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“Phenomenal Place with Wonderful Service” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Banyan Tree Mayakoba

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Ranked #3 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
39 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Phenomenal Place with Wonderful Service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 September 2010

From the time you step off the plane you are enveloped in luxury and excellent service. The staff were formal, helpful, fun AND friendly! I went with my family and each of us felt as if it was a dream that we didn't want to wake up from. The grounds are well kept and you are carted around everywhere you go. The resort sets up all of the excursions and the tours we went on were informative and fascinating. Lastly, the beach is only a short distance away and you can take a short boat ride through the stream that weaves through the villas.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ashley_Humphrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Houston
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 September 2010

We took our 3 college aged children to this remarkable place. Upon arrival, you are welcomed by soaring architecture which only improves when you enter the great Thai inspired portal. Everything from the attentive staff, the exquisite attention to detail in decor and environment, and our beautiful condominium... helped create an experience that was like living in art.
The food was incredible. Master chefs have skillfully combined locally sourced Mexican/Yucatan cuisine with that of Thailand to create gourmet delights that surely must be unique in all the world.
We treated ourselves to spa treatments, and dined at each restaurant. Incredible. Our kids went out for a night on the town with a tour that specializes in the nightclub scene, and they had a wonderful evening without us. Dolphin Experience, a trip to Chichen Iza and a visit to Playa Del Carmen are all recommended. However, no need to ever leave this heavenly place.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LaurensNutshell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Destin, Florida
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 September 2010

Going to keep this review simple and to the point. My husband and I just celebrated our 9th Anniversary here at Banayan Tree Mayakoba. We have traveled many places but this is top notch! This place is the real deal. I have never been this relaxed in my life. The service is what makes it. Best service I have ever had hands down. The property is beautiful as well. The only thing I can say is the bed linen could be softer. That is my ONLY complaint. We also had a "snafu" with our hot water one night but the quickly fixed it and everything was smooth sailing. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for impeccable service and relaxation at its finest. Also Alejandro at the pool bar is the best! Great guy!

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank zoes1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 September 2010

Intro

This is my first trip adviser review and I was motivated to write it by all the very descriptive reviews I have read from other users over the last year and found to be very helpful in researching destinations and planning my trips. Thanks for that!
My wife and I just spent 6 days at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba over the U.S. Labor Day holiday and I hope prospective travelers find my review helpful.

Playa Del Carmen

While Mayakoba is no doubt a beautiful complex unfortunately Playa, in fact the entire stretch from Cancun to Playa, feels like a high end (and not so high end in most cases) hotel strip mall with the Banyan Tree and the Rosewood being the Bergdorf and Barneys. If you are into all inclusive hotels then this is possibly your Mecca, but if you are looking for a charming and relatively remote Gulf/Caribbean paradise this is definitely NOT it. The Riviera Maya is overdeveloped and overcrowded and the beach is strewn with very large, unaesthetic hotels. The town of Playa may have been charming 20 years ago but now just resembles a cheesy tourist trap. It is unfortunate that the Mexican tourism authority has not been able to develop an otherwise beautiful area in a more protected and less commercial fashion.

The Banyan Tree Property

The entire Mayakoba complex has been meticulously constructed to preserve its ecological surroundings and the Banyan Tree is its star. The hotel is beautiful and dramatic in design while maintaining an element of subtlety and very effective touches of Asian architecture and design that let it blend seamlessly into the mangrove that is Mayakoba. Truly stellar. I must add that the Rosewood, which we visited for dinner one evening, is also very beautiful and perhaps more dramatic but in a contemporary, modern, South Beach sort of way. We preferred the design of the Banyan Tree.

The Beach

The sand is white and soft but that’s all I liked about it. The beach is very narrow and it is quite rocky in some parts and has large pebbles in most other parts. You will feel them almost cutting into your feet within 10 yards of getting into the water. I love swimming in the ocean and if there are big waves I’ll be body surfing for hours on end and the only reason I’d probably even get in the pool is to get a drink from the swim up bar. I’ll give even odds that you will rip your torso on large pebbles within 5 minutes of trying to body surf on this beach, if you were lucky enough to find a big wave. But it’s a beach off of a very large reef and that’s to be expected. What is not to be expected or accepted is how disgustingly dirty some parts of the beach are. We walked the entire stretch of the beach from the Grand Velas resort which lies to the right of Banyan Tree all the way to the Mandarin Oriental which is on the other end of the Mayakoba Beach. Here is what I thought was ridiculous: The hotels clean the beach area only immediately in front of their property, but walk another 5 or 10 yards to either side and it is littered, in fact clustered , with plastic bottles, metal cans and other garbage. Every beach segment in between each of the hotels is in the same condition. This was truly saddening. I find it downright hypocritical of the Banyan Tree and other such resorts that pride and market themselves as eco friendly green hotels to not even bother to clean the areas immediately contiguous to their own property. They spend large amounts of money to maintain their own properties but will not take on the relatively inexpensive exercise of keeping the entire beach clean. Shameful. I’ve been swimming in the ocean since I was 5 yrs old and I can confidently say that I know beaches well. I would give the Mayakoba beach a 4/10 max.

