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“Excellent place to stay”

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Ranked #2 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
A TripAdvisor Member
“Excellent place to stay”
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We went with our 14 year old son for spring break and thoroughly enjoyed our experience. The service was excellent and the grounds were beautiful. The place felt safe and friendly enough to allow our son the extra freedom to be on his own at times. The meals were wonderful, if a tad expensive. We enjoyed renting bikes for $6 each per day. That gave us a great way to explore the grounds. The morning buffet was worth the trip. We would love to return for another visit. The Oriente Italian night was a big hit. We also particularly enjoyed The Tamarind, although the service was a bit slow. Special thanks to Omar at the Copa bar for making us feel welcome.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with BanyanTree.com

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (390)
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USA
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2013

This was our second visit to the Banyan Tree with the first occurring very shortly after the grand opening in 2009. Both time we opted for the 2 bedroom sunset villas near the beach and the accommodations are top notch. Heated outdoor pool, large separate cabana with table for in room dining, second floor bedroom and bath for the kids make it our favorite room layout of all the places we have stayed (provided your kids can stay in a room not accessible to the master area but within your villa's walls.

The staff is very accommodating and most speak English well enough to converse and take care of your needs. At no time during our stays there dud anyone fail to try and resolve and apologize for any issues that may arise. I can say that the resort runs more smoothly now than it did when it first opened as training staff to provide this level of service takes time.

The hotel only has about 125 "rooms" and all are private villas so expect privacy and quiet and tranquil surroundings without a lot of partying and late night activities. This trip I finally figured out the restaurant situation and how we dealt with the selections available. For breakfast you either go to Orientefor the fabulous buffet spread and custom omelettes or you have in room dining. Oriented is only open till noon. Sands is open near the beach for lunch every day as it serves the beach until about sunset and it is open for dinner on Monday and Tuesday only, unless there is an event at the hotel when it may also be open. Saffron is the flagship Thai restaurant and it has a serene location over a lagoon near the center of the resort. The food is very good, but the portion size is quite small and our teenage boys felt that 4 shrimp on a plate was not a sufficient main course no matter how good the sauces were. Our favorite restaurant by far was Tamarind with an awesome staff and a great menu to tempt your palate and the service was impeccable.

Note that there is an 11% service charge on all purchases at the hotel plus a hefty tax so be sure you are prepared for these additional costs before you arrive. I think the total fees are over 25%.

Room Tip: Try the tapas menu in the Copa for a quick and easy dinner or snack. Not crowded and great setting.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 2b1a3c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 28, 2013

Our Mexico vacation was far best vacation lately that so memorable. When you first visit, they greet you with green juice, cold towels, and flower bangle. With one of the most welcoming staff and service I’ve seen with my travels. We had pool villa, which was completely private and was so romantic. With the outdoor private baths and luxurious amities. We first stayed for 2 days and went to another resort, which was all inclusive for 7 days, after leaving banyan tree, we felt so sad, that we checked out after 2 days and came back to mayakoba for 4 more days. Even though it’s expensive, we felt that it was worth every penny. My husband also surprised me with such amazing spa services, I felt like I was in a different world. I had long facial 1.5 hours, 3 hour body massage, body scrub with rainfall shower, etc. It was so amazing. I honestly never saw such service in any spa, no matter how good they are. Even when I visited Turkey, I had massage in one of the 5 star hotels and it wasn’t even close to this experience. Even though their spa services were ridiculously expensive, it was so worth it, I can’t exaggerate enough. I highly recommend. With any treatment, a lady takes you to a private spa villa, where she offers you water, cold towel, and lets you select the scent you wish to put on. And also plays soft water drop sound in the background, which just completes the whole experience. Then she makes you change into a towel and soaks your feet in water and lets you relax for a bit while giving soft massage on both arms and legs. Then she’ll do the service. When I did the facial, she also gave me back massage with I think she did complimentary. The spa villas are so nice, you can see the forest in the open and sometimes you can hear the boats pass, but its all private, no one can see inside.
We also took a boat tour that is complimentary with tips. It takes you to the Mayakoba River where you can see other resorts like Fairmount. You can also find alligators. Also takes you to the beach. The golf carts are running all the time, you just request it and it arrives, it gives easy access to the beach.
I can go on and on about my experience, but it will just be too long. The staff is so hospitable, that I would seriously visit Mexican just to have this experience again without any other reason.

