Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Asian-inspired, serene, private

Ctra Federal Chetumal Pto Juar, Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km 298, Playa del Carmen 77710

(52) 984-877-3688

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At a Glance

Part of the Mayakoba complex, the Banyan Tree rates high thanks to spacious guest villas, an expansive beach club and excellent spa.

Indagare Loves

  • Private villas instead of hotel rooms, each with a pool and expansive indoor/outdoor baths
  • Romantic Thai restaurant for candlelit dinners on the lagoon
  • Pampering spa with Asian-inspired treatments


As the place for its first venture outside of Asia, the Banyan Tree hotel company chose the Riviera Maya. For one, because the beach resort destination is close to the U.S., but also because it offers details close to the company’s own philosophy, including an importance placed on the conservation and preservation of the environment. There are no guest rooms at the Banyan Tree, which opened in March 2009 as part of the Mayakoba complex: all the accommodations are freestanding private villas, with individual gated entries and high walls surrounding them. Each comes with a separate living area and a sizable pool, which is nice if you are traveling with family and friends and want to chill out in the privacy of your own villa during the day.

When choosing your accommodation, it is important to decide if you want to be right by the beach or prefer to be based inland (you can reach the beach by walking or via a golf-cart or bike ride, which depending on where you are situated can take 5-10 minutes). You can choose among ocean-view or ocean-front villas, which are next to the beach club, or you can stay in villas closer to the spa and reception, which overlook the lagoon. Both areas offer a large resort pool area, in addition to the private pools in each villa. Families should book a townhouse, with three interconnected bedrooms and a rooftop pool perfect for lounging while children nap. Some of the other multi-bedroom villas have separated sleeping areas that are suitable only for older kids or couples traveling together.

Banyan Tree has never been shy about its Thai heritage, and at times, the Asian-inspired design, including massive temple-style roofs, seems slightly out of place given the Yucatán location. That said, there are thoughtful Mexican details scattered throughout, like custom-made Talavera sinks, hand-crafted sculptures and local handicrafts. The property scores high in the food department, and the beach club restaurant specializes in local cuisine. Saffron is the more formal restaurant on property (it serves contemporary Thai cuisine), but it is just as welcoming for families with small children.

If you fancy a change of scenery, you can also eat at any of the restaurants within the Mayakoba complex and charge it to your room. The transfer from one Mayakoba hotel to the other is no more than 10 minutes and is complimentary. This is especially good to know since the nearby Playa del Carmen can be overrun with Cancun tourists at times.

Who Should Stay

Families or couples who appreciate the amenities of a full-service resort with the privacy of an individual villa. While there is the option to hide away in your suite without disruption, there is nothing boutique-like about this property; the resort is grand and can accommodate almost any request. Those who prefer a more modern aesthetic should book the Rosewood. The Rosewood also feels more kid-friendly.

Written by Monique Brendel Thofte

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