About 40 minutes south of Cancun lies the gates to Mayakoba, the 620-acre eco-resort on Riviera Maya with four stunning hotels, each primed to a unique audience and offering up an array of restaurants, spas, and settings. Since it debuted in 2006, the resort has lured guests with its outstanding service, unforgettable cenotes (book the 45-minute boat tour to explore the waterways that connect each property and float along the tranquil waters), Greg Norman–designed El Camaleon golf course, and safe, contained environment along a mile-long stretch of sand. While it’s just as charming and free of overdevelopment as it was when it first debuted, a slew of recent updates have made it even more compelling. Here, our guide to what’s new and noteworthy on Mexico’s Riviera.
An ideal family vacation.
Rooms: The 401 rooms and 34 suites range from 436-square-foot standard rooms to 1,495-square-foot suites and a two-bedroom presidential suite. Many of the rooms have just been renovated with light, contemporary interiors, with the remainder set to be completed in by the end of the year.
Dining: The new Tauro Steakhouse offers a martini bar and a vibrant setting overlooking the lagoon, while the new Hix Bar & Lobby Lounge features sushi and small bites. Enjoy Italian fare at Trattoria or Korean BBQ at Ki Beach Bar.
To Do: The new three-story Maykana beach club debuts this season with five culinary experiences, including Cielo, the first rooftop bar in Mayakoba, as well as areas for lounging, enjoying music, and playing games, making it the liveliest and most dynamic setting for all ages to enjoy the beach.
Romance at its best.
Rooms: Even the smallest accommodations—which measure 1,675 square feet and have private pools—are expansive and secluded. The property’s original 121 casita-style rooms still delight with full-size pools and hot tubs, large bathrooms with outdoor soaking tubs, and complete privacy, but the newly added seven overwater bungalows (with rooftop plunge pools) and 34 beachfront rooms (beach access, outdoor showers, plunge pools, and 2,470 square feet of space) feature warm contemporary architecture and interiors, which exemplify the new direction the resort will take when the rest of its accommodations are renovated in the coming year.
Dining: The overwater Thai restaurant Saffron is a favorite for any guest at Mayakoba, but there are 10 additional dining experiences on property, as well as Haab, an in-jungle culinary arts experience inspired by Mayan culture.
To Do: The new contemporary beach club features a single, large infinity-edge pool, expansive indoor/outdoor dining area, and resort shop selling stylish wares from Mexican designers. Spa fanatics will find bliss in the Rainforest trail, a multistep hydrothermal journey combining steam, sauna, thermal showers, Jacuzzi, and more.
Rooms: The moment you’re led down the lobby’s spiral staircase to your private boat for an on-water arrival to your villa, it’s immediately apparent that you’re headed someplace special. All 129 of the lagoon, ocean view, and beachfront suites and villas feature lush, tropical vistas and a minimum of 788 square feet of indoor space and 498 square feet of outdoor space. However, the newly completed Beachfront Presidential Suite, with 4,415 square feet of interior space and four bedrooms, and the Founder’s Villa—with 16,300 square feet, six bedrooms, beachfront access, media room, and outdoor deck with 92-foot infinity pool—are unparalleled when it comes to luxury accommodations in the area.
Dining: From traditional Mexican fare at Casa Del Lago to coastal cuisine at Punta Bonita and Asian-influenced Agave Azul, the property has no shortage of diverse Mexican culinary options. Some of the best include the adults-only Aqui Me Quedo food truck adjacent to the adults-only pool (strong chance you’ll have the best fish tacos of your life), the alfresco experience La Ceiba, set within the property’s vegetable garden, and the new Zapote Bar, which features a modern atmosphere with live music, speakeasy bar with small-batch tequilas and mezcals, and a menu inspired by both the Yucatan Peninsula and the Middle East.
To Do: Daily fitness classes at the newly expanded fitness center range from yoga to competitive boot camps. You don’t have to book a treatment to use the spa’s facilities (a pool with hydrotherapy jets, cold plunge, hot plunge, steam, and sauna), but a compelling spa menu offers experiences such as a Mayan shaman consultation, sensory garden ritual, and cenote Temazcal purification. Head to the beach club as a family, but let the kids hang by the family pool while you sneak in some grown-up time at the adjacent adult pool. Warning: Any mention of work in front of the staff and they might force a tequila shot on you.
Rooms: The 214 rooms (including 41 suites), most of which start at 1,107 square feet, have been designed in a contemporary aesthetic, which debuted in 2016 with pops of color from rugs, chairs, and throw pillows. The 6,475-square-foot, two-story, three-bedroom Presidential Villa with private pool is the ideal party pad for grown-up spring breaks, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or groups of friends wanting to get away.
Dining: Nothing here is too formal or quiet. Enjoy a feet-in-the-sand experience at Sotavento, which combines Caribbean and Mediterranean flavors; poolside favorites (burgers, ceviches, aguachiles, and churros) at Tinta del Pulpo; or fully vegan fare at the new VB restaurant.
To Do: Take an eco-cruise through the lagoon and mangroves, rise and shine for sunrise beach yoga, or book Mayakoba’s sleek 55-foot Van Dutch yacht for a sea excursion to Playa del Carmen or Cozumel.