Over-the-Top Mexico Resorts From the Caribbean to the Pacific

The Inspira Master Suite at the Atelier Playa Mujeres has its own private terrace.

Preferred Hotels and Resorts member Atelier Playa Mujeres is a good bet for golf buffs and dog lovers — it allows pups of up to 22 pounds and offers them an array of treats. We love that the design of the resort aims to blend the natural landscape of Playa Mujeres with local influences and “avant-garde touches.” It’s also right next to a golf course for those looking to get in a round or six during their vacation. Take note: The all-inclusive resort is only open to guests who are 16 years old and older.

The Inspira Master Suite Ocean Front is the top place to stay here. The floor-to-ceiling windows open off the living room onto a terrace with a plunge tub, shower, lounge and pergola bed; inside, there is also a dining area and bar. In addition to the king-sized bed in the master bedroom, the suite also has a double sofa bed. 

The Inspira Master Suite has floor-to-ceiling windows and comes with a living room, a dining area and a bar.

All of the Inspira suites form their own elevated service level at the resort. In addition to a host of welcome amenities (including a hand reflexology treatment), guests here score concierge service and a menu of dog-friendly amenities, such as a doggy-sitter, specially designed room service, enough toys and accessories to make sure Fido is totally spoiled and medical services. (There is also a lineup of unexpected activities to make sure the dog’s experience is unforgettable, too!) On stays of five nights or more, Inspira guests also get two complimentary rounds of golf and two Water Fun admissions to the nearby marina, where guests can take a trip on the Subsee Explorer or catch some thrills on the Flowrider, Aquabounce and Aquatwister. 

Speaking of golf, the next-door, 18-hole Greg Norman-designed course is also part of the Playa Mujeres complex, and it’s turned heads for its unspoiled natural surroundings. We even hear that local wildlife can be occasionally observed walking across the fairways. 

The resort’s all-inclusive rate includes dining at 24 restaurants and bars around Atelier Estudio Playa Mujeres complex, minbar, in-room dining, free Wi-Fi, non-motorized sports and an Art & Experience program. It does not include dining at Maria Dolores, where celebrity chef Edgar Nuñez serves up avant-garde Mexican cuisine. Cancun International Airport is the closest arrival point for commercial flights and private planes and, while the resort does not offer transfer services, it can assist with booking one. 

For requests, advisors should reach out to tour and travel manager Ana Díaz ([email protected]). Roberto Rodriguez ([email protected]) is the general manager.

The Atelier Playa Mujeres offers a full lineup of dog-friendly amenities. 

For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, look no further than the Chablé Maroma, just north of Playa del Carmen. Recently opened in November 2018, this beachside retreat and Leading Hotels of the World member has a lush jungle backdrop that’s sure to appeal.

The most popular digs here are the Stand-Alone Villas, of which there are eight — designed with glass walls and naturally isolated by the jungle surrounding the resort; the views are eye-popping, but the sense of privacy remains intact. The resort’s two Presidential Villas are even more over-the-top, spanning two levels and comprising three suites, two with king-sized beds and one with a pair of queen-sized beds. Good to know: While all villas have outdoor showers for those wanting to really connect with the jungle, only the Presidential Villas have bathtubs. Grab those if you want a good soak!

Villas at the Chablé Maroma are designed to immerse guests in nature – even in the shower!

Five Connecting Villas, which comprise a one-bedroom villa with a king-sized bed and another one-bedroom villa with a pair of queen-sized beds, are your best bet for families. Additionally, all villas have their own private pool and terrace, concierge service and double sinks — a must for preserving familial harmony. 

There are even more chances to decompress in the spa, particularly with its most-requested treatment, the Holistic Massage. It combines hot stones with herbal compresses and a customized massage for the ultimate in relaxation. Only young adults (16 years old and older) are allowed on their own; younger children may be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Spiraling Massage, Yoga for Kids and Kids Meditation are all good treatments for younger travelers. We hear that María González, Jessica Fernández, Olivia Velazquez, Anahí Acevedo and Yamani Hernández are all highly sought-after therapists. Be sure to book at least a day in advance to ensure maximum availability. Reach out to spa director Cinthya Alva ([email protected]; 011-529-983-870-045 Ext. 600) for details. 

Chablé Maroma’s Raw Bar is the place to be for spectacular views.

