Banyan Tree Mayakoba
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Blissfully Relaxing for the Body, Mind, and Soul
"At last, we had been waiting for the Banyan Tree Mayakoba to open up for years. Having had the pleasure to experience the Banyan Tree in Phuket, Thailand and Mahe, Seychelles, we were very anxious for one to open up close to us. Thankfully they did and it was just as beautiful and amazing as only the BT can be. The Banyan Tree is very special. Itâs more than just a luxury resort with beautiful decor and an amazing architecture. Itâs an eco-friendly luxury resort that touches all your senses. Itâs blissfully relaxing for the mind, body and soul. The staff are very friendly and helpful. They are around for all your needs but are never all over you. When we were there, I unfortunately became sick towards the end of our stay. One of the managers, Ms. Young, was so attentive to my needs. Not only did she take care of canceling pre-arranged excursions and arranging for a special massage, she also brought us all the menus of the resort to our room and allowed us to order from any restaurante and even had them make a special chicken noodle soup for me that was not on the menu. I was asked by just about everyone at the resort as to how I was feeling. Ernesto, who worked by the beach club, brought me a special drink for my sore throat, and Denis the residence sales person sent someone to the pharmacy for some medicine for me. Truly, they were all amazing. FYI â it was NOT the swine flu. We went to the BT at the end of March (3 Â½ weeks from their opening) for 5 nights with our 2 small children, 4 yrs old and 9 months old. We were celebrating my 40th birthday and we all had a fantastic time. My 4 yr old son, a social butterfly, got to know just about everyone and they all knew him by name. He particularly enjoyed playing with Ernesto by the beach. Although the resortsâ villas are not really set up for small children, they provided all the necessities to make it work and the resort itself was child friendly. It had just the right amount of activities, toys, and special meals to keep our children happy. Having read the previous review, however, weâre a bit disappointed to learn that they may be changing their policy and not allow children under 12. This would be a big mistake in my view. They have everything in place to make this a 5 star resort for all including families with small children. There were a couple of other families with small children like us during our stay and it seemed to work perfectly. I truly hope they rethink this policy. We were asked to return again and were planning on it. Now, I feel a little perplexed that they would want to shun away families. A little more information; Security â If you are at all like me -- I was a nervous wreck about going to Mexico because of all the news about the drug cartel war â then you should be happy to know you need not worry about it at all. We always felt completely safe and there was plenty of security around the resort as well. Villa â Our 2 bdrm villa by the beach was just perfect. We had a chance to see the terrace residences but did not like the layout nor the view. However, the villas are beautiful and follow the BTâs open layout overlooking the private pool. It is completely private with plenty of space. It has everything you need; robes, slippers, beach bags, mosquito repellent, toiletry bags, bar, snacks, flat screen tv, ipod, wifi, espresso maker, fruit, wine, large rooms, outside shower and tub. The villaâs are very eco-friendly and feel luxurious at the same time. The pavilion was particularly awesome. We spent a lot of time in the pavilion and in our private pool and hot tub. The only complaint we had, but did not really voice, was that the 2nd flr room had a funny odor â I think it was from the bathroom plumbing. However, our children were too small to really use the 2nd flr so we were not bothered by it. Iâm sure they will sort it out as they had only been open for 3 wks. Food â The breakfast buffet -- with eggs made to order â was amazing. There was a plethora of choices between hot and cold dishes, Mexican and Asian fares, and just about anything you could think of and all delicious. We really enjoyed breakfast. We typically had lunch by the beach at Sands, and the food was very good plus it was just perfect to be sitting by the beach while having lunch. We also had snacks by the pools and they were all good. Our favorite restaurant was Saffron. It took us back to our time in Thailand and Seychelles. In fact, BT brought over the chef from BTâs Phuket, Thailand resort â although, I remembered Saffron tasting better in Thailand and their portions being larger too. We tried Oriente, which was fine but nothing special and didnât get a chance to try Tamarind since it was for adults only. Service â Thereâs nothing to say other than spectacular. They are not in your face and you are not assigned a âbutlerâ as other places like to do. I prefer it the way BT does it â everyone is friendly, helpful and are ready to attend your needs - you need only ask. Beach â The beach was great. I didnât know what to expect from Mexico but this part of the Maya Riviera area is just beautiful. Not the best beach ever â I still think Mahe, Seychelles has the best beach in the world â but still beautiful. Besides, the beach service, lush loungers and the cool breeze just made it simply delicious. Pools â The pools are beautiful except that they are not heated. This made it ârefreshingâ at times but usually heated up by the sun very nicely. The kidâs pool is a very nice for young children. The swim up bars had just opened up the day we arrived which we were very happy about. The service by the pool was fantastic and we were thrilled that they started food service by the pools as well. Activities â this is not a place with ânightlifeâ or set activities. It is a tranquil, blissful, delicately beautiful place that will leave you feeling relaxed and enjoying every bit of detail that only BT knows how to do so well. BTW, they do have an exceptional Golf course and their Spa is infamous for a reason. Go and enjoy and ask them not to change their children policy because this is an amazing resort for the whole family! Just a side note for the BT manager: If BT wants to ensure that the resort does not get too crowded with children in order to keep the spa-feel BT is know for, I would suggest changing their policy were no children under 12 would be allowed only during the highest peaks of spring break and the like. I thought it was perfect when we went."
