Banyan Tree Mayakoba: The Perfect Place To Stay On The Mayan Riviera
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Mexico’s Riviera Maya isn’t short on publicity for its vacation charms, and the entire Yucatan Peninsula isn’t exactly bereft of 5 Star hotel options.
So chances are if you’re headed to this area of Mexico you already know exactly what you want, and that’s likely to be a luxurious haven of relaxation encompassing the holy holiday trinity of sun, sea and sand. With a bit of spa thrown in for extra serenity.
The hard part is choosing which of the many possible beachside palaces in which to set up your private kingdom and feel like royalty for a few blissful days and nights.
I chose the Banyan Tree at Mayakoba, and it certainly conquered my heart and ensured I was laying down my arms within minutes of arrival…
Banyan Tree Mayakoba – The Setting
The Banyan Tree at Mayakoba is one of a select few ultra-high-end properties located in an exclusive area of Mexico’s Riviera Maya known as Mayakoba.
The coastal ‘resort’ of Mayakoba is unlike any preconceived notions you may have about either Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula or holiday resorts in general.
While many of Mexico’s most palatial and impressive luxury hotel resorts are situated along this stretch of the Riviera Maya, the Banyan Tree is part of a small and completely self-contained trio of like-minded properties including The Rosewood and The Fairmont which share a natural network of mangroves, trails and tropical jungle for exclusive use of their discerning guests. Guests, I’m happy to report, like me.
Breakfast Of Champion Eaters
Let’s start at the very beginning (that’s the very best place to start). On arrival at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba I immediately begin exhibiting classic girl-on-a-beach-holiday behaviour.
I start with laughably good intentions – ‘I will use the hotel’s well equipped gym every day. I will cycle along the pathways between manicured lawns in a floaty sarong. I will swim many, many lengths. I will book myself into the yoga class. I will kayak through the mangroves. And I will only eat the fruit and healthy stuff at breakfast. My body will be a temple worthy of these paradise-like surroundings.’
Then I get to breakfast. I last about 4 minutes. I notice the pancakes. And the cheese (manchego – oh my). And the omelettes. And the sushi station. Yes, sushi. I re-think my mantra and find myself indulging in a 5-course meal at breakfast – and don’t finish eating until about midday, just in time for lunch.
‘Indulgence is what holidays are all about’ I now tell myself. I find my new mantra is a lot easier to adhere to.
Each private walled and secluded villa at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba comes with its own set of bicycles for you to peddle around the tranquil and leafy grounds – over to the beach or to the spa. These are the kind of cycling destinations I can get on board with.
Lunch Of actual champions
You’ll remember that I stretched breakfast out as long as possible on my first morning, enjoying the sensation of unwinding. Well there aren’t enough adjectives in the world to describe the mix and match mini burgers here (let’s start with one: delectable) or the Gulf of Mexico grouper ceviche which I’ve narrowed down to three, ok four words: fresh, zesty and delicately meaty.
Then there’s the dessert. Somehow it’s not the first dessert I’ve had today even though it’s only 3pm. And given that I’m booked into Tamarind for dinner this evening I know it won’t be the last. Lucky I changed that mantra this morning.
But at lunch I’m still struggling to choose between the different varieties of the Banyan Tree pastry chef’s ‘homemade magnum ice cream’.
I realise it makes no difference which marshmallow or macaroon clad artwork I devour after I’m informed that the creator of every option is currently competing to win the right to represent the whole of Latin America in the 2016 Pastry World Cup. Yes that’s an actual thing and I want to be a judge. It’s probably the only world cup setting where I’d feel as at home as I do here at the Banyan Tree.
I take advantage of the golf cart service which will pick you up and drop you off anywhere on the grounds only once during my stay at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba – I want to walk to dinner just to burn off a few of the some 15,000 calories which I’ve consumed up to this point in my trip but I want to feel like a lady so I’m wearing heels. It occurs to me that this is what they mean by #FirstWorldProblems.
Dinner at Tamarind, the hotel’s signature fine dining restaurant is one of those atmospheric and highly refined affairs that comes with the sort of mood lighting designed for couples to enjoy an evening of romance rather than for journalists to capture every detail of the cuisine, so I have one image of the sublime tuna sashimi which will have to suffice. The fact that the remainder of the evening was spent in ecstasy over a number of courses is probably by this point, a given.
The fact that I’m headed straight to a week-long yoga retreat with The Travel Yogi after I check out of the Banyan Tree Mayakoba which will whip me back into shape after all this indulgence is at this point, let’s just say, pretty handy.
Soak Up The Spa
Another indulgence you’d expect at the Banyan Tree is the signature spa – something which the brand prides itself upon and which when done right, as it is here, creates a couple of hours of relaxation so deep, the concept of the world outside and any stresses it contains becomes almost hard to recall.
Beach & Brolly
As you may be able to tell from my photographs, the hotel was battling a hurricane during my visit – they did so like a swan gracefully gliding across the water – any work involved was done below deck and everything functioned as normal – other than the beach being completely deserted.
When the clouds did clear I managed to take some photographs of the beach, but I have to be honest and admit that I didn’t sunbathe or drink cocktails on it as I had been planning. But everyone was safe, the food and drinks flowed and the scenery remained stunning.
The one saving grace of the inclement weather was that I had every opportunity to spend my days at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba soaking up the sophistication of the hotel’s interior decor.
Of course one expects a hotel of this caliber to boast a beautiful interior, but the attention to detail here was a real delight – and almost – almost – made me glad the sun wasn’t shining.
Banyan Tree is one of 3 luxury properties at Mayakoba and is an easy and straightforward 45 minute transfer along highway 307 from Cancun International Airport.
The hotel has facilities such as cycles, kayaking, archery, tennis and golf, a selection of restaurants (you did see the post above now didn’t you?) and complimentary boat service to take guests around the Mayakoba area through the mangroves to the other properties, and to the beach.
For more information visit Banyan Tree Mayakoba
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