• Travel

Fairmont Mayakoba Review

If you live anywhere along the East Coast this past winter (or spring at that), escaping the fleet, wind and snow was likely top of mind for most of the season. As soon as we were told the Polar Vortex was returning with a vengeance this year, it was high time to book a vacation and get out of town. When it came time to selecting a warm destination we had a few ‘must-have’s’ we had to source: warm weather, beautiful beach, non-stop flight and amazing cuisine. It wasn’t long (like all of 5 minutes) until we had already sourced, swooned over the gallery, fallen in love and booked the Fairmont Mayakoba.

We are no strangers to the Fairmont family of brands. From Whistler to Vancouver and Maui, we’ve stayed at a few of their properties in the past. There are so many attention to details you’ll find at a Fairmont resort like personalized notecards before bed, the staff getting to know you on a first name basis or welcome drinks waiting for your arrival – it’s like staying with family.

Getting There
Accessing the resort was a total breeze. We flew direct from Toronto to Cancun with Interjet Airlines. A first for us with the airline, we were actually super impressed with how reasonable the prices were – yes, even upgrading your seat – and some of the amenities included like snacks and complimentary alcoholic beverages. Do anticipate a small wait for customs getting into Mexico if you’re arriving Friday to Sunday. I want to say that it was about an hour from landing to collecting our bags on a Saturday morning. We were escorted in a private vehicle to the property and within 30-40 minutes, had arrived at the Fairmont Mayakoba. 

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To give you some background, Mayakoba is a gated complex located in the Riviera Maya. Within the vicinity are 4 properties: Fairmont Mayakoba, Rosewood Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Andaz Mayakoba. The grounds are made up of lagoons, jungle and sugar sand beaches. You can access all the other properties and their restaurants by taking the Mayakoba shuttle, boat, by bike or walking along the beach. 

Room Features
One of the reasons we love Fairmont properties is the attention to detail, particularly when it comes to their rooms and views. In Maui, every room had a view of the ocean, which was such a great detail. In Mayakoba, rooms have views of the lagoons, jungle or the beach – all equally stunning. We roomed in a Casita Suite during our stay. Since the hotel was almost at capacity, we were in a room with two queen beds vs. a King bed but we were more than happy to accommodate. Let’s be honest ladies, having a bed to lie out your clothes for the day is a dream come true! 

PJ top | PJ Bottoms

With a walk out balcony that included two lounge chairs, the coziest beds you’ve ever slept on and his and her closets, your mind is already blown… till you enter the bathroom. Folks, we’re talking his and her sinks, a large soaker tub, a rain can showerhead in enclosed glass and a mini terrarium to view while soaking in your bubble bath. Rooms are situated in 2’s along the property much like access to a beach house – you either have the ground or top suite. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, one of the best brand collaborations has to be Fairmont and Le Labo products. From hand soap to body wash and shampoo, the entire line is available for guests in their hotel rooms. Don’t ask me how many bottles I took home as ‘souvenirs’ haha! 

Getting Around
While the property can seem large at first, having access either by foot, bike or the shuttles makes getting around a breeze. And to be honest, the longest walk you’d have is from the lobby to the beach which might take you around 10-12 minutes. Upon arrival or departure, the staff is great in assisting with ensuring your bags can get from your room to the lobby in a timely manner. 

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The Pools
While we’re typically beach people, we spent a fair amount of time at the various pools around the resort. There were three separate pool areas on site. Our personal favourite was the Adults-Only infinity pool that overlooked the canal. With a mix of chairs in the sun and covered seating area, it was the perfect place to spend your day.

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There was a secondary infinity pool located by the beach offering the best of both worlds. Sadly, we were too tall to ride but there was a slide and family friendly pool area that we saw many families enjoy spending time around during the day. I can’t speak to the kids programs on site but we chatted with a few parents over dinner that took advantage of the Babysitting Services on site and they were raving about the accessibility and services.

The Beach
Fairmont Mayakoba boasts the longest beach of all the properties in the Mayakoba region. From baby pink sunrises to golden hue sunsets, the beach setting was perfect. We loved setting up shop under one of the beach huts around 10-11am and would hang out there till about 4-5 everyday. What we loved is that we never had to scramble to save a seat (unlike other resorts we’ve seen) and because the beach covers such a sprawling area, it never felt crowded or overwhelming. And yes, the water is as crystal blue as the pictures make it look! 

