Review: Andaz Mayakoba Riviera Maya

Filed Under: Hotel Reviews, Hyatt
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Last weekend Ford and I decided we wanted to get out of town. I started looking at options on Friday morning, and a few hours later we were on a flight to Cancun for our three night stay at the Andaz Mayakoba.

This is a Hyatt property I had heard a lot about, so I was curious to check it out firsthand. It’s always nice to have good points hotels not far from home (we also really enjoyed the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, for example).

Booking The Andaz Mayakoba

One of the reasons we booked the Andaz Mayakoba is because on the day of our arrival they still had standard rooms for sale, so we could redeem points or book a reasonable rate.

On top of that, they even had standard suites available, so I could apply one of my Globalist suite upgrades that was expiring at the end of the month towards the reservation.

Redeeming Points At The Andaz Mayakoba

The Andaz Mayakoba is a Category 6 World of Hyatt property, meaning a free night here costs 25,000 World of Hyatt points. I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of paying ~$375.

In a few weeks Hyatt will be implementing peak and off-peak pricing, meaning the cost per night will vary anywhere from 21,000 to 29,000 points, depending on the day.

One huge benefit of booking with points is that you don’t have to pay the outrageous taxes and fees associated with Mexico hotels, since those are a percentage of room rate.

Even if you’re not a Hyatt loyalist, earning points with them can be pretty easy. In addition to being able to earn World of Hyatt points with The World of Hyatt Credit Card (review), you can also transfer over points from Ultimate Rewards.

Earn Hyatt points

See this post for everything you need to know about earning Hyatt points with credit cards.

Book The Andaz Mayakoba Through Hyatt Privé

We ended up paying cash for our stay at the Andaz Mayakoba. The nightly rate was $299. That didn’t include the 35.4% in taxes and fees, including:

  • 16% VAT
  • 3% occupancy tax
  • 5% resort fee
  • 10% service charge
  • 1.4% environmental tax

Globalist members get waived resort fees, so that 5% resort fee is waived, but I did have to specifically ask for that be removed at check-out.

Ford booked us through Hyatt Privé. It costs no extra than the standard rate, and for booking that way you get the following additional perks:

  • Daily full breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant
  • A $100 property credit per room per stay
  • A one category room upgrade confirmed within 24 hours of booking (room-to-room or suite-to-suite) — based on availability at the time of booking
  • Early check-in (as early as 9AM) and late check-out (as late as 4PM), subject to availability
  • A welcome gift and letter

In reality the only extra benefit for us was the $100 property credit, since I immediately used a suite upgrade to confirm an upgrade to a lagoon view villa, and since my Globalist status already got us free breakfast.

Still, a $100 credit is better than no credit!

What Is Mayakoba?

For those who have no clue what Mayakoba is, it’s essentially a 1,600 acre development south of Cancun. The development has four resorts — the Fairmont (which opened in 2006), the Rosewood (which opened in 2007), the Banyan Tree (which opened in 2008), and the Andaz (which opened in 2017).

What makes Mayakoba unique is the scenery — it’s not just a beachfront resort area, but the whole development was built into a mangrove forest, with some pretty cool lagoons. Just as there are rooms facing the sea, you can also have a lagoon view room with a crocodile a few feet away.

This was my first time in Mayakoba — I’d say the benefit of the development is that the whole thing is well contained, so it feels safe, and generally luxurious. You can easily go between resorts if you want to eat at a different restaurant. On top of that, I loved the varied landscape.

The fact that it’s self contained is also one of the downsides, because there’s not much else in the immediate area. I’d definitely come to Mayakoba with the intent of relaxing, rather than being super active.

Andaz Mayakoba Review

Now let’s get into the actual review of the Andaz. What was our room like, what are the pool and beach like, how is the food, is the service any good, and what’s the overall vibe of this place?

Getting To The Andaz Mayakoba

The Andaz Mayakoba is about a 30 minute drive from Cancun Airport. You’re going to want to pre-arrange transportation — you can either do so directly through the hotel, or through a third party.

