Forty-five minutes south of Cancun lies a little bit of mangrove heaven. Surrounded by canals, cross-cut by mangrove forests and bordered by a white sandy beach, the 240-acre Fairmont Mayakoba resort sits along the Caribbean on Mexico’s famed Riviera Maya. Here, guests will find 401 rooms and 34 suites, a world-class golf course, the Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa, three restaurants and bars, six adult and children’s pools and the Café Maya, a market where you can buy everything from pastries to groceries.
The main pool, La Laguna, at Fairmont Mayakoba
With plenty of amenities for children and adults, the Fairmont Mayakoba can provide everything to make that family vacation a hit or provide a relaxing getaway for couples. The resort is eco-friendly and naturally diverse, spanning over four ecosystems: mangroves, forests, coastal dunes and lagoons.
Travel Agent recently visited the property, which opened in 2006, to learn that five more resorts are in the works or have recently opened there: Fairmont Mayakoba and Rosewood Mayakoba, currently open; Banyan Tree Mayakoba, opening at the end of the year; Viceroy Mayakoba, in the initial stages of construction; and a fifth resort in the negotiation stage. These will all work in unison to provide a “unique shopping mall of luxury,” says Fairmont Hotel Manager Germain Gallardo.
“We don’t see each other as competition,” Gallardo adds. “We see each other as luxury providers…It’s going to feel like you came to a safe haven of relaxation,” where your client’s signature is good at any of the resorts’ spas, restaurants or bars, and not just the one they’re staying at, he notes.
For the Mayakoba property, arrive via the Cancun International Airport (CUN) and take Highway 307, 42 miles south to the resort.
Green and Serene
Upon entering the lobby, you’ll be treated to the ambiance of the Mayakoba, as rustic electric candle lights hang from the ceiling and marble floors lead the way to a balcony view of lagoons, casitas and the main hotel building.
Combining serene beauty with ecological tranquility, the Mayakoba’s rooms and suites are located in traditional-style hotel buildings and two-story casitas spread among 45 acres with beach and lagoon views and plenty of brilliant green vegetation.
Twenty percent of the resort’s rooms are on the beach, in front of the mangroves, while the remaining 80 percent are behind the protected mangrove swamps. The mangroves act as natural buffers against the elements and provide plenty of biodiversity to the area, says Lyn Santos, the property’s ecology manager.
The rooms come in a variety of different styles, each with different views of a unique portion of the resort. Closest to the lobby, the Fairmont Rooms are perfect for convention and meeting attendees.
A Private Oceanfront Deluxe Casita Suite is just steps from the Caribbean
Sprinkled through the 90 Casita buildings, the Deluxe Casita Rooms include private balconies and marble bathrooms, with views of the forest or mangroves. The room I stayed in was a Signature Casita Room, which overlooked the lagoon, and had a king-size bed, soaking tub and private, glass shower stall. The spacious room had a garden adjacent to the bath, his-and-hers sinks and plenty of closet space. Furnishings were simple but fitting with the natural theme of the resort. The view included sights of cormorants nestled in the mangrove trees and fish that would surface as soon as I stepped outside.
The Private Oceanfront Casitas include beach and ocean views, private stairways to the beach and a spacious terrace. Each Oceanfront Casita includes the services of a butler. All private facilities, including the Private Oceanfront Deluxe Casita Suite, the Private Signature Casita Suite and the Private Oceanfront Casita Suite, are located on the beach side of the resort, on—or a few steps from—the beach, and include the services of a butler.
Two Specialty Suites, the Coral and the Bambu, are available. The Coral Suites are located near the lagoons of the Main Island and include spacious master bedrooms. The Bambu Suites are on the top floor of the Bambu Building and can be paired with a Fairmont Room for a two-bedroom accommodation.
A Presidential Suite bedroom at Fairmont Mayakoba
There are two Presidential Suites—La Tortuga and El Camaleon—the former located on its own island near the Main Pool area, and the latter on the beach. Both can be paired with nearby casitas to make multi-bedroom suites.
There are 65 connecting rooms at the resort and 180 rooms with two beds.
