WOW, 12 Resorts in 10 Days From Cancun to Playa del Carmen. The Low Down for Travel Now or Later
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Mexico with some colleagues of mine. Our goal was to experience first hand how well the people of Mexico were handling the Covid situation, along with the protocols they were taking at the airport, with the transfers and at the resorts. My hope is that this will help others to be able to decide for themselves if they can travel to these areas in Mexico, in a safe way. Please note that IATA, (the International Air Transport Association), determined that you have a very low risk of getting Covid on a plane, (almost 0%), since the air is constantly circulated with the fresh air outside and filtered with a HEPA filter that circulates the air once every 2 to 4 minutes. Everyone must wear a mask and airlines DO take it very seriously.
In 10 days I was able to visit 11 five star and 1 four star resorts and stay at 4 of them, 2 nights at each. I’ll break down each resort and what I experienced with their procedures and let me start out by saying I was very impressed. I’ll also give you feedback on flying out of John F. Kennedy Airport and into Cancun Airport, as well as the transfer companies we used. I would also like to mention that when they say there’s an uprise in cases in Mexico, but they don’t specify on which area, please look into it more, because as of December 5th, the cases were rising drastically in Mexico City, which is very far from the Cancun area. Quintana Roo/Cancun area is doing very well in keeping their numbers low and at bay.
Properties we saw listed as below (click to be directed to that section):
- Le Blanc
JFK Airport, NY
I departed out of JFK. From the time I was dropped off at the Delta terminal, went through check in and security and got to my gate was in about 11 minutes total and yes, I was timing it. I’ve never experienced that at JFK before; the airport was practically empty. It was awesome! There are 6 feet markers everywhere on the floors and signs as reminders to keep your distance and wear our mask. I have Global Entry, (which I highly recommend if you travel at least once or twice a year internationally), so I was able to skip the regular security line and go straight to the TSA line, not that it made a difference at this time, and went through very quickly. Through security, they have antimicrobial bins and once I was at my gate every other seat was blocked off. As far as I could see, majority of people were wearing their masks the proper way (maybe 90%) and some here and there not covering their nose (other 10%). Besides that, it was business as usual with a lot less people flying.
I decided to fly Delta since they were still keeping the middle seat empty, which was very nice. FYI, Delta will be continuing to keep that one seat open until March 2021, while other airlines are back to booking at full capacity. In my opinion, Delta did a great job. They give you a plastic ziplock bag packed with a small water, cookies, sanitizer and sanitizer wipes to wipe down your area. Some passengers must not have been wearing their mask properly, because suddenly the pilot came over the loud speaker and gave a warning that if they did not put their mask on fully and for the whole flight they had no problem going back to the gate and letting them get off. Big applause to that pilot.
Arrival into CUN Airport, MX
Arrival into CUN airport was very quick and easy, since there was also a very small amount of people traveling. Mexico does not require a Covid test to be done prior to your arrival, making it more convenient to travel here. You DO need to fill out a travel form. You can do this prior to your departure and then print it out and show at the airport or if you forget, you can go off to the side and fill out on your phone. You will not be allowed to get your luggage unless this form is filled out. You can find the form here at www.mexicofmm.com. Other than that, the airport was business as usual. Everyone was wearing a mask and there were sanitizer stations along the way to exit outside. Olmedo, my wonderful driver with Maritur DMC, met and picked me up at the exit, sprayed my luggage with sanitizer and once inside the vehicle there was water, sanitizer, gloves, a mask and sanitizer wipes all for me to take, if I wanted. The car looked like it was cleaned extremely well and I felt very comfortable riding in it.
12 site inspections, 4 overnights & a partridge in a pear tree…
Nizuc – 5*, Cancun area, Family Friendly and Adults Only Accommodations
Review: Nizuc, is in my opinion, laid back luxury in Cancun. Situated on a point with no other resorts on either side of them offers a very quiet and private experience and yet is only 10 minutes from the Cancun Airport, which is convenient. Imagine a kind, attentive staff that greets you, and each other, with their hand over their heart every time they pass by you. The grounds are beautiful, the pool looked like a perfect place to relax; nice beaches where even the wifi worked perfectly (this is important, at least it was for me), the food was great and we were even serenated by a fun mariachi band during dinner at Ramona’s. Eduardo, the chef at Ramona’s, is recognized as one of the best chef’s in Mexico! Entertainment, cigar rolling and even several celebrity citing’s were all going on while we were there. I really loved this resort and felt very comfortable.