The Rooms

Score. I don’t think anything in the area compares to these rooms. We were in a courtyard suite and the pool, jacuzzi combo is unbeatable. You can do laps in this pool. Seriously. Clothing optional! It makes the plunge pool concept feel like you got downgraded. The rest of the room, lounge, bathroom is spectacular too. Very earthy and very aesthetic. Many other reviews discuss the rooms in detail so I’ll keep it short. We loved it.

Service

They definitely make you feel warm and welcome from the minute you get there. Very courteous and always with a smile. Almost perfect on the surface but when you scratch below it the service is lacking in depth at times. This is best explained by the following service lapses we experienced.

- We rented 2 bikes at $5 per bike per day for the duration of our stay. The hotel provides these at a cost. Both bikes had the seats set pretty low and we had to ask 4 times for them to be raised. 2 days later …. Nothing! On the 3rd day they replaced my bike with another one …. Which was broken. The chain was literally falling off the bike. They didn’t even bother to check what they were replacing my bike with?? I complained again and they replaced it successfully this time. My wife’s bike was never fixed or replaced and we just got tired of complaining about it. The rental fee is small so we didn’t care but they never bothered to credit us for it.

- We did a tennis lesson one evening and were dropped off in the hotel car at the courts which are part of the Fairmont. The phone at the tennis courts was not working and the courts are not attended so I asked the driver to pick us up in exactly one hour as we would have no way of getting in touch with the hotel (going over it 3 times to make sure I was clear). The courts are a good 15 – 20 minute walk from the Banyan Tree and there are no other buildings anywhere near it. One and a half hours later there was no sign of the hotel car to pick us up and we walked back. It’s a pleasant enough walk to be honest but not pleasant to know that they just forgot about us knowing we had no way of getting in touch with the hotel. I did complain about this to the front desk and they left us some strawberries and chocolates in our room that evening with an apology note.

- The front desk recommended a Mexican restaurant in Playa del Carmen for us to try out. It was one of their top two picks. The food was poor at best and even the guacamole and margheritas were substandard. I’m hard pressed to believe that restaurant could have been anywhere close to the best Mexican food in Playa.

- The concierge was only slightly helpful when giving us diving options in the area. I think they called one dive shop that was closed on Saturday, the day we wanted to dive. I was able to find 3 other options online quite easily. Kinda half assed attempt on their part.

- The package that we booked included a $150 room credit which did not appear in our check-in info for some reason. I had to bring it up with the front desk twice to have it rectified and I was assured that this was going to be included at the time of check out. Of course it was not credited on my final bill at check out and I had to remind them yet again.
Basically we had to request for some things several times before they were addressed and we found this to be quite annoying.

The Food

The breakfast was marvelous and included in our room rate. They have a huge selection and it is truly top notch. Tamarind is mediocre and completely overpriced. Don’t bother. Saffron is good Thai food but not amazing and again completely overpriced. I’ve lived in NYC for the last 10 years and eat out very often at some of the best restaurants. Saffron would probably not get away charging those prices here. I find it in very poor taste when hotels charge ridiculous prices for mediocre food knowing that its guests are at least partially captive to the on property restaurants. The best meal we had down there was at the pool/beachside restaurant at the Rosewood, Punta Bonita. Very good Mexican fare and service at half the prices of the restaurants at the Banyan Tree. I strongly recommend dining there.

The Spa

I thought it was amazing. Possibly the best spa I have been to. The staff are just too polite! Everything the reviews say about how good the therapies are is absolutely true. Each massage session is conducted in a separate over water villa with a private toilet, steam and shower. Definitely take advantage of the rainforest experience, either on its own or as a combo package with one of the massage therapies. I did the 3 hour rainforest indulgence. I was so relaxed I think I fell asleep twice. My wife also thought it was very good but was not as impressed as I was. Maybe women just have higher spa standards.

