Let me just get straight to the point— Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a dream. I just got back from my second trip to this resort, and once again I’m in awe. So naturally, I feel the need to share my experience with you all in my first resort review (more to follow!). So let’s take it from the top…
Upon arrival, a staff member was waiting to greet us with these undeniably adorable handmade bracelets. We were then escorted to a lounge area where we were given the resort’s signature drink, chaya juice. I had been craving this since my last trip to Banyan Tree. The drink contains chaya (a Mayan green with numerous health benefits), spinach, celery, parsley, pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon juice.
Next, it was off to our private villa where a complimentary bottle of wine was waiting to thank us for returning. I think it goes without being said, but the villa was incredible. Believe it or not, even the most basic room at Banyan Tree is equipped with a private pool and outdoor bathtub. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Now on to the amenities. As if we weren’t already satisfied with our private pool. the resort features two others on property. The first is a massive, winding pool near the lobby with seating areas tucked away from one another so you don’t have to sit within two feet of a complete stranger. The second pool is infinity style and sits parallel to the beach, Playa del Carmen. Both are heated with a swim up bar stocked with the essentials for a refreshing island cocktail. The resort is also home to the third best spa in the WORLD. I didn’t have a chance to try it out, but I definitely plan to splurge on a massage during my next visit.
After a full day at Playa del Carmen taking advantage of the complimentary paddle boards and kayaks, we were ready to head back to our villa. Golf carts continuously shuttle guests to and from the beach, but the real treat is taking a boat ride through the canal that surrounds the property back to the lobby (reference the first picture). An eco tour is also available for those who want an extended ride, which takes passengers around the entire Mayakoba property to see wildlife including crocodiles.
Hungry yet? Good. The resort’s dining options are to die for. On our first night, we treated ourselves to Tamarind, one of the fine dining restaurants featuring a Mediterranean style menu. Needless to say, the food was exceptional. We started with a mouth-watering tuna sashimi appetizer topped an avocado edamame mixture. For the main course, I opted for a shrimp and lobster “ravioli” with plenty of perfectly ripe tomatoes and a cheese foam. To top it off, we shared an apple tart with fresh berries and mango sorbet.
Rise and shine. The breakfast buffet at Oriente is waiting, and it’s a spread unlike any you’ve ever seen. Fresh fruit? Yep. Sushi? You got it. From quesadillas and burritos to scrambled eggs and bacon, everything is accounted for. Pancakes, french toast, pastries galore and of course an omelette station are all part of the smorgasbord. The selection even includes various mexican coffees and hot chocolates. And don’t worry about having your hands full. The waiters are ready to take your plates and walk you back to your table. Oh, and that chaya juice we had during check-in? It’s there, and you better believe I had a glass.
Because we were clearly still full from breakfast, we skipped lunch. However, on our last visit we went to Sands, which is situated on the beach and serves up tasty dishes like fish tacos and ceviche.
For dinner on the second night, we returned to our favorite restaurant, Saffron. The restaurant boasts an authentic Thai menu created by chefs from Phuket, Thailand. Upon arrival, the hostess placed a pink orchid in hair, which I obviously loved. We chose to sit on the deck which overlooks the water for a spectacular view of the sunset with the lobby in the distance.
After snapping a picture, I ordered a customized vegetable panang curry and David opted for the pad thai. Both were complimented by our choice of white, brown, saffron or lemongrass rice.
Say it isn’t so. It was our last morning, and we had a long day of travel ahead of us. It was a bit chilly, but we decided to sit outside in our robes and enjoy the exterior of our villa one last time. For breakfast, we split the room service American breakfast. The meal was more than enough to share and included fresh fruit, two eggs, sausage or bacon, assorted pastries, juice and coffee. Yeah.
All good things must come to an end. It was time to head back to the states, but not before one last surprise. During check out, we were given a turtle carved from a coconut shell and told “turtles always return to their native beach, and we hope you return to us soon.”
That we will. Until next time, Mayakoba.