- Travel date: 28th April 2009
Paradise on Earth
"Having known, but never experienced, Banyan Tree's reputation my family and I couldn't wait till the opening of this fantastic resort. I was somewhat concerned that we were going to a resort that just opened six weeks prior to our arrival but I have to say that if anybody else is concerned don't be. The greatest asset to any resort are its employees and this resort has hit a home run. The fusion between the Asian influence and Mexican hospitality is a marriage made in heaven. There several pros and cons: Pros: 1) Service & Pool Attendants - Again its greatest asset, they were personable and engaging, not distant and aloof 2) Rooms - We had a Sunset 2 Bedroom Villa and it was beautiful - huge pool and lounge area we couldn't get over the size of it, ideal for a family - turn down service a real plus 3) Saffron Restaurant - Alberto and Roberto are great, best Thai food I have had in a long time 4) Breakfast buffet - Everything you could want, the waiters and waitresses would carry your plates back for you and always had a smile to greet you. 5) Spa: For the love of God go!!!!! Treated like Royalty, I believe they had 16 separate rooms it was huge. Cons: 1) Other then Saffron the other restaurants were average, and considering what we paid it should have been better, I have to say our last night we had dinner at Oriente my wife and mother in laws dinner was below standard but the waiter and chef were polite and concerned - we were not charged. I was so impressed with this resort that when I got home I wanted to make a reservation for the same time I went down this year because I know that this place will be a hit. When I went to make a reservation I read the Terms and Conditions and to my utter astonishment they are not accepting children under the age of 12. My children are 8 & 4 and I wasn't the only family with children that were the same age or younger, so it came as a surprise to me. I have been to Las Ventanas and One & Only Pamilla and I believe Banyan Trees rule for children is going to alienate a lot of families. I also feel duped, it should have been their policy in the first place and I believe that my family is owed an explanation - I never would have brought my family there if that was going to be their policy because they loved it there."
