Viceroy Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya's beachfront hideaway
VERIFIED LUXURY
When you need a break from the massive all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, the beachfront Viceroy Riviera Maya offers an escape hatch.

Upon arrival at the intimate hideaway, relax in the open-air lobby with a mug of refreshing lemongrass-infused coconut milk. The hotel’s Mayan shaman will greet you with a blessing, using an incense of copal (an amber-colored tree resin native to these parts) to banish any stress before the start of your stay.

Then the bellman will lead you down a maze of paths lined with dense tropical jungle — we even encountered one of the resident spider monkeys there — before dropping you off at your thatched-palapa-roof villa for in-room check-in.

The beach will beckon, but you also could join in a yoga class on the hotel’s own pier, sit in the temazcal (a purifying Mayan sweat lodge) or take a guacamole class. But if you need another escape, make your way to the Four-Star spa. The small facility ensures you’ll get peace and quiet while the aesthetician rubs your weary body with a mud made from that aromatic copal.
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Our Inspector's Highlights
• Every villa comes with its own patio with a figure-eight-shaped plunge pool that’s heated and a handmade crocheted hammock. With a setup like this, you will spend most of your time outside.

• The soap concierge drops by your villa to slice fresh bars from big blocks of organic soap made by local Mayan communities. They come in fantastic fragrances — we were partial to the delicate rose and the bright watermelon with black exfoliation beads.

• Don’t miss the Thursday chef’s table, a seven-course menu that changes weekly and offers Mexican wine pairings, and the Friday beach barbacoa, where tables and chairs are placed on the sand for a sophisticated evening barbecue with family-style plates teeming with shrimp, squid, boquinete fish and more.

• The Spa at Viceroy Riviera Maya Spa incorporates Mayan traditions into its one-of-a-kind treatments. An Herbal Healing Kitchen allows the resident shaman to concoct products with natural herbs and seeds, which are grown in the spa’s garden.

• You won’t need a TV in your bathroom because you’ll look out at your very own exotic garden while soaking in the roomy oval-shaped tub. To get a closer peek at the green space, use the alfresco rain shower. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your own island oasis amid the lush plants.
Things to Know
• The 41-villa Riviera Maya hotel has a no-kids-under-14 policy and attracts mostly couples.

• The hotel is busiest from October to May, when travelers seek out the turquoise waters, white sand and blazing sun of the Riviera Maya to escape the winter.

• While May to October is the rainy season, showers typically don’t last long. Plus, the fall has the added incentive of fewer crowds trying to stake a spot on Mexico’s public beaches or visit nearby archaeological sites, such as Tulum, where Mayan ruins rest on a cliff overlooking the water, and Chichén Itzá, the Mayan Empire’s ancient capital.
The Rooms
• The luxurious beach-chic bungalows 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.

• The terrace is a standout. Every villa terrace comes with a wicker daybed for two, a table and chairs, a hammock with a pillow and a plunge pool that you’ll use much more than the hotel’s own curvy lagoon pool.

• A rival for best hotel room feature is the bathroom. The attention-getter is the oversized freestanding white tub, complete with a bubble bath dispenser and a box of bath salts. Sliding glass doors open to an outdoor shower in a private garden with high walls and exotic plants shielding you from your neighbors.

• Our top pick among the accommodations is the Beachfront Villas. They let you see the clear Caribbean waters from your patio’s hammock.

• The luxury hotel outfits the villas with a Bose radio/CD player with a remote control, large LG flat-screen TV, Sony DVD player (ask your mayordomo, or butler, for DVDs) and a Nespresso machine.
The Restaurants
• You’ll find two alfresco restaurants at Viceroy Riviera Maya, both focusing on Mexican cuisine with local ingredients. Everything from the kiwi-pineapple jam that accompanies your toast to the liquor-filled rum raisin ice cream are made in house.

• Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Coral Grill is the more casual option, and it sits closest to the water. Start your day with the pastel Azteca, a filling casserole layered with tortilla mille-feuilles, chicken, pickled red onion, sour cream, cilantro, corn and tomatillo sauce.

• Sitting above the library, La Marea has a laidback vibe — rattan furniture, a palapa roof — but the cuisine is firmly upscale. Chef Carlos Zamora Larios showcases refined Mexican cuisine with dishes such as red guajillo chili ceviche, pork belly and mole verde.

• While the hotel provides room service, it also has a “dine anytime, anywhere” policy. Order in advance to enjoy your meal on the beach, by the pool or wherever you want. We recommend taking it out on the Viceroy's pier for a romantic dinner surrounded by the lapping waves.

• Take a class at the beachfront hotel. The tequila and ceviche tasting is a must-try. Learn the liquor’s history, find out the difference between blanco and reposado, and take away some valuable tips (like make sure your tequila has 100 percent agave to avoid headaches). Or immerse yourself in Yucatan cuisine and learn how to prepare dishes like fish the Mayan way — underground.
Getting There
Playa Xcalacoco Frac 7, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico
TEL800-578-0281
TEL52-984-877-3000
NEARBY AIRPORT(S)
CUN (45 min)  
Viceroy Riviera Maya
At This Hotel
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