Jet Set Pet
Family Vacation Packages
Spa & Wellness Packages
Romantic & Honeymoon Packages
Fall Travel Packages
New Year's Travel
Beach & Island Resorts
5-Star City Hotels
Adventure & Eco Lodges
Boutique City Hotels
Country House Hotels
Safari Camps & Lodges
Golf Resorts & Lodges
Spa Resorts & Wellness Retreats
Ski Resorts & Lodges
Wine Country Getaways
Hot Hotel Openings
Cruises & Yachting
Private Jet Travel
Bars & Nightclubs
Wine & Spirits
Spa & Wellness Retreats
Beach and Resortwear
Beauty and Fragrance
Luggage and Handbags
Watches & Jewelry
Wine and Spirits
World's Most Expensive
Maroma Resort and Spa: The Riviera Maya's Authentic Getaway
May 14, 2012
When my daughter and I arrive for our Mother's Day celebration, we find no wristbands, no mega-buffets, no conga lines around the pool. Instead we discover a pineapple plantation that became a private estate and is today an intimate retreat with the capacity to welcome 120 guests.
Greta from guest services starts us with a tour of the property. "Rustic" is the description used by Maroma's parent company,
, but "authentic" strikes me as more apt. The original structure houses a restaurant, cigar bar, and observation platform. The three pools were built before swim-up bars and attached jacuzzis became standard but the trade-off is mature landscaping that enfolds the property in verdant shades and hushed tones.
Check-in takes place in our suite that includes a generous living area, an enormous tiled bathroom (with two separate sink areas, walk-in shower, and jacuzzi tub), and a king-size bedroom with gauze canopy. Air-conditioning, fans and slatted windows create a haven from beach scorch and jungle humidity. There is also a private porch with chairs and hammock. Here coffee, fruit and the newspaper will be waiting each morning. Here we can watch beach strollers or be lulled by the surf. We tell Greta we are delighted.
My daughter wants to head immediately for the beach and there we find sand so soft it deserves to be called talcum. A beach attendant appears immediately to help us get settled. There are chairs under permanent thatched covers and double lounges with movable umbrellas. We opt for the latter and request a shade side for me and sun side for Caitlin. No problem! Lunch or drinks can be ordered. Complimentary sorbet is offered.
The breeze off the water is equally refreshing.
Most people come to relax and the temptation to stay on property is strong. We decide to eat on site our first evening and arrive when the restaurant opens at 7pm (late for us given the time zone difference but early by Mexican standards). Our table is inches from the beach. Colors fade as the sun sets and we are treated to a tastefully presented dinner of salad and red snapper. We linger over dessert to watch the rise of the full moon on a tranquil sea.
The next morning we decide to attend the complimentary yoga class at 9am. We head to Maroma's Kinan Spa, an ideal setting for our practice. To reach the yoga room, we climb two flights of stairs and find ourselves surrounding by jungle foliage. The room is mostly windows open to cross breezes. Its thatched roof funnels 30 feet up toward the sky. Our instructor, Alejandra Caso, has recently opened her own studio in Puerto Aventuras and it is immediately clear we are in experienced hands. Alejandra tailors the class, simultaneously challenging and nurturing the six of us. When the class ends 75 minutes later, we depart reluctantly, promising to be back.
We fall into a new routine. Early morning coffee and a walk on the beach are followed by yoga and breakfast on the outdoor patio. Reading on the beach, a swim in the ocean, and a late lunch fill the afternoon. The biggest decision is where to have dinner and on our second evening (which also turns out to be Cinco de Mayo) we decide to head into Playa del Carmen.
Greta arranges a cab and makes a reservation at a Mayan restaurant called Yaxche. It is located on Playa del Carman's pedestrian 5th Avenue which gives us the option of shopping before or after dining (or both!). We sample Mayan specialties at our second floor balcony table. I'm not a convert to Mayan cuisine but enjoy the ambiance and the warm evening. The wait staff is attentive and arranges a taxi for our trip back. This was to be our big night out but after a day of sun and fresh air we gladly trade an evening of nightclubbing for a stroll through Maroma's candle lit grounds.
