Kevin's Caribbean
Copyright (C) 2012 Kevin Wierzbicki. All Rights Reserved
Kevin's Caribbean
The Magic of Mayakoba
Luxury resorts a treat for guests and the environment
View from the grand lobby of Banyan Tree Mayakoba
The main idea behind escaping to a resort, especially one that specializes in luxury, is to have everything you desire at your beck and call. Fine food and drink, golfing and spa treatments and a plush and peaceful place to lay your head are just a few of the amenities likely to be on your wish list. And wouldn't it be nice if you could enjoy all of these things in a place that treats Mother Nature just as royally as it treats you? Does such a place actually
exist? Yes it does; welcome to the magical land of Mayakoba!
     Located on Mexico's Riviera Maya near the city of Playa del Carmen. Mayakoba is a large property where you'll find three luxury resorts: The Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Fairmont Mayakoba and Rosewood Mayakoba. The trio are connected in a very unusual way; of course you can drive to each property, but after check-in the best way to get around is via the electric boats that navigate from resort to resort via
a meandering system of sweet water canals and lagoons. Mayakoba was carefully built in an exotic mangrove jungle where every step of construction was managed to not only respect the setting but also to enhance it. The waterways are part of the planning and you'll notice on your boat ride that the local wildlife is grateful for their existence. Birds of all sorts splash-and-dash or bask on the canal bank and there are a few alligators around too although they are not seen that often. A team of four biologists- one per property and an overseer for all of Mayakoba-keep a constant watch on the environment and statistics prove that Mayakoba is now more ecologically sound than it was before construction began. There are more animals on site now than there have ever been and the mangrove forest is healthy and thriving. Everyone at Mayakoba will tell you that this in itself is reward enough but the property is regularly singled-out for making stellar efforts to exist in harmony with nature. The Rainforest Alliance and UNWO, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, are the latest entities to award their highest honors; to Mayakoba. And the level of pampering available to guests at Mayakoba lives up to the same high standards accorded the environment.
     One of the most revered resorts in the entire world is the Banyan Tree in Phuket, Thailand and the Banyan Tree Mayakoba operates at the same level of excellence. Most of the Banyan Tree's "rooms" are actually villas-very private spaces that have their own courtyard, infinity-edge pool and heated Jacuzzi. To one side of the courtyard is your pavilion, a spacious play room of sorts with a TV, full mini bar and a large couch for casual
lounging. The pavilion also has a dining table, the perfect place to enjoy a room service breakfast after you've taken a morning swim, and floor-to ceiling windows allow you to gaze at the pool area and the flora in your courtyard while you eat. On the other side of the courtyard is your living space with a huge bed room, also with view encompassing windows and an additional doorway that lets you step out of the room and directly into the pool (A
second such doorway that leads to your hammock and yet another way into the pool.). The bath salon is a little pamper palace in itself with colorful his-and-hers wash basins, a large rain shower style shower room, a walk-in closet with make-up table and, should you be in
the mood, a candlelit outdoor bathtub custom-built for that romantic moment.
     Each room is outfitted with a mix of modern and Mayan amenities, highlighted by such thoughtful touches as a dock for your iPod and copal incense if you want to delight in a scent favored by Mayans for centuries. And there's another fully-lined out mini bar on
hand as well as a selection of premium liquor; in regular size bottles. The villas are set up so that there are no adjoining walls with and no sightlines to neighboring rooms; close your villa's gate and turn on the "privacy please" light to alert the staff that you don't wish to be
bothered and your privacy is ensure. It's all enough to make you want to spend your entire visit right there.
When you manage to pull yourself away though, you'll find just as much to love spread throughout the three properties, Take the boat ride just for fun or over to the Fairmont for lunch at La Lauguna where true to Mayakoba 's commitment to the environment the menu features only items made with sustainable food supplies. For a really unique experience book a session in the Fairmont's temazcal, a Mayan sweat lodge where you participate in a ritual to purify your body and your spirit. Get off the boat at the Rosewood and head to El Calmaleon, Mayakoba I8-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course where the fairways bend through tropical jungle and mangrove forest and encompass a unique hazard; an ancient under-ground cavern locally known as a cenote. Mayakoba is situated on the Caribbean Sea and the boat can drop you off at the beach then pick you up in time to get you
back to the Banyan Tree for a session in the brine cavern and ice fountain at the sensual Rainforest Spa. And a dinner at the Banyan Tree's Saffron restaurant, serving contemporary Thai cuisine, is almost mandatory. Even Mother Nature
would agree-this has got to be magic.

For more information visit www. Myakoba.com

Originally published USA TODAY Sat/Sun December 10-11,2011 Mexican Caribbean Edition MC3