This Mexican Beachfront Hotel Is a Luxe Getaway With a World-Class Bar – Maxim

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Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen is one of Mexico’s top 5-star retreats.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Some hotels provide personalized “in-residence” stationery for their incoming guests on a nightstand. At the Rosewood Mayakoba resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, they’ve come up with their own welcoming touch. Upon entering the magnificent cantilevered lobby—with rainforest-like jungles on one side, the beach and emerald sea on the other, and a serpentine lagoon surrounding the 20 acres of 130 lodgings sprawled between—guests are handed a drink with their monograms emblazoned on the cocktail napkins.

It’s a fitting flourish now that the storied five-star property is home to one of the best hotel bars anywhere: Zapote Bar, which was recently named No. 11 in North America’s Best Bars list, a first for a Mexican beach resort.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

The custom cocktail napkins are just one of the many details that make Rosewood Mayakoba stand out among the world’s luxury resorts: the African Queen-like canopied shuttle boats that take visitors to their rooms via the lagoon as tiger fish swim by; the plunge pools for all 130 rooms; the complimentary bicycle cruisers; paddleboards, kayaks, and catamarans; and Rosewood’s signature butlers who will gladly (upon request) grab coconuts from the trees, split them and then discreetly leave a lovely bunch in the suites—all of which also include a complimentary tequila set-up.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

The main grounds boast three esteemed restaurants, all tops in their class. The Zapote Bar which also serves delicious food is a beautifully-designed wood and concrete space made to be a playful Mayan-Modern cocktail paradise with references to both the beach—the Playa del Carmen coastline is a stone’s throw away—and Mexico City’s vibrant cocktail scene. In addition to indoor and outdoor tables there are agave-tasting rooms.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Don’t order the ordinary. Try Joshua Monaghan’s mixology program, which fuses ingredients from the ground’s jungles such as the native Mamey. A rum milk punch is made with it as the main ingredient along with pineapple. And the Margarita gets a new name there: the Wana Bana, an infusion of tequila, lemongrass, lime, chili salt, and soursop juice. Zapote recently launched a new cocktail menu designed to “honor the rich flora, fauna, and folklore of the Riviera Maya.”

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

To soak it in, Zapote’s menu skews toward Mayan-Middle East, courtesy of Chef Juan Palo Loza. There’s plenty of shareable spreads llke Zapote tapenade and guachini. The wood grill serves up meats and vegetables. Settle in at a table by the lagoon, listen in on 160 species of birds, or watch iguanas hanging from Banyan trees. Mayakoba welcomes mixology and culinary talent, and recently hosted a “Rockies on the Riviera” tie-in with two Michelin-starred chefs and visiting crafty in-residence cocktail stars.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Another experience not to be missed at the property is La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen, the resort’s “one-of-a-kind outdoor culinary adventure that reflects Chef Juan Pablo Loza’s fullest expression of seasonal Mexican cuisine.” In an “interactive” setting, guests partake in “lively sit-down meals, cooking demonstrations and tastings to savor and learn, enjoying the camaraderie of a collective culinary experience.”

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

The other restaurants include Casa del Lago, which is open for all-day meals, and features Italian cuisine at night; Punta Bonita, for beach-and-pool-area casual Mexican tapas, with dinner offerings that veer to a locally-caught seafood menu; Agave-Azul, an intimate sushi and tequila bar; and La Cantina at Aqui me Quedo, the resort’s “toes-in-the-sand hideaway” with open-air palapas, multiple pools, seaside lounge seating and a vintage-style food truck serving ceviche, Tijuana-style shrimp tacos, frozen cocktails, and more.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Suites and villas come in all sizes and viewpoints, either the jungle of palms or the deep blue sea. All are finished in creamy-hued stones and woods, with colorful pops in appointments. The beachfront-and-side Deluxe Overwater Lagoon Suites, 30 in all, are the place for beach bums. Some have full pool overhangs. They provide more privacy as they are the farthest from the resort’s shops and spaceship-like lobby with its grand spiral stairwell and celestial lights. 

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Lagoon Suites, which appear almost like docked houseboats, feature decks that look out upon the waters. Banyan trees barrier adjoining rooms in the ongoing design of bringing the outdoors in. The Beachfront Presidential Suite is the premiere suite accommodation with  four bedrooms, luxurious bathrooms and a full residential kitchen, providing a “heightened level of comfort and privacy for up to ten guests.”

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

The Founder’s Villa is even more lavish—a 16,300-square-foot, six-bedroom private estate anchored by an open-air courtyard. Guests of The Founder’s Villa also enjoy exclusive benefits including a dedicated chef and servers, private transfers to and from the Cancun airport. The villa The Founder’s features dual master suites with ocean-view outdoor showers plus four guest bedrooms, each with ensuite baths and private terraces, as well as a fully equipped kitchen, office, media room, living and dining space, and an massive outdoor sundeck complete with a 92-foot infinity pool and unobstructed views of the ocean.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

The property’s Sense Spa is another standout, and has its own island. Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation it is 17,000-square feet of posh pampering. All spa treatments are complimentary, including a full gym, an indoor plunge pool, outdoor relaxation pool, and steam room. Upon entering, guests are provided an aloe vera beverage. The resort has three other swimming pools, including the Casa del Lago larger pool, the beachfront infinity, and an adults-only pool.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

Sit by the Casa del Lago, and you’ll be immediately provided a lounge chair and bucket of bottled ice water. Feel free to get a snack or facial (not to mention a sunglass-cleaning service). Guests can also take day tours trips to Cancun, about an hour away or, nearby Tulum, to see the Ruins or hit a sweat lodge in this village-like, oceanside town known for its yoga retreats and charming food and artisan boutiques.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

The hotel valet will pick you up at the airport with no fanfare or wait. Visitors fly into Cancun Airport, then take the scenic 45-minute drive to Playa Del Carmen and the three-resort compound. While heading to the Rosewood, it’s a good time to download the resort’s app so will have advance necessities in room and a butler on call. Once by a poolside, you can use it to call for anything you need.

Courtesy Rosewood Mayakoba

For an exotic but sophisticated retreat, it’s nearly all there for the picking. Coconuts included.

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