Based on online reviews I selected USA Transfers (despite the name), which was seamless. They charged $100 for roundtrip transfers, they confirmed my same day booking within minutes, and the drivers were courteous, drove safely, and were punctual. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again, especially since they charged less than half as much as the hotel does directly.

The drive from the airport to Mayakoba is easy, as the roads are well paved and have several lanes.

Andaz Mayakoba Arrival, Check-In, And Lobby

The Andaz Mayakoba has a beautiful open-air lobby with a cute water feature in the middle, which even has a fire at night. Otherwise there’s not much going on in the lobby, so you’ll only really come here on arrival or departure.

Our check-in experience was quick (we were even offered an alcoholic welcome drink), though I’d note this place doesn’t have the usual Andaz check-in experience. At all other Andaz properties I’ve been to there’s no formal front desk, while here there is one.

Andaz Mayakoba open air lobby


Andaz Mayakoba open air lobby

Once checked in, we were given a golf cart tour of part of the property, and then driven to our room.

Andaz Mayakoba Layout

The Andaz Mayakoba has 214 rooms spread out across over two dozen buildings. The hotel’s property is huge, and there are two general areas:

  • There’s the lagoon side of the property, where we were staying, and that’s also where the gym, spa, one of the pools, and two of the restaurants were located
  • Then there’s the beach side of the property, where there were more rooms, one pool, and two restaurants

Andaz Mayakoba property layout

It’s about a mile between the two sides of the resort, and you can get around either by bike or by golf cart. Bikes aren’t assigned to specific rooms, but rather are on a first come first served basis, and are readily available. We loved biking around the property, and just about everywhere was reachable within 5-10 minutes.

Andaz Mayakoba bikes

Path between both sides of the property

View from path between both sides of the property

Andaz Mayakoba Lagoon View Suite

We were assigned room 2231, a lagoon view suite located pretty close to reception.

Andaz Mayakoba walkways

Most of the hotel’s buildings have three floors, and our suite was on the top floor.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite exterior

The suite was huge, especially when you consider that this is a standard suite. There was a large living area with a couch and a chair, and then a desk and chair in the corner.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite living room


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite living room

Next to the wall-mounted TV was the minibar. At Andaz properties all non-alcoholic minibar drinks and snacks are free, and that was the case here as well.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite minibar


Andaz Mayakoba in-room minibar


Andaz Mayakoba in-room minibar

There was also an in-room Nespresso machine.


Andaz Mayakoba in-room coffee

Down the hallway was the bedroom, which featured a comfortable king size bed, along with two chairs and a table by the window.

Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite bedroom


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite bedroom

In the hallway between the living room and bathroom was the toilet and a sink on one side.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite toilet

On the other side was the bathroom, which had double sinks and a walk-in shower.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite bathroom

The shower had both a rainforest shower head and a handheld one.

Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite shower

Toiletries were in reusable containers, and were good quality.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite toiletries

In addition to the indoor space, the suite had lots of outdoor space. There was one balcony off the bedroom, with two chairs and a small couch.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite balcony


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite balcony

Then off the living room was another balcony with a couch, a table with two chairs, two lounger chairs, and a small plunge pool.

Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite balcony


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite balcony


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite balcony


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite plunge pool

I loved the lagoon view, even if it’s not a view you’d traditionally expect from a beach resort in Mexico.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon view suite view

I wanted to mention one other thing I noticed and appreciated, but didn’t use. If you want laundry done in the hotel, they charge just $20 for an entire bag of laundry. Contrast that to most hotels, which charge that much for laundering three pairs of socks.


Andaz Mayakoba reasonably priced laundry

All around we loved the room — it was huge, quiet, immaculately maintained, and had a nice view. I will say it perhaps didn’t feel especially luxurious and even a bit cookie cutter, but that’s also what I was expecting from an Andaz.

Andaz Mayakoba Pools

The Andaz Mayakoba has two major sets of pools. The most popular pool was right off the beach. Even though the hotel seemed to be mostly full, I didn’t find that the pool was ever that busy.

