Fairmont Mayakoba, Cielo

Planning the perfect vacation is never an easy feat, but we found a property that has everything one could ever want in a getaway. It has a wide array of water sports, many moments designed for ultimate relaxation, opportunities to connect with the local habitat, and of course, plenty of food options that offers something new at every meal. That mix of adventure, relaxation and culinary delights can be found at the Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

The luxury location, which just underwent an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation, sprawls over 45 acres in the private, gated Mayakoba community which is also home to three other hotel properties that are all connected by tropical forest, scenic lagoons and crystal-clear Caribbean waters.

In addition to a plethora of activities that are at-the-ready within Mayakoba, (more on that in a minute), there’s Maykana, Fairmont’s newly-opened beach club that’s a short golf cart ride away from the main property. Maykana offers five food and beverage options, pools overlooking the Caribbean Sea with private cabanas and Mayakoba’s only adults-only rooftop bar (Cielo), with sunken fire pits around circular lounges that are reminiscent of cenotes on the property (a natural pit of groundwater considered sacred to the ancient Maya). The romantic mood lighting sets the tone to take in views at sunset over the water.

Fairmont Mayakoba, Maykana

Maykana’s name echos what the space represents. According to the brand, “’May’ (from the Mayan culture),
stands for the properties’ desire to invite guests to experience local history and culture through the five
elements of nature representative at the beach club including air, water, fire, earth and aether. ‘Kana’
(‘basket’ in Mayan language), is the basket that ties everything together. Through Maykana, Fairmont has
created a ‘welcome basket’ representative of a home away from home.”

In addition to nighttime sips at Cielo Rooftop Bar, there are four other spots that encapsulate the other elements of nature at Maykana. The “air” element can be seen through Brisas, a Mediterranean-influenced spot to grab à la carte breakfast, as well as mezze and shareable snacks throughout the day. Aqua (water) is a palapa bar by the cabanas where guests can enjoy refreshing cocktails pool-side.

Fairmont Mayakoba, Gaia

The Tulum-inspired restaurant Fuego (fire), is open for lunch and dinner and is situated on the beach with a wood fire grill. And finally, there’s Gaia Seafood Restaurant, the signature restaurant of Maykana that represents earth (it translates to “Mother Earth” in Greek). Gaia boasts a mouth-watering raw bar, filled with fresh, local catches of the day like oysters, clams and shrimp. Seafood is (you guessed it), the star of the menu too with black cod, smoked tuna ragu and more specialty entrees.

Fairmont Mayakoba, view of the lagoon

When it’s time to have a pool day, booking one of the five private cabanas at Maykana is a must, where bites like fresh guacamole, ceviches and margaritas are delivered by an attentive staff as you take in the view of the ocean from the infinity edge pool. Each offers privacy, charging outlets and chaise lounges so you can stay cool and out of the sun (if you wish), or one can soak in the water from the pool steps that lead right up to the cabana.

If water sports and outdoor activities are your thing, you’re in store for a lot of fun during your stay at the Fairmont Mayakoba. In addition to delicious food and R&R at Maykana, there’s plenty of excursions to add to the itinerary.

Fairmont Mayakoba

There are bikes available (and guided bike tours) to explore the Mayakoba grounds, where you can stop and check out special sites like the cenote, where bats cover the ceilings during their daytime snooze. While there stop to see the special bee hives on the property which house the stingless Melipon Bee, known as the “Scared Mayan bee.” The 5-mile bike trail winds around the PGA El Camaleón golf course designed by Greg Norman, and the views from the course could sway someone who doesn’t even play golf to book a tee time to take in the gorgeous grounds.

During your ride, visit El Pueblito, a charming area on the resort property which was designed to emulate a traditional Mexican plaza. It has candy and pastry shops, a mission-style chapel, a cooking school where one can sign up for a private class to learn how to make traditional and authentic dishes, and boutiques with handmade crafts made by local artisans, making it a perfect spot to pick up souvenirs without ever leaving the property.

For a little more adventure, guests can explore the fresh water canals in a kayak or on a hydro bike and potentially spot local critters like one of several alligators that live in the canal. (Don’t worry, your guide will spot them so you can keep an eye on them — or perhaps paddle farther away!)

For the ultimate treat, the property also has a VanDutch 55′ Yacht — a.k.a. the Ferrari of the ocean — available to book for a private charter. Guests can snorkel in the Caribbean Sea’s crystal clear waters to get a view of the coral reefs, and the boat also can drive up to a secluded beach where one can swim, take a walk on the sand and enjoy their own private paradise. Back on board, guests are treated to 5-star service with drinks at-the-ready and lunch available too.

Fairmont Mayakoba, king suite
Fairmont Mayakoba, beachfront suite

Whether you’re traveling with a party small or large, the Fairmont Mayakoba has accommodations for any group size. There are residential condos at Fairmont Heritage Place, with three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and large deck with private hot tub, so everyone can spread out and have their own space for those with large parties. The main property boasts 401 guest rooms (including 34 suites) situated along winding paths throughout a tropical forest. Some have views of the lush lagoons with decks and chairs overlooking the water, while others are situated near the pristine white beach. Thanks to the renovations, they boast gorgeous living areas with vaulted ceilings and the large bathrooms come complete with soaking tubs and some have outdoor showers to fully escape into nature.

Fairmont Mayakoba

Before you leave, don’t forget to book time at the Willow Stream Spa, which has 20 treatment rooms and infuse the textures, colors and scents of ancient Mayan culture throughout. After a signature body treatment, message or facial, enjoy time in the Mexican garden, outdoor Swiss showers and whirlpool to put you in a total trance before you depart paradise.

Fairmont Mayakoba, guest room view of the lagoon

In addition to the five drink and dining options at Maykana, there are even more delicious destinations to dine at throughout the property. Each serves up specific culinary creations to highlight different cuisines and techniques for a unique and memorable experience every night.

There’s the La Laguna, a Mexican-focused restaurant with decks that extend onto the lagoon for a romantic evening under the stars. Bassano is an Italian eatery serving up oven-baked pizzas and pasta dishes.

Fairmont Mayakoba, La Laguna
Fairmont Mayakoba, Tauro

Tauro is the steakhouse situated in the main structure of the hotel that has its own in-house steak dry-aging program and mouth-water prime cuts, which are presented on a tray brought to the table. And like any good steak house experience, there’s a martini bar to round out a decadent evening.

Throughout the stay, a night cap is a must at Hix, the newly renovated casual indoor-outdoor lobby bar and sushi restaurant that has delicious cocktails and small bites to cap-off (or start!) a perfect evening.

Fairmont Mayakoba, Hix

No matter who you’re traveling with, there’s something for everyone at Fairmont Mayakoba. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, culture, or a little bit of everything, you’ll find something to excite every interest during your stay.