This was our first stay at a Rosewood resort, and overall we had a wonderful experience. During our last visit to the Riviera Maya in 2006, we stayed at Ikal del Mar (now, the Tides), and wondered if we had made the right choice trying someplace new. Clearly, we did. Don’t get me wrong, Ikal was terrific, but the Rosewood was even better. The hotel is situated in the Mayakoba complex, which is absolutely breathtaking. The complex consists of three other resorts (Fairmont, Banyan Tree and Viceroy), however, we believe that Rosewood will distinguish itself as the premiere property in this complex. In support of this belief, the owners of Mayakoba have chosen to build their private residence (a three bedroom presidential suite located on an island in the lagoons) at the Rosewood hotel. We were told that it can be rented for $6k/night in the high season. We find it very compelling that the owners selected Rosewood given that they most likely could have chosen to build their pad in any hotel or location in Mayakoba. The hotel staff is clearly this hotel’s greatest asset, as everyone we encountered was extremely warm, polite and helpful. While there were a few minor lapses, we attributed those to the growing pains that the resort is still experiencing as it works to fine tune its service to the highest level.
ROOM: We had a lagoon villa in the 400s, and it was probably one of the nicest hotel rooms we’ve ever stayed in. The room was very spacious and immaculate, with terrific lighting. The bathroom was in a class by itself, complete with Mexican travertine marble, two large showers (one indoors, the other outdoors), a huge soaking tub, private WC and dual sinks. Hats off to Rosewood for using large, refillable containers for the toiletries instead of tiny plastic bottles that usually get tossed after only one use. The outdoor patio was spacious and the private heated plunge pool was always clean and inviting. It was really neat to be able to watch cormorants land on our dock while swimming only a few feet away. Our butler was terrific and always available if we needed anything. He usually made our dinner reservations for us, prepared a farewell bath for us, complete with rose petals and candles, and made sure our favorite Nespresso pods were refilled daily. Truly wonderful. Suggestions about the room? We had to request a DVD player, which seemed a little odd given the plethora of other amenities already in the room. We think that at this price point, a DVD player should be a standard feature in every room (as was the case in Ikal). Rosewood might also want to invest in room sensors to help housekeeping keep track of when you’re in and when you’re out (again, like Ikal). A few times, we ran into housekeeping as they were finishing up and on another occasion, they left a note that we would need to call them if we wanted turn down service as our privacy sign was on (it was only 6:30 p.m.). That’s a bit early for turndown service.
GROUNDS: The property is gorgeous. The online photos really don’t do it justice. The landscaping and plantings are sublime and the property is lovingly cared for. The property is also very large, so the hotel offers frequent shuttle service, or you can take a boat through the lagoons and mangroves to get around. We took the boat once at check-in and again for our tour of the property (complete with birds and baby crocodiles). Wonderful! But for most of the time, we choose to walk on the many pathways so we could soak in the balmy weather and appreciate the exotic setting.
POOLS: In addition to the plunge pool on our patio, the hotel has three other pools. There is one at the spa (which is hardly used), one next to the lobby (called “Alberca”) and one at the beach. While the Alberca pool looked perfect, we never used it as it was next to the lobby and not near the beach. We are beach folks, so if we chose to swim in a pool after our daily visit to the beach, we used the one on our patio. The beach pool was great (albeit a tad smaller than Alberca), with post card views of the sea. There are cabanas (free) and plenty of chairs and umbrellas. The service is very attentive, and cold treats are passed out during the day. The staff will adjust your umbrella as the sun moves without even having to ask. They also will set you up with a complimentary bottle of water on ice when you arrive and serve you lunch or snacks throughout the day from the beach restaurant. Our only complaint was one day, upon return from our beach stroll, a staff member had moved our chairs slightly and was in the process of giving our umbrella away to accommodate other guests sitting next to us. When questioned, he immediately rushed to get us another umbrella but never apologized. This left a bad taste in our mouths since 1) we weren’t gone that long, and 2) if he could find another umbrella for us, why couldn’t he have given that one to the other guests and left ours where it was? I am very conscious about hotels being concerned about guests reserving lounge chairs and never using them, but clearly this was not the case. We should be able to swim in the ocean or take a leisurely stroll without fear of our chairs or umbrella being given away. The service on the other days made up for this incident so we just chalked it up to an inexperienced staff member.