Andaz Mayakoba beach pool


Andaz Mayakoba beach pool

There were also a few pools on the lagoon side of the resort, which were consistently quieter.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon pool

Andaz Mayakoba lagoon pool


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon pool

Andaz Mayakoba Beach

The Andaz has a serviced beach area, so there are quite a few lounge chairs, and then you can order drinks and food there. As you might expect, many of the prime seats fill up very early in the morning.

Has there been a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where someone “reserves” beach chairs? If not, I think Larry needs to take on this topic!

Andaz Mayakoba beach

Anyway, the Mayakoba beach is simply gorgeous — the sand is among the softest I’ve seen anywhere, so it was lovely to walk all along the beach, as you can go from one end to the other along all the resorts. Not only was the beach quiet, but there was no one trying to sell you drugs and/or selfie sticks, so that was nice.

Andaz Mayakoba beach


Andaz Mayakoba beach

Andaz Mayakoba Gym

The Andaz Mayakoba has a pretty well equipped gym on the lagoon side of the resort, which is open 24/7 and accessible with a key card.

Andaz Mayakoba gym

Andaz Mayakoba gym


Andaz Mayakoba gym


Andaz Mayakoba gym

Andaz Mayakoba Spa

We didn’t end up getting any spa treatments at the Andaz, but for anyone who is interested, here’s the pricing:

As you can see, pricing is rather steep — a 60 minute massage starts at $167 including taxes, but not including the recommended 18-22% service charge.

It’s my understanding that the spa also has a hydrotherapy area that’s complimentary for Globalist members, but not for other guests.

Andaz Mayakoba Lagoon Boat Tour

Every day at 11AM and 3PM the hotel offers a complimentary 45 minute lagoon tour. You can reserve this, so book early, because in our case it wasn’t available until two days later. This was so awesome. They have boats with a guide that seat about a dozen guests.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon boat


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon boat

I loved seeing all the connected waterways in the area.


Andaz Mayakoba lagoon

The amount of wildlife was also impressive, ranging from crocodiles to all kinds of birds.

Mayakoba lagoon crocodiles


Mayakoba lagoon crocodiles


Mayakoba lagoon wildlife

There are also all kinds of lagoon view villas at the various hotels, so it’s cool to compare the different hotels from the outside.

In addition to the boat tour, there’s a shuttle boat between resorts that you can also take for free. Here’s the schedule for that:

Mayakoba lagoon boat schedule

In addition to the boat tours, there are all kinds of nature trails through Mayakoba, which you can either explore by foot or bike.

Mayakoba nature trail

Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Cocina Milagro is the hotel’s all day dining restaurant with “international” cuisine, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is on the lagoon side of the hotel, by the lagoon pool.

As far as the hours go:

The restaurant was quite large, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and even a bar. However, if you come to breakfast around 9AM, expect it to be a complete zoo.

Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro restaurant


Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro restaurant


Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro bar


Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro restaurant outdoor seating


Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro restaurant outdoor seating

As a Globalist member (and on account of our rate) breakfast was included (ordinarily ~36USD per person), which got us access to the buffet. The breakfast selection was large, with both Mexican and international options.

Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet


Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet


Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet


Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet


Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet


Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet


Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet


Andaz Mayakoba breakfast buffet

In addition to the buffet you can have eggs made to order, which I of course had with a side of guac.


Andaz Mayakoba omelet

My one major issue with breakfast was the service. It was friendly and well intentioned, and when I had breakfast at 6:30AM it was perfectly attentive. However, it was quite literally impossible to get a coffee refill around 9AM.

It took me 25 minutes, as I had asked several people, and no one followed through. I eventually just went up to the area for servers and poured us cups.

On our last afternoon we also had a quick lunch here, since we had Mexican food the other two days, and were looking for a change of pace. This was definitely our least favorite food at the hotel. I had a margarita pizza (~16USD), and Ford had a chicken wrap (~16USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro lunch


Andaz Mayakoba Cocina Milagro lunch

Andaz Mayakoba Tinta Del Pulpo (Lunch & Dinner)

The hotel’s other casual restaurant is Tinta del Pulpo, which is located right by the beach pool. This was open daily from 12PM until 11PM. This restaurant serves Mexican food, ranging from tacos to ceviche. You can find the lunch menu here, and dinner menu here.