Overall Impression

A very luxurious and beautiful resort but the shortcomings I’ve mentioned above make this less than a perfect resort. If you claim to be among the best and charge accordingly, then you need to be held to a much higher standard. I will add that if the beach and location (Playa) were better (put another way: this hotel on a nice beach on an idyllic Caribbean island) I’m pretty sure I would visit often. However, if you don’t care much about the beach or the surrounding area outside the hotel then the Banyan Tree offers great value and enough to keep your mind and body occupied for several days without leaving the property.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank NYCyaatri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 September 2010

Needing to keep this review brief, it is difficult to do so. My husband and I had no true idea of what we would experience on our honeymoon. We travel extensively but don't stay in high-end 5-star resorts. But......it was our honeymoon so we decided to splurge.

In a nutshell, it was all we could desire and more. Our mouths dropped open as our private airport transport pulled onto the grounds. We had people greeting us right away - managing our check-in while sitting outside enjoying a delightful glass of juice. We were escorted to an electric buggy (golf-cart) and taken to our villa. It was magnificent!!!! Not to mention private. We were given a tour of the villa and amenities were pointed out. A newspaper would be available daily as well as a listing of the day's events on the resort.

From that point on, we enjoyed outstanding service (especially Alejandro at Oriente and Carlos at the beach and pool), beautiful surroundings and wonderful food! We sampled every restaurant on the premises (including In Villa Dining) and ate breakfast at Oriente every morning (their wide selection of fresh fruit was perfect each day). At no point did we feel alone, someone was always presenting themselves to offer help -- without ever being intrusive or crowding. All staff were pleasant and really seemed to enjoy their place of work. The grounds and villa were immaculate yet you never really ran into all the people you know were responsible for keeping it so. It was quiet and tranquil. We enjoyed the Rainforest and a few massages. The spa services were a well-rounded experience. The electric boatride through the canals to the beach was relaxing and beautiful.

It wasn't til toward the end of our week-long stay that we really started to uncover the philosophy behind Banyan Tree -- the investment in it's employees, local environment/culture and eco-friendliness. When we casually talked to some of the staff about it, all were eager to discuss and had glowing things to say. We felt even better spending our money in an area/to a business that was so conscious of the indigineous people and land.

All in all, it was an amazing experience that encompassed all the senses -- and soothed the mind. We have already been telling everyone we know about our honeymoon and how perfect it was! We defintely plan to return as well as visit other Banyan Tree establishments.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Charlie12378
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 August 2010

Hopefully, there will be more Banyan Trees in our future... we've been ruined. This was truly hospitality at it's finest. We stayed for 6 days at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba in August and were blown away by the staff, the place, and the amenities. From the moment we stepped out of the car, we knew that this place was special. Beautiful, airy, modern, romantic and luxe, we found our garden villa to me more than complete with it's private pool, swinging hammock, outdoor bathtub, view of the lagoon, and uber comfortable bed. We were steps from the fabulous breakfast at the Oriente (included in our reservation and generally one of the many highlights of our day) the quiet Reflections pool, and the top of the line spa. Whatever you do, try the rainforest walk!! When we were there, the spa was having a special- $20 per person for a 60 minute walk through. You go from rainforest shower, to sauna, to steam room, back to shower, to another sauna, to an ice rub... it was a bit like going through a human car wash, but so much fun!

We took advantage of most of the complimentary activities, all of which I would highly recommend, including the Mexican cooking class, the tequila tasting, the wine and tapas tasting (generous portions!), and the one hour long eco tour by boat through the lagoons with a naturalist guide. We did take two day trips- one to Cozumel for snorkeling, and another to Coba, the Mayan ruins, which included zip-lining, rappelling and swimming in a cenote. We enjoyed all of the activities, but it was always a little bit wistful to leave the Banyan Tree!

It was pretty amazing that most of the staff knew our names by the second day that we were there. From Zuleyka's friendly welcome and beautiful smile, to Alejandro, our waiter who bent over backwards to make our breakfasts phenomenal experiences every single day, to the attentiveness of Erik and Federico, the two managers at Tamarind and Oriente respectively, to Mariel's exquisite knowledge of tequilas, Rubi's gentle, sweet greeting as she watched me swim laps around the main pool before breakfast and Samuel's cheerful "whistle while you work attitude" as he transported us from one part of the resort to another, we felt like no stone had been left unturned. It wasn't just that these people are really good at what they do, it actually seemed like they loved it. In fact, Samuel actually told us that he will often take over the shifts of his colleagues because he loves work so much that he never wants to leave! I can't imagine never wanting to leave work. From all accounts, it does seem like the Banyan Tree Company treats it's employees well, providing good housing options, multiple meals a day, and training locals in the art of hospitality, so that they can develop skills and build careers. At the same time, we were impressed by all of the efforts the resort put into re-developing the surrounding nature preserve, educating it's staff in protecting the environment, and utilizing a green philosophy within the resort.

