The lagoons, canals, mangroves and jungle of Mayakoba, a luxury resort area on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, are home to around 250 bird species, from herons to eagles, and around 100 other creatures, including turtles, iguanas and small crocodiles.
There’s been plenty of change in Cuba since 2014’s ‘Cuban thaw’. Under President Obama, relations between the Caribbean island and the United States started to warm up, after 54 years of famously stormy relations between the two countries.
Tulum, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, has had a reputation as the cool place to be for a while now. Long enough, in fact, that if an upcoming area, town or island somewhere in southern Mexico has a bit of a buzz about it as a laidback, bohemian place, relatively unspoiled by development, it’s often called ‘the new Tulum.’
It would take a pretty hardened or anxious soul not to be able to relax at NIZUC Resort & Spa. Located in Cancun’s ‘hotel zone’, at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the resort is just a 20 minute drive from the international airport, which makes getting there pretty hassle-free for a start.
The ‘new’ smell hasn’t yet faded at Lympstone Manor. The hotel, a modern take on the traditional English house, just opened in April 2017, and there’s a pleasant waft of the new every time you walk on the thick carpets or open a cupboard.
“Down the rabbit hole” is how someone described Gidleigh Park to me, but, really, that’s the wrong literary reference. It’s less Lewis Carroll and Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, far more H.G. Wells and The Time Machine. Arriving at the Tudor–style country house, having driven down narrow country roads, feels like a kind of time warp.
“White, white,” laughs our butler, leading us through the corridors of Le Blanc. “”All white.” He's right, but really the explanation isn't all that necessary. Even if my rudimental French didn't mean I already understood the hotel's name, it doesn't take long at all to figure out there's a whole lot of white at Le Blanc.
Arriving at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, you need to do a double take. Are you still in Mexico? The hotel is just a few miles outside Playa del Carmen, the lively party beach and party town on the coast of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsular, so this should definitely feel like Mexico.
I reach a set of black gates, the top of the rails coated gold. A Union Jack flag flaps in the wind above. There's more gold outside, in the form of regal-looking statues. A long line of people are queuing at the gates. Clearly, this is a popular place, but then this isn't my hotel, not yet.