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27 Best places to stay in Mayan Riviera

  • Mexico

Last updated: 06 July, 2024
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson
  • Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

JW Marriott Cancun

Place to Stay

JW Marriott Cancun

There are two Marriotts in Cancun, situated right next to each other in the plushest part of the hotel zone, and sharing amenities. The JW is the smarter of the two with a superior spa, larger rooms and a long, sinuous infinity pool right behind the beach.

Rooms sit in a single, large hotel block sitting over the plushest section of Cancun’s 24 mile-long Zona Hotelera beach. Decor feels a little chain-hotel anonymous – contemporary light palettes – off-whites and taupes, functional fitted wardrobes and workstations, but it’s really all about the view – all rooms have balconies overlooking the ocean.

The hotel has a suite of excellent restaurants including the award-winning Italian-Mexican Gustino, an additional adults-only pool with swim-up bar and one of Cancun’s best spas.

Average £680

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

With over 500 rooms housed in towering, mock-Mayan multi-storey skyscraper pyramids (including one with hanging gardens) Paradisus is far from understated. But no hotel in Cancun has better facilities or a choicer beach location (on a vast stretch of sand right in the centre of the hotel zone).

The hotel boasts four lagoon-style pools, a gym, tennis courts, a magnificent spa (with a hydrotherapy area and children’s beauty salon) a vast Kids and Baby’s Club with cinema and slide area, and a nine-hole, par three golf course.

There’s an adults-only club with its own private pool and lounge area and the restaurant menu was created by 12 Michelin-star Spanish chef Martin Berasategui Olazabal.

Average £500

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

Villa Pescadores

Place to Stay

Villa Pescadores

Location, location… There is no better in Tulum. The broadest, whitest beach, the ruins perched on the cliff right outside your door.

Each cabin is glass-fronted and comes with a large deck. Interiors are dominated by queen sizes and decked out in polished rustic local woods and palm-thatch and fashionably furnished with distressed wood wardrobes. Walls are painted ochre and warm yellow.

And while the palm-thatch cabins are very simple, they open onto the ocean. The most luxurious resorts in Tulum don’t have this view or this quality of beach; let alone at such a great-value price. There is, however, no pool.

Average £300

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

Kai Hotel Tulum

Place to Stay

Kai Hotel Tulum

It’s all about location at this great-value toes-in-the-sand Tulum beach hotel.

Unlike most of the plusher, far more expensive hotels further south, Kai sits on Tulum’s widest, whitest stretch of sand, in full view of Tulum’s ruins – perched on a craggy cliff above the turquoise Caribbean Sea. The reef is within swimming distance of the shore.

Villas are simple palm-thatch affairs, packed close together (but that’s inevitable with this location), but they are decked out in modish distressed woods, beach-shack whites and light ocean blues and scattered with traditional Mayan textiles. In the best rooms, beds with wispy drapes look through huge floor-to-ceiling windows to wonderful views of the ocean and the breeze-blown palms.

The alfresco restaurant and bar serve superior Mexican comfort seafood.

Average £380

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

Twenty years ago Playa del Carmen hotels had the same hammock-swinging, barefeet-in-the-sand, back-to-nature beach feel Tulum has today. Mahekal is one of the few Playa beach hotels that preserve it: with thatch-roof cabañas dotted around one of the town’s last remaining stretches of coconut grove and clustered over a long, sinuous aquamarine pool.

Most rooms sit in two-storey palapas and all come in lovely minimalist whitewash with warm Mexican-coloured textiles and organic wood art. They have a nest-like, intimate feel.

For that real Tulum feel skip the double-storeys and a casita with ocean views from beds and balconies; or a single-storey jungle bungalow – secluded behind foliage, with a towering, thatched roof and a balcony slung with a hammock.

Average £360

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

Fairmont Mayakoba

Place to Stay

Fairmont Mayakoba

The longest-established hotel in the ultra-luxurious, gated Mayakoba beach complex a few kilometres north of Playa del Carmen, the Fairmont is super-sized, beachside and offers back-to-nature stays with full urban comfort.

Stays are all about secluded setting and upmarket amenities. Rooms and villas are dotted around 45 acres of jungle, lagoon and beach.

Villas come in all shapes and one size – huge; from the super-luxurious (with butlers and a rooftop pool) to jungle villas nestled in the trees. All are well-appointed, decorated in modern creams, offset with blocks of warm Mexican colour and have en-suites with vast mirrors and his-and-hers granite basins.

There’s a PGA Greg Norman-designed 18-hole golf course, kayak lagoons, a plush spa and a suite of restaurants. It’s nearly two kilometres from the main reception building to the shore, but complimentary golf carts whisk guests everywhere in a wink.

Should you wish to leave, Playa del Carmen’s bars are a ten-minute cab ride.

Average £600

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

A tranquil, boutiquey beachside hotel in Cancun? Book the Beloved: a couples-only retreat on Playa Mujeres – just north of Cancun’s hectic hotel zone. The resort’s white buildings are scattered through a romantic palm tree-shaded garden like sugar cubes.

There are myriad villa and room options but the Ocean View Junior Suites are the best-value – costing only a fraction more than standards. They come with modish, minimalist interiors – flooded with light from wall-high glass, walk-in showers and Bulgari cosmetics, and expansive private sea-view balconies with Jacuzzis for two.

Average £430

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

Small for Cancun resort, with contemporary but cut-price rooms (there are 3-night minimum stay deals through their website only), the Sandos nonetheless sits on the best stretch of beach in Cancún’s coveted hotel zone.

Rooms are plain – with white walls and polished stone floor tiles, but they have spacious marble bathrooms with huge vanity mirrors. All have ocean or lagoon views. Some have both. Consider and upgrade to a balcony room for a balcony with space to sit and sip a cocktail, with the ocean at your feet.

Facilities are five-star, with three swimming pools – linked with cascades – a Nausicaa spa and a rooftop tennis court.

Average £300

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

The Reef 28

Place to Stay

The Reef 28

Feeling like a little piece of South Beach Miami transported to Playa del Carmen, the adults-only Reef 28 mixes urban comfort and ocean views and sits right in Playa’s party central.

Bright modern rooms with wall-high windows come in a contemporary neutral palette, with soft creams offset with olive, cinnamon, polished stone and worked wood.

The rooftop sundeck has expansive ocean views – seen from a busy bar or a big, group-share Jacuzzi plunge-pools and the fountain-tingling spa has an indoor pool fed by artificial waterfalls.

There are two good restaurants, a big buffet breakfast and heaps of eateries, bars and shops right outside the front door.

 

Average £650

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

  • Official star rating:

The Banyan Tree offers high-end Asian-style luxury on a Mayan Riviera white sand beach: with a superb Thai restaurant and a multi-award-winning spa offering some of the best pampering in Mexico.

The huge range of bright, contemporary villas (with warm woods, polished concretes and neutral tones) are walled entirely with glass allowing light to flood in.

Some sit secluded for honeymoon intimacy in their own little gardens; those by the beach have gorgeous ocean views from the foot of the bed. Bathrooms have al fresco baths (walled for privacy) and his and hers basins. All have their own plunge pools and decks.

Average £1200

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club