Mayakoba is an eco-friendly resort development on the shores of the Caribbean in Mexico and home to three luxury resorts: Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Rosewood Mayakoba and the Fairmont Mayakoba. Just 15 minutes from the heart of Playa del Carmen, all of the properties are exquisitely lush, with the Fairmont arguably the most family friendly of the three.
My husband I ventured down with our six-year-old twin daughters and following are some of the highlights of our stay at the Fairmont:
The Fairmont Mayakoba resort has 401 rooms and suites, including a collection of stand-alone private casitas scattered throughout the resort with views of the beach, lagoon or mangrove forest. Our beachfront casita had stairs leading right to the ocean and our own private palapa. We loved being seaside, but really all of the casitas have fantastic scenery so you can’t go wrong.
When a pool comes without a water slide, frankly my (spoilt) children get a bit miffed. Here the children’s pool (complete with a kid-pleasing waterslide) is adjacent to the expansive and gorgeous main pool so we spent hours lounging while the girls met friends, all of them congregating and playing on the water slide.
There are two ways to get around the resort, both of which delighted my kids. One were bicycles, which we were excited to find are provided gratis for guests. We pedaled around the resort, spotting tejons, a friendly cross between a raccoon and badger that live in the forest. The other was a chauffeured golf cart, helpful when navigating our way home from dinner after dark.
Guided Lagoon Tour
A highlight of our stay was a scenic covered boat ride around the canals of the Mayakoba properties guided by a marine biologist who pointed out the various native species of animals, reptiles and colorful – and sometimes entertainingly playful — birds. The most remarkable moment: spying a sizable crocodile as he sunbathed on a rock before slithering back into the water.
Café Maya: This super convenient coffee shop and store is located right near the kids’ pool, so we could sip lattes and savor warm baguettes for breakfast poolside. It also carries to-go delicacies, ice cream, wine, cheese and sandwiches as well as items to stock your min-fridge back in the room.
The seafood: The adults treated ourselves to a diet of fresh seafood for several days: Enormous platters of shrimp, oysters, clams and mussels; the tuna sashimi with Caribbean mango salsa; a rainbow seafood pasta entrée — a beautiful garlicky mix of fish, mussels, shrimp, baby squid and olives. Divine.
The discounted food for kids: Children ages 5 and under eat free from the children’s menu while kids ages 6-12 eat for half price when ordering from the regular menu. Guests should also check out the “Appetite for Luxury” option, an all-inclusive package that can be a money-saver for families who plan to eat mainly on property.
Complimentary Kids Club
The Fairmont Mayakoba Discovery Club is open to children 4 to 11 for free each day for up to three hours, a rare attribute for any resort that isn’t primarily all-inclusive. Kids meet the Mayan character Zamna and learn about the Mayan culture while playing and making crafts.
Given I travel quite a bit for work, my daughters have experienced a variety of different resorts. When they were asked which was their favorite the answer was immediate: the one with the tejons.
Disclosure: The Fairmont Mayakoba provided accommodations for research purposes, which did not influence my opinions.