- Travel date: 22nd April 2009
AMAZING, UNIQUE, A RARE FIND -- it was so special it felt like a honeymoon
"My husband and I loved every minute at the BT. The service was professional, warm and welcoming. They were always there when needed but not in your face annoying. We stayed for 5 nights and couldve easily stayed longer. The villa was spectacular. Yyou could tell that the designers, both for the villas and the resort, thought every possible detail through. The decor, beauty, privacy and overall feel that the place has is special. Our private pool was much larger than what we were expecting and the different outdoor lounge areas (one is in the sun, another shaded and covered) were great. The placement of the hammock with the "back staircase of the pooL" was very cool too. The interior of the villa was clean, refreshing, cool, unique and pretty. The little "gifts" that housekeeping left each night at turn-down service was a really nice touch as well...The outdoor bath was great too and we loved making that our dusk ritual! The breakfast at the BT was the best breakfast buffet i've ever had with homemade breads, mexican dishes, asian dishes, cheeses, muffins, donuts, cereals, yogurts, fresh berries and fruits, 10 different types of fresh juices, omelets to order, and the list goes on. From the service to the freshness to the beautiful display, we were very happy each morning. We dined at Saffron and Tamarind and loved both. The bar at La Copa was a bit disappointing as there was not much atmosphere and although the waitresses were extremely nice and put in their best effort, it seemed to be a bit "off" and my husband's martini was not so good. Also, we were a bit surprised that instead of bringing over nice "accoutrements" to go with our cocktails, they brought over nuts and a type of bagged "chex mix". Javier, the bartender at the main pool, however, was great and made up for any mediocre drinks we had the night before! The yoga studio was not quite ready (BT had just opened 3 wks before our arrival) but they immediately mentioned Eduardo, who could come and "stretch" us for 1 hour complimentary. He met us on the beach our 2nd day and we did our stretching/yoga right there!!!! It was magnificent and he was a great instructor. We did 2 more sessions with him during our stay. The spa experience was unique as well. BT has brought girls over from the BT in Thailand to work at the spa and they have the most sweet, gentle manner. They immediately set the tone for your spa day. The treatments are each done in a private villa and my husband and I loved the few minutes before and after they give you with refreshments and fresh drinks. It was a nice touch. The beach/pool area is breathtaking. The beach attendants are at your service and extremely pleasant, especially Victor who set us up each day. All of the beach chairs and pool chairs are cushiony and can be pushed together to make a bed-type lounge which is nice. They dont want you to lift a finger and insist on moving and doing everything for you! They come over with mini treats throughout the day too. Overall, the entire resort is so beautiful and so unique that you definitely slow down your pace and relax. The asian feel that BT has made us feel like we were in Thailand, yet the Mexican touches blend nicely as well. We will definitely be back and would HIGHLY recommend BT to anyone....even families. We saw some children here, although overall I would say BT is more for adults.....but its nice to know children are allowed and you can still have this magnificent, wonderful vacation at BT and include your kids!"
- Travel date: 17th April 2009
IIncredible rooms and impeccable service in your private oasis
"Banyan Tree Mayakoba is recently opened and is a 45 minute drive from the Cancun International Airport. We used Eurocar and they had very good rates and service. We had the lowest category pool villa and it met our expectations and we were very pleased with the room. You have a large walk-in closet that has umbrellas, mosquito spray, slippers, bathrobes, safe, etc. Basically, you need to bring only sunscreen, as far as those extras you might think you need. The rooms have a nice feature by the bed that is a privacy switch that lights up outside your villa, so noone will disturb you! Different rooms have more privacy, so check out the site plan before booking if you want utmost privacy. They have rooms we found out for families etc. Food: The food at the beach club is fantastic, so make sure you have some meals there as it is really worthwhile(see photo). The sevice was excellent, especially for being so new to open. The pool attendents as well were very attentive to all our needs. The beach is a 15-20 minute walk as we walked it one time, took the boat another time, and the carts other times. The boat runs every 30 minutes and the carts can be called by calling from your room or a staff member at the beach club will call. There is no reason to complain about getting from the main resort to the beach and it amazes me how impatient or lazy people are, but that is a whole other story. Suffice it to say, it is nice to have the quiet and classy pool area near the beach, instead of a high rise! The dinner at Tamarind was excellent as well. My only complaint was that the wine menu was 1-2 pages and listed no wines by the glass. I assume with the property so new, that this will change in the near future. Service again was excellent. We had breakfast at Oriente and it was a buffet, but a pretty good one and they had made to order omelets,eggs, and waffles. The spa area has all Thai trained therapists and our messages were excellent and the staff here tries to go out of there way to being nice. So in closing, why stay here if you aren't familiar with the Banyan Tree Brand(Thailand based company)-privacy, great service, the ability to just stay in your villa area and relax. This is a place to just get away from it all at a place that few will ever experience. Forget about Playa del Carmen, as it is like going to a flea market. You have the ability to eat at other resorts in the Mayakoba "compound", so you never have to leave the area, and other than to go to Tulum or Chichen Itza why would you want to leave one of the paradises on earth. The Mexican staff and people are very friendly and we will be returning to the Banyan Tree in the future."