Tip: Try the Baron Nizuc Margarita at Bar A-Kan! Yum and I’m not even a tequila gal. Also, definitely check out the paddle board yoga in the morning.
Covid Protocols: Their protocols were great. Each and every staff member was wearing a mask at all times. Upon entering the resort lobby there is a sanitizer station for your feet, sanitizer around the grounds and restaurants. The rooms are sanitized before a guest arrives and once sanitized no one is allowed to enter except the guests. The guests were not forced to wear masks, but please keep in mind that everything is open air here, so even in the lobby or walking within the resort is all open to fresh air. Nizuc has passed the government inspection to reopen.
*Virtuoso resort, which is a consortia that my agency is a part of. When you work with a Virtuoso advisor we can have included in your stay: complimentary breakfast for two, per day, per room; $100 hotel credit, per room; the Hydrotherapy experience is included; complimentary upgrade; priority early check in/late check out and complimentary wifi.
Le Blanc Cancun – 5*, All inclusive, Adults only, in the Hotel Zone area
Review: I was pleasantly surprised by this Five Diamond Awarded resort for the last 10 years in a row! They are also #2 Best All Inclusive in Mexico and #5 for Best All Inclusives in the World! Whoa, impressive. The resort was beautiful. Lot’s of space outdoors and in, so plenty of space for privacy and distancing, including three pool areas. When we were hanging out on the beach we couldn’t even tell that there was a resort on both sides of us. You can clearly see it’s a fun, upbeat environment, but not for partiers. I can’t say enough about this resort. Very classy and laid back. Great for honeymooners with the resorts honeymoon package and also wonderful to celebrate with a group or for a corporate retreat. And all guests have access to their sister properties, not too far away, but non Le Blanc hotel guests cannot come on property. You are within a 5 minute walk to wonderful restaurants and shops in the hotel zone and it is all very safe to walk around.
Tip: The hydrotherapy experience at this resort was the BEST out of all the resorts we visited, so I highly recommend trying it. Also, don’t forget to stop by the chocolate shop, K’akau, where they HAND PAINT each and every piece, as well as offer tea and coffee. They were delicious!
Covid protocols: Right from their beautiful, grand entrance you have sanitizer for your shoes, you’re given sanitizer for your hands and then handed a refreshing glass of coconut water. You’ll then go over to a check in desk, where they clean the desk and chairs right in front of you. Then, you are offered a warm neck-warmer while you check in. A perfect way to get your trip started. The resort takes 264 preventative actions for health and safety, including each person working must change their mask every 4 hours with a different color.
*For more of my recommendations and tips please email me.
Chable Maroma – 5*, Member of Leading Hotels of the World, Punta Maroma area, Family friendly
Review: I had the pleasure of staying at Chable Maroma for two nights, which is approximately 35 minutes from Cancun airport. If you like seclusion, peace and quiet and nature, then this resort is perfect. The grounds are like beautiful, easy to navigate mazes from the lobby to your accommodations to the restaurant, spa and beach. Each villa is spacious with its own private, plunge pool, a private entrance and the coolest, and perhaps a little scary, shower. The shower is ceiling to floor glass, so you feel like you’re outdoors. The same with the big window in your room. You can watch some of the friendly animals passing by, like the cute Coati – they’re everywhere, like squirrels here on the East Coast. A lovely breakfast and coffee are delivered to your patio each morning. There’s no entertainment in the evenings, so I think that’s important to know, but the roof top bar and atmosphere don’t make you miss it at all and the resort has a BBQ at the main pool every Friday. It’s the little touches of this resort that makes it special, as well as the wine and tequila tastings offered; a 6 course meal with pairing; cooking classes and they are listed in Wine Spectator Magazine 2019, 2020 for the wines they carry.
Covid Protocols: Upon arrival, the wonderful staff sanitizes each piece of luggage, offers you sanitizer for your hands and shoes and they even sanitized each of our passports! The rooms seemed like they were cleaned very well and the resort passed the Government’s seal of approval protocols in order to reopen.
