Unlike most Riviera Maya hotels stacked like dominos between the party-town bookends of Cancun and Tulum, Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, Riviera Maya, is a turn off the main highway and a bump down a road into the lush Mexican jungle. The location was discovered by chance in 1976 when Mexican architect Jose Luis Moreno helicoptered over and decided to build a home there for his wife. Maroma still exudes the romance of its origins as a discreet hideaway. Yet, after a two-year closure and head-to-toe renovation, the 200-acre property reopened this past August as the effortlessly chic and modern Mexican hacienda of your dreams.
“The most incredible thing about Maroma’s renovation is that 90 percent was made by Mexican hands, by artisans who have captured hundreds of years of tradition in every detail found all around the hotel,” says Federico Echaiz, general manager of Maroma, A Belmond Hotel.
Among the eye-popping décor delights are patterned textiles, woven wall hangings, doors of heavy Yucatan timber frames, chandeliers crafted from shells, Mayan pots and rattan wall lights, and custom-made tableware. Around the hotel, guests will also find roughly 700,000 hand-painted floor tiles from José Noé Suro Salceda, one of Mexico’s best ceramicists. Returning guests will be relieved to find that Maroma’s curving walls of whitewashed stucco remain, a source of pride for Echaiz.
“What I like the most about the renovations is that Maroma preserved its layout. We didn’t change anything on the outside, honoring our past and history,” he says.
With 72 rooms, suites and villas, Maroma spoils guests when it comes to accommodations. As of August, 10 new one- and two-bedroom suites with Caribbean Sea views and direct beach access up the ante on luxury. Those in search of ultimate privacy should check out the two-bedroom beachfront pool villas or the 3,939-square-foot Villa Maroma, which offers four bedrooms, a full kitchen and a spacious outdoor terrace with private pool.
Maroma’s common pool areas have been spruced up with volcanic stone tiles in the same turquoise tones as the region’s many natural cenotes. Mexico City-based fragrance brand Xinú Perfumes created a custom scent for the property too, blending notes of clay, lemon and incense, which will follow you throughout your stay.
On the food and drink front, guests can revel in the recipes of acclaimed Michelin-star chef Curtis Stone at the new Woodend, where seasonal dishes, locally sourced seafood and meat, and plant-based masterpieces are prepared over an open wood-fired grill. Flavor and sustainability are the stars of the show at new Casa Mayor, where Mexican-born chef Daniel Camacho sources 90 percent of his ingredients within Mexico and almost half from the Yucatan peninsula. Expect colorful seafood towers, Jalisco-style birria (a slow-cooked stew), chocolate cake made from Oaxacan black mole, traditional street tacos, and Mayan and Mexican fruit juices and herbs on the dynamic and seasonally driven menu.
The hotel also plans to open Latin America’s first Guerlain Spa in November 2023, with nine treatment rooms that look out to the jungle. Healing rituals will be inspired by the four elements of nature (fire, water, earth and air), ancient practices and the sacred Melipona bee, a symbol revered by the Mayans for more than 3,000 years. The spa will also offer a selection of daily workshops in meditation, movement and yoga, and will have its own apothecary where guests can learn to identify herbs in nature and incorporate them into daily practice.
Every night, hundreds of candles are lit around the property, adding to Maroma’s enchantment, and a candle-making workshop invites guests to add theirs to the magical spectacle. Other activities and adventures include watersports in the turquoise ocean, golf (with balls that turn into fish food in the water) and Mayan stargazing. There’s also a not-to-be-missed tortilla-making class as well as the “Journey to Agave” experience, a lesson from the resident mixologist on the origins, methods and flavor profiles that make tequila, mezcal and raicilla, as well as a tasting of these beloved Mexican-crafted spirits.
Ciao Bambino is one of less than 300 agencies in the world hand-picked to be part of Belmond’s elite Bellini Club. This means clients who book through Ciao Bambino receive exclusive amenities and perks such as flexible resort credits, welcome treats upon arrival, complimentary room upgrades based on availability at check-in, daily breakfast and unlimited wifi. Don’t forget to ask your CB Family Travel Advisor how to access a Bellini Club $500 gift voucher for use on your next Belmond vacation.
If you can tear yourself away from this dreamy Maroma mirage, Echaiz suggests a visit to one of his favorite places: Ek Balam, an archaeological site that, according to Echaiz, is one of the most important in the region. It’s ideal for those who want to learn about the Mayan culture without the crowds.
“At Maroma, we want every taste, sight and aroma to be remembered for years to come,” he says. “We have been in the Riviera Maya for more than 25 years and now, with Maroma fully reimagined, we are ready to offer a new era of unparalleled experience.”
Editor’s note: Photos courtesy of Belmond Maroma.
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