- Travel date: 8th April 2009
"This newly opened property is BT's first venture into Mexico. The design and decor of the property is exceptional. Both the rooms and public spaces represent an imaginative and successful fusion of Mexican and Asian styles. The Banyan Tree hotel is actually one of five hotels in a cluster. Each hotel is totally self-contained but they share a Greg norman designed golf course and tennis courts. The spa, however, is totally self-contained to Banyan Tree and up to BT's normal high standards. We found the food quality in the three restaurants to be impeccable and imaginative, especially in Saffron which replicates some of the signature dishes from the original Saffron in Thailand. Environmental considerations required that only 15% of the hotel's facilities could be beachfront (these are villas with numbers in the 800s). To get from the main property to the beach club requires a 15 min walk, a 5 min bicycle ride (bicycles provided free) or an enchanting ride on an electric-powered (and therefore silent) Duffy luanch from the main hotel dock through a series of mangrove swamps (interesting fauna and flora en route). The Sands restaurant at the beach club serves very good light lunches. Perhaps the only drawbacks are the size of the beach club and the number of deck chairs etc relative to the capacity of the hotel. If the hotel were full and all guests wanted to be at the beach, capacity would be insufficient. The beach itself is good, four rather than five star (good quality sand but not that deep and strong undertow on windy days). Service was remarkable, competently as well as willingly given. Banyan tree has done a great job of recruiting locals and training them to deliver its very high service standards."
- Travel date: 7th April 2009
Spacious, comfortable resort with truly 5 star amenities
"When we were booking our vacation in January, we were thrilled to learn that we could be experiencing the renowned Banyan Tree's amenities and service without going all the way to the other side of the globe. We were a little hesitant at first because we would be one of the first guests at the hotel since the hotel officially opens on March 1st. However, our 6 days stay at the hotel was thoroughly enjoyable despite the hiccups and kinks of a resort that's still ramping up. The Banyan Tree experience started right from the moment we got into the car. The hotel has a fleet of Cadillac Escalades & Chevy Suburbans to ferry the guests from/to the resort. The driver offered us cold towels and water bottles to freshen us up; and as the car drove out the airport for the hotel, the spa music playing in the car put us into a relaxing mood. We were greeted by a resort host as we arrived. She offered us a refreshing drink as we were waiting in the lobby while the luggage was being loaded into a buggy. We had a brief tour and orientation of the resort as we were being driven to our villa. Our 2-bedroom villa was spacious (to say the least --- total of appx. 2500 sq. ft. of indoor space and 2500 sq. ft. of outdoor space). We loved the private pool and the hot tub, and we especially enjoyed pavillion with the humongous lounge sofa. The master bedroom suite was very comfortable and the large bathroom (almost as large as the bedroom) was well laid out and very functional. The outdoor bath and shower is a very nice touch (a separate indoor shower is there as well... which we used mostly). The 2nd floor bedroom has 2 double-sized beds and a separate bathroom. The rooms were were spacious, comfortable and offered a lot of privacy. The hotel provides a buggy services to get around the resort. There's also a boat service that links the main lobby to the beach club, which is about a mile away. Bicycles are also provided to each guests to get around the resort... a nice touch. Because the hotel was opened for only 2 weeks, the restaurants were not fully operational. We were famished by the time we checked in, but we found out that the restaurants opened at 7PM (which is 9PM our time)... so the only option was a room service. For breakfast, a buffet breakfast at the Oriente was the only choice. However, the meals were delicious and well prepared. We loved the mix of local Mayan cuisine blended with a touch of Thai and east asian dishes. The Sands at the beach club had some nice selections, and we mostly ate there for lunch... Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, and we're looking forward to our return when the resort is fully operational. Some comments & suggestions: - our resort host was very gracious. However, we only saw her the first day and there was no follow up. For a 5 star resort, following up on guests should be standard. - we had some issues with the temperature of the hot tub, it was too cold in the morning and got way too hot in the afternoon... it was solved eventually, but it took about 2 days to get it fixed.. - the bicycles are great! However, smaller sized bicycles should be provided... my children who are 16 and 11 had problems getting on & riding them because they were so big! - A/C on the 2nd floor and bathroom plumbing weren't working properly... not unexpected for a resort that's been opened for only 2 weeks and still working out the kinks though... - We loved the espresso machine! Also the daily fruit service and incense in each room are nice touch. :)"
