My Wellness Retreat at Rosewood Mayakoba began in earnest when I was greeted at Cancun International Airport by a representative of the resort who greeted me (by name, if you can believe it!), and escorted me to a waiting white Cadillac Escalade where he handed me off (a bit like a human baton) to the gentleman who then drove me to Mayakoba; a beautiful expanse of jungle-surrounded Caribbean coast on Mexico’s Riviera Maya (aka the Yucatan peninsula), comprised of a quartet of world-class luxury resorts by Andaz, Banyan Tree, Fairmont, and Rosewood; as well as the Greg Norman-designed El Cameleón, Latin America’s first PGA Tour golf course.
With many luxury resorts, it’s thorough attention to the little things that really make a particular hotel stand out, and Rosewood Mayakoba got things started right out of the gate by stocking the Escalade with two different freshly pressed juices (while far too healthy for me, I appreciated the gesture), a number of bottles of water, an array of locally-made candies and snacks, and an iPad from which I was able to curate the musical selections for the ride. As airport transfers go, this one was tops.
As a result of COVID, Rosewood Mayakoba has implemented Touchless Check-In, so that—thanks to an email I received a week earlier that contained a link to a system wherein I entered my credit card and some other information—I simply needed to sign a piece of paper and received my already programmed keys, such that in less than five minutes from stepping out of the Escalade, I was already being shown to the boat that would take me to my Wellness Suite.
Located on what’s affectionately known among the staff and insiders as “Spa Island,” the Wellness Suites are a cluster of eight two-story townhouse-style cantilevered lofts along the lagoon. The entry-level features the Master Suite with a patio off the bedroom, a hall of closets, a dedicated vanity area, and an expansive limestone bathroom with double vanity, rain shower, and soaking tub, complete with an outdoor meditation pavilion-cum-treatment area with a reflexology fountain and an outdoor rain shower. Down on the main level, there is a large living room and dining area, another bathroom (with another rain shower), and a lovely (and private) lawn with a heated plunge pool, as well as the steps down to your private dock.
My butler, Cesar, gave me the lay of the land, after which he offered to unpack my things, though I declined, as it’s a ritual I enjoy, Once I’d gotten myself situated, set up, and showered; it was time to meet the group for drinks at Zapote Bar, where Joshua Monaghan, the resort’s recently hired Director of Bar Operations and Chief Mixologist, proceeded to prepare us one of Zapote Bar’s signature cocktails, the Mayayo (Gin Katun, sour orange, guava, and lemon leaves). A truly charming barman, Monaghan turned the making of our Mayayos into a production show, complete with letting us smell the sour orange, demonstrating his signature long pour (that would put most bartenders to shame), and keeping us all incredibly entertained. As for the cocktail, it was pretty sublime.
Remaining at Zapote Bar for dinner, we were joined by Chef Juan Pablo Loza, Rosewood Mayakoba’s Director of Culinary Operations; whereupon the charismatic gastronome—staff and returning guests, alike, are known to jokingly refer to Chef Juan Pablo as “Jorge Clooney”—regaled us with tales of how, as a chef from Mexico City, he has come to love Yucatan-style cuisine. [More on Chef Juan Pablo, to come…]. Over the course of the meal, we savored the fresh flavors of the Hummus de la Casa (with tahini and chickpeas barbacoa), some Falafels (with chickpeas, spices, herbs, and labneh), a fabulously prepared Whole Roasted Chicken (with spiced yogurt, red peppers, and arugula), and a sensationally seasoned Rib Eye Tagliata (with a chili ash crust, arugula, avocado, and Parmigiano), all of which benefited from a serious commitment toward sustainability on behalf of Chef Juan Pablo, who utilizes farm-to-table vegetables and herbs, as well as locally-sourced beef, poultry, and seafood, wherever possible.
After dinner, it was back to my Wellness Suite, where I soaked/floated/relaxed in my private plunge pool for an hour or so, before returning upstairs, where I went outside and partook of an outdoor rain shower lit only by a half-dozen candles and the stars above.
Riviera Maya, MX
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