And all the while that ILTM Americas is going on, with the business side of the must-visit event taking place at Fairmont Mayakoba, life continues, too, at that lovely hotel’s two sibling luxury resorts, Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Rosewood Mayakoba. The gal was whisked away for a night at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, which can be reached via a ten-minute beach walk from the Fairmont or, if there is baggage, via a ten-minute motor shuttle, which means a cobble-stone drive through the forest to a central meeting point, so to speak, and then another radial drive back out, to Banyan Tree.
Each of the three resorts has its own character. Banyan Tree offers a strategic first view, a wow as you look, from reception, over to an oriental arch. Get to your villa (there are 107 in all) and you will look over a creek, or an inland canal flanked by mangroves. Villa 310 was perfect, with its own 45-ft pool next to an outdoor hot tub, and a terrace with outdoor dining for six – see the video, below, for the full tour. Once inside the main gate, you have total privacy. One building is solely living room, with dining, and lounging. Another building, with direct access down six blue-tiled steps to the pool, is the master bedroom (a second bedroom, upstairs, is reached via an outdoor staircase).
The master bathroom is memorable: it has a big closet leading off, and a full-wall window, with door, looks out to the one proper bathtub, which is outside. The bathroom, inside, has a central washbasin area, with basins either side of a big standing mirror: uniquely Banyan Tree, cotton robes and bags for toiletries are in the company’s distinctive black on white, or white on black, fabric, which actually complements the Portuguese tile-look of the washbasins, as shown right. Sadly Peter Hechler, GM here, had himself been whisked away temporarily, to Cuba, where Banyan Tree opens a hotel shortly. I look forward, hopefully soon, to discussing his creative food plans.
Example: Banyan Tree guests can start a day with a Lxchel Champagne Breakfast on the hotel’s own launch, the Lxchel – the menu includes a porcini and truffle omelette, lox and bagels, and Taittinger. At breakfast on dry land, Oriente’s buffet is outstanding. At other main meals, there is Saffron, cantilevered over the water, for genuine Thai, and, soon, Tamarind will be offering genuine Italian. Dinner only, too, there is HAAB (named for the 19 Mayan signs of the zodiac): Peter Hechler has created this from a jungle spot, and servers in full Mayan gear serve jicara jars of xtabentum drink, or such cocktails as Huana, rum with guanabana fruit. Dishes include ceviche in avocado sauce, spiced pibil suckling pig and so on. See the picture of HAAB at the top of this article. Then, all too soon, it was time to return to ILTM. SEE THE VIDEO, BELOW, OF WHAT I LEFT BEHIND AT BANYAN TREE MAYAKOBA.