There’s both indoor and outdoor seating, all overlooking the pool.

Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo restaurant


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo restaurant

There’s also an adjacent bar here.


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo bar


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo bar outdoor seating

At lunch we started with the Peruvian ceviche (~17USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo lunch

Then I had the shrimp taco gobernador (~14USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo lunch

Ford had the barbacoa and yaca tacos (~11USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo lunch

Separately we came here for dinner, and had the guacamole to start (~13USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo dinner

Then I had the chicken gringas (~11USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo dinner

Ford had the chicken fajitas (~16USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Tinta del Pulpo dinner

The food in this restaurant was good — it wasn’t that memorable, but was good, simple-enough Mexican food.

Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate (Dinner)

The hotel’s best restaurant is Casa Amate, located on the lagoon side of the hotel. It’s only open for dinner (from 6PM until 11PM, except Sundays, when it’s only open for brunch), and it serves Latin American cuisine. You can find the dinner menu here.

You’ll want to make a reservation here as far in advance as possible, as the restaurant is small and tends to book out. We didn’t think it would be that popular, and the only reservation we could get the morning of was for 9:30PM.

Even though it was a late dinner, it was well worth it. This restaurant is spectacular, in terms of decor, service, and food quality. I highly recommend it.

Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate bar


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate bar


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate dining area

Frankly the restaurant feels completely different than the rest of the resort. The rest of the hotel is nice but feels pretty “mass market,” while this feels like a restaurant you’d expect at a luxury hotel.

Upon sitting down we were offered two complimentary cocktails on account of my World of Hyatt status, which was generous.


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate cocktails

We were then offered an amuse bouche, and then a selection of bread with spreads.


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate dinner

I had the Latin hummus to start (~15USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate dinner — appetizer

Ford had the firewood grilled paguas salad (~19USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate dinner — appetizer

Then for the main course I had the totoaba from ensenada (~34USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate dinner — main course

Ford had the turkey breast (~31USD).


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate dinner — main course

For dessert we shared the “chocolate spinning top toy,” as it was described (~14USD)…


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Amate dinner — dessert

The entire experience was flawless, and I’m just sad we only ate here one night.

Andaz Mayakoba Casa Sotavento (Lunch & Dinner)

Right by the beach there’s also a restaurant, open daily from 12PM until 11PM. This is a seafood restaurant, and you can find the menu here. While we had some cocktails, we never had a meal here.


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Sotavento bar


Andaz Mayakoba Casa Sotavento restaurant

Tipping At Andaz Mayakoba

I figured I’d briefly talk about tipping at the Andaz. All prices displayed for food and drinks on property include all taxes, though they don’t include any service. Instead every check has a line for a tip, and they “recommend” either:

  • 18% for good service
  • 20% for great service
  • 22% for wow service

That seems like an oddly small range, and it does indeed seem like they expect US tipping amounts here.

One other thing worth noting. You’re given a check at breakfast, and then the breakfast amount will be taken off at check-out if your rate includes it. However, you’ll be charged for any tips you leave.

Technically Globalist breakfast is supposed to include any tips (per the policy), but if you choose to leave anything they don’t take it off, as is the case at virtually any other Hyatt property. So that’s a bit odd…

It’s not a big deal, but it does seem to me like the hotel is violating the terms of the program.

Andaz Mayakoba tipping expectations

Andaz Mayakoba Service

I’d describe service at the Andaz Mayakoba as being friendly across the board. Just about everyone seemed well intentioned.

However, in terms of service this definitely felt more like a resort “factory” than a luxury hotel. That’s what I expected, since I know this isn’t the Rosewood next door, which is triple the price.

But often times it sure felt like a chore to get service, especially at the pool, at the beach, and at breakfast. In these places we were never proactively asked if we wanted anything, but rather had to work hard to flag people down.

Otherwise I found service in the restaurants to usually be pretty good.

Andaz Mayakoba Bottom Line

The Andaz Mayakoba proved to be an awesome weekend getaway. Cancun is so close to Miami, and then it’s just a short drive to Mayakoba from there.