Tip: Chable Maroma had my favorite beach out of all the resorts in the entire trip. The palm trees are perfectly positioned along the beach for shade, the sand was white and powdery, and the water was perfect. Want a private beach dinner or pre dinner cocktails? No problem. The staff creates the best setting with a big sand pit. Your seats are carved out of the sand with a beautifully set table in the middle.
*Virtuoso resort - when you work with a Virtuoso advisor you will receive complimentary breakfast for two daily; complimentary upgrade upon arrival; $100 resort credit; VIP early check in/late check out. The room mini-bar is included in your stay.
Viceroy Riviera Maya – 5*, Adults only, Riviera Maya area, 35 minutes from CUN Airport
Review: This is a boutique resort we visited for a property tour and delicious lunch under their gorgeous palapa. With only 41 private villas each very spacious with 1000 sq. ft. and with its own private entrance, you never feel like it’s overcrowded. Upon arriving to the outdoor lobby, you’re greeted by a butler and welcomed by a Shaman that performs a very short and beautiful Mayan blessing. You’re given refreshing cold coconut water and then you’re taken to your accommodations. When folks travel to Mexico they like to have all inclusive, while other do not. Well, the nice thing about Viceroy Riviera Maya is that they offer a breakfast rate or the all-inclusive option, so you can get the best of both worlds. 38 out of the 41 villas are jungle views and each villa has a private plunge pool and are decorated beautifully and comfortably. There are 2 beachfront villas, which if you can snag, these are the best rooms at this resort, for obvious reasons – the beach! Cooking classes, mezcal tastings, fresh ingredients for authentic Mexican food, tennis courts two minutes away, a Mayan based spa with a sweat house are all available from this resort. The resort sees a lot of honeymooner’s, corporate and wedding groups, as well as just couples enjoying their time together. Plenty of celebrities and Royalty have also stayed here. I thought the property and accommodations seemed very private and nice. The beach was a little on the smaller side, but plenty of room for guests, since there’s only 41 keys, including cabanas that are first come, first serve. A nice departing gift Viceroy Riviera Maya gives is handmade Mayan soap, which smells lovely.
Tip: Try to schedule the Mayan Bliss – a session with the Mayan Shaman, which is complimentary. Also, you may not see them from the pool, but there are water hammocks along their pier! Definitely relax in those for a bit.
Covid protocols: Upon arrival there are sanitizer bottles on each table for guests to use. The hotel was approved by the Mexican government to reopen with their safety measures and protocols.
*Virtuoso resort – with your stay, booked with a Virtuoso advisor, you will receive full breakfast for two daily; $100 resort credit per stay; complimentary upgrade upon arrival; VIP early check in/late check out.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya – 5*, Family friendly and Adults Only, All inclusive, 40 minutes from CUN Airport
Review: Grand Velas is a part of Legend Preferred Hotels and has been awarded with the Five Diamond Award. It’s a larger resort with three separate buildings. Two are family friendly with kid’s clubs and one is for adults only. The kids club looked amazing for all ages. They offer so much indoors, and out, kids will not be bored. The staff looking over the kids are certified by Red Cross. And if it couldn’t get any better for parents, the resort offers the most amazing ‘Baby Concierge’ that I’ve ever seen. You literally only have to bring the baby and diapers and the resort will provide everything else from cribs to high-chairs, baby tubs, teepee’s in the room and more! Let’s discuss this more in an email or by phone.
Since the resort is still not booking at full capacity, all guests currently get an automatic upgrade to the oceanfront suites in the normally adults only section, lucky you! We can discuss this more in detail via a phone call. The pools are large with lots of space, one of them being world famous, and the ocean was warm and beautiful. A little rocky here and there, but nice for snorkeling. Great restaurants and the food we had was delicious. Not all of the restaurants were open at the time, but this may change by the time you visit. A nice surprise for the kids will be on Christmas when Santa will be arriving! Also, during festive, kids are 50% off.
Tip: The automatic upgrade right now is really nice, so I would recommend trying to take advantage of this. Also, when you book a massage, the hydrotherapy experience is included, an $85 value. If you’re walking around the property and you happen to see a Coati, don’t freak out; he’s basically the resort mascot and very accustomed to humans. You can tell how well fed he is by his big belly!
