Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New York to Mexico

The view of the lobby pool at the Rosewood Mayakobá in Mexico.
Two weeks ago it was still cold in New York and I was off for a long weekend to the Rosewood Mayakobá in Riviera Maya, just 40 minutes south of the Cancun, Mexico airport. What made it even more pleasurable is that Continental has a direct flight -- only four hours from New York.

In the 1990s, the construction company of OHL from Madrid unearthed freshwater canals and lagoons that have existed for the last thousand years. The hotel, spa and PGA golf course were built in the mangrove jungle, focusing on the eco-environment.

Each villa is separate, built on either the lagoon or beachfront. There are three ways of getting around the hotel grounds – on foot, by golf cart, and by electric boat.

— Darcy Hodges
This staircase leads to the lagoons where we decided to take an electric boat to lunch at Punta Bonita, the Ocean restaurant. Yuan, the concierge, one of the many friendly faces to accommodate the guest's requests.
The electric boat ride through the Mangroves where we spotted herons and cormorants in the lagoon ... sort of a Venice meets the jungle feel.
The view from Punta Bonita.
It was an exquisite setting for lunch where I first tried and soon finished the Hibiscus Margarita. Then on to the Ceviche, fresh tortilla chips, and another Margarita sample.
On the beautiful white sand beach with Barry and Monica Velcaff from NYC and Travis West with sons Jess and George.
Parasailing along the beach before the storm clouds moved in.
After enough sun for the day, we went back to check out the villa, which was a short walk from the beach. The room was huge and had three showers, plus one outside. Had some fresh fruit in the room and washed it down with a shot of Don Julio tequila.
We cooled off in the plunge pool and spent hours watching the local birds in the mangrove.
Above: A nightcap at the hotel bar with a $90 glass of Don Julio Real tequila. And a look around the wine cellar and billiards room all while a mariachi band entertained. Below: Back in the room for a midnight soak in the bath.
Clockwise from top left: Sense, the hotel's spa; Sense Spa which was under construction during our stay, although it's fully functional upon this writing; A Cenote or ceremonial pool sacred to the Mayan culture leading to the underground rivers; An outdoor rest area overlooking the Cenote; The outdoor spa pool; A zen-like seating area within the spa.
On our second day we scheduled a half-day custom tour to visit the ancient city of Tulum. Manuel Ricardez of 4 Worlds Expeditions picked us up in his SUV, fully stocked with ice water, cold towels, and fresh fruit.
View from the beach of Tulum.
Tulum in all its Mayan glory.
At the park we climbed down a ladder to reach the Cenote (underground river). I thought claustrophobia would set in but the formation of the limestone tunnel was too fascinating to even notice.
The sculpture of a serpent engulfing a woman just outside the ladder we climbed down to reach the underground Cenote. Back at the hotel, I slipped into bed and dreamed of never leaving this place.

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