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>> Riviera Maya’s New Five-Star Empires

Globorati Magazin, Travel Beautiful , may 2009


Mandarin Oriental and Rosewood square up as the next two titans of Mexican beach luxe.A decade ago, the Riviera Maya was barely a destination name. But now, the 75 miles of sugar-white beach south of Cancun, through Playa del Carmen to Tulum, is sprouting five-star monsters faster than anywhere else in Mexico.


The latest two luxe chains to stake their umbrellas on the ever-shrinking sands are Mandarin Oriental and Rosewood. Opening this month, Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya stretches over 36 acres of tropical forest. Each of the 129 villas has stone bathtubs in open-air courtyards, while a 25,000-square-foot spa takes center stage. Expect a lap pool, a Watsu pool, and no end of hydrotherapy treatments.


If that’s not enough water for you, then check into Rosewood Mayakoba , where you can catch a boat from your suite to the restaurant amid a network of landscaped lagoons. Set at the heart of the mammoth $2.5-billion Mayakoba complex — which is also home to a Fairmont as well as a forthcoming Banyan Tree and Viceroy — Rosewood’s retreat will be fully operational this month when its spa opens (expect to meet your shaman). But the play isn’t totally passive at Mayakoba: from February 18, the mega-resort’s Greg Norman-designed course hosts Mexico’s first ever PGA Tour.