Covid protocol: Grand Velas was by far the most high tech with their protocols than any of the other resorts. The moment we arrived our temperatures were taken, a heart rate monitor was placed on our finger and we had to answer travel questions on a computer stand. Once a room is cleaned and sanitized they place a sticker across the outside of the door, so no one can enter except the guest. After the check in protocols you can now relax with either a glass of champagne or a refreshing cold tea.
*Virtuoso resort - when you work with a Virtuoso advisor here’s what we can have included in your stay – complimentary upgrade upon arrival; daily breakfast (included in the rate); complimentary one way private transfer; $50 spa credit per day, person, not combinable; welcome bottle of mezcal; VIP early check in/late check out.
Next, the Mayakoba Complex needs a little bit of an explanation of its own before we tackle each resort within. Think of a secure, gated community with four amazing resorts within it. There is a nice, long walking/biking nature trail that goes through each property that links to one another. There are smaller cenotes along the trails that you can stop and visit. In between the 4 resorts is El Pueblito – a small square with a beautiful, Mexican church and a storefront or bar/restaurant that represents each resort and has locally made clothing and gifts. A visit to El Pueblito will not be a regret. I was able to get some really nice, locally made gifts to bring home.
Tip: Since these four resorts are in the same complex you are able to stay at one and eat at any of the others, (with access to 25 restaurants), and charge it back to your room; complimentary transfers between properties too. How amazing is that! You don’t have to worry about carrying your wallet or having money on you. Just charge it back to your room.
1.Banyan Tree Mayakoba – 5*, Family friendly, 40 minutes from CUN Airport
Review: Out of all of our overnights, Banyan Tree Mayakoba was probably my favorite. You feel right at home as soon as you arrive with a beautiful, inviting lobby that overlooks the lagoon at this Asian inspired resort. The staff is very attentive, warm and inviting. The entry level rooms, The Bliss Pool Spa, (our villas), are private and are wonderfully big with a private outdoor entrance to your own yard and plunge pool, (which is a huge understatement). I was able to do laps in my ‘plunge pool’. When you arrive, you’ll find bicycles for each guest in your party, including smaller bikes for the kids. Nature trails, a beautiful sandy beach with a soon to be new beach club and wonderful food options make this a great option for couples, groups and families. And their new Beachfront Suites will be completed this month, December 2020 and they are beautiful. We were able to see a mock up version during our visit.
Tip: I highly recommend booking a breakfast or tapas experience on board their boat through the lagoon. The driver will double as your guide and point out some wildlife with fun facts. The evening tapas ride is a very romantic way to propose...hint hint. My other tip is to ask the front desk to draw you a bath after you get back from dinner and you will arrive back to your villa with the most beautiful, relaxing, romantic set up…and the tub is outdoors. Put on a little music from the Bluetooth stereo and enjoy.
Covid Protocols: Masks are mandatory when in the public areas of the resort. There are sanitizer pads for your shoes upon arrival. After you sanitize your shoes, you’ll be led into the lobby where you’re given sanitizer for your hands, green juice and a nice pack of sanitizer wipes, sanitizer and other goodies. A staff member will take your temperature and you’ll need to fill out a travel questionnaire. They are very thorough. The villa seemed very well cleaned and you are personally walked to your accommodations with a staff member, who is wearing a mask and gloves, to go through any details or answer any questions.
*Virtuoso resort: When you work with a Virtuoso advisor for your stay here is what we can have included complimentary: breakfast for two daily; upgrade upon arrival, dependent upon availability; resort credits ranging from USD $100 to USD $200 per villa, per stay (Resort credit amount varies depends on the villa categories); preferential green fees at El Camaleon Golf Course, a PGA championship course; preferred early check in/late check out, depending upon availability; complimentary wifi.
