Playa del Carmen

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Maroma Resort and Spa

Address: Carretera Cancún Tulum Km 51

Neighborhood:

City: Playa del Carmen

Phone: 011-52-998-872-8200; 866-454-9351

Website: www.maromahotel.com

Expert Review

From the unmarked dirt road leading to its doorstep to the astrologically determined alignment of its spa structure, Maroma has never been afraid to stand out from the crowd. And the crowd on the Riviera Maya has never been bigger, as new megaresorts blossom each season.

Owner José Luis Moreno fell in love with the 500-acre seaside property on a 1976 trip to the Yucatán. Four years later he fell in love with another visitor, Sally Shaw. They both stuck around, got married, and built this 65-room resort in part so their friends could visit, employing local artisans to create a one-of-a-kind environment (and using bamboo from the premises and marble from quarries nearby). The hotel took some 20 years to finish, evident in the custom oversize tubs, handmade tiles, and hand-carved lighting niches.

On arrival, guests are handed a margarita infused with a traditional Mayan honey liqueur known as xtabentún, just one of a host of Mayan-influenced elements. The resort's Kinan spa (Mayan for "source of life") offers traditional treatments, such as a volcanic healing steam bath called temazcal. Just off the white-sand beaches, the world's second-longest barrier reef beckons diving enthusiasts and at night, the resort's pathways are lit with nearly 1,000 candles, while cicadas sing in the jungle. Best season for value: winter/spring. 2008 Smart Luxury Award winner

Tags: luxury | editor pick | smart splurge | smart luxury winner | jim's pick

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