I Stayed at the Highest-Rated Resort in Mexico, and It Definitely Lives Up to the Hype
When you’re invited to stay at one of the best and highest-rated resorts in Mexico (according to Trip Advisor, Travel & Leisure and Forbes Travel Guide), you don’t say no. At least I didn’t. The Rosewood Mayakoba opened a new adults-only beach club, Aquí Me Quedo (Spanish for “here I stay,” and honestly, I wish I could have stayed there forever), and my wife and I were lucky enough to be some of the first guests to check it out. And, spoiler, the entire experience exceeded our Riviera Maya resort expectations.
At the Cancun airport, a driver from the property welcomed us in a nicely air-conditioned SUV stocked with Mexican sweets, a cooler of cold beer and free Wi-Fi. If our vacation only happened in this vehicle, that would have been fine (at that point, I didn’t know what I’d be missing).
Less than an hour of zipping down the highway past the gates of various resorts and colorful billboards promoting zip-lining and the Xcaret theme park, we arrived at the gates of the Mayakoba, a 620-acre property encompassing five resorts along the coastline, Rosewood being the most luxe and exclusive.
Our ~amazing~ lagoon suite
At check-in, we sipped what I’d describe as the best frozen margarita I’ve ever had, a bright green blended concoction enhanced with epazote, a native plant that infused the cocktail with a fresh green juice flavor. A boat on the resort’s lagoon (!) or a golf cart (on land) transports guests to overwater suites, where we were welcomed by our butler for our stay, along with a mezcal cocktail he shook up while chatting us through the resort’s offerings, which, at the time, didn’t seem to matter, because our suite was bigger than any apartment I’d ever lived in.
The spacious living rooms (yes, rooms!) are connected to an outdoor porch with sun chairs and a private infinity pool overlooking the green lagoon. At the other end of the house, an enormous king-size bedroom awaits, opening up to another private patio and grassy hammock area. And then there’s the bathroom, with its enormous bathtub and two showers, one curtained only by the greenery outdoors so you feel as if you are showering in the jungle, which, essentially, you are. Two beach cruisers are provided to bike around the smooth, car-free, shady paths throughout the property, a true joy coming from Brooklyn, where hopping on a bike can feel like risking your life.
The expansive property feels calm and quiet throughout, no blasting resort music or partying guests. Rosewood is the type of place where you power through a paperback per day, splurge on duck confit carnitas accompanied by a rainbow of homemade salsas by the ocean and dip your toes in the pool at Champagne O’Clock, a real time on the calendar every day, where the hotel staff greets guests with a smile and a complimentary flute (or two) of Taittinger.
All the food and all the cocktails
Unlike many Mexican resorts, Rosewood is not all-inclusive, meaning you rack up a tab to your room for the lavish $50 breakfast buffet (worth it if you’re a morning person and steaming Mexican hot chocolate makes you weak in the knees) and the craft cocktails shaken up on the beach. As someone who has paid for an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, where my wife and I were constantly tempted by mediocre free cheese fries and super-sugary frozen drinks seeping with rum, plus some more-than-disappointing dinner options, I was elated with the quality of every meal at Rosewood, the passion fruit–speckled mojitos and spicy margaritas rivaling those of any hip Soho cocktail bar.
Besides the fettucine Alfredo that I ordered to our suite and ate in the hot tub (#goals), my favorite meal on the property was at La Ceiba, where twice a week, guests can sign up for cocktails and dinner cooked outside in the resort’s kitchen garden. The seasonal communal dishes, paired with Mexican wines, were excellent; the company of other guests, interesting (a fiery debate over the finale of The Sopranos convinced me to start watching the series, only 20 years late); the balmy weather and twinkly lights above, enhanced by a live band strumming near the growing produce, so dreamy.
We stayed for four days, a getaway absolutely worth the travel time, and had ample hours to relax and enjoy the hotel amenities (oh, the spa!) and the warm ocean. A few days longer would have been nice (fine, a lifetime!), but for an extended weekend getaway, Rosewood Mayakoba was a vacation I would happily flip the bill for.