2. Rosewood Mayakoba – 5*, Family Friendly & Adults Only Areas
Review: In true Rosewood form, the essence of luxury is everywhere, but with a very laid back, fun vibe. With only 129 suites and lots of space across the property, it doesn’t seem like you’ll ever feel like it’s crowded. The resort just went through a 20 million dollar reno in 2019 and all of their suites have their own deck and plunge pool. The furniture is locally made, supporting the wonderful Mexican community, which I LOVE! When you arrive, you’ll be given the opportunity to download the Rosewood Mayakoba app, where you can see your reservations and the amenities offered. There will be a registration form to fill out and then your butler who will take you straight to the boat and bring you to your accommodations. Cabanas are available on the beach and by the pool and are first come, first serve. Plenty to offer for bigger families too, including residences or 6 villa’s that can connect FYI - when you book a villa a cooking class is included. There’s a kids club on property, dinner on the beach with firepits and nanny services makes this resort complete. Several NBA player’s and CEO’s enjoy their stay here. Very relaxed atmosphere.
Tip: You’ll always want to book with an advisor that is a preferred member of their Elite program for exclusive discounts and extra amenities. Also, the accommodations along the lagoon are very private, quiet and beautiful and I highly recommend over the beachfront, if you want more nature.
Covid protocols: Rosewood has three certificates for re-opening and are audited every week. Masks are worn in public areas until seated. Sanitizer is offered upon arrival, shoe sanitizing pads are in the front lobby and temperatures are taken.
*Elite Preferred Amenities: When you work with a travel advisor that is a part of their Elite Program, as we are, here is what we can have included – complimentary one category room upgrade upon arrival, depending on availability (many times they have done the upgrade for my clients upon booking, when possible); daily breakfast for two, per room; $125 spa credit; no walk policy for Elite clients, during oversold periods; as well as special promotions only for Elite preferred travel agencies.
3. Fairmont Mayakoba – 5*, Family Friendly, AAA 5-Diamond, Rainforest Certified
Review: If you’ve ever stayed at a Fairmont, then you know the quality and service are going to be top notch and this one is no different. Fairmont Mayakoba is extremely family friendly and in fact, I would highly recommend it for weddings or groups, as there is plenty of space. There are apartments on site that we’re able to book for families now and you can get to the beach by golf cart or by boat along the lagoon. There are several accommodation options including jungle view, lagoon view, or closer to the beach. If you’re not by the beach definitely get a golf cart, a bike or take the boat to get there, unless you want a nice, longer walk. Fairmont has now added an all inclusive option to their packages or you can stick with the regular breakfast or no breakfast plan.
Tip: Their beachfront restaurant, Brisa’s Coastal Grill, was incredible! The seafood was so fresh and everything tasted amazing. I kept imaging being there with a big group of my family and friends, because it was a perfect location for it.
Covid: Upon arrival for our site/tour inspection, there were markers on the floor to stay 6 feet apart. There is a sink on the right when you first walk in and each person must wash their hands before entering. We had to fill out a travel form and Fairmont had two bins for the pens – one for new pens that were sanitized and one for the pens that were used. There is also sanitizer for your hands as well. After all the healthy stuff is done then we were able to get our delicious welcome drink, a Mexican Margarita. Our temperatures were taken and then we were on our way. Everyone was wearing a mask on property and other than being in your room, everything is open air.
*We are Platinum Preferred with Fairmont properties.
4. Andaz Mayakoba – 5*, Family Friendly (The last hotel in Mayakoba section)
Review: If you want a hip, cool atmosphere with a great Vegan Bar, then Andaz might be the perfect fit. Featuring beautiful, large murals, hand painted by a famous, local artist named, Senkoe, on the buildings and in the rooms that are incredible to see. The lobby represents a cenote, which makes for a vibrant and lively start at this resort. This brand definitely translates itself through art, gastronomy and the local culture. Offering 214 rooms, two restaurants by the lagoon area, three restaurants by the main pool and beach area, spa services, ballroom and even a kids club. Connecting rooms can be guaranteed for an extra fee. Friday’s there’s a DJ that plays lounge music AND the resort offers an all inclusive package, where the kids are 50% off! If you happen to be at the resort when Senkoe is in town, you’ll have the opportunity to do an activity with him. Fun kids activities like cooking classes, where they’ll learn how to make guacamole, candies and more, all while learning the history behind it. They will also accept small pets (only up to 5 lbs). Need a home office for home schooling? No problem, Andaz has you covered. But, just an FYI- there are no tubs in any of the rooms.
