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The luxurious beach-chic bungalows at Viceroy Riviera May have thatched-palapa roofs, stone floors and touches of aqua throughout. They also are spacious — the smallest villas offer 1,000 square feet — and airy, thanks to the cathedral ceilings. But the standout is actually outside of the accommodations: the terrace. Every villa terrace comes with a wicker daybed for two, a table and chairs, a crocheted hammock with a pillow and an oversized heated plunge pool that you’ll use much more than the hotel’s own curvy lagoon pool.
The other rival for best hotel room feature is the bathroom. Two large mirrors framed with twisted wooden strands hang above the tan stone dual sink, and there is a standalone shower with wood slatted flooring. But the attention-getter is the oversized freestanding white tub, complete with a bubble bath dispenser and a box of bath salts. Soak in the deep oval bathtub and peer out of the sliding glass doors to a private garden with high walls and exotic plants shielding you from your neighbors. If the garden looks enticing, use the outdoor rain shower instead. Leave your toiletries at home, since the bathroom is stocked with large bottles of Neil George shampoo, conditioner and body wash in a fresh grapefruit-sage scent. Also in the bathroom, you’ll have a large walk-in closet — the gray Calzaletas flip-flops stashed inside are particularly useful.
In the sleeping and living quarters, the bed dominates the space. A tan canvas-like headboard fronts a stone panel with rough square cutouts, and above it all, logs jut out of the wall to hold a canopy of white linen. The king-sized beds are all dressed in white — save for the decorative pillow with a vibrant blue coral border and the orange throw at the foot. A brown wicker couch sits in front of the bed with aqua and brown pillows so you can relax and look out through the sliding doors and into the terrace. The stone-topped wooden bedside tables have lamps made of shiny mosaic tiles in shades of green (from olive to lime) as well as a carafe of filtered water and a small Schott Zwiesel glass.
While you probably don’t anticipate spending much of your time indoors, the Riviera Maya hotel offers entertainment just in case. There’s a Bose radio/CD player with a remote control, and an entertainment center holds a large LG flat-screen TV, Sony DVD player (ask your mayordomo, or butler, for DVDs) and a Nespresso machine. The shelves also carry destination-appropriate books, such as The Lost Cities of the Mayas and Craving for Travel.
The new 1,400-square-foot Signature Villas debuted in October 2013, and they are great for those who seek the utmost privacy. High walls and the surrounding jungle hide the villas from the other guests. But our pick is the Beachfront Villas. While they provide less privacy since they are right along the sand, the accommodations let you see the clear Caribbean waters from your patio’s crocheted hammock.