The only thing is that the restaurant options weren't so great, we mostly did room service. we tried Tamarind, it was not so good. Because we eat halal, we only had the option of doing room service with fish and plain pasta. It is also very very expensive, expect to spend $100 plus on each meal for two. However, breakfast is included and is really good. we usually had a very good breakfast. i loved their options of different kinds of breads and juices. My husband loved the green juice made with celery.

Highly recommended for new honeymooners.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Nayab Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC, NY
Level Contributor
359 reviews
100 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2013

After reading all the wonderful reviews we had high expectations for this resort - boy, were we disappointed. First of all, the villa concept is very nice -- however, in actuality, the villas were oddly laid out -- the upper and lower levels are completely disconnected and removed from the Pavilion - which is a TV room. Also, the villa was not very well cared for - in our rooms, two of the sinks were not working, a switch plate had fallen from the wall, etc. Most worrisome was that the room was not well cleaned -- when we arrived there were items from the previous guests. Housekeeping throughout our stay was very variable - sometimes very good sometimes haphazard.
The idea of having a private pool is very nice -- however, the pool itself was not very nice. It was not very clean and either too hot or too cold but never very comfortable (so we did not use it very much). The beach was very nice and well cared for. It was a long walk from our villa but we did not mind the walk at all.
The meals were VERY disappointing. Breakfast was nice (and included in the room rate) but the meals in the restaurants were mediocre at best and ridiculously expensive. So, we did not eat in the resort at all after the second day. Lunch at the Sands was particularly bad... (We did have some amazing meals in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Puerto Morelos)
We were also really bothered and dismayed at the many wild kids that roamed around unsupervised. Our kids are now 12 but when they were younger we would not have let them wander around alone -- the kids at this resort were like a pack of wolves. (I am not sure that the hotel could have done anything about this -- but it was too us really surprising).
But what bothered us most and was completely unacceptable were the numerous service issues we experienced:
1. They left my husband and sons at the golf course (did not pick them up) and the golf manager had to drive them back after they waited for 40 minutes.
2. The person I contacted about the above did not follow up with us (so I had to talk to the manager the next day)
3. The guest services forgot to make an appointment for us at the Spa - and by the time we figured this out there were no appointments - so again we had to talk to the manager who arranged the appointment
4. The guest services booked the golf lessons incorrectly so that when my husband and sons arrived there was no availability for the lesson
How can a place like this make so many guest services errors? Who wants to spend their vacation contacting the manager about all these service mistakes? Worst part is that they seemed to think we were complaining to get something for free ..... they completely missed the point...
Bottom line -- this part of mexico is beautiful! We loved it! We had wonderful meals (just none at the resort) -- we will definitely come back to the area but we will find a first class hotel that acts like a first class hotel...

Room Tip: Our villa was very close to the beach -- so it was a good location but too close to a noisy road
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank harlemfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BTGroup, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this review, April 8, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your feedback regarding your visit to our resort.

I truly apologize for the service issues you experienced; I assure you that this is not the norm and I will follow up. Thank you for bringing your experience to our attention.

I hope you will give us the opportunity to serve you again.

Respectfully
Carlos Abaunza
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2013

This was the first trip for my husband and I without our two very small children, so we had a few clear objectives: sleep, relax, take luxuriously long showers (or even linger in a bath!), read a book...and did I mention SLEEP?! The Banyan Tree did a more than admirable job at helping us accomplish these goals by providing a beautiful, tranquil and comfortable environment and excellent service. If that sounds like the type of vacation you are planning, then I can't imagine a much better choice. If, however, your objectives go much beyond those (for example, if you are interested in a rich cultural experience - or frankly any exposure to Mexican culture at all, gourmet dining or lots of beach activities) then this isn't the place for you. I don't hold this against Banyan Tree as you can see by my positive rating, but wanted to note a few things for other readers to help give feel for what this destination offers and what it does not.

Highlights:
- Our villa was so serene and pretty. We kept laughing at how we kept ourselves "busy" by moving from one relaxing spot to another - the poolside lounges, the rooftop deck, the hammock, the jacuzzi, a nap in the very comfortable bed, a soak in the outdoor tub. You get the picture. Once inside our gate we felt like we were the only people around for miles.