Tip: Great festive promotion including transportation and dinner on Christmas or New Year’s with a minimum of 3 nights and will include the Virtuoso amenities. Also, the Vegan Bar is a must check out. It was absolutely delicious and so was all that they prepared at Tinta Del Pulpo, by the pool and beach.
Covid protocols: temperatures are taken upon arrival, sanitizer is given to each individual and everyone must wear a mask while on property, unless sitting at the pool, beach, or in a restaurant. I found the resort to be pretty strict about properly wearing a mask.
*Virtuoso resort – when you book with a Virtuoso advisor this is what we can have included complimentary – upgrade to the next room category, if available; daily breakfast for two, per room; $100 resort credit; complimentary wifi.
Hotel Esencia – 5*, Family Friendly, 50 minutes from CUN Airport
Review: Once a hideaway for an Italian Duchess makes the décor one of a kind here. The architecture and unique design usually attract some interesting company like design magazines, photo shoots for Latin pop artists, as well as being featured in Vogue. The rooms are pristine white with pops of color and majority of the furniture is made right on property at their wood shop. One of the owners described the setting as having a whole village, with all of the things they can do on property. The environment is very relaxed and quiet providing 48 villas. I think it’s important to note that there’s no kids club, so I would say this property would be best for children that are well traveled and love to enjoy the cenotes on property, the beach, the pool and just exploring. The staff will even take the kids to a larger cenote nearby. There’s yoga in the morning, palapas on the beach that offer a service button and a main house that offers complimentary tea and a great space you can work from with a library. Its simple luxury is very attractive. Don’t forget to try out the hammocks; a perfect spot for an afternoon nap. In way of packages, the resort does offer meal plans, as well as serves a basket of baked goods every morning (included in your stay). If you are in a wheelchair, no problem, as the staff is able to set up a ramp to your room.
Tip: My favorite accommodation out of all of them was the Presidential Bungalow. It’s like your own private home on the beach. It’s just incredible. Also, you have to check out the Beef Bar, which is their beach bar/restaurant. It started in Monaco and they did their own take on a traditional steak mixed with street style. If you don’t eat meat, that’s ok. Hotel Esencia can offer at least 20 vegetarian items on their menu. From this property, you’re only 20 minutes from the Mayan Ruins and an hour away from Coba Ruins (a pyramid you can climb).
Covid protocols: before being allowed in we had our temperatures checked and hands sanitized. Literally everything on this property is outdoors and spaced out, so a perfect getaway during a pandemic.
Virtuoso resort – when you work with a Virtuoso advisor here’s what we can have included in your stay - upgrade on arrival, subject to availability; daily full breakfast for two guests per bedroom, served in Mistura Xpu-Ha or Café Esenci; $100 USD Equivalent Spa services credit, to be utilized during stay; a bottle of wine; mini bar is included, except the alcohol; early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability; complimentary wifi.
UNICO 20 87 – 4*, All Inclusive, Adults Only, Leading Hotels of the World, 1h from CUN Airport
Review: (20 87 are their location coordinates.) The moment we walked in you could tell everyone was having a great time and enjoying themselves. We arrived a little on the later side around 5pm, so many folks were in the lobby enjoying the music and having some drinks before dinner. It was a great vibe! If you ask me this property should be listed as 5*. I was impressed with the layout of the resort, the décor in the rooms, the walkway with very cute shops and the food experience was amazing and there’s a medical facility on property to boot. Once you check in, each guest is assigned a person that is similar to a butler. You can download their app to make reservations for activities and restaurants, including cooking classes. When this resort says it’s all inclusive they mean it! Not only are all of your meals, alcohol and activities included, but so are your spa services. Yup, that’s right, unlimited spa services. You just pay the 25% service fee and you’re good to go. There’s also a Beauty Bar, where you can personalize the scent you want during your treatments. Personally, they had me at free spa services. They also offer connecting rooms, which is nice for a girls or guys trip.
Tip: 12 weeks during the summer UNICO has a celebrity chef come for a week at a time and this would be a very fun time to come and visit. When you visit and eat at Cueva Siete there are two things you’ll want to try – their Mexican Margarita (it was one of the best ones I had during this trip) and ask for the coffee experience after dinner, which includes a whole show including fire – you will not be disappointed. I have a video of the coffee experience on my IG and FB pages, if you’d like to view it. Our dinner was really good and I definitely could have just eaten there for days, trying everything on the menu. Bonus points since UNICO has a restaurant with the same name as mine, Mi Carisa.
