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  • Writer's pictureJuliet Weller

Five Top Resorts in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen offers travelers a myriad of stylish stays. I’ve selected only five to showcase, and it was difficult, but a figurative roll of the dice helped me narrow it down: Hotel Esencia and Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, two beachfront hideaways that are barefoot luxury at its finest; Banyan Tree Mayakoba, the sprawling, eco-conscious complex surrounded by freshwater lagoons and mangroves boasts one of the world’s best spas, highlighted by its Rainforest hydrothermal circuit; Viceroy Riviera Maya is secluded and sexy, with tequila tasting classes; and the all-inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Maya for families and others who want a myriad of activities, pools, and restaurants without leaving the resort.

Hotel Esencia (pictured above), once the beachside villa of an Italian duchess, is set on a secluded, 50-acre estate of lush gardens on pristine Xpu-ha Beach. This delightful Mayan Riviera refuge has five rooms, three villas, 45 suites, an organic spa, and three simple yet sophisticated restaurants that draw from Mexico’s eclectic regional cuisines. Suites feature high ceilings and generous views of tropical gardens or the sea; several have plunge pools and a terrace or balcony, and the duplex villas provide an extra level of privacy. Master Suites and the main house’s salon feature mid-century collectibles from Le Corbusier, Perriand, and Picasso.

Big on sustainability, Maroma, a Belmond Hotel is committed to helping in the greatest possible ways, by creating initiatives that enable one to live in harmony with the surrounding nature.

· The sustainable fishing is in coordination with local farms for proper consumption and sustainability of species; also, the resort is straw-free in order to take care of our marine species.

· Kinan Spa, constantly recognized as one of the best spas in Mexico, features natural and homemade exfoliants, with organic ingredients and no preservatives. Kinan Spa adopted three Melipona honeybees stingless hives, an endemic species, where the honey is used in the signature facial, Honey and Glow.

· Plastic water bottles in rooms have been replaced with a set of glass bottles with water obtained from rain - with correct filtration process, of course. Soaps and toiletry amenities are made from local, organic ingredients in a local community.

· Every year, from May to October, the sea turtle cycle takes place on the hotel's beaches, and due to the increasing visit of these species, the resort has been included in the Certified Surveillance Committee assigned to the protection and preservation of the marine turtle.

· Every night, about 1,000 candles are lit to avoid wasting regular energy and to take care of the species living in the surrounding nature.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba was named a Top Resort Hotel in Mexico by Travel and Leisure’s World Best Awards 2021, which you can read here. It boasts one of the world’s best spas. The sprawling, eco-conscious complex is surrounded by freshwater lagoons and mangroves, making the Mexican vacation you’ve always dreamt of come true. Live a unique experience in this exclusive resort in the Riviera Maya, inspired by peace and oriental minimalism merged with the natural beauty of the ecosystems. The resort offers luxury and harmony for an unbeatable experience during your vacations: several villas and suites with private pools, surrounded by the wonderful vegetation of the area, incredible restaurants with regional, national, and international dishes, a luxury spa and a PGA golf course, among many other spaces to enchant your senses. They are an AAA 5 Diamond resort because they fulfill their mission: to offer you the most memorable vacations of your life and a simply unforgettable experience.

Viceroy Riviera Maya, nestled within the dense Yucatán foliage near Playa del Carmen, this eco-chic refuge comprises just 41 thatched-roof villas with plunge pools, outdoor showers, hammocks, and enough space to get lost in (the smallest villa is 1,000 square feet). Accommodations are sprinkled throughout the grounds for the ultimate privacy and range from jungle view to oceanfront – although you’re never far from the sand and the resort’s private pier. The spa draws upon ancient rituals, and the cuisine fuses Mayan and Mediterranean traditions.

Last but not least, Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort and Spa. I wrote about this resort’s twin sister, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit here. These twins are not identical though. GVRM (for short) offers diverse upscale accommodations options that include uniquely exotic jungle and ocean view suites; luxury suites have been carefully designed to complement the naturally breathtaking surroundings to seduce your senses. The resort is divided into three sections:

The Zen Grand Ambiance, immersed in the natural environment of the Mayan jungle, this family-friendly area is just a short shuttle ride from the main resort with elegantly exotic suites with 1000 square feet of space including a beautiful terrace with jungle view.

The Ambassador Ambiance, has family-friendly suites arranged around the main infinity pool each with a spectacular ocean-view terrace.

The exclusive Grand Class Ambiance section is designed for optimum privacy and relaxation featuring suites with oceanfront view, and intimate ambience, high-end amenities like a private plunge pool on the terrace overlooking the blue waters of the Caribbean. Grand Class Ambiance is an adult-only area which welcomes teenagers 16 and older.

Like its Pacific Coast relative, the resort’s fine cuisine includes several restaurants and bars, two with 4 Diamond certifications, and the first restaurant in the world to be part of an all-inclusive with a 5 Diamond award by the AAA. The Grand Velas Riviera Maya Spa was named “Best Spa in the World” by Virtuoso in 2010. It covers an area of more than 89,000 square feet, containing 40 treatment suites appointed with beautiful native artwork and separate hydrotherapy facilities men and women. It brings a unique sensory journey of wellness and relaxation and offers a hydrothermal journey.

This resort goes above and beyond offering a vacation of a lifetime. The Kids Clubs is packed with activities and the Teen’s Club is a chill place for karaoke, video games, pool, ice hockey, ping-pong or board games. Families can enjoy nightly themed shows and dinners.

Do you have a favorite resort in Playa del Carmen? Maybe it's time to try something a little different. If not one of these top five, there are many others and I can help you choose the one that make your stay a vacation masterpiece. Let's do it.

'til next week


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Contact: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES - Juliet Weller, Founder

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