Three Mexico Travel Tips for Food and Culture Lovers

Unique accommodations, spa programs and culinary offerings provide new incentives to visit Caribbean and colonial Mexico.

The Tulum Treehouse has opened in a mangrove jungle near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. A Design Hotels member, the property is a five-bedroom private home surrounded by nature. It’s an attractive option for friends and family traveling together who want the convenience of a private home plus full hotel services.

The white concrete property includes five bedrooms with their own bathrooms. It can be rented as a three-bedroom unit or with the full five bedrooms, including the two-bedroom garden level.

The Tulum Treehouse has large common areas, wrap-around terraces and indoor-outdoor living spaces. Among its amenities are hammocks and outdoor showers amidst the treetops. Private chef hires are available. And, there’s a 12-person rooftop dining table with jungle views.

Juan Pablo Heredia, partner of the Tulum Treehouse, describes the inspiration for the project.

“We were sparked by the desire to develop new hospitality models which embody the lifestyle of today’s nomads. Those seeking genuine and innovative experiences centered around the respect and appreciation of local traditions, food, music, and rituals. Simply said, the true connectors to the people and culture of any given destination,” Heredia tells Travel Agent.

“After years in the region, learning about the talent of local craftspeople, it was our idea to pair them with international design knowledge and aesthetics to create a one-of-a-kind reinterpretation of jungle living,” Heredia adds.

That “reinterpretation of jungle living” utilizes solar energy and sustainable water treatment and irrigation systems. The design uses locally-sourced building materials. Furnishings, textiles and ceramics come from local and regional artisans. Even bath amenities are sourced from an all-natural Tulum-based line called Lolita Lolita. Products incorporate indigenous ingredients, such as aloe vera, chile, peppermint, rosemary, and honey.

Indigenous treatments are a prime focus of The Wayak Spa at Viceroy Riviera Maya. The 41-villa property is located about 35 minutes from Cancun International Airport, and three miles from the center of Playa del Carmen.

Wayak Spa is known for traditional Mayan healing techniques, treatments, botanicals and products. The staff includes a Shaman-in-residence, who provides a traditional Mayan blessing for guests.

Wayak is now taking the ancient Maya principles to a deeper level, by adding a K’óben or Mayan herb kitchen. The shaman will use the herbs to create personalized spa treatments.

Hailing from the Yucatan village of X-pichil, the shaman will personally cultivate the garden of healing plants. He comes from a long line of shamans who have studied the plants’ various properties. He will dry and prepare the herbs from the new K’óben. He will also personally consult with guests and devise appropriate treatment and healing experiences.

Maya-inspired treatments are also available in the Viceroy Riviera Maya guest villas.

From medicinal gardens to culinary gardens, indigenous flavors come together with an international flair in San Miguel de Allende. An exciting new dining concept called Bovine has launched in the heart of the colonial city.

Bovine is the collaboration of Bruce James and chef Paul Bentley. James is the well-known director of Hotel Matilda, named recently as top city hotel in Mexico by Travel + Leisure.

Bentley is chef at the highly-rated Mi Amor in Tulum. His Magno Brasserie in Guadalajara was named the Best New Restaurant in Mexico in Travel + Leisure’s 2016 Gourmet Awards.

Dubbed a “metro-chic brasserie,” Bovine is in the new Codigo Postal Design building in the city center. The renovated historic building also houses several upscale business and boutiques.

The menu will serve beef dry-aged in house, homemade charcuterie and fresh fish flown in daily from Ensenada.

James previously served as general manager of famed Hacienda de San Antonio near Colima, the flagship Habita Hotel in Mexico City's chic Polanco district, Quinta Real Acapulco and Casa del Mar in Los Cabos.

He’s credited with elevating San Miguel’s culinary status, as well. He brought Mexican superstar chef Enrique Olvera to Hotel Matilda to open the restaurant Moxi. Acclaimed since its 2012 opening, Moxi continues to make waves with its elaborate Supper Club series. The much in-demand evenings combine art displays with renowned guest chefs. They’re no doubt a factor in making San Miguel de Allende the world’s #1 city in Travel + Leisure’s 2017 World’s Best Awards.

“We’re turning up the volume in San Miguel, bringing locals and visitors alike a culinary concept unlike any other in the city. San Miguel is in the spotlight as Mexico’s hottest destination, bringing unprecedented numbers of sophisticated tourists seeking contemporary, cutting-edge dining experiences. That’s what we’ve delivered with Bovine. A chic setting with extraordinary cuisine in the heart of the city, helmed by a chef with real star power,” James tells Travel Agent.

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