Covid protocols: There is sanitizer when you first walk in, as well as sanitizer mats for your shoes and our temperatures were taken with a touchless device in picture. The resort seems relaxed in terms of masks, when it comes to guests. The entire staff had masks on at all times, but some guests had masks on and some did not. Again, please keep in mind that everything is open air and there is fresh air constantly around you.
Palmaia – House of AiA – 5*, All Inclusive, Family Friendly, 55m from CUN Airport
Review: When we pulled up to the lobby we were impressed with how beautiful and tranquil it was. Palmaia prides themselves on being more wellness focused and you definitely felt a calmness when you entered. The restaurants are beautifully decorated and the beach restaurants/bars reminded me of a very Mykonos beach club vibe; very Mediterranean. There’s techno music playing throughout the day and there is a DJ from 8pm to 11:30pm each night. If you have young kids, my suggestion would be to request a room furthest from the DJ, so that it doesn’t bother the kids when they’re in bed. There are 314 rooms including family suites with very cute bunk beds and you can have up to 3 rooms connect with your own entrance way. Palmaia has nice wellness suites and 2 of them offer Peloton’s, while 5 offer ‘The Mirror’ right in your room for a great workout. There’s a Montessori based kids club included in your stay, as well as several wellness activities including different types of yoga, meditation, movement and different types of ceremonies to help guests focus on the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual side of themselves. We were able to experience the Cacao Ceremony and it was very powerful and I felt amazing afterwards. Most of the restaurants were closed during our stay, due to the lack of guests at that time, but from the Beach Restaurant the food was very good. Everything on the menu came Vegan and if you wanted to swap it out for ‘the real thing’ you most certainly could. I would say the beach is on the smaller side, but if you have kids, the nice thing is that you have access to their sister property’s gigantic water park on the beach, which is right next door. The rooms are well appointed and thought out and if you have a bunch of families traveling together or a group of friends, then the rooms with the pool access would be fun to have and gather right in front your rooms, with a swim up bar just on the other side. This is where we stayed and us ladies enjoyed having some drinks while taking a dip right in front of our rooms.
Tip: They are only allowing one person or family in the gym, at this time, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time. Since the resort is not booking at full capacity, when you reserve your stay everyone basically gets a free upgrade, which is really nice.
Covid protocols: I thought their protocols were great. When we arrived in the lobby our temperatures were taken, we were given sanitizer for our hands and shoes and we had to fill out a travel form asking how we were feeling and where we were coming from. One unique thing that the resort does is offer each guest a nice water bottle as a keepsake and to use during your stay. Palmaia is trying to do their part with getting rid of the use of plastics as much as possible. High five to them! I think this is great and hopefully others will follow suit.
This trip/FAM (Familiarization Trips for Advisors) was just what I needed to get out there and not only travel again, but to see first hand how the airports, airline, transfer companies and resorts are doing during this time. The numbers were rising when we went, but I can tell you I felt safe and healthy the entire time I was there. Each person needs to determine whether or not they feel comfortable getting back out there again or waiting. Our transfer driver for basically the entire trip, (below picture), was amazing. Very knowledgeable, professional, wore a mask the whole time and wiped down the inside of the vehicle all the time and also had to get his temperature taken at each location. Each resort we visited had our temperatures taken out by the entrance gate first and then again when we arrived on property. They are definitely very thorough and on top of things here in Mexico, at least from my perspective, after all, they have to be….tourism is their life. Seven ladies total were on this FAM and seven ladies came back, covid free. While the resorts, transfer companies and airports are doing an amazing job, we still did our part to make sure we stayed healthy and were very careful about what we touched and not touching our faces, because it’s equally important that we do our part.
Carissa Gulyas is the founder of Your Wish Travel Co., a Virtuoso member and specializes in destination weddings, celebrations, corporate groups, as well as small and large yacht charters from 2 people to 120. Gulyas writes for Yachts International Magazine, Luxury Travel Advisors and other publications from time to time. Follow on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Yourwishtravelco, IG @yourwishtravelco, LinkedIn - Carissa Algeri-Gulyas