal with some local wildlife – from slider turtles to iguanas and sandpiper birds, and maybe even a crocodile or two. You can also arrange to have breakfast on board: we enjoyed a delicious spread of avocado on toast, fresh fruit and coffee while sailing through the mangroves. For something a bit more active, you can rent kayaks.
If you’re travelling with children, the free Kimbo Kids Club will keep little ones entertained, designed for ages four and up. It offers a wide variety of activities such as treasure hunts, Mayan painting classes, water games and pinata making.
The hotel can also help organise excursions to nearby attractions, such as Kantun Chi, an eco-park filled with cenotes and underground caverns for swimming. The ruins of Chichen Itza, meanwhile, are a two-hour drive from the hotel. And if you fancy a bit of partying, Playa Del Carmen is filled with bars and clubs.
Andaz Mayakoba is home to five restaurants, all designed to showcase the best local produce of the region. For casual dining during the day head to the poolside Cocina Milagro for fresh salads, ceviches, tacos and burgers, or grab a vegan bowl and smoothie from VB. Come dinner time, Casa Amante opens its doors, a sophisticated restaurant designed to resemble the home of a traveller passionate about Latin culture. Enjoy Latin American dishes like arepa with chicken loaf, duck breast with fried plantain and mole, and beef short rib with pulque sauce.
Best of all, though, is Sotavento: the resort’s beach restaurant inspired by a shipwreck that washed up on the Mayakoba shore. Soak up the Caribbean sea views while dining with your toes in the sand, with many dishes cooked on an open grill on the beach. Tuck into fresh lobster, salmon or octopus, or the ever-changing catch of the day, served with confit vegetables from the garden and grilled lime. Alternatively go for one of the chef’s specials, such as grilled clams pappardelle, beef tartare with prosciutto – and be sure to pop some grilled polenta with truffle mayonnaise on the side. This spot is particularly magical come evening time, with twinkling fairy lights and palm trees swaying against the dark night sky.
THE FINAL WORD
This is the place to come if you really want to unplug. Andaz Mayakoba has all the five-star facilities you’d expect from a hotel of this calibre, but there’s a low-key vibe which means guests can totally switch off. Staff are always there if you need something, but never overbearing. The resort seamlessly caters to both families and couples, and the setting, with its meandering lagoon and swaying palm trees, is nothing short of idyllic.
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