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“Excellent, Really Excellent - But Not Amazing”

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Ranked #2 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed August 10, 2010

I know I am the outlier here (almost all of other reviews are so over the top about Banyan Tree), but I think this place can be better. It is a great hotel, and we had a wonderful time, but there is room for improvement in a few areas.

A couple of initial thoughts:
(1) The beach is approximately 8-10 minutes (by golf cart) from all of the rooms, other than the large villas which are directly on the beach. I knew this when we booked the trip, but, at times, I found it incredibly annoying to wait for a golf cart to take us to the beach. At times when you called for a cart it would come in 3 minutes, which was great, but sometimes we would be waiting for 10 minutes or more. I think, given the location of all of the rooms, that they need to make sure people are not waiting around to get to the beach (the same can be said of the return trip-- don't make people wait at the beach). A great option is the bikes that are offered as it's a nice ride to the beach, but the shocking thing is that they charge you for the bikes (I think it was $20 per day). Come on, at these prices just lave the bikes at the villas and everyone will have a bike- don't nickel and dime me for a bike (I don't really care about the $20, it's just annoying).

(2) Food-
Breakfast Buffet- great, tons of food and all very tasty; service was excellent.

Saffron- we had a great dinner at Saffron- really very good Thai food in a wonderful setting. I reccomend eating outside after the sun goes down (no mosquitoes after the sun goes down) because it is really great outside on their deck.

Tamarind- we had an ok dinner here, they say the food is "ecclectic", to be honest, it just weird and I just don't want food like this on vacation. They need to do something with this dining option, I would suggest making it more authentic Mexican, or a steakhouse or somthing, but Tamarind just did not do it for me. It was nice meal for one night, the food was bizarre, but I cannot imagine eating there more than once per vacation.

Sands- lunch was good, service was good. Dinner- it has to be better- this is the only location they have on the beach for dinner and it's a beautiful spot- I would have eaten here several nigths because it's so nice to be on the beach, but the service was poor (the service everywhere else was great) and the food was really not great. They try to make it Mexican food, but it was really, more or less, the lunch menu all over again with a few additions. They should make this spot into a great dinner option with excellent mexican food and just a nice ocean front atmosphere.

(3) Rooms- generally very nice, I reccomend going with the Courtyard Pool Villa and not the Garden Pool Villa if you are two people. The courtyard pool villa has more room and a hot-tub which is great. Strangely, I think the outside area of the rooms (pool and terrace area) could use some upgrading (new paint, new furniture and cleaned up pool tiles). That said, these are very picky critiques as the rooms are very nice.

(4) Housekeeping- come on, figure out when we are going to be out of the room at night, do not call me every 1/2 hour from 5:00 until we leave asking if we are still in the room. They missed turndown one night.

Look, overall it's really a great place, and the above comments should be taken with a grain of salt (I still gave it 5 stars), I just think it can be made even better. I would recommend it with no reservations, although I do think the food can be much improved (other than breakfast and Saffron which are great).

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank nynytraveler4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded August 19, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

We thank you immensely for taking the time to share your experience with others.

I have taken notes of every detail you point out and the $20 USD charged incorrectly to your account. The daily fee to rent a bike is $5 USD.

We really appreciate your feedback, we all work very hard and humbly everyday to try to reach perfection, but as human beings, sometimes, we all make mistakes.

Barring these inconveniences, I hope you had an enjoyable stay with us.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Banyan Tree in the near future.


With kind regards,


Peter Hechler
Resident Manager

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Reviewed August 3, 2010

We actually stayed here in August 2009 - for a long weekend after our wedding as our honeymoon was later in the year. We loved this hotel; We paid for a Garden Villa but were upgraded for free to the next level villa since there were availabilities. The villas are great and so much space, amazing bathroom and private pool/lounge area. I think the private pools could use a little chlorine and maybe some heat - The pool was fine for day time, but too cold for night swimming. The beach/pool set up is probably the best we've been at. An infinity right on the beach. Amazing staff at the pool - the shrimp tempura tacos are ridiculously good. Great food at all the restaurants... we rode bikes (free) around the property. If you ever needed a golf cart to get to the beach it was at your villa in minutes. We stayed on the grounds the whole time except for 1 afternoon renting a car at the hotel and drove to the ruins at Tulum. I would love to eventually make it back to BT Mayakoba

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JonoJohnson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded August 19, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

We really appreciate you chose us for your first romantic getaway previous to your honeymoon.