- Travel date: 4th April 2009
Wonderful, beautiful, but very pricey
"Just came back from a short stay at Banyan Tree Mayakoba. We wanted to have a nice romantic getaway and Thailand or Malaysia was a bit too far away. This was perfect for that as it beautifully blends Asia and Mexico. The other reviewers are spot on - everything is impeccable. The service is really outstanding. The food is wonderful. The rooms are amazing. It's really geared towards a quiet and elegant getaway. It's so far away from the party Cancun atmosphere. I would totally recommend this resort to anyone...who doesn't care about price. We got a great deal on it and if you can get the same, go for it. But the base level rooms are about $690 a night currently on their website and I think their list price is $1100 or more. The rooms are wonderful, but probably not worth that. Also you must consider that everything has an additional 25% tacked on - 10% taxes and 15% service fee...NOT including tips. For examples of the extra charges you might expect - $275 airport transfer (each way), $200 massage, etc. Breakfast for two is around $85 (without tips). The dinners are excellent but the portions are small and we wanted appetizer, entree, and dessert. Even without wine that's going to cost $200 for two. The best meal we had was at a little local Mexican seafood restaurant outside of the resort for considerably less money. In conclusion, the result is everything that's been said already, just expect to pay top dollar for it...plus 25% (tips not included)."
- Travel date: 1st April 2009
If you have the $$$ this is the place to be
"My girlfriend and I did not stay at this hotel; we stayed at the Fairmont on the same property but went over for dinner and wow! My girlfriend is an architect and said it is one of the most stunning properties she has ever seen, in a rendering or otherwise, and I would agree. When you walk in, the first thing you see is a 40 ft. Banyan Tree in the middle of a large basin of still water. Most of the hotel is open air and the design is brilliant. The staff to guest ratio is 4:1; the service is impeccable. We had dinner at Saffron, the signature restaurant, and it was very intimate. We were eating on a dock in the middle of a lagoon (that surrounds the entrance features) listening to crickets and a harp player in the background. The food was good but not representative of the price. You are really paying for the hotel, staff, and atmosphere. That being said, they have flown in Thai chefs for the first year to train the staff. After a wonderful experience at Saffron, we looked at a few of the rooms and took a tour of the property. The standard suite at ~ $650 a night has a large private plunge pool and a beautiful outdoor courtyard. The rooms are well appointed and very nice. As for all the resorts on this property (e.g. Rosewood, Fairmont, Viceroy, and Banyan Tree), MOST of the rooms are a ways away from the ocean and you either have to take a golf cart or a bicycle to the beach. For the price they charge, people could be disappointed in this aspect. Depending on what you value in a vacation this is either a fantastic experience or grossly overpriced. Great if you value: -impeccable service -amazing architecture and detail -beautifully appointed rooms -privacy/intimacy Not if you value: -Great views (unless you pay up for beachfront, which will cost you) -great food, ('Charlie trotters-esque' - youâre paying those prices) -easy accessibility to the ocean -sunsets (youâre on the east coast) - are at all worried about $$$"
- Travel date: 30th March 2009
"Just returned from the Banyan Tree. My wife and I had an amazing time at this first-class location. The villas are awesome. Very private and isolated. If you are looking for a 5-star location with privacy and relaxation, this is you place. The service from top to bottom is exceptional. You are treated first class from the moment you arrive till the time you depart. The villa pools are awesome, the beach is great. They even let you use bikes during your stay to get around the venue. We will visit the Banyan Tree again and again."
