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Our Fave Mexican Resorts on the Riviera Maya to Visit in 2019

Riviera Maya Resorts

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Three Caribbean resorts for the romantic, the epicurean and the explorer made our list of must-see properties this year.

Sugar-white beaches below dramatic cliffs pouring from Mayan ruins, freshly caught local cuisine, and luxury accommodations from boutique villas to all-inclusive hotels. This is Riviera Maya: Mexico’s stretch of Caribbean coastline from the northern Yucatán Peninsula all the way south to Tulum.

With two iconic UNESO World Heritage Sites in the region and mighty ruins to traverse to under the beating sun, there is both history and beauty along this coast. Avid scuba divers and snorkelers can find their way underground to the fresh-water cenotes brimming with marine life or head off-shore to witness the ever-changing coral reef. To ensure that your visit to Riviera Maya is one for the books, we rounded up three chic luxury resorts that provide a tropical escape for couple’s, may spike the adrenaline in some, and will satiate the palate of discerning epicureans.

Grab your beach-chic essentials and head to the land brimming with Mayan culture, vibrant flora and fauna, and where Mexico’s renowned hospitality provides serenity and service.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico Riviera Maya

Hotel Xcaret Mexico

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For the Explorer: Hotel Xcaret Mexico, Playa del Carmen
Multitudes of the color blue collide where the fresh water rivers meander along the Caribbean seaside at Hotel Xcaret Mexico, poised along the Mayan jungle. Visiting the 900-room, all-inclusive resort last fall showed me how a family-friendly destination can cater to kids and large groups as well as appease solo travelers and couples. Inside the peaceful resort are aesthetics reminiscent of authentic Mexican artwork through artisans’ designs from across the country. Crafted furniture and intricate creations include hand-painted shower tiles representing the árbol de la vida (tree of life), and celebratory Mayan masks adorn the hallways and event spaces. Pops of pink set the tone for lively living spaces in the suites as large Mexican murals hang proudly near ocean views —nearly indescribable—sparkle beyond the terraces adorned with white lounging hammocks.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico Riviera Maya

Hotel Xcaret Mexico

The same team who runs the infamous tours and parks in the region (Xel-Há, Xplor Fuego, Xenotes Tour, and many more) opened the hotel in late 2017, giving guests full access to each park with their stay. The parks invite travelers into the region that is as rich in wildlife as it is in top-shelf tequila. Because of the abundant landscape, Xcaret has put a large emphasis on sustainability and ecological preservation that includes supporting the fresh-water rivers and cenotes teeming with fish and the parks aquariums, where the conservation of sea turtles is a vital effort to maintain native species.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico Riviera Maya

Hotel Xcaret Mexico

For couples, the adults-only Casa Fuego is the place to charm your partner where private balconies overlook the ocean ,and the roof-top pool has its own bar and DJ. For travelers wanting to elevate their taste, head to HA’ restaurant. Carlos Gaytán, who happens to be the very first Mexican Chef to receive a Michelin Star, debuts his flair for molecular gastronomy at the contemporary and sophisticated dining space, where a seven-course tasting menu is paired with hand-picked Mexican wines.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico Riviera Maya

Hotel Xcaret Mexico

After adventurous treks at the parks (zip-lining, water slides, and river swims), finish the day off with an Ayurvedic journey at the Muluk spa (I recommend a spin through their hydrotherapy circuit paired with a hot stone massage deep in the rock caves. Then head to the swim-up pool bar to chat up the well-spoken staff who may share a glimpse of Mexican life outside the gates.

Viceroy Riviera Maya Riviera Maya

Viceroy Riviera Maya

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For the Epicurean: Viceroy Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen
With a portfolio beaming with some of the finest luxury hotels around the world, Viceroy proves they are at the top of their game, so it comes as no surprise that they have expanded into the iconic coastal locale of Riviera Maya. Although it debuted in 2007, the Viceroy Riviera Maya was awarded Travel + Leisure’s 2018 #1 Hotel in Mexico, securing it a famed spot along the country’s competitive landscape of hotels. Offering everything from stand-alone villas to beach-front villas and secluded villas for romantics, there is a luxe accommodation for every traveler’s need. Expect heated plunge pools, walk-in showers, open terraces, and personal robes made of Italian linen to traipse around the rich wood-lined floors dotted with plush furniture.

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Guests can make this an all-inclusive package or opt out to purchase meals and drinks on their own. Either way, the property quickly unfolds itself to become a tropical oasis out of one’s fantasy; palm trees and verdant floral life bend overhead to lead you to the glittering blue pools at the ocean’s edge. Well-heeled epicureans will appreciate the ‘tropical butlers’ who cater to each need, like providing iced face towels poolside and turning over chaise lounge covers when the humidity overbears.

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Viceroy’s award-winning restaurant, La Marea, is Chef Carlos Zamora’s gastronomic quest infusing classic and contemporary dishes together. A trip here is not complete without trying the huitlacoche risotto, featuring a local delicacy, corn smut, whose tasty fungus grows on the kernels. When not appeasing all the senses at the hotel, we recommend heading out to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chichén Itzá, where a guided tour welcomes you to admire the 75-foot-high Kukulkan pyramid. Cenotes are in abundance in the area and make for a great mid-day plunge to cool off under the persistent heat.

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Viceroy Riviera Maya

To round out the amenities, their Wayak spa, rooted in holistic philosophy, uses traditional and herbal treatments. Try the 90-minute temazcal experience that combines steam and aromatherapy to detox the body or the honey ceremony for a restorative massage that uses the precious nectar as a modality of healing.

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya

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For the Romantic: KASA Hotel Riviera Maya, Puerto Aventuras
A 15-minute drive south from Playa del Carmen will take you to the soon-to-open expansive resort, KASA Hotel Riviera Maya, wherein you will be met with glittering waters and a nearby signature golf course designed by pro-golfer, Tom Lehman. In June of this year, Small Luxury Hotels of the World opens its exquisite boutique destination along the Caribbean, with its own twist on the classic Mexican resort. A Mediterranean vibe imbues the 42 rooms with white stone architecture, straw-thatched roofs, and clean-lined interiors with soft blues and warm woods. The penthouse is a low-key luxe accommodation that stares back at us with proud amenities. Peep the roof-top private pool and open floor plan that reaches out towards a jungle-facing terrace.

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya

This side of Mexico is known for its powdered-sugar sand beaches and KASA has its very own ‘secret beach’ for a serene dip in the water. You can also take a quick ride to Tulum where bass-bumping beach clubs and trendy boutiques dot the coast. Days can be spent at the renowned golf course where guests have preference to start their tee time over non-guests and water enthusiasts can splash with marine life at their Dolphin Discovery program in the marina. We love the bicycles available to guests to cruise along the property’s weaving pathways that connect the villas laid out within th Puerto Aventuras community. We are avid seekers of accommodations that imbue romance into their offerings, so indulge you and your partner’s culinary senses at the on-site restaurant with simple and (mostly) locally-grown ingredients fastened with Mexican and Mayan herbs that pair perfectly with a mezcal cocktail or artisanal beer to celebrate bliss with your boo.

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya

Adventures off-site are a must, especially a visit to the nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve that may just be your best memory you take home. The hotel coordinates day-long excursions that sweep you off to the archeological site of Muyil along with a boat ride across the sparkling lagoons to float through the mangroves alongside your partner.

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