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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico
web: banyantree.com
email: mayakoba@banyantree.com

By Mayumi Tatsuta, Correspondent

About Banyan Tree Mayakoba // From the moment you are greeted at the airport in their chauffeured Escalade, you are transported to a sanctuary for the senses. Situated in the heart of the Riviera Maya and just 40 minutes drive from Cancun International Airport and ten-minutes away from Playa del Carmen, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba redefines relaxation amid the azure waters and the cool white sand beaches of the Mexican Caribbean. Opened in 2009, this 5 star luxury spa resort harmoniously blends modern Asian and Mexican tropical design. The resort’s 132 pool villas, which start at a spacious 3,000 square feet, are fringed by the Yucatan Peninsula’s exotic flora and fauna: lagoons, mangroves, dunes, low forests, coral reefs and canals. Indulge in relaxing treatments inspired by traditional Thai remedies or luxuriate in the tranquil settings or. Choose to spend your day frolicking in the cool waters of your private pool, or the inviting waters of the sparkling Caribbean. Or unwind from the rigours of everyday life with a lazy bike ride through the resort’s lush surroundings. Either way, there is plenty to do or you can do nothing at all.

Villas // You are immediately transported to an exotic fantasy land upon entering your own unique pool villa tastefully decorated with handcrafted Mayan furnishings, yet retaining its modern comforts. Each freestanding villa curls around its own individual garden area, creating a private yet spacious outdoor area, in a unique layout drawn from courtyard houses of the Far East. Each villa also enjoys lush greenery and private swimming pools that begin from 30sqm.

We enjoed luxuries such as 42"-flat screen LCD TVs, iPod dockets, mini stereo system, complimentary wireless internet connection, hammocks for lounging and a spacious work table. There are standard features: mini bar, hairdryer and bathrobes, walk-in closets, iron and ironing board, DID telephone, air-conditioning, in-villa safe and each night, turndown service.

Every guest has their own private swimming pool, loungers and enclosed compound in which to soak under the Caribbean sunshine. Depending on choice, many villas also offer an outdoor heated jacuzzi or sunken baths, massage beds, loungers and steam rooms, and a menu selection of pillows.

Note: Courtyard Pool Villas are worth the upgrade, as they have larger pools, an out door jacuzzi and a separate pavilion across the patio, with a daybed, TV, and bar.

Activities // Fitness buffs can enjoy a vigorous work out in the gym, cycle along winding lagoons, or do brisk laps in one of two pools. Or drift through meandering waterways and cenotes aboard a lancha as you explore the eco-righ mangrove and acquaint yourself with native flora, fauna and bird species.

Golf fans can perfect their swing on the PGA tour championship El Camaleon golf course designed by Greg Norman. This 18-hole, par 72 golf course includes stunning oceanfront stretches of sand, mangrove jungles and even incorporates a cenote, a massive underground cavern, into the heart of the opening fairway.

To take in the rich history of the Yucatan Penisula, set off on an expedition with a day trip to Tulum, Coba, or Chichen Itza. All three Mayan ruins are highly accessible and are very distinct from one another.

Along the coast and south of Tulum lies the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve which covers 1.3 million acres. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains all the principal ecosystems found in the Caribbean and Yucantan and is home to five species of Mexican wild cats and 330 species of birds.

For the scuba diver and snorkeler, Cozumel is one of the world’s premier diving and snorkeling destinations known for its warm crystal clear waters and coral gardens. It’s accessible via hourly ferries from Playa del Carmen.

While in Playa del Carmen, walk around this charming beach town with its bohemian laid-back ambience. Check out the shopping, boutiques, flea markets, restaurants and nightclubs.

Dining & Entertainment // With a strong reputation for dining excellence, the culinary team at Banyan Tree Mayakoba has succeeded in creating five unique restaurants that leave an indelible memory.

We started every day with an amazing international breakfast buffet with an Asian twist at Oriente, which in the evenings serves modern Mexican cuisine. For contemporary Thai delights and romantic interludes by the tranquil lagoon, dine at Saffron. Enjoy the gentle caress of the ocean breeze at Sands while sipping your favorite cocktail while sampling fresh seafood and hearty Mexican signature dishes. A classic poolside experience awaits at Reflections Pool Bar, which serves tasty snacks, cool drinks and tropical cocktails. Watch the sun disappear into the horizon from their rooftop bar, La Copa as you sip tequila, mojitos or champagne accompanied by tapas. To celebrate special occasions and parties of up to 12 guests, La Cava, is an air-conditioned private dining wine cellar. Dine on Mediterranean-inspired eclectic dishes at Tamarind, set in the tranquil surrounds of the Banyan Tree Spa. For private in-villa dining, you can enjoy from a wide range of gourmet selections from any of the restaurants above.

