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“Breathtaking!”

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Ranked #2 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed November 30, 2011

Hard to imagine more extraordinary accommodations. Every "villa" has its own pool and private courtyard, and no interior walls connect with your neighbor giving you complete privacy and quiet. Just check the pictures on their website.

The entire time we were there we continually marveled at the vision, the design execution, and the incomprehensible amount of money that went into building what is arguably the finest resort in North America - built in the middle of a swamp in Mexico. But this "swamp" is unlike any I've ever seen before. It is uniformly lush and green, with all the vegetation at a uniform height, and the water is crystal clear and pristine. The manicured quality of all the wild vegetation sometimes made it hard to determine where the landscaping ended and the wild swamp began. And the most amazing thing we noticed was the complete lack of bugs at the resort (in November).

Everything said about the high quality of service is true. An example of the attention paid to the customer occured during routine turndown service. My partner and I are both over 6' tall, and one of the guest robes was a small. I noticed the next day it got discretely changed to a large. Same was true with ice. (Why is it the more deluxe the resort the more involved it is to get ice?) When we ordered some upon our arrival, it came in a small insulated ice chest. Perfect - it lasted two days. The third day, upon returning from dinner, we were delighted to see it had been thoughtfully refilled.

Breakfast was a treat. Included with the room rate, the buffet menu changed daily with a wonderful variety of interesting dishes. Not once did I go to the omelet station - I can have standard eggs and bacon anywhere - but grazing the constantly changing, high quality array of food items was a great way to start the day. Regarding the other restaurants, the food and drink at the hotel is uniformly good, if rather pricey. Drinks are $15 each, but I must say, the Mai Tais at the Beach Club pool were abundantly sized and superb, nearly equaling the slightly drier original only available at Trader Vic's. Also, the Sands Restaurant at the Beach Club is terrific for light lunches. We ate there twice.

This is an amazing, unique place, unlike any I have ever encountered. Our stay there was magical. Before arriving, I read that many people never left the property once they arrived. i thought, how odd, with such a lively town nearby with so many restaurants, etc. But after being at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba I now understand why you never want to leave! (But we did leave to explore a bit, and enjoyed dinners in Playa and a trip to Tulum.)

Highly recommend this place. Spring for the extra $$$ it costs to stay here - it's worth it!

Room Tip: Rooms in the 400 and 500 series are on the north side and have outstanding privacy, plus are walking...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank FR88_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 29, 2011

Went here with my husband for our one year wedding anniversary and it was fantastic! Our room was upgraded to a 2 bedroom villa and it was beautiful and spacious! I literally could jump into our private pool from the bedroom.
Bikes are available for rental to get around the property or you can call for transportation which arrives promptly.
The service there was incredible! Everyone was well mannered, informative, well groomed, and spoke english and spanish fluently.
The food was great and I especially liked the breakfast; fresh juice every morning!
Please go to the spa! My husband and I had the rainforest indulgence (I'm not sure if that was the exact name or not but it's something similar) and it was amazing!!!

Bottom Line: This is a must go for couples. Great honeymoon spot as well. Would not recommend if you're looking for the party scene.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank atlmojo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2011

Dear atlmojo

Thank you for choosing the Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel to celebrate your anniversary.
We were delighted to read that you enjoyed your stay and wish to thank you very much for your gracious comments about our hotel services.
Thank you for providing your valuable feedback on Trip Advisor.

I hope I can personally welcome you back in the near future.

Kindest Regards

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice president
Area general Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2011

The Banyan Tree is certainly at the top of the properties we have visited in Mexico during our four years living here, with comparables being the Capella in Cabo San Lucas and El Tamarindo near Manzanillo. The standouts are the facilities -- absolutely gorgeous design and public areas, serene layout, food and private villas (we booked a garden and were upgraded to a courtyard), and spa with genuine Thai therapists and treatments -- the proximity to the Mayakoba golf course, and the room maintenance and dining services. The things we thought needed improvement included the reception service and transportation within the compound. With the first, my husband and I went to the reception one day (the only time we asked for anything actually) and asked for four things: a shoe horn, a checkout time 2.5 hours after checkout, a dinner reservation that night, and a dinner reservation the next night. Of these, we left with only one being taken care of: the dinner the following evening. The receptionist looked completely lost with the idea of a shoehorn, so much so that we tried in English in case it was the term that was incorrect, but she firmly said no there are no shoehorns on the property, which was kind of funny. Next there was no table at the restaurant we wanted unless it was either 7 pm or 10 pm. And finally, she told us that given it was high season, under no circumstances could a late checkout be accomodated. What it really sounded like she was saying, however, is that given it's high season, we feel entitled to treat you somewhat poorly. At the same time, when I went around reception, I found that almost everything I needed to be done could be done. For example, I called the restaurant directly and got the dinner time we needed, I spoke with the concierge (Michele Salazar, who is excellent) and she graciously accomodated our later checkout time, and when I needed two last minute spa appointments, rather than take the receptionist's word that they were fully booked, I spoke directly with the spa personnel and had two bookings exactly when I needed them. The resort is flexible and client oriented, but not thoroughly so and I found it best to go directly to the point of service to ask for help. For transportation within the compound, my husband and I are in good shape and like to walk a bit rather than take a buggy everywhere, but we were nearly mowed down on several occasions while walking on the footpaths from our villa to the pool or restaurants. The property is very laid out which necessitates use of buggies to get to the farther flung places like the beach or far villas. However, the design does not accomodate for walking and buggies or bikes at the same time. The final potential drawback for some is the beach. While the hotel has integrated itself nicely in the mangrove and managed a minimum of destruction, the beach area does seem a bit too small for the amount of traffic it gets.