Personally I thought the Andaz represented a great value, especially as a Globalist using a suite upgrade. I loved our huge suite, and I loved how varied the hotel’s property was, as you almost felt like you were at the beach and in a jungle at the same time.

Overall the food at the hotel was quite good, with Casa Amate really standing out as the best (by far).

I’d recommend the Andaz without hesitation and would absolutely return, though I’d also be curious to see just how much better the Rosewood next door is. It’s significantly more expensive, but is it also significantly better?

If you’ve stayed at the Andaz (or anywhere else in Mayakoba), what was your experience like?

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Comments
  1. The tipping on globalist breakfast thing is always odd to me. I’ve had hotels take it off but does that mean the server doesn’t get any gratuity? Because if so, then I’d want it on my hotel bill to make sure the server gets it.

  2. We loved the Andaz Mayakoba because of the peaceful setting and the gorgeous Ocean Front Plunge Pool Suite. With cross-charging to our room, we tried different restaurants of the other properties every day, incl. seamless transfers by boat or cart. I agree with the views on seRvice, but together with the option to visit other properties‘ outlets, still one of our most memorable vacations ever.

  3. I loved the Andaz Mayakoba. Went when they first opened and had the resort almost entirely to ourselves.

    The Banyan Tree is my favorite of the Mayakoba properties and has a fantastic Italian restaurant.

    I may have missed this but one nice thing is that every restaurant can bill to your room at the Andaz — so if you eat at the Fairmont, Banyan Tree, etc. they can still bill to your room at the Andaz.

  4. Isn’t totoaba a critical endangered species of fish? I’m surprised fishing was even allowed. Shouldn’t be eating it at the restaurant. Unless it wasn’t actually totoaba I’m the menu.

  5. What are the customs when it comes to tipping on (complementary) hotel breakfasts?

    I’m never sure, but for breakfasts in the US:
    -I don’t tip if it’s pure buffet
    -I tip $2-3 if there is table service (above just bringing a juice)

  6. Jason: Yes, totoaba is an endangered species (including on the US Endangered Species list) that only occurs in the Gulf of California. Fishing for it is prohibited, and rampant poaching is about to lead to the extinction of the world’s smallest porpoise, the vaquita, which also is found only in the GoC and is frequent bycatch in the totoaba poachers nets.

    There is some totoaba aquaculture both in Ensenada and La Paz. Even so, I did not think that it was legal to sell or serve it.

    More problematic is that the entire resort area is built ‘into a mangrove forest’, which is very environmentally unfriendly. Actually, the whole ‘Riviera Maya’ is an enviro-disaster.

    Even so, this is a great hotel review, as expected from Lucky.

  7. I would be curious to know how much Ford gets kick-backed when you book Prive through him.

    $299 plus ~30% in taxes and fees for 3 nights is about $1200, or $1100 once you factor in the property credit. Vs 75,000 points gives value of about 1.5 cents per point had you redeemed. Not the best, so perhaps that’s why you used cash, but I would still be curious to know if Ford ever impacts your decision to book points vs Prive.

  8. Andaz Mayakoba is a place that confirms why you want to be a Globalist. Just a great place as Lucky described… but Globalist package is great. Great value on points, beautiful suite that is an easy upgrade, amazing free breakfast, complimentary boat tour for Globalists. This is a favorite of mine.

  9. @ Vinny — Good question. No, to be honest Ford’s situation doesn’t really impact whether or not I use points. I paid ~$1,170, but then you have to factor in the $100 credit I received, plus the roughly 15,000 World of Hyatt points I earned (including 4x points on the World of Hyatt Card for all $1,170, and 11.5x points on the $900 base spending). So I paid $1,170, but I got $325 in value, so really it only “cost” me $845 compared to redeeming points. I would have gotten just ~1.12 cents per point, which isn’t very good.

