Banyan Tree Mayakoba provided everything we expected, and then some, in a total luxury vacation. We had booked a "courtyard villa" and -- even though we had booked through Expedia and thus were already paying a bargain rate -- we were upgraded to a "spa villa," which was far more spacious and luxurious than any hotel accomodation we had ever been in.
The "room" -- the term hardly does it justice -- consisted of the following: a large courtyard containing a grassy area, patio, L-shaped swimming pool, separate hot tub and double lounger with umbrella; a pavillion building off to the left containing a mini-bar and fridge, flat screen tv, dining table and chairs, and the largest pillow-surrounded couch I've ever seen; a main building off to the right which contained a king bed, another flat screen tv, direct access doors to both the hammock area and the swimming pool (jump right in if you wanted); an adjoining bath with separate his and her vessel sinks, walk-in clothes closet, steam shower, and separate privacy-walled outside tub area; and a rooftop deck overlooking the golf course with twin massage tables, a sink and bar area and yet another outside shower. All furnished in an exquisite blend of contemporary, Thai and Mexican elements.
The service was was in many ways equal to the surroundings: twice daily room cleanings and turn down/towel replenishment; a small gift left every evening with candles lit, evening robes and slippers laid out and incense set up when we returned to the room following dinner or visits to Playa del Carmen; bicycles left at our door for our use to get around the property throughout the week; an ipod full of music to be played in either our bathroom or bedroom docking stations; and a hostess/concierge (Jadira) who made clear that whatever we needed she and the hotel were there to provide.
I will mention also the breakfast buffet which was, again, unequalled in our experience of similar provisions at other comparable hotels: platters of fresh fruits constantly refreshed; five or six varieites of cereals and granolas; cold seafood including salmon, sushi and other asian delights; a dozen different varieites of cheeses; an omelette/eggs to order station; at least a half dozen hot dishes every day including pancakes and waffles, bacon, suasages and ham, mexican chicken dishes, Thai/asian based seafood pots, muffins, croissants, bagels, at least a half-dozen different fresh baked and self-slicing breads, and a whole separate station of Mexican sweet cookies and pastries -- and more.
The dinner restaurants were also excellent: Saffron was our favorite, for Thai cuisine, and its outside setting was especially tranquil and remorely beautiful; we also enjoyed Tamarind (eclectic Mediterranean, I guess), and Oriente, which I guess I would call fusion. All had novel menus, fresh ingredients, and truly outstanding settings, service and amenities, including complimentary tastings premeal and after dessert. We also had room service in our pavillion one night, and that was a fine experience as well, including personalized service while we relaxed with the tv on.
So, was everything perfect? Well, in a sense, yes. Because at a beautiful property where everyone goes out of their way to cated to your every whim, and where your bargain rate already has gotten you more than you might imagine, plus an unpgrade to even greater indulgence, to point out any of the truly minor things that might be deemed less than 5-star ideal, would seem to me the height of ingratitude.
But a few things for others to note (none of which, as I say, detracted in any way from our week-in-paridise feeling): the breakfast buffet is expensive (about $40/person including service and taxes) and there really is no alternative, so if at all possible get a package which includes that in your rate; the main part of the hotel is not directly on the beach, but about a 15 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride away and the beach area is fairly narrow, though it has an exquisite pool and beach club; and the fitness facility is surprisingly small, with only 4 pieces of aerobic equipment -- 2 treadmills and 2 cross trainers and no bikes or ellipticals. That, I could imagine, might be a problem in the late afternoons when the place is more full of guests desperate to burn a few of the 2,000 or so calories they put away at breakfast. But, it was never a problem while we were there, so maybe Banyan Tree knows its guests better than I do.
One other thing to note -- the staff is trained to react to the slightest suggestion of disappointment, so be careful of what you say and how you say it. One night in Oriente I ordered the Tortilla Soup. My wife found it excellent and finished every drop but I found it just a little too spicy for my palate and so only ate half the bowl. Our waiter of course noticed, and asked if there was something wrong. I said no, just that the soup was a bit spicy for me. He then asked if he could bring me a different appetizer. I said that no, I was fine. Then after our our main dishes had come the restaurant manager came over and again apologized for the soup and offered to treat us to a complimentary after dinner drink or coffee, which we declined. Then, a few minutes later the manager brought the chef over and introduced him, and the chef apologized for my soup and said that please whatever our needs and wants were for our food, we should just make them known and they would do everything they could to accomodate them in any way possible.
Which, in a way, sums up our week at Banyan Tree Mayakoba -- a place that does a pretty fantastic job of anticipating your every sybaritic desire and then goes the extra mile just to be sure it has hit all the right notes.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Expedia, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, Cheap Tickets, Cancelon, HotelsforEveryone, getaroom.com, TripOnline SA, HotelQuickly and Evoline ltd so you can book your Banyan Tree Mayakoba reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Banyan Tree Mayakoba Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico