Banyan Tree Mayakoba
What We Love
- Romantic dinners for two onboard the hotel’s dining boat
- Playing the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon, a PGA championship course, which includes navigating over a cenote
- Unlike many high-end resorts, this one is very child-friendly and has its own kids club
What To Know
- Meals and drinks can be expensive
- Some villas are farther removed from the beach than others—though golf carts and bicycles (two per villa) are provided for zipping around the resort
- Private group dinners can be arranged and are held in the hotel’s wine cellar
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
It’s hard to find anything missing from this enormous five-star resort, which sits on a stunning stretch of beach on Mexico’s Playa del Carmen and whose 118 villas are interspersed with lagoons, mangrove trees, swimming pools, and tennis courts. There’s no shortage of things to do here: guests can take cooking or yoga classes, do a tequila tasting, play golf, go snorkeling, or lounge the day away in the extraordinary spa, which features a hydrothermal circuit of eight hot and cold thermal cabins and includes a “rain walk” and a dip in the “vitality pool,” along with sauna and steam rooms and locally inspired treatments like a massage using honey oil gathered from Mexican bees. The villas start at a whopping 3,000 square feet and mix Asian architecture with Mayan influences and artwork; each has its own personal heated pool, garden, an outdoor bathtub, and several private terraces (complete with hammock). Service is perfectly attentive, but never intrusive.
In the Area
From the Banyan Tree’s location on a prime stretch of beach in the Playa del Carmen community, most short excursions will be to other resorts in the area for dinner or drinks. Guests can easily travel around on the hotel-provided bikes—though renting a car might be best for venturing further afield. A 15-minute drive to the south brings you to the Centro Cultural, which hosts art exhibitions and performances that are well worth seeing. In the other direction, less than an hour’s drive toward Cancún, is the glitzy La Isla Shopping Village, home to over 150 stores arranged around small canals and bridges. The aquarium is another great stop if you’re traveling with children. Several world-class sights, like the ruins at Chichen Itza and the Yucatan cenotes, sinkholes once sacred to the Mayans where visitors can go swimming, are a few hours from the resort—the hotel can arrange trips to both.
How to Get There
Can’t say enough great things about this place! My husband and I stayed in the Bliss Pool Villa in one of the 400’s rooms which had a very private courtyard with a massive private pool and courtyard. The service is extraordinary and the hotel security was on top of their game and you felt safe the entire time. Food and drinks were top of the line too, brand name top shelf booze such as grey goose, jack daniels, Patron, etc...The wines were better than a typical Mexican resort, they had American and international options as well as a wine cellar but the prices on the wines not from Mexico were highly inflated. They quality of food was fresh and we did not get sick once. They would always start your meal and end it with a little treat. We are very picky when it comes to food and bev and this did not disappoint! Saffron is a must, as are the Mayakoba Margaritas (as long as you are not on the meal plan...which I would avoid if you can). I would avoid Tomahawk as well. The staff is fantastic, knows you by name, and they have water sports, eco tours and bicycles for use free of charge. The hotel is very quiet and little to no music anywhere so would suggest brining speakers. The sand on the beach is the best I’ve seen, beautiful white powder and the palm trees are gorgeous as well. We will be back for sure!!!
the best service in the world is in Mexico. This Hotel is special because it mixes Asian detail with Mexican service and quality of everithing is amazing. Food, ambience, privacy and the beach with all the conserved jungle and nature trails makes this a unique alternative for travel.
This February we spend a few days at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba where we have visited several times in the past, as usual we had a wonderful stay but we did notice the little extra effort and genuine willingness in everything they do during our last stay.
Also they have re-furbished the entire property it looks great.
Special thanks to Nestor for helping us arrange the last few details prior to arrival and to all the chef’s Victor, Alexandro, Reyna who created really delicious meals.
A special mention the amazing spa team. In particular May and Fernando. They provide an amazing service.
I would highly recommend this propert to anyone who is looking to have some real R&R
Don't believe the hype.
When my girlfriend and I booked this 5-day trip we never thought we'd leave giving this place such a low rating.
I don't even know where to start...but honestly...if you are someone who is accustomed to TRUE luxury...RUN AWAY FAST, because this place is FAR from luxurious. This whole place feels like a fly-by-night operation.
From the lack of attention to detail, lack of attentiveness, horrible service, horrible food (restaurants and in-room), you're honestly better off staying at a 4 star all-inclusive resort (at a lower price).
Now looking back at the reviews, we realize that people really have very different expectations of 'luxury', and it really depends on where you've stayed in the past.
The food here is really bland, flavorless, basic...and by the way...INCREDIBLY OVERPRICED for what you get.
We are real foodies and are more than happy to spend hundreds (sometimes thousands) on a meal at top-notch places. Every restaurant here, including in-room dining, is complete garbage.
The drinks were always WAY too watered down and never consistent across all the restaurants. One of our favorite parts of any vacation are the frozen drinks (pina coloadas, strawberry daiquiris etc.) and not once did we have one that was made properly. They were always overly blended and completely watered down, which was a huge disappointment.
•The Oriente breakfast buffet is the only decent meal you'll have, so fill yourself up early.
It's nothing special, but it's consistent.
•They repurpose one of their restaurants (The Oriente...same as breakfast buffet) to be multiple restaurants.
One night we went to eat at The Tomahawk steakhouse (also at Oriente). After siting down for almost 15 mins with no one even coming over to us, we just got up and left to order room service. It's not even like they had many people to serve...THERE WERE ONLY 9 OTHER TABLES THERE.
•Next night we went to "Ten" Restaurant – a Japanese restaurant that also happens to be at the Oriente lol. The Ten isn't always open and it's apparently a special thing that happens 3 times a week.
Wow...let me tell you....THIS WAS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even at BASIC hotels, a Japanese restaurant has its own restaurant with authentic cuisine and experience. Pretty much any sushi place in your local city is a million times better than this place.
Firstly, there were only 10 tables (us included) and we waited 45 mins (not an exaggeration) for our 2 sushi rolls.
Once they brought the sushi rolls (45 mins later)...they gave us the wrong order (we didn't even know it wasn't ours because they only offer 3 types of sushi rolls so we thought it was ours).
Here's the real kicker....about 3 mins after the server dropped it off, they ran back over and just GRABBED IT off our table and brought it to another table!!!!! omg!!! What if we picked at it??? Touched it?? SO GROSS. I can't make this s** up people.
They also didn't give us any cutlery or chopsticks or soy sauce..NOTHING! These guys pay ZERO attention to detail.
The fried rice was horrible. I mean dry rice with no flavor...my girlfriend actually started coughing/chocking after the first bite cuz it just got stuck in her throat.
We couldn't wait to get out of there. After our disappointing meal, we asked the server for the check. 5 mins later he came with no check because he forgot our room #. 5 mins after that, he came back...WITH NO CHECK and asked if we wanted dessert...WTF?
They then proceeded to bring us complimentary dessert (still no check) because they knew how bad they screwed up. We had to ask 3 times for our check because all we wanted to do was get the hell out of there.
To be honest, it's mind blowing they charged us anything at all for this meal. If this happened at a real 5 star restaurant they would have comped most, if not ALL, of the bill.
•Cello (Italian) is also basic. The "Gelato" drink is amazing, but again, food was trash. I mean worse than Olive Garden...but for 5 times the price. Linguine Carbonara was disgusting, flavorless and watery. We ate about 3 bites and that's it.
•In-room dining is a complete joke. The prices are some of the highest I've seen for basic stuff ($44 pad Thai anyone?) and it ALL tastes like plastic. Sadly, we always ended up ordering it after eating at the horrible restaurants on-site.
Quesadillas are dry and bland...pizza tastes like play-doh...ravioli tastes like Chef Boyardee...we tried 3 desserts and they were worse than basic grocery store ones. The only good thing on this menu is the guacamole and free bread you can ask for (they will give you a basket of bread but only a tiny square of butter because they are stingy).
When we first got to the hotel, we were excited to try all the restaurants including the private villa dining (where they cook in your room) and the meal on the boat. After the first few experiences, we knew we could only expect horrible food and horrible service so we just stayed in our room and didn't want to piss ourselves off any further.
I highly recommend going into town as there are tons of amazing places to try at way better prices, way better service, way better value and WAY better quality.
The best meal during our entire stay is when we left the resort and went for dinner into Playa Del Carmen (Harry's steakhouse is great fun with EXCEPTIONAL service).
By the way, outside of the cost of the trip, we spent and additional ~$1500 on food/drink for 5 days. That's actually not terribly expensive, but keep in mind, every meal was pure trash with horrible service, we only ate 2 times a day and we left the property to eat as well. We would have preferred to eat McDonalds for $20/day and we would 100% have enjoyed that more.
This is the only good part of the trip, and sadly, the hotel management knows it. They offer you a great-sized plunge pool and great privacy, but it's clear the hotel runs with this angle and leaves everything else about the experience to the waist-side. I also think other guests overlook a lot of the issues with this hotel and try to justify their trip with 'having a big plunge pool', but a simple room with a plunge pool does not equate to overall luxury...sorry.
Also, nothing about the room is luxurious either. It's all pretty basic with no special or personal touches.
At other luxury resorts we'd get free daily guacamole, free tequila, free sweets etc. EVERY day.
Another thing to mention is that our plunge pool was FREEZING. We called literally almost every day for them to increase the temperature. If the plunge pool is one of the biggest selling points, then they should ensure that the temp is warm even before a guest checks in (which they didn't do). On top of that, it takes EIGHT HOURS to warm it up. So we lost the whole first day, and then by the end of the second day it went back to freezing and it basically became a constant game of calling to turn it up. Such a waste of time.
The weather was really nice the day we went to the beach. It's actually a tough decision between staying in your own villa or going to the beach. It's not a private beach so expect some randoms walking by.
Although the beach wasn't full, the chairs are really close together and we could hear everyone's convos (I had headphones on). I could touch the next set of chairs just by reaching my arm out which is too close to place chairs.
We stayed on the beach for 4 hours but the servers only came to check on us twice for drinks..........
Once you leave your room they are in the restaurants, pool, beach etc.
This isn't an adults-only resort, but there are definitely a lot of kids here.
This was hands down the biggest letdown for us. The service here is horrendous. Like really really really bad. It feels like the staff were all trained by different management and it honestly made us extremely uncomfortable the whole time. The staff pays ZERO attention to detail. They don't pay attention to anything. We never had cutlery at any restaurant, they would never check on us at restaurants etc.
It almost feels like the housekeeping staff is the kitchen staff, is the server staff, is the chef, is the person who checks your plunge pool etc. That's how bewildered they were at all times.
We ALWAYS had to ask for cutlery and remind them about bringing out our food and drinks.
They would ask us EVERY single time we ordered room service if there were allergies or food restrictions. Like guys...ask us the first day, make a note of it (like other hotels do), and don't keep asking us OVER and OVER. We constantly felt like strangers who just entered the property, as opposed to real hotel guests. Also, they had a hard time remembering our names.
Hotel management and staff should really take a visit to other actual 5-star resorts to understand how to really offer great service to customers.
Another thing we noticed is the staff has really poor english. We've stayed at many foreign resorts but the forward-facing staff usually have pretty decent English. We could rarely ever understand anyone and would constantly say "pardon me?" or "huh?"
One of the guys who would bring us our in-room dining meals at night would just talk and talk and talk about his personal life...but when we asked him to remove some old food on the table, he was so busy talking about his life and stuff that we didn't care about (or even ask him about) and he forgot to take out the old food on our table. We had to take it out ourselves...glad we paid a service charge and tip though......
Honestly, I wish we could get a refund on this trip. We really really regret not staying at the Rosewood Mayakoba...but after this experience, we don't even want to come back to Mayakoba ever again.
We only chose Banyan Tree because the room style seemed more up our alley than Rosewood (from looking at the pics). The prices were pretty much identical so that really sucks.
Luckily, this wasn't a trip we were looking forward to for a long time. We booked it only a couple of days before going since both our scheds were open last minute. If we had booked this trip way in advance and were waiting for it, it would make it 100x worse.
We just really want to warn other people who are making their decision based on reading these reviews (like we did). We really and truly don't understand how people are giving this place 5 stars and calling it luxury...I urge you guys to try a few more places and raise your standards. Luxury is all relative, of course, BUT true luxury shouldn't just be the size of a room or the size of a pool..it's everything and how everything seamlessly works together/complements each other (food, room, personal touches, service, anticipating guests needs etc.). When the staff makes your trip more difficult and more of a hassle, that's the complete opposite of luxury.
If you are used to real luxury (Ritz Carlton Reserve properties, Beverly Hills Hotel, Bel Air Hotel, Rosewood properties in any country, Four Seasons resorts, Dorchester London, Montage, Geejam Jamaica etc.) DO NOT BOOK HERE because you will be completely disappointed.
I took all-inclusive vacations when I was 20 years old to resorts in Dominican and Jamaica that were WAYYY better than this for $1000/pp all inclusive for 7 days.
Just returned from an AMAZING trip at Banyan Tree Mayakoba. Was there celebrating our birthdays and we were blown away by the level of service and attention to detail in everything that they do. The two must do's while you are there: HAAB- A traditional Mayan Dining Experience and IXCHEL- A Wonderful Dinner for Two By Boat. The spa was fantastic, the Rainforest experience was unique and invigorating, we also had a facial and a massage, so many choices! The best part about Banyan Tree is the staff, they truly make you feel special and well cared for. Special shout out to Carla and Tony in F&B who seemed to be everywhere on the property and took especially good care of us, we were so grateful. We have made it a habit never to go to the same place twice so that we can keep having new experiences, but as we were leaving Banyan, we both agreed that we will be coming back again. The highest of recommendations.