- Spa products. Though I did not actually get to go to the spa (take note - book ahead of time! it fills up fast!), I loved all of the products provided in our room, especially the salt scrub in the shower. Such a small thing but definitely added a touch of luxury.

- Service. Everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful. It feels like the kind of place where any relatively reasonable request would be fulfilled, even if out of the norm.

- Natural surroundings. The grounds were beautifully kept and I loved being in the mangroves. It definitely gave the place a unique and peaceful feel.

- Beautiful beach that wasn't overcrowded. Though it was a bit of hike to get down there (they provide golf cart shuttles but I recommend renting a bike instead), the beach was beautiful, with plenty of comfy places to sit and plenty of umbrellas.

Potential things to consider, depending on the kind of trip you want:
- I couldn't quite figure out the "identity" of Banyan Tree. We were in Mexico yet nothing about the place really drew upon the rich culture of the country. It is an Asian-owned hotel and the architecture and many of the decorations have more of that feel (with an occasional talavera sink). I'll admit, this sort of threw me and it took me a while to just clear my head of expectations I might have had about a Mexican getaway and just treat it like I was in a nice-resort...that could have been anywhere but just happened to be in Mexico. The other thing that was a little odd is that it mostly had the feel of an adults-only place in that it really didn't have many accommodations for kids (and even had a no-children policy in one of the restaurants) but there were many families there. I didn't mind the families - I loved seeing the cute kids playing, but it was a little disorienting to the overall feel of the place (seeing kids playing with noodles in an infinity pool with a bar, for example).

- The food was very expensive and hit or miss, flavor-wise (with the exception of the breakfast buffet which we really enjoyed).

- Limited activities on site. We didn't really care because this was not intended to be a very active trip for us but if you are looking for a place that gives you lots of easy options of stuff to do - walk around town and shop, rent jet skis/para-sailing, etc - this is not really the place for that. They do have a gorgeous golf course and tennis on site and offer some organized tours off-site to visit archaeological ruins, jungle tours, etc.

- Traveling with children - we did not bring our children on this trip but as a mother of two little ones we normally love to travel with, I was of course also assessing to see if this might be a place we would come back to with them in tow. Though, per my earlier comment, there were several families there with kids of varying age, my husband and I both agreed that it wouldn't be our first choice to bring kiddos given lack of activities, food selection, overall feel of the place, etc.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank tepirby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 28, 2013

We traveled to Banyan Tree Mayakoba on the recommendation of friends and it didn't disappoint. The resort is beautifully designed, truly gorgeous. Our 3-BR villa was ideal for a family traveling together (two parents, two kids, one nanny). The rooftop splash pool was fun (though the smaller villas have better pools!). The staff, especially the concierge and travel offices, were exceptionally helpful. We loved riding the bicycles around the compound, swimming in the enormous pool near the reception area, and day-long lounging by the ocean pool. Breakfast buffet was perfection; the restaurants are all excellent, especially Saffron. My chief suggestion is to dedicate Oriente (breakfast buffet restaurant) to more dinner buffet dining. Anyone who has ever traveled with younger kids understands the allure of not having to select on behalf of one's offspring from limited options that don't always appeal to kids. Highly recommend a dinner buffet! Other than that, I can find nothing to fault. A truly sublime holiday.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with BanyanTree.com

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2013

I an word...comfort. The resort is very "gringo" friendly . Most if not all the staff speak excellent english and many speak french as well. The staff was outstanding as you would expect in a luxury hotel, but I really would not call this a hotel. Each of the rooms has its own pool and and outdoor tub and shower that is totally private.The outdoor living area has a small manicured back yard with a large covered seating area that includes a small extra back porch with a hammock that overlooks a river. Inside the bedroom it is well...spectacular! The bathroom is the same. The website photos really do not do it justice . The food was great with a breakfast buffet that has at least 75 to 100 different items on it. All very fresh and delicious . We ordered in room service one day and it was excellent. Try the club sandwich and fries..outstanding. Great place ofr couples. A bit pricing to bring the kids ..unless they are grown and paying there own way!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank MLBRASH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Property: 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 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#16 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Mayakoba 5*
Number of rooms: 118
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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