To understand the depth of beauty at Andaz‘s newest luxury resort along Riviera Maya, one must know a little about the area’s history. The Yucatán peninsula was home to a part of the Mayan civilization, which was eventually overrun by European explorers. Deep within the dense jungles of the Yucatán, some of the Mayan people found refuge and sanctuary. They were able to continue to live in peace with nature. The Andaz Mayakoba rests within the natural ecosystem beloved by the ancient Mayans and pays respect to the people who have longed called that part of Mexico their home.
The experience begins the moment you walk into the resort. Immediately, guests are greeted in a giant open-air lobby with a wishing well of sorts, aptly named El Santuario or The Sanctuary. This aligns with a well-known local tradition, which proclaims that the underground sinkholes and rivers of the region (known as cenotes) hold healing powers that do more than support local crops, but also act as a place of worship. A host hands guests a bowl with brightly colored pebbles and and asks them to toss one into the pool while thinking of a dream or desire so that it may come to fruition. The adventure, which soon unfolds, is very much a worthwhile dream itself.
The resort, situated on 590 acres, gives visitors the option of golf cart service to get around its expansive terrain. Altogether, it houses 214 rooms (including 41 suites that have their own jacuzzi), four restaurants and a spa. The restaurants range from formal, such as the beautiful Casa Amate (where you can order bespoke cocktails prepared by their resident master bartender), to the more casual Cocina Milagro, Olla Ceviche and Olla Taco. With the latter two surrounding the pool, they’re the perfect spot to grab a quick bite or margarita when sunbathing or before heading down to the beach.
Enjoying a meal at Casa Amate is a must. On Sundays, the restaurant opens for brunch and features a make-your-own mimosa and Bloody Mary bar, along with dessert, quesadilla and ceviche stations. In the evenings, it’s the perfect place to order a bottle of wine, unwind and enjoy the Latin American fare featured on the menu. The restaurant itself is built around a courtyard with its namesake tree and features distinct rooms specially designed to give the illusion of being in someone’s home.
The spa and wellness center—named Naum after the Goddess of consciousness and mind—is hidden away in the center of the resort. This 10,000-foot relaxation center is home to six treatment cabins and two hydrotherapy areas. It’s recommended that you arrive 45 minutes prior to your appointment in order to enjoy the full, tranquil experience. Upon arriving, guests are welcomed by an apothecary table and aroma bar where they choose the oils, spices and herbs that will be used for their treatment. Each treatment comes in three parts—Clarity (Tsoolik), Rest (He’lel), Strength (Muuk’) or Connection (Molcintah)—which together allude to the balance of nature’s relationship to the number three; a beginning, a middle and an end.
Despite all its amenities, the Andaz Mayakoba encourages guests to leave the property. They offer boat cruises through the land’s lagoon, during which guests will be fully immersed in the rich and picturesque flora. Guides take visitors through the vast lagoon as it connects the remaining three resorts in the area. Overlooking crystal clear waters, it is easy to enjoy an afternoon with nature—with sounds, smells and sights that truly delight. Thanks to their on-site biology team, the Andaz participates in the Marine Turtles Conservation Program, so anyone can take a look at the local ecosystem and see how nature has remained untouched and continues to flourish unabated. About 45 minutes out of the resort are the jungles and cenotes of Tulum where visitors can experience local culture, art and activities. From zip-lining to scuba diving, the possibilities allow travelers active access to a part of the world previously left only to intrepid explorers.