Room Tip: The courtyard and spa rooms have a private jacuzi which is really nice after a day on the golf cours...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LBBMexicoCity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2012

Dear LBBMexicoCity

We are very thankful for your collaboration at the Trip Advisor webpage. We are glad to know that Banyan Tree Mayakoba is considered as one of the Best hotels in Mexico.

Regarding your feedback on the Front Desk area, these are very appreciated. Please be sure that it has been discussed with the head of the department in order to review the procedures. On the other hand, your complimentary notes about Michele Salazar, have been also shared with our associates, it is nice for them to know our guest value their efforts.

Please be sure we will be glad to have the opportunity to welcome you back to Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Best Regards

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2011

This was our second stay at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba. After a spectacular experience last year, we decided to return. Overall, I would still say this is a fantastic property with great service. However, the bar was set quite high last year and somehow Banyan Tree didn't quite live up to expectations on this stay.

As someone that was looking to get a work out in on their vacation every day, the gym was a real let down. For a property of this caliber you would expect something much nicer. It is very small with 4 pieces of cardio equipment -- one machine was out of order and the other 3 had touch screens which were not calibrated properly leading to frustration for anyone attempting to use them. The temperature in the gym was 77 degrees despite numerous complaints I heard every day from other guests to the staff. The gym is so small there is no room to put a mat out anywhere. There was one mat provided in the gym which happened to be really gross and dirty.

While the service at Banyan Tree is still great, it is not at the same level as last year. For example, on our previous stay we were assigned a resort host who checked in with us every day at breakfast and was the one point person we dealt with during our entire stay for all requests and issues. This time we were not assigned such a host. There was also a hiccup with our transportation reservation to go to the airport. Despite receiving written confirmation that transportation has been arranged, turned out it wasn't. We had to order a taxi at the last minute resulting in about a 20 minute delay in getting to airport.

The resort was a lot busier this time than on our previous stay which I think impacted service all round. Buggies could take 15-20 minutes to get to your villa, phone calls to guest services took longer to get answered (sometimes no answer), and service was slower at breakfast.

The quality of the villas and housekeeping is still outstanding. We had a courtyard pool villa which is the same as the spa villa we stayed in last year minus an outdoor shower and roof top massage tables which we didn't miss.

Having experienced a "perfect" stay on our first trip, we noticed other minor items that we probably wouldn't have otherwise. However nothing was significant enough to prevent us from coming back to Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Runningshoes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2011

Just fantastic! We always stay in five star resorts and the Banyan Tree Mayakoba provided us with some of the best accomodation we have ever stayed in. We had booked a Courtyard Pool Villa, but on arrival were upgraded to a 2 Bedroom Pool Villa. The villa was so spacious, private and spotlessly clean that we spent most of our time in our own garden lounging by our pool and enjoying the hottub.

The breakfast buffet was amazing, with a huge array of choices, and was served until midday so you could turn it into brunch if you wished! We stayed 9 nights and in that time ate in all three of the restaurants.My partner has a wheat and dairy intolerance and we found that all of the restaurants bent over backwards to accommodate his dietary requirements, bringing him all sorts of special dishes and generally spoilling him! Every meal we had was delicious and although not cheap was of a standard that you would expect in some top London restaurant. We particularly loved eating on the dock at Saffron, very romantic!

Cycling to the beach every afternoon for cocktails and a walk by the ocean was the only exercise we managed all week. The beach was a tiny bit disappointing, and there were areas that we felt were not being properly cleaned, but it was lovely sitting at the beach club and looking out to sea.

The staff throughout the resort were excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and everyone had a smile for you.