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Bandana | Sunglasses | Swimsuit

As if hanging pool or beach side wasn’t exciting enough, there are a ton of activities on and off site to keep anyone busy during their stay. The El Cameleon Golf Course is the first PGA rated course in Latin America. El Pueblito is a nearby village that all the properties can access featuring boutiques, café’s, scenic surroundings and more. The watersports available on location at the Fairmont Mayakoba were also impressive like beach volleyball; stand up paddleboards, snorkeling and sea kayaks. We chose to stay on site for our week’s stay but additional activities nearby included a day trip to Tulum, Playa del Carmen for nightlife, nearby cenotes, Chichen Itza (One of the new Seven Wonders of the World) or excursions to Sian Ka’an. 

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These were some of our favourites from our stay:

Tequila and Mezcal Tasting
The team at the Fairmont Mayakoba heard Adam was an adventurous eater so they set the both of us up with a tequila, mezcal and insect tasting at La Laguna restaurant. This was actually such a fun experience for us both getting to understand the products better, what ingredients goes into making them and learning that slow sipping and not shooting is the best way to enjoy. We both left with a new favourite tequila brand that was new to us and we grabbed it at Duty Free on the way home. When it came insects however, that’s when I bowed out. Adam was brave and tried grasshoppers, ants, ant eggs and worms and he enjoyed each culinary dish that featured them! We highly recommend for the brave! 

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A Boat Tour of the Property and Surrounding Area
Since the resort is built on a series of lagoons, we highly recommend taking a boat tour of the grounds. We kept joking it was like the jungle cruise but for adults equipped with coconut water and sightings of floral, fauna, wildlife and multi-million dollar residences. Be sure to bring your camera along for the ride! 

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Coral Reef Restoration Program
We both love a good snorkeling spot (let’s be honest, it’s the best way to get a head start on your summer glow ha-ha) and were thrilled to participate in the property’s Coral Reef Restoration program. We were taken on a catamaran to the coral reef located not far from the coastline and had the opportunity to not only enjoy a great day snorkeling but see the efforts the property had put into restoring the deteriorating coral reef and have a hand in encouraging growth!

El Pueblito Cooking Class
Cooking may not be my forte, but put a margarita in my hand and I’m your girl! We had a blast with chef Karla learning how to perfect guacamole, handmade tortilla flats and a scrumptious taco dinner with shrimp. She was so lovely and really walked you through the process. Whether it’s private or a group setting, I highly recommend this class during your stay! 

The Willow Stream Spa
A signature feature of a Fairmont property, the Willow Stream spa is a must! The Mayakoba location has sweeping views of the property and beach and has a private balcony to relax on once your treatment is wrapped. I was a goof and didn’t apply enough sunscreen one afternoon so the Sun Worshipper Treatment featuring aloe vera and cooling gels was just what I needed!

One of the most asked questions I received during our stay was feedback on the cuisine. Guests can choose one of two options during their stay at the Fairmont Mayakoba: European plan, which includes breakfast or the Appetite for Luxury package, which includes unlimited food and beverage (yes, even alcohol) during your stay.

There are some small exclusions to that package like if you chose to upgrade a cut of steak during a meal or if your beverage exceeded a certain threshold but to be honest – in one week of eating and drinking to our heart’s content, not once did we encounter a scenario where an item would be extra. 

I have to say, this concept blew my mind. To think we could benefit from the perks of an all-inclusive resort but with the Fairmont quality level of execution on appetizers, meals and drinks just put this property over the top for us. From grilled octopus at lunch to Wagyu steak and mashed potatoes for dinner – the options were endless.

The property boasts three restaurants: La Laguna (Modern Mexican), Brisas (Caribbean inspired fare) and El Puerto (Latin-Asian). We loved enjoying breakfast on the patio at La Laguna, the most relaxing lunch overlooking the beach at Brisas and getting all done up for dinner and enjoying the cool breeze at El Puerto. 

Another fun feature is that the property boasted ‘themed’ nights at some of the restaurants during our stay – like Brazilian night – which was a treat. We compared the costs once we came home and to have dined and drank as we did (and I’d like to think we aren’t gluttons) paying per item vs. the package price, the value is insurmountable. I would definitely recommend opting for the package – even if you did want to explore a restaurant or two nearby at another resort. 

With a resounding YES, we’d 100% return once again. The property and grounds were stunning, the staff was so sweet and helpful, the weather was amazing and the food and beverages were second to none. We’re already trying to round up family and friends to return in 2020 so they too can experience what a wonderful property this was. 

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Since its first post in 2012, Krystin Lee has become a daily destination for women with varied interests in fashion, home decor, beauty and travel. My hope is to inspire you as I share my journey and I encourage you to join in on the adventure!