We hope we can welcome you back for your upcoming 1st wedding anniversary.

With kind regards,


Peter Hechler
Resident Manager

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Reviewed August 1, 2010

To start off, I use this site quiet often but sadly haven’t written any reviews. My husband and I just got back from the Banyan Tree for our honeymoon and all I can think about is writing a review for this hotel. Anyone that has complaints is clearly someone that is nearly impossible to please because the staff at this place is unreal. They went above and beyond our wildest dreams. Every night there was a cute little gift for us as honeymooners. Our last night at Saffron was the best meal we have ever had and we live in NYC. The chef is literally from Thailand as well as the manager (who is amazing). We ate at the star gate table over looking the moon and the lagoon. Sadly we didn’t get to see Jeffery, the croc that sits in the waters by the restaurant but we had a wonderful, romantic dinner. After, they asked us to write a wish on a piece of paper and as we were leaving they tied it to a heat lantern and let it up into the sky, a Thai tradition. The beach is just ok but didn’t at all ruin our trip. The food is out of this world. Breakfast buffet was the best we have ever had, lunch was just to die for and dinners even the in villa dining was amazing. The attention to every little detail is just so special. Some people we loved were, Alejandro at the pool bar , Ana that helped us check in and Ivan at Sands restaurant. We also had an amazing waiter who knew everything on the menu at Saffron inside and out but I can not remember his name. Rent bikes it is so worth it, take a class they offer they are included and really fun. We will be returning to this resort, it is nothing like you would expect. IT is like spending a week in your own home but nicer. Thanks to the Banyan Tree for making our honeymoon unforgettable.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank michy55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded August 19, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

On behalf of Banyan Tree family, we wish to thank you for taking the time to write a nice review of your recent stay with us.

I am very proud to read that our associates` efforts to meet our guests` expectations are recognized. Alejandro, Ana, Ivan and especially Sompong, our Saffron Manager, will be very glad to read that they made your honeymoon unforgettable.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Banyan Tree Mayakoba very soon.

With kind regards,


Peter Hechler
Resident Manager

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Reviewed July 30, 2010

My wife and I spent four wonderful nights at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba in July. It was a last minute choice as we usually choose the Caribbean and we were pleasantly surprised (the Caribbean beaches are much nicer however). All the details have been given in previous reviews. The property is amazing. The service was EXCELLENT and genuine. The buffet and food were all wonderful.

A great option for a luxury, secluded get-a-way. A must try if you have yet to experience the Banyon Tree group.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank growcells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded August 19, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

We are glad to read that our property, service and food, pleasantly surprised you. We hope we can become your usual choice for your upcoming vacations.


With kind regards,


Peter Hechler
Resident Manager

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Reviewed July 25, 2010

Banyan tree not only lives up to the hype, it exceeds any and every expectation. We spent our honeymoon there in late May and early June, 8 nights of pure luxury and impeccable service. The Banyan Tree staff has mastered the art of anticipating guests’ needs, checking in frequently without overwhelming.

We stayed in a courtyard pool villa and it was enormous, beautifully designed, and felt like a private paradise. Amazing details—a private pool, outdoor jacuzzi, a separate room for hanging out (called a “pabellon”), very roomy bathroom with his and hers sinks, really high ceilings with a striking wooden bed... the list goes on.

Saffron is Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant for a reason—it’s outstanding! Try the Thai tasting menu, you won’t be disappointed. Samphong, originally from Thailand, will take great care of you and you can tell he’s proud of the delicious, authentic Thai cuisine served here.

Tamarind is another great restaurant at Banyan Tree with an eclectic menu and the best veal cheeks we’ve ever tried.

The breakfast buffet (served ‘til noon) at Oriente is wonderful. I would head straight for the constantly changing Mexican dishes (chilaquiles, enchiladas, chochinito pibil, etc etc) while my husband would make a bee line for the unagi at the sushi station. There are also lots of more typical breakfast options like omelets made to order and delicious pastries.

The Spa – WOW! We had some of the best massages of our lives here – including a long, luxurious, traditional Thai massage. The spa staff, mostly from Thailand, misses no details.

