We just got back from a week at the Mayakoba Banyan Tree and I will try to share a review that is helpful for those considering a visit. The 1) Resort / Area, 2) Accommodations, 3) Service, 4) Food, and 5) Spa...
1) The Resort is about three years old we heard and it is still holding up very well. Entering Mayakoba there are actually three resorts, Rosewood, Fairmont, and Banyan tree. We got a chance to visit/see all three when we ventured out to dinners and more. The Rosewood is more architecturally modern and is a beautiful property we may consider trying next time. It seemed nice, quiet, and a little smaller. The Fairmont seemed more like a massive resort with more typical hotel rooms, large pool, and was definitely busier. Banyan tree is large with a large pool (but typically we were the only two people there which is amazing), rooms apparently have the biggest private pools we were told by other hotels, and it is probably the best out of the three overall. The wooded setting is amazingly nicer than I expected and the separation of the hotel from the beach club is actually a pretty nice idea - and a very short trip. When you want to go they are more than happy to jet you over there on a golf cart or back to your room, the boat is fast and a neat journey as well (although we kept missing it and didn't want to wait for its 30 minute cycle time). Many people rent bikes as well to ride back and forth. The beach club is extremely nice with another smaller pool, restaurant that serves great food, and bar. The beach area in front of the pool (down stairs) is great although rocky in spots - but it is also in the middle of the strip where you can walk either direction for a nice stroll.
2) The room at the Banyan tree is extremely nice and we had the basic private garden villa (still not cheap I guess). You have a large private door into your villa, then another door into your room. The rooms have large sliding glass doors that open up to the patio with hammock and pool steps, and the other direct to pool and with the garden view. The room is setup nicely and they are still nicely equipped and furnished. The bed is comfortable and seemed to be a slight memory foam type bed (although not quite a temperpedic). The bathrooms are extremely nice and roomy although dark a bit at night as they don't have the typical bright lights. All the lighting in the room makes for a great ambiance. The outdoor garden is great as you get a couple comfortable lounge chairs and the pool is wonderful to swim in and quite large. Note though the room pools are not heated and often quite cold but in the hotter offpeak Summer months I'm sure they are plenty warm. Next time we'll probably get a room with the jacuzzi included. There is a great outdoor bathtub in all rooms that makes for a nice experience. Closets in the room are walk in and very large with drawers and plenty of space. Other than that there is the standard flat TV, minibar that is stocked well, desks, Bose wave radio with iPod dock, etc. Overall the room is supurb and about up to a Ritz standard I'd say. Each day the room is straightened up and cleaned very well, even the pool is cleaned every day or so.
3) Service was the best part of the hotel. The staff is extremely friendly always saying hello and wanting to help more than needed. They are also nice to each other which is a great sign. It's a stay where anything you need you feel like they'll be able to help out with. Check-in is pleasant usually with a small tour of the shared areas and everything from the restaurant staff to turn down service is extremely friendly. Turn down is interesting at this resort as they give you a little local artist gift each night a do a nice job at making the room comfortable.
4) The Banyan Tree really only has a few restaurants and that is really the only thing that was frustrating at times, although not an issue. Breakfast (at Orient) is a great spread and changes a little daily. You can find anything you want for breakfast here and its a great buffet. They have a Thai place (Saffron) that is great but its not your traditional Thai back in the US - much nicer spin on things. Tamarind is a more eclectic fine dining restaurant and is also great. Both will typically cost $150ish in range for a dinner for two I'd say. The Beach Club restaurant is a little more casual and serves more Mexican food but even then dishes are more upscale than usual. We did find even our lunches usually around $90 USD or so but its vacation right? The timing of restaurants was a little off for us as Breakfast is from 7-12, then only the Beach Club is open from 12-5, then the other two dinner restaurants are from 6-11 I think leaving some gaps. In room dining is always available though.
We ventured over to Fairmont as well and had a really nice dinner at El Pueblo but it was just about on the same level as ones at Banyan Tree - fine dining. We did get over to Rosewood and had a wonderful dinner at Point Bonita and loved it - as its on the beach with ocean view and food was Mexican and delicious. Definitely try it as well.
The staff is more than happy to take you between resorts with either each resort providing transportation or Banyan Tree making the transfer both ways.
5) We did try the Spa a few times. We had a massage each, had facials again, then also tried the rainforest experience (hydrotherapy type sessions). The massages were great and done well. The resort has 16 small huts where two individuals each get a massage together if you want. They bring you in, sit you down, give you drinks, do a small arm massage and footbath, you pick insense, and then the massage starts. Facials are similar experience. The rainforest session is basically several steam rooms where two can sit together with showers inbetween. They use small showers that have Kohler products that basically change lighting, have music, and a rain shower at the top while the temperature adjust, etc. You finally then end in a larger pool with a few bubble, jets, and jacuzzi options. Overall it is nice but we didn't enjoy it as much. The spa is wonderful although not cheap of course.
Overall we loved our stay at Banyan Tree Mayakoba and loved how empty it was. It was odd feeling like your the only people in a resort at times until you at least see some others at breakfast and the beach. It is definitely a place you feel like you get away to and we liked it much better than the other large mega resorts in the Riviera Maya. Definitely try it out!
- 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