BEACH: The beach is great, however, during the first couple of days of our stay, the sea was a bit rough and the water was filled with seaweed. By the third day, it had calmed down and the water was clean and clear. The sand is like sugar, although depending upon where you enter to swim will determine just how smooth the bottom is. Some places were rockier than others, so we needed to feel around to find the perfect spot. The beach extends for quite a ways in both directions, allowing you to walk by the other hotels in Mayakoba as well as other hotels along the strip. One of the highlights of our day was our morning walk up and down the coast. Not to be missed!
SPA: In a word, amazing. The facility is gorgeous, ultra-chic and very clean. The Swiss showers and Elemis products are a match made in heaven. The treatments were excellent and many start off with a special foot cleanse/massage. We highly recommend a visit to the spa, even if the prices were a bit steep.
RESTAURANTS: We ate at both restaurants but preferred Punta Bonita at the beach over Casa del Lago at the lobby. Having said that, however, the breakfast at Casa del Lago was superb and should not be missed. In addition to a wonderful menu selection (which included both American and Mexican specialties), the restaurant offered a bountiful buffet with delicious produce, charcuterie and freshly made cheeses, along with other tasty offerings. As much as we longed to have breakfast on our patio, we always opted to walk over to the lobby and have our breakfast there with our usual server, who was great. Our dinner at Casa del Lago started with some very good appetizers but ended with lackluster entrees and dessert. At Punta Bonita, the fare is Mexican and the grill selections were freshly prepared and very flavorful. We enjoyed the food and the dining experience there so much, we ate dinner there a second time. During our days poolside, we also ordered from Punta Bonita. Again, the food was great, however, one afternoon they ran out of guacamole at 12:30, and the drinks were better some days than others. Again, the overall experience was first rate, but we attributed these slight imperfections to food and beverage management that hasn’t quite mastered the art of five star resort dining. We hope that by our next visit, such foibles will be a distant, faded memory – especially at these prices. We did eat off the premises one evening and the concierge arranged the entire affair, and even had menus for us to review to help us make our selection. What’s more, the hotel sent us to town in their Mercedes SUV (for a fee) and returned to pick us up when we finished – very classy!
SERVICE: The hotel staff made our stay at Rosewood. They always went out of our way to make us feel special and right at home. While this hotel is blessed with many assets, natural and otherwise, this is clearly their ace in the hole. By the second day of our stay, many staff members recognized us and called us by our names. We felt as if we had been going there for years.
FINAL NOTES: While we loved the lagoon view from our room (and the privacy of our corner location) folks should be note that these rooms are quite a ways from the ocean. If you must have an ocean view, or wish to be a stone’s throw from it, you should consider reserving the oceanview or beachfront rooms. The beachfront rooms were particularly nice as they were located directly on the sand. Honestly, I can’t say that they were worth twice the price of a lagoon villa, but they looked quite lovely. As we suggested in the comment card, the hotel needs to add a little nightlife. A nice touch would be some live entertainment at the lobby in the evening a few nights a week. Also, once a week there should be a Mexican/seafood gourmet barbecue at the beach restaurant, complete with live music and folkloric dancing. Mexico has such a rich and diverse culture, it’s really a shame for guests not to be offered this experience, a la Rosewood. At Ikal, the weekly barbecue was the highlight of our stay. Others have said that this hotel should be “adults only” but quite frankly, I think it worked very well as both a couples and family resort. There were children here and there, but they were never rowdy or in the way. The place is large enough to accommodate everyone and if you choose to make this a couples only getaway (as we did this time), you will find it very easy to have peace and quiet. We can’t wait to visit here again and hope to bring our little son with us. Enjoy!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.