Andaz Mayakoba is the newest of Mayakoba’s four resorts and this was the gal’s first visit. She knew this brand would have certain touchpoints, and this turned out to be a luxury hotel that combined the expected wow of colour with the natural beauty of the Mayakoba complex. The arrival is calmingly memorable. You are driven up to a box-shaped 18-metre wide sanctuary, open front and back. Look down at a 15-metre diameter pool, in which you are invited to throw a lucky stone. Look ahead at a Mayakoba selfie sign, at the base of a roof-high vertical circle. GM Pascal Dupuis appears to run two resorts. Some of the 214 rooms are up near the Sanctuary, mostly round an inner lagoon (see above).
Other rooms are over a mile away, down by the beach. There are masse of buggies, all emblazoned with such bird quotes as ‘if you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them growing’, Coco Chanel. And dotted in between and around all the buildings and buggy-ways are nine forceful coloured-steel sculptures, all part of a Ring series finished in 2016 by José Manuel Martinez. This whole resort, indeed, is a blend of manicured green lawns and gardens, and square, unpainted concrete buildings, some with brilliant birds on one facet. I was in suite 2331, on the top floor of one such three-floor block. I strode up 19 exterior steps to a private landing shared with 2332: we had a totally private plunge pool, large enough for aqua-exercise. As the video above shows, I had big balconies with stunning views.
Particularly memorable, by the way, were the signs. Want your room service? There is a delicate golden scarf which you can knot or tie creatively, to hang outside your door. For Do Not Disturb I had a miniature hammock, a reminder that full-size hammock-making is one of the many crafts guests can do here when they want a change from the beach or the pools (they can also try agave mezcal tasting, archery, biking, cigar pairing, flavoured ice tasting, making guacamole, scuba diving, tennis, tequila tasting and, of course, yoga and watersports). They can use a 24/7 glass-walled gym and the sensible will reserve spa time. Director Daniel Escalonte is an empathetic Mexican who has spent years in California. He is reassuringly calm: before taking me into Naum spa, he showed me the outdoor Mayan labyrinth, a circular maze of coloured stones set in the sand around a magic tree.
Progress from the black outer stones of the underworld to yellow of the earthly world to white of the heavenly world. As at Andaz hotels on Maui and in Tokyo, an apothecary store here allows you to mix your own potions for a Naum experience, a massage and more, with warming volcanic stones along the way. And then it was time to rush away, down to dinner literally on the beach, our feet in the sand. We drank Mexico’s famous Santo Tomas, Unico Cabernet-Merlot Gran Reserva 12 Vino Tinto, ate wood-cooked steaks off wood platers, and I savoured my last night at Mayakoba, here at this colourful luxury hotel. SEE SUITE 2331, AND THEN ENJOY A BIT OF THE SPA