If anyone could bring a touch of class to an area whose rep has been damaged by overbuilding and too many package tourists, it’s Fairmont Mayakoba Hotel,. The company which now owns the Savoy, magnificently restored to its art deco glory days, has shown, in its Mayakoba resort on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, that it can also do eco-resorts.
Here is a property which looks like it has been built in the middle of a nature reserve, given the mangroves, sea grasses and wealth of water birds. The vegetation was indeed here first, but many of the birds – everything from cormorants to bright parakeet-like tropical robins and migrating Canadian ducks – are new arrivals drawn by the sybaritic surroundings.
Mayakoba is a small coastal enclave just north of Playa del Carmen, which is in danger of going the same way as over-developed Cancun. Here at the Fairmont, however, peace and sustainability reign in two-storey blocks of “casitas” well-scattered within luxuriant planting. Even peaceniks should take to their balconies at dusk to experience the thrilling din of thousands of birds chewing the fat.
Casita rooms(vastly worth the extra cost for the proper experience) are sumptuous, with vast bathrooms, forests of dark wood and the touches of vibrant colour which signal Mexico. Food, under the direction of a British chef, is excellent – authentic Mexican dishes and wines punctuate an international menu, and the breakfast buffet is a multi-cultural treat. Mayan artisans often come in to display locally made jewellery and crafts in an ad hoc market setting.
There is a private white sand beach, several large pools, a kids’ club and a world-class spa. Heavenly Body, one of the signature treatments, was just that – ask for Magali, though they swear she is not the only therapist with healing hands.
Doubles from about £314