  10. Lol @the chocolate spinning top toy. I just got back from rosewood Mayakoba and we were the only non Jewish or non Russian guests

  11. This place is a run of the mill hotel. Nothing particularly unique about it, could be most beach resorts in most places. Service was meh, food was meh but expensive (just look at Lucky’s prices). And 25k points is ridiculous

    Head to the (now Marriott) Luxury Collection Hacienda’s inland instead. Each one is unique, you’re away from the tourist crowds, they have significantly above average rooms (outdoor hot tubs/pools, four poster beds etc) and you can head to Aztec ruins few tourists venture to, but which are spectacular e.g., Uxmal. You’ll see the Yucatan peninsula in a whole different way.

    We did most of the Hacienda’s, then went to the Andaz. And wished we had skipped the Andaz.

  12. Great review, property seems nothing extraordinary and yes environmentally controversial. Totoaba is sold in many upscale restaurants in CDMX and they claim it is sustenaible.
    Don’t forget Mexico (and the rest of the world) is not US and does not have the stingy wages act for servers in the US, so 18% is actually quite steep when 10% in Mexico is already good. Locals claim that gringos ruin the local culture and this is part of it. Do what you want with your money but don’t forget outside of US there are different traditions and customs.

  13. I stayed at the Rosewood next door. It is more expensive, as you say, but seems significantly more upscale. Most of all I found it to be quiet—the pools (lots of them), breakfast room always felt empty in a good way. No waiting for coffee, as in your case. The Spa/Gym, at the Rosewood is the best part.

  14. Giant rip off . Cancún is filled with nice hotels with amazing food nearby for 1/5 the price. Property looks nice though.

  15. Thanks to Ford/Travel Society, I just booked a Prive rate there for memorial day weekend (at $219 a night!!) and I can’t wait to stay there. Great review!

    Loved Grand Hyatt Playa Del Carmen, now I’m excited to try this next.

  16. Holy cow those are expensive prices for food (in Mexico). I’d expect those kinds of prices here in Seattle, but definitely not in Mexico. Yikes.

  17. The service at the Andaz Mayakoba was one of the worst my family has ever experienced at any high end Hyatt. And it appears it hasn’t gotten any better. Hopefully Hyatt steps in with management changes if things don’t improve.

  18. The food prices are much more reasonable when they’re a tax write off. Also don’t forget the $100 credit. $20 cocktails and $500 dinners don’t phase Lucky.

    That being said the best food down there is $1 al pastor tacos. Don Sirloin should have a Michelin Star.

  19. My family was there back in November. I found the service to be on point for the price. The staff was friendly without being overbearing. They engaged with my 3 year old teaching her Spanish. Beach service seemed attentive. Perhaps since November is still probably considered off season or shoulder season, capacity was down which gave more of a personal feel to the service? I actually recall a couple occasions where I felt they really went overboard to accommodate us. Perhaps worth noting that I also feel uncomfortable where I am waited on hand and foot so I tend to feel awkward at ‘ultraluxe’ properties. Agree that the amount of points to stay here just doesn’t line up with the rates. We paid less then 1K for 5 nights. Being based in the Chicago suburbs, I probably would have a tough time staying in a courtyard Marriott for that price.

  20. That’s an absurd high level of tipping for Mexico. But I guess it is influenced by the high number of US visitors that are anyway used to those ranges of tipping.
    I doubt you would find a single Mexican visitor tipping that.much.

  21. That dinner at Casa Amote looks incredibly overpriced for the small quantity of food. Understand it’s fine dining, but seriously. I would’ve need a burger and chips to fill me up after that.

  22. I was skeptical about Cancun, since I grew up going there before it was created (alright, Boomer 🙂 ), but it has evolved into literally our favorite escape for a long weekend.
    Do not know how you feel about all inclusives, but we had a grand time at the Cancun Zilara.
    USA Transfers is excellent.
    Next time, if you have an early arrival, add a visit to Chichen Itza, drive through Valladolid. It will burn up the first half of your day while you are waiting for your room to be ready. It also exceeded our expectations.
    BTW, who watches Winston when Ford and you travel together?

  23. @RayG we go to PDC every Nov or Dec and it’s never crowded. Best time to go especially a few weeks away from actual holidays. Service is always good at almost every property we’ve stayed. Tip: skip the Thompson…loud and feels like a spring break property.

