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The most indulgent luxury hotels in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

For those of us living in the Asia Pacific, going on an exotic holiday hardly translates to somewhere in Southeast Asia. Instead, we prefer to look at somewhere beyond Asia – such as Mexico. Head towards Playa del Carmen, a coastal resort town located in the heart of the Riviera Maya. 

Here, you’ll be able to find a gorgeous strip of fine, white sandy beaches where you can spend your days lounging under the sun with the soothing sounds of the lapping waves. Be adventurous and try out some unique local dishes, including traditional Mayan food such as tlayuda, a type of Mexican-style pizza. 

One attraction you cannot miss while in Playa del Carmen is definitely the Frida Kahlo Museum. Inside here you’ll find exhibitions dedicated to the life of this famous portrait artist – unfortunately, there aren’t any of her original works for you to check out there. From the museum, you can stroll down the shopping district in La Quinta to check out the cute designer and boutique stores. 

While in Playa del Carmen, you should also head over to Mayakoba. This 1,600-acre enclave houses not just four of the most luxurious resorts in the town, but also an ecosystem of mangrove forests, freshwater lagoons, cenotes (underground swimming holes), and beach dunes. Not only can you have an indulgent time staying in Mayakoba, but you can also experience the wealth of Mexico’s nature and wildlife in all its splendour. 

But first, you’ll need to find a hotel to check in to while you’re there. We have six luxury hotels for you to choose from – just read on. 

The Andaz Mayakoba projects a natural and serene feel in its design but still manages to interject some fun and colour into it by way of graffiti murals, colourful furniture pieces, and bright Luche Libre (Mexican pro-wrestlers) masks. The rooms are painted a bright white with bleached wood elements, bringing to mind a beach shack ambience with an added luxe factor. Dine at Casa Amate, which serves home-cooked style Latin American dishes. For casual dining, you can’t go wrong with OllaTaco for tacos and OllaCeviche for tequila and a wide selection of ceviche. 

The Banyan Tree Mayakoba adopts a distinctly Asian style, which is evident from the Pagoda-like building silhouettes, the pond with water lilies, and even an amazing Thai restaurant. The villas take on a modern style with clean lines and Asian touches. There’s an outdoor bathtub where you can enjoy a bubble bath while looking up at the stars. Other than Saffron, the Thai restaurant, there are three other dining outlets in the resort: Cello (Italian), Sands (Mexican), and Oriente, where guests have their breakfast buffet. 

One of the best things about Playa del Carmen is how its luxury resorts love blending in or amplifying the abundance of nature all around. The Chable Maroma is one such resort in the coastal town, designed by Mexico-based interior designer Paulina Moran. Moran has given the resort a raw yet refined look, with its villas (also known casitas, which is Mexican for small houses) in shades of opal, aquamarine, and warm wood floors. There are 70 casitas within the resort, two restaurants and bars, and a scenic pool. Not extravagantly large, but cosy enough. 

The spa has been given a big focus here, with a range of healing treatments based on Mayan therapies, hydrotherapy pools, and also Hatha yoga. You can also try out a Temazcal ceremony which will be done by a local shaman. This ritual encompasses a heated massage using scented herbs and is traditionally a purification ritual to cure and relieve symptoms of a number of ailments. A fair warning though – it can get really hot. 

Fairmont Mayakoba is the oldest and largest resort on Mayakoba but still maintains its modernity with Mexican touches. It boasts 401 suites including 34 villas with balconies that look out to the jungle and mangroves. Bear in mind that this is also an oceanfront property, which means you get the best of different kinds of nature wherever you are in the vast resort. Other than a spa and swimming pool, you have other activity options here including playing tennis at the court, kayaking, and embarking on eco-boat tours along the coast. Within Fairmont Mayakoba are three restaurants and three bars, but a must-visit is El Puerto, which serves Asian food with Mexican influences.

If you’re planning to stay at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, you could possibly never need to leave it during your time there. The resort is extremely huge – it boasts 531 rooms, six restaurants, seven bars, and two large gyms. It’s located right by the Caribbean sea and has 1,700-feet of private sandy beach to spare its guests. Even the public pool is by far one of the largest in the town, spreading across 200 acres. 

Each of the six restaurants onsite has a different theme, but the star definitely goes to French restaurant Piaf, which has been awarded four AAA diamonds. The bars in the resort aren’t your regular hotel bars too – they come with experienced and talented bartenders to shake up the most delicious cocktails. 

The Rosewood Mayakoba is one of the four luxury resorts located inside Mayakoba – and perhaps also the most expensive and luxurious one. Following its typical design ethos, the hotel is designed in a way to make the most out of its natural settings. Think large, expansive rooms (there are 129 suites on-site) that blend the indoors and outdoors seamlessly, while still maintaining a modern design. 

Service is key here, and you’ll find everything tailored to your liking, from napkins and pillowcases personalised with your initials to butlers that cater to your every need. 

The food also does not disappoint, with a breakfast selection including local Oaxacan cheese and even grasshoppers. The other restaurant, Agave Azul, has international dishes which you can pair with agave spirits.

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.