International TravelWining/Dining


Are you ever unsure of how true the photos depicted of a beach resort might be?  Maybe in order to sell rooms, they are doctored a bit and/or the water might be made slightly bluer to get you to visit?   Well, in this case, I’m not sure anything would have prepared me for the stunning scene as we arrived at the Rosewood Mayakoba on the Mexican Riviera.



Let me backtrack and say I first visited Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula back in the late 70’s at Cancun’s Club Med.  To this day I can remember walking out for what seemed like forever and still being only knee-deep in crystal clear water.   In 2004 we spent a few very fun days in Cancun with dear friends from Houston.  I was astonished at how crowded and built up the area had become.  A few years later there was a brief cruise ship stop at Playa del Carmen, and again experienced that incredible water.
Infinity pool and beyond … 


This time I needed the trip to be perfect.   The hubby and I are roughly three months apart in age, so this trip was midway between our BIG birthdays.   And since marriage is all about compromise, the timing of this trip did not take a lot of thought.   Neither on his big day nor on mine; after baseball season but before Thanksgiving and the holidays; oh, and take advantage of the not-yet-high-season prices.  And in between the mostly “ambitious” type of travel involved in our big spring vacation, with multiple cities, packing and unpacking, feeling the need to not miss a sight, I believe there should be a trip where the biggest decision is which bathing suit to wear and am I going to the pool or the beach today.
Matching birthday greetings

But because this will always be the “60th birthday” celebration (well, until a few days in NYC this January; but that is another story), this one needed to knock it out of the park.   And I am thrilled to report it did just that.  I had read many articles about this particular stretch south of the Cancun, and kept up on the all the “Best Resort” lists, etc. Separate from the Conde Nast Travelers Readers Choice list just published, this particular resort had long since been on my target list.  The hubby surprised me on my 50th b’day with a trip to Rosewood’s Las Ventanas resort in Cabo, and it was all that one would expect and maybe more … You know those little sewing kits provided at fine hotels?  Well, the thread in my kit contained only colors that matched my clothing. How’s that for service?   I think the ratio of staff to guest was 4:1, and I loved those numbers alot.

The trip got off to a wonderful start — upgrade to Dallas?  Check.  Upgrade to Cancun?  Check.  And then Rosewood personnel greeting us at the airport  with the first big decision of the trip:  “Our traditional welcome drink is a mojito.  Would you prefer a margarita instead?  With or without salt?” On the way to the resort, our driver Javier shared his interesting story — in addition to working for the resort, he works as a bodyguard and is a 2nd degree black belt who teaches tae kwon do to young kids.  Good to know, but both this area and the west coast counterpart Cabo are completely safe to visit.  I’m wondering if Javier was convinced when the hubby told him we were on our honeymoon — that it was the first marriage for both and how we waited to find the “right” person .. does that even translate??

One enters the Mayakoba area off the main highway that runs from Cancun south through Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and well beyond.  Every vehicle entering checks in at a security gate.  Depending upon one’s destination, one either goes to the right for the Banyan Tree Resort, straight ahead for the golf course, or to the left for the Fairmont or the Rosewood.  And upon our arrival some 40 minutes later, said margaritas were there the minute we pulled up to the resort… Yep, a good start indeed.

Another welcome amenity

Another upgrade awaited us at the hotel, this time to a split level suite.  Pretty great, except I avoid stairs in order to preserve my knees (don’t want ever to have to replace the replacements!).  So that was a bit of a decision.  Nevertheless, I completely unpacked and had a lovely plunge in the private pool.  Woke up to a bit of a monsoon, and quite a bit of water seeped in some of the doors.  A room change was in order, back to the originally booked accommodations.  Repack everything?  Nope, the staff will handle that, thank  you very much. Truthfully, it was much neater than what I had done!  Now much closer to the main pool and breakfast, but still with the private pool and outdoor shower, this indeed works.  And maybe there won’t be any rain to deal with at all, but that is probably optimistic.  Getting one’s bearings here is no easy feat; there are little more than 100 rooms but the spread is so large one uses golf carts to get around.  From reception to the beach is about a 15-minute walk.   A visit to the spa (world class massage in an outdoor setting) and dinner at the beach (soft shell crab tacos, salmon tartar and passion fruit margarita among the treats) was a fantastic way to cap the first full day.

Tangerine sorbet poolside

Beautiful weather followed the next day so swimming, reading and relaxing was the order of the day.   The staff is wonderfully trained to fulfill one’s every wish.  Buenos dias, Mrs. Bialosky, como esta?  Cannot say enough about how pleasant everyone was.  There were non-stop poolside treats from mini drinks to crudites to Evian spray, etc.  I’m guessing even if the hotel were at capacity (they were about 75% full), the service remains the same…




Mr. Iguana wanted to have lunch with us …



Cigar tobacco drying from the ceiling

We ventured into Playa del Carmen — about 15 minutes via taxi — for dinner at Yaxchedelicious Mayan and regional cuisine. Thankfully we were pretty much under cover on their patio when the deluge hit.  Only a little wet during dinner …


Hotel lobby

One of the very interesting things to do on-site is view the eco-system of the property via a 30-minute boat tour. The only maintenance that the property is required/allowed to do is to remove seaweed; nothing else in terms of treating the water, etc.  The system’s balance is therefore maintained for the inhabitants. Those would include iguanas, many types of birds, crocodiles and turtles, among other things.  And since many of the accommodations have small docks, it is surprising that none of the guests have encountered wildlife in their rooms — although I did have a cat wander in one day from our deck.

Fortunately Mr. Croc stayed right there ..



Golf Course at Mayakoba — gorgeous view ..

Tomorrow is the big snorkeling excursion … to follow in the next post plus the rest of the trip.