- Travel date: 20th March 2009
Banyan Tree makes a triumphant entry into North America with this AMAZING resort
"As loyal Four Seasons customers, we have high standards and were very excited about a BT resort coming to North America. In many ways, the BT Mayakoba is comparable to the neighboring Rosewood resort where we stayed last year. The Rosewood is a wonderful resort, but the BT is even better and compares favorably to many of the Four Seasons resorts. Please read this review with the caveat that this resort literally is brand new as opened just a week ago. We were met at the Cancun airport by a BT representative and escorted to a sleek luxury SUV. We were promptly given cool towels and bottles of water. The resort is tucked away in a remote area of the Mayakoba development. As we pulled up to the entrance of the resort, we were warmly greeted by our hostess. Our bags were picked up and whisked away to our villa. Our hostess took us on a mini tour of the resort. The reception area boasts a very impressive design. The resort is an interesting fusion of Asian and Mexican architecture. It is very sleek, sophisticated, modern and luxurious. We were seated and brought more cold towels and a refreshing drink. The check in process was completed in our villa. As we drove through the resort, it is obviously in more of a âsoftâ opening mode. Many of the villa interiors are not completed and there was a small army of people working throughout the resort. We stayed in a spa villa. As you walk through the door, a large courtyard provides a tranquil setting. There are walls on each side which give the villa a great deal of privacy and a feeling as if you are in your own private compound. There is a very large plunge pool and adjoining hot tub in the center. A huge double chaise lounge overlooks a small table and chair situated at the edge of the courtyard. The villa has a nice view of the canal/lagoon and great care has been taken to preserve as much of the greenery as possible. On one side of the courtyard is the living area complete with table and chairs, wine refrigerator, cappuccino maker, snack and drink bar, plasma TV and a gigantic, comfortable sofa. The bedroom is on the opposite side of the courtyard. It is large, comfortable, well decorated and very luxurious. There is a definite Asian vibe. The finishes are all of superior quality and design. Very few corners have been cut and little expense spared. There are floor to ceiling windows and doors on two sides. Both sliding doors give you access to a small deck and the pool. One omission was there was not a seating area on the deck. The bathroom was a rather weak area. It is well done except for the layout. It is dominated by huge a circular vanity which holds two beautiful sink basins on opposite sides with a large circular mirror in the middle. There is not a great deal of room to maneuver. The separate water closet is spacious and stylish. The indoor shower is also well done. The closet is a good size with plenty of space and storage for clothes. As you walk from the closet to the water closet, there is a scale awkwardly placed in the middle of the path. The outdoor shower is a great disappointment as there is a cheap shower head attached to the side of the wall. Off the bathroom area are sliding doors which lead to a walled in area with an immense outdoor tub. There is a flight of stairs outside which leads up to the spa treatment area. There is a great outdoor shower (which should have been downstairs!) that is not private at all. There is also a separate sink basin, large chaise and two spa treatment tables. There is a nice view of the lagoon. The entire villa area is exceptionally well done. It is a great space if you want to just hang out and enjoy your privacy. Walking around the courtyard is somewhat of a challenge as the pool is irregularly shaped and there are sharp angles. It is NOT a good space for small children. There is an emphasis on high tech as there is free WI-FI, a Boze music and alarm system, an Ipod docking station and a DVD/CD player. The spa is only partially complete. An entire water treatment area complete with changing areas will not be opening for another month or so. When completed, it will be fantastic. There are many individual treatment villas which are completed. The lovely Thai women at the spa are very friendly, and I enjoyed both treatments. The food, for the most part, is very good. I find many new resorts struggle with the quality of the food soon after opening. For the most part, this was not the case at the BT Mayakoba. The breakfast at the Oriente restaurant was superb. There was a nice selection of fruits, pastries and juices on the buffet. The hot items at the buffet were not available yet. You could order the hot items off the menu. The staff at the Oriente is amazing! They are so efficient and friendly. When you fill your plate at the buffet, they take your plate back to your table. The supervisor of the Oriente has done a remarkable job in such a short time. He made sure my favorite juices were on the table shortly after my arrival and presented us with a special treat on our last morning. We did have room service in our villa one night. The in villa dining menu is still limited and we found the food to be unremarkable and very overpriced even by five star resort standards. Much to our great disappointment, the Thai restaurant, Saffron, was not yet open. The Thai chef has just arrived and it will open soon. We tried the Tamarinde restaurant which offers