New and Updated Hotels Dot Mexico's Caribbean

Plunge Pool

With much of the country still digging out of a deep freeze, the Mexican Caribbean looks especially appealing. New and reimagined hotels may be just the thing to cure the winter doldrums.

In Playa del Carmen, a three-year project at Mahekal Beach Resort has wrapped up, leaving a completely re-imagined property. Among other things, the project included a takeover and overhaul of adjacent sister property, Las Palapas.


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The combined resort now has 74 additional palapa-style bungalows from Las Palapas. The rooms were completely redesigned and refurnished in the style of Mahekal’s rooms, which were updated in November 2014. The total room count at the new and improved Mahekal Beach Resort stands at 196, including suites and penthouses.

“Mahekal Beach Resort's recent transformation complements the beauty of the resort’s surrounding environment, blending natural elements with modern details,” Lamont Meek, chief operating officer of Circa Capital (co-owner and manager of Mahekal), tells Travel Agent.

In addition to the newly added bungalows, public spaces have been upgraded as well. The resort now has 4,500 square feet of event space for weddings, meetings and conferences.

A new Mayan-inspired Revive Spa includes indoor and outdoor relaxation lounges and a new fitness facility. A large pool has been added and a new restaurant, Fuego, has been introduced ocean side.

Mahekal Beach Resort is known for providing an unplugged vacation experience. There are no TVs in rooms, although there is Wi-Fi and a phone system.

Hyatt Ziva

In Cancun, tourism officials, industry executives and hundreds of invited guests gathered for the opening of Hyatt Ziva Cancun on January 19. The  all-inclusive resort is located in Punta Cancun, surrounded by the Caribbean on three sides.

The property includes towers built during its era as the Camino Real and later as part of the Dreams brand. A major renovation by Playa Hotels & Resorts added the new adults-only Premium Tower.

As Hyatt Ziva Cancun, it now has 547 guest suites, each with ocean views from the balcony. Hyatt Ziva Cancun also offers an exclusive Hyatt Club Level with a private lounge and concierge service.

In addition to nine restaurants and six bar/lounges, the property includes an onsite microbrewery and sports bar. Tres Cervezas showcases three beers made by resident head brewmaster Juan José García. The craft beers are served throughout the property.

Additional amenities include new lagoon-style pools and an adults-only rooftop pool. The Spa includes a hydrotherapy area that faces the ocean, 13 treatment rooms plus five palapas on the beach for massages.

Another Hyatt-branded property in Playa del Carmen has earned steady praise for its spa. The Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort debuted in June of 2015. Its Cenote Spa earned the prestigious Best of Year 2015 project award from Interior Design Magazine. The Cenote Spa was chosen from five global finalists.

The 6,000 square foot spa’s design and ambiance were meant to evoke the serenity of cenotes. The legendary freshwater sinkholes that dot the Yucatan landscape are revered by the Maya, who believe they’re a conduit to the spiritual world.

“In Mayan culture, cenotes represent the deep and mystical entrance to the underworld. Bringing this celebrated concept to Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort’s Cenote SPA as a relaxation area was perfect as the entrance changes the ambience from light to a serene dark and comforting underground setting. The textures, colors and senses were intentionally selected to be abstract, never trying to copy nature but rather interpreting it through architectural design in order to create a truly extraordinary and unique experience,“ Nadia Borrás tells Travel Agent.

Borras is director of interior design at Sordo Madaleno Architects, the firm that designed the spa.

In addition to signature treatments inspired by Maya culture, the spa includes hydrotherapy stations, a eucalyptus steam room, fiber optic chromotherapy showers and a fitness center.

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