Riviera Maya Hotels
Carretera Cancún-Tulum Km. 45, Riviera Maya
Taking a deep bow to the overwater bungalows of Bora Bora, Palafitos is a small resort-within-a-resort composed of stand-alone huts hovering over the cerulean Caribbean. Serviced by its own restaurant, spa, and stretch of white sand beach, you never have to leave the water. Should you wish to leave your bungalow, the sprawling El Dorado—part of Karisma, which is a Mexican owned-and-operated hotel group—offers additional restaurants, pools, and swim-up bars. If you book one a bungalow that faces the ocean, you get unobstructed views of the sea (including below, as stretches of the floor are transparent), your own floating pontoon that you can snorkel off of, indoor/outdoor showers, and all the trappings of a luxury hotel (butler service, beachside picnics, etc). The restaurant is excellent, offering multi-course small plate dinners with lots of gastronomic flourishes—this isn’t Mexican comfort food. While Palafitos is definitely a big draw for honeymooners and special occasion celebrators, its proximity to the Cancun airport makes this an easy choice for a quick weekend away, too.
Carretera Federal Cancún Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya
Rosewood Mayakoba is a huge resort that’s very well run and well-manicured. You’re surrounded by water, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and freshwater lagoons on the other, which you traverse by boat to get around. (You can always get around by bike, which is popular with guests.) It’s hard to get a bad room as they’re all villas—private plunge pools, sun decks, and outdoor showers come with each. (They’re really spacious and great for friends traveling together.) If you want to hole up at the spa every day of your visit, you wouldn’t be blamed—it’s a totally special space, housed on a private island overlooking limestone lagoons and offering up an extensive menu of Mayan-influenced spa treatments and rituals. Come evening, be sure to book a spot at La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen—an 18-seat dining experience under a large Ceiba tree on the property’s 20,000-square foot garden where everyone from hotel guests and staff dine together on a menu crafted from locally-sourced produce and sip wines and tequilas from the region.
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