The next day is Sunday -- the only day yoga is not offered -- so we sign up for a snorkeling trip. It involves walking a few hundred yards down the beach to a hut where we are handed fins, snorkel and masks. The Maroma beach is protected by a large, coral reef and it's a short ten-minute boat ride to a site inside the reef. A longer trip can be arranged outside the reef where there is more to see but the water is less calm. A couple from San Diego joins us and together we follow a guide who finds a puffer fish and an eel we would have missed if left to our own devices.
Maroma offers a number of specialty dinners in addition to its restaurant offerings. We are disappointed to have missed the Mexican cuisine night and opt out of the beach grill dinner which is largely meat based. On Monday night local fisherman arrive with their fresh catches. Guests choose and bid on what strikes their fancy and the Maroma chef prepares the fish on the beach grill. The night we are there, only a few guests take advantage but during high season there are often lively auctions and a portion of the proceeds support the local community.
On Tuesday morning before yoga I decide to wander into one of the all-inclusives down the beach. It is clean, efficiently designed, and has a pool intended to evoke a meandering river. Beach chairs are lined up in rows and in a few hours shade will be in short supply. There is value to be had there but no Greta, no Alejandra, no authenticity. My one request of Maroma would be some less expensive beach food options. But at
, I know I have found a resort that makes luxury travel worth the splurge.
Hotel Profile, more photos:
Maroma Resort and Spa
Sign-up for Our Email Newsletter
FIND A LUXURY HOTEL & BOOK WITH EXCLUSIVE PERKS!
Antigua & Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Papua New Guinea
St Vincent & the Grenadines
St. Kitts & Nevis
Turks & Caicos
U.S. Virgin Islands
United Arab Emirates
Food & Wine
Shopping & Fashion
Spa & Wellness
Wineries / Wine Tasting
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa - Rancho Santa Fe, California - One of the West’s most sought-after five star resorts
Blue Waters Resort & Spa - Antigua - A hidden gem nestled in a private bay on Antigua's northwestern coast with sunset views
Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun, Mexico - Adults Only, All Inclusive
Fiesta Americana Merida - This majestic hotel is located at the crossroads of the capital's main avenues: Paseo Montejo and Colón.
The Ranch Italy at Palazzo Fiuggi - The Ranch Malibu brings its award winning wellness program just 50 minutes from Rome.
Relais Christine - Paris, France - Relais & Chateaux - A secret, tranquil world in the heart of Paris' Left Bank
Hotel Saint James - Paris, France - Relais & Chateaux - The only chateau-hotel in Paris, an architectural jewel tucked away in the 16th.
Home in Italy: The Finest Collection of Luxury Villas Since 1994
VOYAGES MAGAZINE - Cruising the World in Style
Luxo Italia - Curated Luxury Travel in Italy
Argentario Golf & Wellness Resort - Porto Ercole, Tuscany, Italy
The Luxury of Simplicity in Japan: Exceptional Resorts in Tochigi’s Nikko Area
The Kayon Jungle Resort - Ubud, Bali, Indonesia - a sanctuary of tropical indulgence.
Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection - Costa Rica
A.M.A Selections - Luxury Villa Rentals throughout Europe
JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa - Lakeside retreat 2-1/2 hours north of Toronto
Come Together Wellness - Rest, Restore & Explore on Kauai
JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa - Tucson, Arizona - Luxury Hotel with beautiful views
Red Savannah: Luxury Villas and Tailor-Made Holidays
JUP - Personal Service for Buying and Selling Real Estate in Jupiter, Florida
Dude Ranchers Association - An all-inclusive vacation experience like no other
Porto Zante Villas & Spa - Zakynthos, Greece - The leading villa resort in Europe