    @NB, as an accountant with many restaurant clients in U.S. it is surprising just how much waiters can make even at $2.13/hr One restaurant has two top waiters who bring in $85k/yr. And menu prices are middle of road. Most waiters don’t do it fulltime, though. Even so, many make $40k + at 25 to 30/hrs weekly.

  24. I agree the tipping suggestions are high, but aren’t these US chains targeting tourists from the USA? Home away from home on all aspects!

  25. I noticed on the picture of the buffet breakfast bill, the amount of $1400 seems to be in pesos even if the currency sign is USD. Then there is US $75 listed. That does not seem outrageous.

    Lucky, can you clarify weather the price list for spa services is in US $ or pesos?

  26. All prices are in Mexican pesos as noted on each menu. They don’t seem outrageous in US $s.

  27. Totoaba is endangered because some lunatics in China ( a small number, not ALL Chinese) believe the bladder to be therapeutic in fertility/virility. Naturally not a scintilla of evidence to support the claim, just as there isn’t with Rhino horn or Tiger penises or civet cats. But the poaching continues unabated as Beijing does absolutely nothing to control it ( or the cesspit wet markets in which these things are sold), SARS and COVID-19 cases in point.

  28. Ben, I’m always curious about this when you go to areas with tap water that Westerners generally can’t drink: I see there are two bottles of water in the minibar. But what do you do for the rest of your liquids, and for brushing your teeth and so forth? Is there a dispenser in the room with bottled water? Do you request more bottles?

  29. I’m surprised you didn’t post any pictures of the restaurant menus, as you usually do. I always find them very interesting/helpful.

  30. im glad i read this review since I had no idea Mayakoba area existed/was a thing, since Cancun is now filled with crime, seaweed and packed with people, and Tulum is too far to enjoy.

    that being said, this particular hotel has zero “wow” factor. Seems meh, just whatever. will do more research to see if the other 3 hotels are any better. the rosewood is very famous and pricy but thats all i know about it.

    oh and the tipping? lol. theyre smart on charging the gringos, but those of us who arent from the US know better to skip that part. 😉

  31. The Mayakoba location is fabulous, with almost the best stretch of beach south of Cancun (tops is Maroma in my book). I stayed at Rosewood in 2008, a few months after the property opened (in 2007). At that time what is Andaz today was Mandarin Oriental, and it was more expensive than Rosewood. I did site inspections of all four hotels (including Banyan Tree, which was a few months from opening). The Andaz property looks fairly similar to what I saw then, though I don’t recall the big pool by the beach (perhaps an Andaz addition?).

    What I do recall is that the Mandarin Oriental (which closed around 2012 and then languished as a Blue Diamond resort), had the best beach access of the four properties — no small consideration for those paying top dollar to stay at a beach resort. And although the Mayakoba developers did their best to position this whole property as eco-friendly, they did have their way with a lot of dynamite to create the canals, which had a disturbingly ravaged appearance in 2008.

  32. My wife and I have stayed at Rosewood Mayakoba several times, most recently last Feb and it is one of our favorite places. Love staying in the overwater suite on the lagoon and enjoying the wildlife. Would highly recommend if you have the opportunity to go.

    Side note, Rosewood frequently has a fourth night free offer in place which we could combine with the Citi Prestige Card fifth night rebate offer which considerably lessened the hit at checkout.

  33. I thought about booking until I read about how it was carved into mangroves, that was enough to put me off completely.

  34. A couple of quick comments on yet another fine review by Lucky. 🙂

    The hotel and grounds appear to be really nice, and I’d definitely consider staying there is traveling to the Riviera Maya were on a proposed itinerary (it’s way down the list at the moment though). With respect to tipping, it is interesting that Hyatt normally handles it as being included with the ‘free’ breakfast because Marriott does not. You get a check for $0 but with a line for tipping – lacking that presumptuous suggestion that you tip 18, 20 or 22 percent.

    Lastly, as a side note, naming that one restaurant “Tinta del Pulpo” strikes me as being incredibly unappetizing as this means “octopus ink”! To me, that’s gross as hell. Then again, I refuse to ever eat octopus. For one thing they are very intelligent animals that we should probably leave alone. Secondly, the thought of eating that is gross and the smell (to me) is bleech. Just my opinion, of course. My wife, OTOH, is a big fan of the pulpo.