For a perfect cap to the day, head to the resort’s Raw Bar, which has an incredible and unique view of Maroma Beach. Be sure to ask for Samuel here; he has created the resort’s signature drink, the Black Rita, which is prepared with the property’s Chablé White Tequila, and he’ll happily whip one up while explaining all the details to you. 

The closest airport is Cancun International Airport, at 35 minutes away, or for private helicopters, Playa del Carmen airport
at 25 minutes away. The resort offers SUV transportation for all ground services. Advisors can reach out to Oscar Quijano ([email protected]; 011-521-998-158-8113), corporate senior sales manager, for questions and requests, or contact general manager Gerardo Ortiz Cárdenas ([email protected]; 011-529-983-870-046 Ext. 810).

Chablé Maroma’s villas are set in independent casitas with a private terrace and pool.

On the opposite side of Mexico, Ryan C. Barks of Travel Haus, one of our sister publication Travel Agent magazine’s 30Under30, recommends the One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, which offers a pair of over-the-top villas that are sure to wow: Villa Cortez and Villa One. Villa Cortez is a good fit for those looking for a bit of tradition, as it’s designed in the style of a Mexican hacienda, while Villa One is all about the view — it’s located at the highest point of the resort! It also has large glass doors connecting to outdoor terraces for that indoor-outdoor vibe, plus its own butler suite. Both suites also offer four bedrooms, 24-hour butler service with a dedicated butler and a dedicated fitness trainer (one-hour session per day for up to eight guests). 

Spa director Mark Bodnar ([email protected]; 011-526-241-467-000) can handle special wellness requests at the spa, where we hear the 60-minute Palmilla Massage, offered in a private treatment cabana, is the most popular. Advisors should ask for the resort’s special healing practitioner, Raúl Retana, who is a member of the Mayo indigenous tribe of Sonora and has been trained by community elders in traditional indigenous medicine. His special treatment consists of a cleansing with sage smoke and herbs combined with a deep-tissue massage incorporating traditional indigenous medicine and alternative therapies to release emotions, balance energy centers, improve body alignment and neutralize the pH levels of internal organs. There is also a full spa menu for kids. 

One&Only Palmilla’s villa accommodations offer stellar views of the Sea of Cortez. 

All of the resort’s restaurants are open to locals, so you won’t miss the local scene wherever you dine. The can’t-miss meal, though, is at the Chef’s Table at Agua, which offers a sunset-soaked seafood feast paired with Mexico’s finest tequilas. Also, be sure to grab one of the Moonlight Tables at Agua: These are perched on a cliff directly above the Sea of Cortez — talk about dinner with a view! Live music completes the experience. Head hostess Paulina Robinson ([email protected]) can help you out here. Reservations one week in advance are recommended. 

The resort is also open to designing bespoke experiences for all guests. Past celebrations have included an ultra-private dinner for two in the historic bell tower that overlooks the entire resort grounds and the Sea of Cortez. Families and groups can also enjoy special beach set-ups with a live mariachi, custom decorations, a curated menu and a fireworks show, while a beachside set-up for couples can include one of three floating daybeds with a personalized cell phone for any requests. 

The sea is an ever-present companion at the One&Only Palmilla. 

San Jose del Cabo has the closest airport, at 20 minutes away, for both commercial flights and private aircraft. The resort also provides airport hosts and car amenities, including oxygen mist, an essential oil diffuser, Wi-Fi and blue agave wipes in luxury
Lincoln Navigators. 

For special requests, travel advisors can reach out to director of leisure sales Courtney O’Dell Reeves ([email protected]; 011-13-104-074-414) or resort assistant manager Tatiana Martinez ([email protected]). Robert Logan ([email protected]) is the general manager. 

One&Only Palmilla’s Agua Bar, set beneath a traditional, palm-thatched hut, overlooks both the infinity pool and the ocean beyond.

Advisor Insight

Looking for something cool to recommend clients do while in Mexico? We reached out to Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations, for her top picks. 

“The area of Holbox is beautiful and along the mangroves, flocks of pink flamingos can be seen,” Doncsecz says. “It is an eco-adventure of a lifetime!”

The standout opportunity here is the chance to swim or snorkel with 45-foot-long, gentle whale sharks — the largest fish in the world. Whale shark season runs from approximately June 1 through September 15, and travelers can take a daily bus from Cancun to Chiquila, where they can catch the ferry. (The Chablé Maroma also provides whale shark experiences.) All told, the trip takes about three hours. Tours can be purchased on the island, and, in addition to the whale sharks, there is also the chance to spot manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles.

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