I had extremely high expectations for Banyan Tree Mayakoba, based on the reviews it had received in Trip Advisor. For the most part, I think the high ratings other reviewers have given this resort are warranted. The accommodations are very nice, the food is delicious, the service is good. There are a few minor issues that merit mentioning but overall, I give it very high marks.
Every room is a private villa, with a pool, hot tub and separate pavilion. The rooms are nicely appointed and we were very pleased with the setting. One thing to remember-the pool, hot tub and deck are mostly, but not completely, private. Not really a big deal, as someone would have to be really trying to see you but something to remember if your expectations were for complete privacy. Also, don't be surprised to see workers in boats go by 1 or 2 times a day. We asked specifically when we checked in if any boats ever used the canal and were told no, only to see a boat go by twice the next day. Not a big deal but, again, be aware that it isn't complete and total privacy. If you really want that, book a spa villa with rooftop pool and lounge area and it won't be an issue. The bathrooms are great and very large. Ours had a very large shower, a (very private) outdoor bathtub (upon request, they staff will draw a bath for you and decorate your room with rose petals) and ample closet and dressing space.
The food and service at all of the restaurants was excellent. Waiters and managers remembered our names and our food preferences. One slight drawback-there is no breakfast room service but the breakfast buffet is served until 12 noon, which should give even the latest sleepers ample time to eat. Speaking of breakfast, its served in a huge buffet with plenty of food from which to choose. Mexican, Asian and traditional American breakfast food is available. We usually ate a large, late breakfast and skipped lunch or just snacked. Our other dining experiences were all great; you won't go wrong at any of the restaurants. The flagship restaurant, Saffron, is Thai so if that isn't your thing, any of the others will have plenty of good choices.
We spent most of our time laying by the pool in our villa and only occasionally ventured down the the beach. When we did, the service was good and we had no trouble getting towels, lounges and umbrellas. There was plenty of staff around and when we were ready for food or drink, they quickly accommodated us. We didn't visit the main pool but walked by it on our way to and from breakfast and it looked nice, clean and well staffed.
My wife and I each had a massage in the spa and everything, from the spa facilities, to our spa therapists, were great. Treatments were a little pricey but that's probably to be expected. My only complaint with the spa is that workers with leaf blowers were right outside my window for about 20 minutes.
Overall, we had a great time and can easily recommend Banyan Tree Mayakoba. Just a few things that I think merit a mention:
1) We were surprised at how many families we saw during our stay. For some reason, we expected that there would be more couples and fewer families. This isn't a knock against the hotel, just an observation.
2) When we checked in, our resort host told us all of the restaurants except the Beach Club were booked up that night. Turns out, that wasn't the case and I'm not sure if he was misinformed or just wanted us to eat at the Beach Club. I've seen this same issue addressed in other reviews. My suggestion is to make your dining arrangements for your first night in advance (try Tamarind) and make reservations for your remaining meals soon after you arrive. Don't wait until 5 pm and expect to get a reservation for that night.
3) The resort is laid out in such a way that every villa (or at least most of them) back up to a canal (with the exception of the 12 or so 3 bedroom villas actually at the beach). This means that you have to walk all the way around the villas in order to get anywhere. You can call for a golf cart to pick you up but that can take some time, especially during peak periods. You can also request bicycles but, as a number of other reviews have noted, you may or may not get any and when you do, it may be the night before you check out, as was the case with us. There is a charge for the bicycles, which I think is ridiculous. The resort would do well to buy more bikes and make them available for no charge.
4) Our resort host guided us through check in, took us to our room and after that, we never saw him again. We got along fine without him but during the check in process, he led us to believe that he would be available to us during the rest of our stay. The resort may want to re-think how they want the resort hosts to interact with the guests.
None of these issues ruined our stay nor would they make us not want to recommend the hotel to friends and family. I understand that its still a new property and some issues just take a while to work out. Overall, we had a great time and were treated very well. We will return to Banyan Tree Mayakoba soon and expect to again have a wonderful time.
- 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