Spa // The award-winning spa features 16 spa pavilions and an extensive range of Asian-inspired massages, beauty and body treatments. Experience the most indulgent spa services delivered by professional spa therapists all of whom undergo over 400 hours of training at the Banyan Tree Academy in Phuket, Thailand. Signature treatments include the Thai Herbal Detox treatment package. The highligh is the Salt Pot Body Massage where a traditional Thai salt pot, handcrafted from clay and filled with Thai herbs and salts, is heated and wrapped in pouch for the massage. This traditional Thai therapy helps to boost blood circulation, promote healthy skin and relieve muscle tension.

Don’t miss the Rainforest, a hydrothermal wellness trail. It complements spa treatments to present a truly holistic wellness experience. The Rainforest is designed for couples to embark on a private “Rainforest” circuit of alternating hot and cold thermal cabins. Inspired by Asian wellness philosophy and European hydrothermal spa techniques, you will experience eight hydrothermal therapies: Rain Walk, Aroma Steam Chamber, Herbal Sauna, Rasul, Brine Cavern, Ice Fountain, Experience Showers and Vitality Pool.

Fitness // Fitness facilities include a state-of-the-art gymnasium with free-weights, treadmills, elliptical machines, weight machines, and a yoga room. There are two swimming pools: Reflections, a large free-form pool with a deck for dining and sunbathing and a beachfront infinity pool.

Shopping // Working with local artisans and indigenous communities, Banyan Tree Gallery offers an exquisite selection of holiday keepsakes, from Mexican silver, hand-made ceramics to spa amenities, Asian-stle home furnishings and resort apparel.

Unique Experiences // Experience Ixchel destination dining experience: a private dinner set onboard a trajinera, a traditional flat bottom boat decorated with indigenous motifs and cloths. Enjoy this initimate affair under the stars as the boat meanders through the canals and your culinary host prepares the finest cuisine while being entertained by romantic live music. Or have a private in-villa barbecue, where a full medley of meats and/or seafood is freshly grilled as wished, under the stars in one’s own villa garden.

Banquet & Meeting Facilties // Mix business with pleasure, replete with comprehensive facilties and unmatched personalized service for intimate gatherings or major business functions. There are 3 meeting rooms (ranging in size from 470 sq. ft to 1,350 sq. ft) and a 3,300 sq. ft ballroom.

Weddings // Let the Director of Romance design your nuptials and see to the finer details of this joyous occasion. An eclectic choice of possibilities and venues around the resort awaits – be it along the white sand beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea, at our majestic ballroom (with a height of 21 feet), at our extensive terrace overlooking the mangroves and canals, at your own private pool villa, or at our Sands Beach Club.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba's own Romance Manager is your specialist who will ease the burden of creating the perfect occasion or couple experience. Whether you are looking to set up a confident proposal, exploring wedding themes, or celebrating an anniversary in style, the Romance Manager is there at each step to guide and inspire!

Location & Transportation // Forty-minutes away from Cancun International Airport and ten-minutes away from Playa del Carmen. Non-stop flights from Mexico City (1.45 hrs.) Easy access from overseas and only a short flight from all major cities in the USA: Miami (1hr), Dallas & Houston (2hr), Atlanta (2.5 hrs), NY, Denver (4hrs), Chicago (3.5 hrs), LA, Boston (4.5 hrs).

By Mayumi Tatsuta, Correspondent

Our stay at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba was heavenly! From our private in-villa pool and Jacuzzi, to the rain shower, to the exceptionally friendly and attentive staff, this place is unlike other luxury resorts. It truly is a paradise, especially for couples seeking a romantic, secluded getaway. The fusion of Thai and Mayan influences are felt throughout the design of the property, the spa and the cuisine… making the Banyan Tree Mayakoba a unique experience.

Some of our favorite experiences were: biking around the resort on their Trek bicycles and taking in the lush landscape as we biked to the beach, dining at Saffron, where the Thai staff cooked up remarkably authentic Thai dishes (the Massaman Curry is a must,) sitting in our outdoor soaking tub surrounded by a carved stone wall of lit candles while gazing at the stars, and ending the day with a Balinese massage.




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