The Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico

A high view over Puerto Vallarta Bay
Puerto Vallarta Mexico // Photo by opimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images


LAGOON-FACING CASITAS are among the 401 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites occupying the Fairmont Mayakoba’s 47 acres.


The Fairmont Mayakoba embraces the best of the Riviera Maya. With beautiful oceanfront accommodations, it’s a great pick for A-listers, and with its many lagoon-facing casitas, the resort adapts perfectly to the Mayakoba concept of residing on tropical inlets filled with natural foliage, exotic birds and plenty of marine life to watch from the comfort of your own guest room.

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OCEANFRONT CASITA SUITES have a separate living and dining area as well as a master bedroom and bath.

The hotel, in fact, has just 34 “beach area” accommodations. These are considered tops for their location, for their direct access to the resort’s infinity pool and the ocean front Las Brisas Restaurant, Lounge Bar and Terrace. Butler service is included to boot.

Ricardo, our butler, got us settled into our beach area casita (No. 807) very quickly, and even deftly ducked out to get us a cold bottle of San Pellegrino water on our request. We loved that this particular butler service wasn’t overly intrusive; we’d see Ricardo at La Laguna Restaurant and Lounge each morning, where an over-the-top breakfast buffet was served; think fresh fruit, cereals, local dishes and hot breakfast items (one can order from a menu as well). There, he’d catch up with us to help plan our day and inquire if we needed anything in our room. We found it extremely helpful the day prior to leaving, when he asked if we’d like breakfast delivered at 6 a.m. before our early flight, he even took our order on the spot and arranged for a wake-up call. These are generally the things we’d take on ourselves and get stressed out about while trying to prep for a big trip home.

THE WILLOW STREAM SPA offers treatments based on local traditions.

If you decide to go for the top digs at the resort, you’ll book the two-bedroom Presidential Suite, “El Camaleon.” The oceanfront abode measures 2,205 square feet and has not only the sea views but a vista that includes Cozumel and hole no. 15 of the El Camaleon Golf Club, which hosts the PGA Mayakoba Golf Classic this November 11-17. Gregg Lown ([email protected]) is the director of golf here.

El Camaleon, which also has a private infinity pool, has a private stairway to the beach and can become a large three-bedroom suite when combined with an adjacent Ocean Front Casita. Note: The suite has a separate office area with ocean views in case you want to host a private meeting.

Another good pick is a Beach Area Casita Suite; Room No. 806 is quite spacious, spanning 1,113 square feet that includes a master bedroom and bath with a soaker tub and separate shower, a living room with a sofa bed and bathroom with a shower stall. A wrap-around balcony looks out on to the lagoons and canals. Nice note: This suite has its own rooftop solarium with an infinity pool overlooking the entire resort and the Caribbean. Consider a private dinner or a couple’s massage up here.

Good to know: Staying in a casita on a lagoon gives you a true eco-experience: We “got” Mayakoba when we sat on our terrace overlooking the lagoon one afternoon listening to birds of all types calling each other as we watched ducks swimming by, turtles grazing in the sunlight and schools of fish swimming  everywhere we looked.

We found the resort to be ideal for groups, couples and families because of its sprawling geography. Here, everyone has plenty of space to themselves and can enjoy getting around the huge resort by chauffeured golf carts that arrive promptly whenever called for. Guests of all sorts piled into the carts as they explored the property, and all seemed to be having fun with the variety of activities, which include beach, pool, spa, golf, cocktails and dining.

Mexico’s Riviera Maya is filled with plenty of amazing activities, if you can break away from the Fairmont long enough. The chief concierge, Ramiro Schmittendorf ([email protected]; 011-52-(984)-206-3021) can get you over to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. It’s a UNESCO site where guests can float on canals filled with native birds. Schmittendorf’s team can arrange for a local Mayan guide who speaks Mayan, English and Spanish. Better yet, even a guide who’s an authentic Chaman. Another private tour option is a visit to the Mayan archeological site of Chichen-Itza, acclaimed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This activity is coordinated with Dr. Julia Miller, from luxury tour operator Catherwood Travels. She’s an archaeologist and a specialist in ancient Mayan architecture.

There are several elegant dining options available at the resort; we found one notable experience is a craft beer tasting with Luis Garces, who offers a selection of four local cervezas artesanales, paired with Mexican tapas. The service can be arranged via the concierge’s office ([email protected]; 011-52-(984)-206-3021).

Final notes: All rooms at the Fairmont Mayakoba have double sinks in bathrooms and bathtubs. The resort is also pet-friendly. It’s run by General Manager Ian Robinson, but the luxury travel advisor liaison is Mark Ginna ([email protected]; 52-(984)-2063395), the resort’s leisure sales manager.

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