Cancun’s Mayan-inspired sanctuary
8 Treatment Rooms
There are reasons why the staff at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun makes such a concerted effort to familiarize hotel guests with the location of The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Cancun — the first is simply because the 363-room hotel is deceptively big, making it pretty easy to get lost around the property; the second, and the one that’s probably the most motivating factor, is because the spa is an absolute jewel. With eight coma-inducing treatment rooms, one outdoor casita and gorgeous relaxation areas, the facility feels like something worthy of the gods — which makes sense, seeing as how the Mayans once walked these very lands almost 5,000 years ago.
Located on the quiet ground floor, just past the fitness center and hair salon, the spa sits by itself. As you approach the area, you won’t find an elaborate hallway or lavish foyer. Maybe developers wanted to create an air of mystery for what stood beyond the door. Maybe they needed all the creative energy to go inside. All we know for certain is that once you make your way in, things have a decidedly more sophisticated tone. Walls are done in a clean, neutral palette. Glass shelving and tan-colored tile accentuate the retail space. Rooms take a conservatively classic approach as well, going with soft hues on the wall and dark wood molding on the ceiling. The locker area is an unfussy room of cream shades and all the amenities (shower, sauna, shaving equipment) you could ever need pre- or post-massage.
It would be just short of criminal for a spa erected in the shadows of Tulum and other pre-Columbian Mayan cities to not weave some ancestral magic into its services. The spa alleviates any doubt about its inspiration by peppering its menu with treatments that employ indigenous techniques (exfoliating with vanilla) and local ingredients (red clay and copal, a tree resin). The Zac-Xib Bath Elixir (which translates to “clean man”) uses brown sugar, lemon and essential oils to create a body scrub and bath therapy that both sexes will find rejuvenating. Of course, if you’re in the mood for something with a bit more international flavor, the Cancun spa opens up its global profile with options from as far as India (Shirodhara) and Southeast Asia (Balinese Lulur). And if you want to take some of the products used on your body back to your own corner of the world, the retail shop sells items from respected brands like Skin Authority and Mama Mio.
After all of the massages and reflexology have been done, your experience at the spa is not over because you still have not visited the relaxation garden patio. Unlike many spas’ barren post-treatment areas, this sanctuary takes on a life all its own. With sheets hanging from above like waves in the sea, a deeply calming vibe floods the place. Simple lounge chairs, a stone pathway and dangling greenery further enhance a mood of utter serenity. Two plunge pools — one cool and the other warm — provide the exclamation points for a recovery area fit for a god. Right before you’re able to melt into a deep slumber, though, an attendant brings you a cool towel and a glass of fruit-infused water — even deities needs to stay hydrated in the Cancun heat.