I would recommend the complementary Mangrove Tour, it was really interesting and a relaxing way to while away an hour. We also spent the day on a tour with a company called 'Your Private Tour' which was fantastic. (See separate review)

A truly relaxing and luxurious stay.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sarah P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2011

Dear Sara P

I wish to thank you for the compliments that you kindly made on this Web site. I am pleased to read that you had a relaxing vacation at Banyan Tree Mayakoba and that you took the time to enjoy the natural surroundings of the area.

Please do not hesitate in contacting us if you are thinking to come back in the near future fo a bit more pampering. It will be our pleasure to welcome you back.

Kindest regards

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2011

What an unbelievable hotel this is.

A 10.5 hour flight each way for a week in the sun needs the hotel to be something special and BT Mayakoba certainly didn't disappoint.

As always at Banyan Trees we were met in reception and givena gift of a flower bracelet and a soothing drink as we checked in before being taken to our villa. We had booked a garden villa but were upgraded to a courtyard villa. We've stayed in some fantastic rooms in the past but I think this probably claimed the top prize. The villa comprised a large bedroom with huge patio doors that take you straight into the pool and a lovely big bathroom off which is a walk in wardrobe and a wet room. The bath is located outside. Across the courtyard was the pavillion. This was a lounge come dining room which in itself is probably as large as some rooms we've previously stayed in.

As has been mentioned on here in other reviews, the pool itself (which was about 10-12 metres long) is a little nippy, especially as ours never really got the sun. It wasn't too cold to stop me doing 10 lengths before breakfast each morning though.

The resort as a whole is stunning although I can imagine some people being frustrtated that the beach is a fifteen minutes walk away. There are buggies and a boat though if you don't want to walk. We found it was nice to have a stroll, especially outside the hottest hours of the day.

It is a bit strange in the resort as even when it is full, the fact that all suites have their own pool means that the public areas are very quiet. This was perfect for us but some people might like somewhere a little more lively.

There isn't a great choice of restaurants but the food is excellent. The breakfast at Oriente was wonderful. A wide variety of food including many items you would never associate with breakfast. For dinner, Oriente didn't open but on a rotating basis, two out of Saffron, Sands and Tamarand. We ate in both Saffron and Sands where the menu was varied and the food delicious.

The only negative comment I would have about the hotel was the staff on reception. They were friendly enough but the customer service didn't quite live up to the rest of the staff. We were given incorrect information on more than one occasion and they also failed to inform the bell boys that we had checked out despite me asking for the cases to be picked up and when trying to book a restaurant several hours before dinner didn't let me know until an hour before the booking that it was full and so they hadn't been able to confirm the bookings.

On the final day we did the Eco tour on the boat around the resort's rivers. I would highly recommend this but make sure you book it early as it can only accommodate about 6 people per day.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Oldham_mark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
11
Reviewed November 23, 2011

This was the first 5star location that I have stayed at. Breakfast was the most amazing food that I have ever had. Resort was 80% sold out and we still felt like we were the only people there. Their employes are trained to anticipate what you want before you even do. Everyones English was better than mine! LOL. Great place and can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with BanyanTree.com
1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2011

Dear Trip Advisor’s Member

Comments like yours are definitively nice to read and let us know that our hard work achieved our goals. Thank you for taking the time to share them with other Trip Advisor’s readers.

We look forward to get the opportunity to welcome you back to the Banyan tree Mayakoba Hotel,

With Best Regards,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal - Pto. Juarez Km. 298, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#11 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $659 - $1,853 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Mayakoba 5*
Number of rooms: 122
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a site of almost mythical beauty. It flawlessly blends elegance and nature, taking the Caribbean lifestyle to an unprecedented new height. A breathtaking getaway for relaxation, rejuvenation, romance and world-class dining, it is also the region's most sustainable five-star resort. With its revitalized culinary concepts, Thai-inspired therapies at the Banyan Tree Spa, 14 event-venues and the Greg Norman signature 18- hole El Camaleon golf course, home to the PGA Tour Mayakoba Classic, the resort raises the bar for premium leisure options and event planning. Perfect for private getaways, family trips and group events, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers 118 villas, ranging from romantic Bliss and Serenity Pool Villas to Family Residences and Ocean Front Villas. All include outdoor areas with private pools and terraces. Inspired by the interior courtyards of houses in the Far East, each villa is discreetly built to blend with the landscape, integrating the interiors and their idyllic surroundings. East meets West in every subtle detail, from the fragrance of flowers encircling your villa, to the softness of a kimono, fine linens and essential oils on your skin. Here, even world-weary guests discover the eloquence of tranquility. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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