Enter the grand gates of Mayakoba, a secluded compound on Mexico’s Riviera Maya just 30 minutes south of the Cancun airport, and day-to-day stress begins to melt away almost instantly. There are a number of luxury hotels on the lush grounds, but among the top for families is the Rosewood Mayakoba, which lavishes special attention on small children and their parents. Even young guests are greeted upon arrival with a welcome drink, a cool washcloth and wide smiles from the staff, setting the tone for a relaxed, refreshing stay.
Each of the 130 villas and suites is nestled along either the lagoon or the beach, and all of them feel private, luxurious and intimate. After a brief check-in, guests are ferried across the lagoon to their accommodations via covered wooden boats.
Our Lagoon Studio Suite, a huge open-concept room, was beautifully appointed and had plenty of space for our family of four, including a dining area, a living area and a king-size bed. The staff provided two cribs for our twins, each with a tiny embroidered duvet and matching pillow, and left Mexican toy animals each night at turndown.
Not only did the suite have a large outdoor patio, a plunge pool and a private dock (perfect for feeding the fish in the morning), but there also was a private rooftop lounge area with a daybed, ideal for sunbathing or stargazing after the kids were down for the night. The bathroom was equally spectacular, with a giant tiled soaking tub that could fit at least 10 people, surrounded by a glass wall overlooking a back patio and outdoor shower.
Each room comes with a personal butler, on call for any manner of needs: unpacking and organizing luggage, making dinner reservations, planning excursions and more. Our butler was kind enough to run back to our room from the beach and grab items we’d left behind. When leaving their rooms, guests can choose to exit via the boat at their dock, or simply take the path that leads from the land side of the suite.
The Rosewood Mayakoba seems to have taken every detail into consideration for families. The Rose Buds Kids Club, which hosts children age 4 and up, sits right next to the pool and beach, so parents don’t have to go far to check on their littles. Kids are entertained throughout the day with many activities, from the typical crafts, games and sandcastle building contests to a private pizza-making class or crocodile hunting in the boat around the lagoon.
Adults aren’t forgotten either: complimentary oceanfront paddleboards and kayaks, bicycles, boat rides around the Mayakoba compound, and the 7,000-yard, 18-hole Greg Norman golf course, El Camaleon. Preferential tee times can be arranged through the hotel.
The grounds at the resort are large but easy to navigate via golf cart, bicycle or boat; nothing is more than a few minutes away. The main lobby and two restaurants are located at the entrance to the property, along with an oversize adult pool. Paved pathways lead to the fitness center and full-service spa, with another outdoor pool, indoor plunge pools, a steam room and a sauna. The beach offers an infinity pool, a restaurant and a kids’ club. There is also a beautiful chef’s garden located under a giant Ceiba tree.
There are three restaurants on the property and the food is all top-notch. Start the day at the gourmet buffet in Casa del Lago restaurant, overlooking the main pool and lagoon area. There is a variety of choices, from fresh fruits and eggs to traditional Mexican pastries.
Grab lunch beachside, overlooking the blue waters of the Caribbean, at Punta Bonita. Options include salads, wood-fired pizza or traditional Mexican tapas. Top the meal off with a margarita, available in a variety of flavors.
Dinner feels truly magical under the stars on the patio at Agave Azul Sushi and Tequila Bar. The menu has a variety of sushi and Asian-inspired dishes, and the bar hosts tequila tastings from its extensive reserves, with more than 100 different varieties.
For us, the highlight was dining al fresco under the grand Ceiba tree. Seated at a communal table, guests are joined by the general manager for a spectacular evening of cooking demonstrations, true farm-to-table dishes and unlimited wine. Specialty dishes include cochinita pibil, a suckling pig cooked in the garden’s pib (underground pit) and served with course after course of delicious fare. The garden dinner only happens three times a week and reservations are strongly encouraged.
For traveling families, one of the greatest aspects of the dining experience is that kids under 5 eat all meals for free. Even room-service meals for the kids are complimentary.
The Rosewood Mayakoba is located just north of the town of Playa del Carmen, which is worth a day trip. Stroll along the cobblestoned boulevards and shop for souvenirs while making frequent stops along the sandy beaches and outdoor cafes.
A nanny service is provided by the hotel for children under 4, or after-hours care, and we found the staff to be professional, friendly and fun.
Many rooms are not situated right on the beach, but don’t let the short golf cart ride deter you. Kids will love zipping along the path and it makes for a great way to start the morning. Also, don’t worry about the safety of the plunge pool and lagoon with kids. Hotel staff came to our room minutes after we arrived to build a temporary, yet sturdy, gate and fence around the water areas.
The Rosewood Mayakoba has low-key luxury locked down. Guests can choose total privacy on the outdoor terraces or mingle with fellow guests at the beach and pools. Best of all, kids are made to feel welcome — everyone throughout the hotel is happy to see them walk through the door.
Our family-friendly hotel review of the Rosewood Mayakoba in the CB! Hotel Collection has more information about why this property works so well for families. Use the Check Availability button to reach out for the Best Available Rates and one of our Family Vacation Consultants will follow up to offer guidance. For more comprehensive vacation planning, go to the CB! Vacation Consultants page and send us a request.
Top things to do in Mexico’s Riviera Maya with kids on Ciao Bambino
Editor’s Note: As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Nancy Deane.
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