Serenity Now: This pool, just outside Mio Cuccina Italiana, has cabanas, lounges, a butler and a swim-up bar.
El Dorado Maroma on Mexico’s Riviera Maya was the highlight of our travels in recent months because it’s all based on the premise of relaxing and having fun; two pastimes that are not all that familiar to this road warrior. Those looking for a true relaxing vacation in a boutique-size environment will love this resort, which has just 99 rooms and allows guests only age 16 and older.
Day one of our sojourn to this all-inclusive Karisma Resort started with breakfast at Mio Cuccina Italiana where we enjoyed extremely attentive table service (Eggs benedict, anyone?), we then ambled a few feet out to one of the resort’s pools (swim-up bar included), which has cozy cabana beds, just yours for the taking, no reservations necessary, lots and lots of high-end lounge chairs and seating that actually is built into the pool, all the better to sun yourself on after a nice swim.
A Beachfront Suite has it all, including a view of the water.
Nice Touch: Everyone is made to feel like a VIP here and we liked that the “Pool Butler” kept a fully accessible cart nearby that supplied, gratis, suntan lotion, magazines, paperback books and just about anything else you might have forgotten to bring with you. Did we mention that one day after lunch we were served lime popsicles poolside, just for the fun of it and that on another afternoon there was a tequila tasting mid-afternoon, just to keep things interesting? Nice Note: We met couples at the resort who come here several times a year and love it so much they said they actually feel guilty if they go anywhere else. After a few days, we got to understand this unusual sentiment, because El Dorado Maroma, with its cocoon-like, pampering environment, in many ways supplies everything to a weary soul in want of VIP attention, a dose of Vitamin D and plenty of sunshine craves.
Beachfront nuptials: The resort provides multiple options for a waterfront wedding on Maroma Beach.
Case in point: Every day for lunch we dined at Mio Cuccina Italiana and received a genuine welcome by the maître d’, who stood at the restaurant’s door, grinning even when no one was looking, so entranced was he with his job. Once inside, our favorite menu items (fresh fish, pasta, tacos) were remembered, as were our previous selections of wine.
Though intimate in size, the resort has a spa, a fitness center with a steam room and sauna and even yoga each morning in front of the chapel that overlooks the beach. What we loved: A simple stroll through the tropical setting reveals little gems, such as hammocks hidden amongst the trees and shrubbery with lovely views of the water. How peaceful.
There’s also another pool set outside clusters of rooms, all a tad closer to the beach. Here, the tone was even more mellow and had a more traditional resort setting (think thatched-roof swim-up bar), with bossa nova music playing quietly while guests hung out and played board games, all with the same attentive service as at the other, more modern pool.
Maroma Beach, considered one of the best in the world, is wide and deep. At El Dorado Maroma, there are beach beds spread throughout with plenty of space to call your own, where it’s easy to fall asleep and awaken only to flag down a beach butler to bring you a cocktail or a bottle of water. Up on stilts there’s a his-and-hers spa “Sky Deck” overlooking the water; there are also several lovely settings for small wedding ceremonies, beachfront, naturally.
For breakfast, we found ourselves repeatedly visiting the waterfront buffet restaurant where slices of tropical fruits (think Mexican papaya, watermelon and mangos) were available in abundance, as were freshly made juices, such as beet, carrot and grapefruit, a boon to those of us who don’t want to give up our healthy eating habits when we’re away from home. Sliced meats and cheeses, as well as an omelet station are also on offer and the wait staff is keen to mix a mean Bloody Mary or mimosa upon request.
Dinner options abounded and we frequented the Caribbean Grill (reservations, please), a favorite of repeat guests to the resort. Menu items here included “Beer battered catch of the day,” “Roasted Rock Cornish Hen,” “Braised Beef au Jus,” and “Coconut Shrimp and Roasted Pineapple.” Other dining options included Mexican, Peruvian and Asian restaurants.
Note: The resort’s “All-Inclusive Gourmet” offerings include meals, and come with room service, a welcome glass of champagne, a list of good Jackson Family wines, top shelf liquor brands, and tequila, mezcal, and wine tastings throughout the day. Free international calls and Wi-Fi are also included.
Accommodations are extremely comfortable at El Dorado Maroma. We had an Infinity Pool Jacuzzi Suite with a sitting area and a balcony offering views of our pool, which overlooked the Caribbean. Nice Touch: The suite had a Jacuzzi bathtub, an indoor shower, and one outside as well, providing a true Mexican artisanal vibe with textured stonewalls and a hand-crafted showerhead shaped like a starfish. The Honeymoon Suite (No. 621) has a large terrace and a sunning bed; we also loved the Garden Villas, which have their own pools. If you book Garden Villa No. 908, you just need to step off your slightly raised terrace to reach your own hammock waiting for you on the lawn. Presidential Beachfront Villa (No. 908) has its own pool and is literally just steps from the beach.
Note: The resort now also offers El Dorado Villas, eight one-bedroom, two-level villa residences; these provide a home environment with kitchens and spacious living areas.
Amenities here include 24-hour room service, a butler, and a concierge team that meets with you on arrival to determine your preferences (think pillow menus and beverages you’d like to have in your in-room fridge). The general manager of El Dorado Maroma is Alejandro Lopez ([email protected]); contact him for any VIP requests. Coming Soon: El Dorado Maroma in March opens its over-the-ocean suites.