âMediterranean spaâ cuisine. The food was decent, however the portions were small and the prices were very high. We thoroughly enjoyed Sands, the restaurant at the beach. It has a very elegant yet casual atmosphere. The staff is excellent and the food was excellent. The portions were generous and although the prices were relatively high, the quality of the food was top notch. The gym was fairly small but well done. The trainer is very helpful. Housekeeping was probably the best we have ever experienced. There were some days when they cleaned for over two hours and did a very thorough job. Turn down service was also very well done. They leave you little gifts on the bed every night. The little things such as providing incense, oil burners and bags filled with toiletries in the villa are nice touches. I can rave about the service for days. We have been to some of the finest resorts in the world, but I can say with a great deal of confidence the service level here was at the top of the list! Granted, there were very few guests during our stay and there was a small army of staff to wait on us. However, we expected a number of mishaps and snafus during their first week of opening, yet we experienced none. What makes the staff so special and unique is the level of genuine warmth they provide. As a Thai based resort, the BT Mayakoba has managed to infuse the competence and politeness of Asia with the warmth and friendliness of Mexico. Many of the staff engaged us in conversation and made a special effort to tend to our every need. We came to know many of them by name and they went above and beyond what is required to provide an exceptional level of service. Their warmth, helpfulness, competence and professionalism will undoubtedly set them apart from other resorts. The staff has been trained very well to anticipate and meet the needs of the guests. They are not intrusive but nonetheless are always present. This is no small feat for a brand new resort. The service level far exceeded our expectations and they will surely be close to perfect in short order. The manager of the hotel was very gracious and made a special effort to speak with us. He was very receptive to our comments. He is apparently very hands on as is the rest of the management staff. He gave us a tour of the aforementioned and under construction waterfall complex at the spa. The main inifinity pool is large and has some interesting features. The swim up bar is not complete. The pool attendants are by far the best we have experienced. The beach pool is in a beautiful setting. Both pools were quite chilly as was our pool villa. It is my understanding that they are not heated. There is no need for them to be so during most of the year in Cancun. However, this may be an issue from January-March. We made good use of the pools but they were ârefreshingâ to say the least. Most of the time, we heard little construction noise. However, the sound of jackhammers, drills and the pounding of hammers caused us to flee to the beach one day. The construction should be completed within a month or so and it will no longer be a concern. Do spend time at the main reception area. There is a nice bar on the upper level. There is also an abundance of comfortable chairs and couches that wrap around the entire upper level. In the middle, there is a beautiful courtyard with a Banyan Tree towering in the middle and the canal where boats will take you to the beach. This area has made good use of limestone on the walls and tile on the floor. It is visually stunning. The resort is a bit confusing and not well laid out in some parts. For example, to get from our villa to the pools and Oriente restaurant, you had to walk through the spa and a bar or walk around to the front of the resort! To get to the pool, you then either had to walk through another restaurant or go upstairs and then down a fight of stairs. There are many twisting and narrow paths with lots of stairs and sharp angles. In the six days we were there, the resort was "ramping" up every day as something new was added. I can foresee one problem. Since it is a LONG way from the villas to the beach, many guests will require the use of a buggy. Even with a few guests, we had to wait for a buggy on occasion. We were told they are doing their best to correct this. However, when the resort is full and the weather is hot, the demand for buggies will increase dramatically. The walkways and paths are very narrow. I honestly did not see how two buggies will be able to fit when they are going in opposite directions. Needless to say, the increased buggy traffic and narrow walks will be a challenge. We were surprised at the high level of security. Uniformed guards were stationed throughout the resort and kept a very watchful eye at all times. They were not obtrusive. Given the current situation in Mexico, some may appreciate this. The Cancun/Playa del Carmen area is very safe; however, we did not mind the security precautions. The Banyan Tree Mayakoba is off to a great start in just one week. The villas are fantastic, the architecture is stunning, the service is remarkable and the amenities are top notch. Within a few months and surely within a year, it will undoubtedly become one of the finest resorts in North America, if not the world. We have already planned our return trip. As with the neighboring Rosewood Mayakoba, this Banyan Tree has all of the essentials in place to become a truly great resort."
- Travel date: 13th March 2009
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