  35. Such a thorough review, as always! I’m a huge fan of the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, and have been there several times, and stayed once at the Rosewood. The villas at the Banyan Tree are spectacular, customized with beautiful local art, each with private swimming pools (as opposed to plunge pools), and the beach club has a much more upmarket feel than the Andaz and feels like less of a generic hotel. Service and dining are excellent, with the Thai restaurant Saffron our single best meal on the last trip. Highly recommended for your next trip. The Rosewood was very good, but we found it more sterile than the Banyan Tree, and for the price would stick with that. The Fairmont has great dining options – especially the beachfront restaurant/bar – but the resort overall is very family-oriented.

  36. USA Transfers is the best, they are always right outside the door of the airport always on-time and ready for you. You have to ignore all the people inside the terminal that will try to book you on their service just keep your head down till you are at the door and USA transfers will be there with a smile.

  37. Interesting, I was just there last week also. Wonder if we overlapped but I didn’t see you by the beach at all. I actually wasn’t too impressed with the hotel. I guess I was expecting something like the Maui Andaz but the service at this property didn’t even come close. My shower flooded one night and they didn’t even seem to really care. Would probably not go back to this property and would try the Grand Hyatt or Thompson in PDC instead.

  38. Lucky, excellent review. I have visited twice with my family. Just a few points I would add:

    1) We have always received warm friendly service whenever we have visited. The staff is wonderful with kids. Excellent kids club. My 4 year old daughter remembers her favorite staff by name, and they remembered her by name when we visited the second time. We observed the staff genuinely trying hard, and empowered to express their personality. Hence, the service comes across as genuine, in our opinion. For that reason, if there were a few honest mistakes, we didn’t mind.

    2) Lucky, I am surprised you didn’t discuss the All Inclusive options this property offers. When I went in December, you could add on the Open Kitchen package for $115 USD per adult person, per night. You could also add this package to a points reservation, as we did. Children 5 and under are free, and there is a reduced price for older children. This included all house drinks, cocktails, and menu items at Cocina Milagro & Tinto del Pulpo, and many items at Casa Amate and Sotavento (some items had a supplemental charge if you were on this plan). Service charge was included in this rate, so you did not feel compelled to add a tip at every meal, unless you felt like it. There was also a Premium package that included premium drinks/liquors and had no exclusions at the fancier restaurants.

    This was a great value for Non-Globalists (Breakfast alone was $35 USD per person), especially if you planned to send your time at the Andaz resort, and were not planning to eat at other Mayakoba resorts. With a child, that was easy and convenient for us. After the new WOH points redemption change for Dining, I also confirmed that one could settle the all-inclusive dining charges at checkout using points. That would be very valuable to me for future visits.

    3) As a Discoverist, I don’t have any suite upgrades. But I never had difficulty booking suites using standard suite awards for 40,000 points per night. I would like to point out the Beach Area Suites are also considered a Standard Suite, so I believe Globalist Suite Upgrades could be confirmed into Beach Area Suites, if they are available. Furthermore, even as a Discoverist, the property upgraded me into Ocean View Suite the first time, and a Beach/Ocean Front Suite the second time (from the Beach Area Suite) just by asking nicely.

    In summary, my family and I love this property. It is great with kids, and now that WOH ponts can be redeemed for the Open Kitchen Package at a reasonable rate, it is even better.

  39. Hey Ben – was your suite’s plunge pool heated or unheated? Always hard to find that distinction listed online.

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  41. Great review.
    Spent a birthday 15 months ago at Banyan Tree and toured a bit through Andaz which we found to be a much younger crowd. Amazingly good memories.
    The compound resort is filled with activities. The beach was very well tended.
    We had a villa with a nice large private pool and almost never saw other guests. Two days is enough, though.
    Down the road is Playa del Carmen and beyond that the stretch leading to Tulum with alot of interesting spots to explore (Esencia, Nomade, et al.)

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