The Fairmont Mayakoba has two AAA Four-Diamond Award restaurants and bars—Las Brisas and El Puerto. Reservations for dinner are required at both locations. Las Brisas is renowned for its Pacific Yellow Fin Tuna, while guests of El Puerto can enjoy fresh seafood, including Caribbean lobster, shellfish, clams and oysters.
La Laguna Grill & Bar, next to the main pools, features indoor and outdoor seating, a breakfast buffet and Mexican-inspired cuisine. Las Olas Pool Bar and the Aqua Pool Bar are perfect places to lounge in the water while enjoying a cocktail.
Guests can also choose from a wide selection of sushi, as well as drinks, tea, coffee and tapas in El Lobby Lounge, located next to the lobby.
Adjacent to the lounge, guests will find several conference rooms and a business services center, with onsite staff to assist with all your clients’ business needs. There are 15 workstations, five equipped with Windows operating systems, five with special software and high-resolution scanners and five with laptop docking stations. All work stations come with hands-free headsets and local, long-distance and international call support. In addition, the Fairmont Mayakoba has 27,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 13,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space.
Activities for All
Christmastime, when the weather is in the 80s, is the most popular—and expensive—time of year to book a room, says Sales Manager Claudia Pacheco ([email protected]). Prices for the Fairmont Rooms, the resort’s least expensive accommodations, range from $275 to $615 per night during the holiday season. Holiday packages are available, and Pacheco recommends making reservations for the Christmas season six to nine months in advance. For large families, she recommends the Deluxe Signature Casitas.
Christmas and New Year’s at the Fairmont Mayakoba means tree decorating and lighting ceremonies, a visit from Santa Claus and gala parties to bring in a new year.
At the Willow Stream Spa, guests aged 18 and older can choose from 18 body experience treatments, two seasonal, three bath and several other massage, facial and sports-inspired experiences. The spa has 20 different treatment rooms to choose from, plus saunas, steam rooms and showers. Travel agents can book spa treatments with the hotel or guests can book at least one day in advance. The spa’s signature experience is the Mayan Clay Purification. The spa uses its own line of treatment products, the Willow Stream Collection, as well as B. Kamins, Tara and Kerstin Florian product lines. The spa and fitness facility, both in the same complex, are open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Contact Spa Director Maxime Cormier at [email protected] or 011-52-984-206-3039.
The 18-hole, par-72 golf course, El Camaleon, is the first in Mexico designed by Greg Norman. Paspalum turf—which more easily allows irrigation with high-salinity water—is used on this course. One unique feature on the first fairway is a cenote—a sinkhole that leads to water. Contact Douglas Goubault ([email protected], 011-52-984-206-3081), director of golf, for more information.
Guests will find the Fairmont Mayakoba’s use of lanchas (covered boats), bicycles and chauffeured golf carts on the pathways a fun and environmentally friendly way to see the area. Bicycles can be left at any of the resort’s bike racks for use by other guests who need them. River boats run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and several different nature tours by boat are offered, including the Mayan Serenade Tour, a private afternoon sojourn. Tours should be booked one day in advance.
Fairmont Mayakoba is a popular wedding destination and hosts more than 600 weddings each year. Weddings can be coordinated with Monica Gomez, chief concierge, at [email protected].
For family fun, the resort has a water slide and wading pools that are perfect for children. The Discovery Club and Adventure Camp, for children ages 4 through 12, provides an atmosphere where kids can participate in a variety of activities, including Maya Ball, air hockey and piñata and origami construction. The clubs are open daily and parents can drop their children off for three complimentary hours per day; for more than three hours, there’s a $29 fee. There are also babysitting services for children six months and older, for a fee of $18 per hour for up to two kids and $22 per hour for up to three kids.
The onsite travel agency, Grupo Maritur Mexico (011-52-984-206-3095), can arrange plenty of local activities, including transportation to archaeological sites, scuba diving, surfing, private boat tours, yacht services and more.
Mayan ruins are located a short drive from Playa del Carmen, as are a variety of activities, including jungle tours, deep-sea fishing, mu-seums, golf courses and skydiving services.
Travel agents can contact Hotel Manager Germain Gallardo (011-52-984-206-3005) for special requests.