As everyone at the wonderfully worthwhile TFest at the 401-room FAIRMONT MAYAKOBA this last week would have said, there are some things you cannot have too much of (all right, grammatically it should be ‘of which you cannot have too much’ but that sounds odd). Take pools, swimming pools. There’s one near the main four-floor hotel block: Girlahead had a personal stretcher, in the form of an extremely muscular trainer, by the side of that pool as the sun came up. Bliss, look up at the already-blue sky while twisting legs like treccia cheese. There are about a dozen interlinked pools by Laguna restaurant and it remains a source of amazement that nobody fell in en route to, or from, yet another espresso or, as the say wore on, the last margarita.
There’s also the pool, shown above, nearly a mile east, at the hotel’s beach club. Immediately adjacent is open-sided Las Brisas, where the last supper, or rather lunch, turned out to be an all-green salad mash in a poke bowl with a side of highly spiced local shrimp. Yum yum. One insider tip, by the way, take the 31 outside steps up to Las Brisas’ rooftop, a most relaxing and enjoyable sunset-viewing lounge.
You cannot, either, have too much, or rather too many, people. This year’s TFest was a delightfully intimate 520 participants but expect the 2024 event to be somewhat bigger – no problem, the resort can cope magnificently. Its people-side is set up so that every general has a highly capable lieutenant. Hotel GM Jacco Van Teeffelen, who probably still had not unpacked after arriving here from Winnipeg, had to be away attending to legal matters but Manager Cain Monroy was more than an able mine host. Similarly head butler David Lozano had his day off when Girlahead but he had schooled his colleague Monica to a tee.
Sadly the programme was such that 24 hours a day were not enough to do justice to the hotel, even during a four-night stay. It would have been such bliss to have been able to sit on the rear terrace of #510, an upstairs suite in one of the two-floor villas. #510 is reached via 19 steps. It has two rooms, each about 35sq m, and two bathrooms, one with a deep soaking tub with daily-reeplenished bathsalts. The sitting room has a splendid turquoise wall: the bedroom has a long desk behind the bedhead and a sculpted wood three-blade ceiling fan. Wall art included an undecorated branch of a tree and a triptych of browns and gold colours, a reminder of the undergrowth outside. Both rooms have terraces, about 1.5 metres deep, cantilevered over one of the mangrove-flanked canals. Frankly, the 2006-vintage resort had been looking its age but Madrid-based Room 1804, led by Jorge Merino Millán, have brought it up to 2023 style.
Next time, more time to career around the whole estate on one of the potentially-treacherous white city bikes, with arms like a stag’s antlers. Next time, even sit on #510’s terrace? Let’s hope.