On the night of our anniversary, we had a delicious dinner at Tamarind, and returned to our villa to find candles aglow, rose petals strewn across the bed to spell "Happy Anniversary," and a bottle of Chilean wine chilling on ice! We don't even remember telling anyone that it was our anniversary. Just another example of how the staff here will go that extra mile.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank borabunny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoboken, New Jersey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 August 2010

My husband and I went to Banyan Tree to celebrate our 4 year anniversary in August (off season - very quiet, but extremely relaxing). We were there for 5 nights, which was a perfect get-away. We read all the reviews on TripAdvisor, and had high expectations. Banyan Tree certainly lived up to and surpassed the reviews we read online.

Transportation - we used cancunshuttle.com for transportation from the airport to the hotel. There are many options on the website, but we selected the VIP private car service. We drove in a very comfortable Suburan SUV, they provided bottled water, and drove very safely. Not sure the VIP upgrade was necessary, but it cost around $165 round trip (not bad!).

Take advantage of complimentary hotel activities - but sign up early. My husband took a tequila tasting class (I am pregnant so couldn't participate, but had a great time watching). We took a cooking class - and had a delicious lunch. We missed out on the wine and tapas, but heard it was great.

Spa - AMAZING! I had 2 spa treatments and they were out of this world - even if your treatment is 60 minutes - they provide an additional half hour of relaxation (but they're actually massaging you; so it's equivalent to a 90 minute treatment)! My husband did the rainforest walk and LOVED it (he's not typically a spa-goer).

Pools - besides our private pool (every villa has a private pool), we spent most of our time at the pool near the beach. My husband and I are "pool" people, but we like to be near the water - so this worked out perfectly for us. It's either a 10-15 minute walk from the lobby/breakfast, 5 minute golf car ride, 5 minute bike ride or 10 minute boat ride. After eating such large breakfasts every day - we opted to walk to the pool/beach.

Lunch - almost every day we had lunch by the pool/beach. There were lots of options, but I really like the veggie burger and fries (had it 2 times).

Dinners - we ate at all the Banyan Tree restaurants. They were all exceptional!! The food was fantastic and service was great. My husband and I didn't want to try Saffron (We like Thai food - but really wanted Mexican food since we were in Mexico). As a result - we saved Saffron for our last night, and we were both so happy we experienced it! We did the tasting menu - way too much food (only 1 person needs to get the tasting menu, the other person should order 1 entree). It looked like we barely touched a thing. I really wanted fajitas one night (at The Sands), and the chef was kind enough to make them for me (even though they weren't on the menu). Fantastic dinner! We also went to Rosewood one night, and had a delicious dinner at their casual pool restaurant (I think it's called Punta Bonita).

For future travelers - this hotel is highly recommended!

Thanks to everyone at Banyan Tree for making such a memorable vacation.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MemorableVacations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Property: Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal - Pto. Juarez Km. 298, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#16 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Mayakoba 5*
Number of rooms: 118
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a site of almost mythical beauty. It flawlessly blends elegance and nature, taking the Caribbean lifestyle to an unprecedented new height. A breathtaking getaway for relaxation, rejuvenation, romance and world-class dining, it is also the region's most sustainable five-star resort. With its revitalized culinary concepts, Thai-inspired therapies at the Banyan Tree Spa, 14 event-venues and the Greg Norman signature 18- hole El Camaleon golf course, home to the PGA Tour Mayakoba Classic, the resort raises the bar for premium leisure options and event planning. Perfect for private getaways, family trips and group events, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers 118 villas, ranging from romantic Bliss and Serenity Pool Villas to Family Residences and Ocean Front Villas. All include outdoor areas with private pools and terraces. Inspired by the interior courtyards of houses in the Far East, each villa is discreetly built to blend with the landscape, integrating the interiors and their idyllic surroundings. East meets West in every subtle detail, from the fragrance of flowers encircling your villa, to the softness of a kimono, fine linens and essential oils on your skin. Here, even world-weary guests discover the eloquence of tranquility. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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