Located 40 minutes from Cancun Airport, hidden beneath the mangroves, down a long stone driveway, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba has created a unique oasis that stands out amongst the other hospitality offerings in the area. The property recently underwent a $50 million expansion debuting seven over-the-water Lagoon and Sunset Rooftop Pool villas, 34 Beachfront Pool suites, a brand-new Sands Beach Club and soon-to-open Shack, the property’s adults-only private beachfront space with two pools and al-fresco dining concepts. Its elegantly appointed accommodations feature up to three bedrooms, expansive living areas, 20-foot ceilings, plush furnishings and a private pool.
Upon entering the property, which is situated on serene interwoven lagoon waterways, you are greeted with an arrival cocktail and taken on a golf cart (the main mode of transportation) to your villa, where two bikes are also on hand for use throughout your stay. Whether at the vast breakfast buffet or the immaculate beach and pool areas, the welcoming staff was attentive to our every need. The attention to detail includes having any dietary restriction known by every member of the team so that you never need to repeat it and a turn down at night includes a small gift placed on your pillow, each one a token to the Mayan life. The resort boasts many restaurants including its famous Thai restaurant, Saffron, which first opened at Banyan Tree Phuket in 1995, and seems to float in the center of the resort. The lagoon encapsulates it and eating here feels like you’ve traveled directly into the jungle.
The resort offers several unique activities including an eco tour, which takes you around the lagoons by boat to learn about the flora and fauna that inhabit the land—preservation and authenticity is something to be treasured here. Imprinted in your mind as you leave this place are the people, the sounds and smells of the kitchens, the intricacies of the villa designs and the feeling that you just experienced something truly magical. Your worries melt away under the Mayakoba sun and you know you’ll be back. Frankly, it’s so easy to get from New York City (and many U.S. cities) to Cancun on JetBlue Airlines‘ many nonstop flights, you can come back again easily and comfortably (JetBlue’s Core experience features the most legroom in coach, complimentary internet, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages).
DuJour spoke with Juan Carlos Cardona, Banyan Tree Mayakoba’s general manager, to learn more about this special property.
What’s the most requested room at the property?
Our Lagoon and Sunset Rooftop Pool villas. Villa 940 is a standout for guests due to its incredible sunset view and complete privacy from other visitors.
What makes it so special?
The Lagoon and Sunset Rooftop Pool villas are set over the lagoon and overlook the mangrove forests unique to the Mayakoba complex. Each villa is divided into sections and offer a very Thai style of suite with the leisure area upstairs, separate from the downstairs bedroom. All have outdoor showers, private full-sized plunge pools and are set apart entirely from the rest of the resort – a standout in private accommodations.
What’s the nightly rate for this room?
On average $2,669
What’s an interesting tidbit about the hotel that speaks to its status as an icon?
Banyan Tree Mayakoba can be uniquely navigated through the canals of the lagoon. Guests can also book the Ixchel experience, a one-of-a-kind culinary journey through the waterways of Mayakoba aboard a traditional Mexican Trajinera, which allows them to enjoy breakfast with breathtaking views or an extraordinary dinner under the moonlight.
What’s your personal favorite room? Why?
Lagoon & Sunset Rooftop Pool villas 938 and 940, which both overlook the mangroves, offering the most privacy out of the room category. Guests in these double-decked private villas can appreciate a stunning view of the sunset over the lagoon.
What’s your favorite design element on property?
The lobby architecture, which is set atop the lagoon and boasts a centralized tree floating in the water, as well as our new beach club, Sands, which has a lovely open-air, chic interior space full of lounge seating and breathtaking water views.
How about one more fun fact about the property?
Haab is one of the most incredible experiences for visitors—they can experience a full 7-course Yucatan inspired dinner paired with a show educating guests on traditional Mayan rituals. This offering starts in the lobby with the sundown ritual and continues deep in the jungle with a communal dining experience paired with Mexican spirits.