We also did the Rainforest experience – an awesome series of steam rooms, saunas, and hot/cold aromatherapy showers. In some cases you were instructed to spread a salt or milk and yogurt mixture on your skin before entering one of the rooms – it was a really unique, blissful hour of Rainforest fun.

Navigating the sprawling Banyan Tree complex and reaching the beach is easy by bicycle (we used them all week), golf cart buggies (on call 24/7), or even by boat (a “lancha” leaves every half hour from the lobby to the beach, a beautiful ride thru the lagoons and mangroves). Banyan tree is on a nice stretch of beach, and if it’s too windy one day, the pool right there is great, complete with a swim-up bar. The pool and beach staff will sometimes surprise you with little treats like mini mango and melon ice pops in a cinnamon stick.

Yeah, it’s basically heaven. Wish we were still there!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JGarcia424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2010

Truth to tell, I doubt we will ever return to the Yucatan Peninsula - the beaches are scrappy, neighbouring towns tawdry and the much- touted tourist sites are a great disappointment and not world class. But the Banyan Tree as a resort was MOST impressive - just wish it was somewhere else!

The resort is extremely quiet. We were there over part of the Easter holidays and the resort was pretty full but you didn't notice it. The accommodation is very modern and stylish and totally in the Banyan Tree tradiiton. Our plunge pool (2 bedroom villa) was LARGE - certainly much more than a plunge pool and the boys LOVED it!
My 2 criticisms of the accommodation are that if you are travelling with young children the 2nd bedroom won't get used, as most very young children (and their parents) won't want to be sleeping entirely separately with no internal staircase connecting the 2 bedrooms. Also the living room is across the other side of the garden and has a strange layout, so we just didn't use it - other than for accessing our e-mails on our laptop.
My husband found the high walls that surround the villas rather off-putting, but I rather liked them, as it added to the sense of privacy and seclusion.
We greatly enjoyed cycling around the resort. The pool by the beach, with accompanying restaurants is well designed, with plenty of very helfpul and obliging members of staff.

Breakfasts were truly superb - the best hotel breakfast I have ever had in terms of choice of food and quality of what is offered (including the best Serrano ham I have EVER eaten!).
I have to say that all other meals were disappointing but this is not unique to the Banyan Tree - it's just something we noticed at other 5 Star hotels and highly regarded restaurants we ate at whilst there.

Finally, service was obliging and generally very good. Over the week, we had several service issues, which mostly were a result of the fact that the members of staff didn't understand English but clearly did not want to say that they hadn't understood. This could easily be remedied, I believe and don't let this put you off: service standards are very high.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank TM99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

On behalf of Banyan Tree family, we wish to thank you for taking the time to share such gracious comments about your stay with us, and especially about our “obliging” staff.

It is very satisfactory to know you and your family enjoyed cycling around the resort, and our famous breakfast buffet. I`m glad you liked it.
We are also pleased to know that our associates, whom we are very proud of, were always helpful with your requests.

We hope to welcome you back in the near future, either for a family trip, or a romantic getaway.


Sincerely,



Pancho Llamas
Vice President
Area General Manager
pancho.llamas@banyantree.com

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Reviewed July 15, 2010

The Banyan Tree has everything to be an amazing hotel. It's a shame the staff is not in my opinion up to the chain's standards. The villas are outstanding, even breathtaking. The bed is ultra plush (when you are at the bach and undecided between the beach and staying in bed, it's a signal).
I stayed there for 2 nights only. Tamarind is mediocre and expensive (they even turned the lights on us without offering us dessert or coffee), the kobe burger is incredible and the buffet breakfast is spectacular.
The staff tries but overall, the Rosewood or Mandarin are much better- even the service at the Fairmont (at a fraction of the price) exceeds their try. Hopefully service will improve with time!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Disfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2010

Dear Valued Guest,

We have been recognized by almost all our Trip Advisor followers, as one of the hotels with the best staff at the Riviera Maya. On behalf of Banyan Tree Family, we deeply apologize if your stay with us was not a perfect experience. It is very disappointing to read we did not meet your expected service standards.

We sincerely hope to welcome you to Banyan Tree Mayakoba on a future occasion so we can have the opportunity to redeem ourselves providing you with the service you deserve.


Sincerely,




Pancho Llamas
Vice President
Area General Manager
pancho.llamas@banyantree.com

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 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#16 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $589 - $1,672 (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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