Soft white sand and Evian-clear waters are all you need to unwind

The Riviera Maya's coastline has accumulated its fair share of resort hotels, and with some of the best beaches in Mexico and lush jungle backdrop it's easy to see why. However, if you are looking for something a cut above the rest then there is only one place to stay, as Caroline Cullern found out at the luxury Maroma Resort and Spa.

First impressions

I'm changing the locks and refusing to leave. The Maroma Resort and Spa has seriously stolen my heart. I don't think I can bear to even look at another hotel again. The love affair started as we turned off the main highway and made our way down the gravel road through the lush jungle. What struck me about this resort, compared to others I have stayed in on the Riviera Maya, is the feeling that you really are at one with nature. Instead of arriving at a massive hotel lobby with overly-manicured gardens, Maroma's main buildings are small and intimate, nestled into the landscape rather than taking it over.

Maroma Resort review - spaThe Kinan Spa is a must on any stay
Maroma Resort and Spa
Originally, the site was home to an architect who bought the land and designed his dream beach home. Having received so many friends and family wanting to stay, he decided to turn it into a hotel. Since then, Orient-Express have taken over the resort and with the architects’ help, have expanded the rooms and built the spa, and masterfully maintaining a family-home charm – making it feel intimate and special. This is emphasised further by the exceptional staff, all of whom address you by name and greet you with the warmth of an old friend.

The beach is stunning. The stretch of soft white sand and Evian-clear waters are enticing, even to a city girl who has seen Jaws one too many times. Plus the beach beds are incredible. The size of a double bed, complete with thick mattress and cushions, they are more comfortable than my bed at home, and with beach butler service and stunning views they’re the perfect place to relax.

Ideal for...

Couples and luxury seekers. The intimate setting and smaller size mean that you can happily while away the day at one of the pools or on the beach in relative privacy. Although the occupancy level was high when I was there, the nature of the resort means at times you feel like you are the only people staying there – perfect for relaxation and romance. Also, by night the resort is lit up by thousands of candles – simply stunning.

The room

Maroma Resort review - roomGet a ocean suite for extreme luxury
Maroma Resort and Spa
I stayed in the Ocean Front One Bedroom Suite (Sian Nah) and it was bigger than my flat in London. If extreme luxury is your thing, then this is the room for you. Sian Nah means House of Heaven in Mayan - and they have certainly achieved it. There was a large living room, with dining area, seating area and a sea-facing balcony. The bedroom was just as large, with a huge (and extremely comfortable) bed, a second seating area with a large TV, huge bathroom and another balcony overlooking the beach and sea. As if that wasn't enough sea-view balconies, the suite also came with its own roof terrace, bedecked with double-sized sunlounger, hammock, dining table and its own plunge pool – well actually more like a shallow swimming pool it was so big! The terrace was incredible, very private and yet more stunning sea views.

For the health-conscious, the suite came with a cross-trainer in case you want an early morning work out, though there is also an air-conditioned gym on site.

We absolutely loved the coffee-making machine, which came with an abundance of different blends. This may sound like a simple thing, but having stayed in other hotels where getting a decent coffee is like scaling Mount Everest, it made all the difference. To top it all off, Maroma Resort also has a morning coffee service, where they deliver coffee to your room (brewed how you like it), leaving it on a special shelf outside so they don't event have to knock in case they wake you. It's this attention to service that really blew me away.

The resort has free Wi-Fi throughout, again a simple thing, but the amount of top resorts I have stayed on that charge extra for this service is shocking. Other lovely touches were the amenities provided – a kaftan and slippers come as complimentary, and there was also a beach bag, umbrellas, laundry bag and countless more to use.

Best room?

I personally think my suite had to be the best (room 40) – I couldn't imagine there is one better on the Riviera Maya! Though the hotel does have a four-bedroom villa to rent, complete with kitchen area and private pool – perfect for a group or family.

Eating and drinking

Maroma Resort review - dinnerFabulous sea views and fantastic food
Maroma Resort and Spa
The breakfast was included in the room and is served either in your room or in the restaurant overlooking the beach. There was a great choice of Mexican-inspired choices, as well as the usual poached egg and bacon affairs. Fresh fruit, warm pastries and steaming coffee were the perfect start to the day. For the sweet-toothed, the Mayan hot chocolate is a must.

The hotel has two restaurants, El Restaurant and El Sol, as well as nightly themed offerings. During my stay, there was a taco night by one of the pools, as well as a beach barbecue. We also ate in El Restaurant, where we had one of the best meals during our Mexican visit, gorging on Yucatan-inspired stews and fresh fish.


The Kinan Spa is a must on any stay. As you walk into the reception area you immediately start to relax as delightful aromas waft over you and the tinkling sound of water soothes your ears. All of the treatment rooms are integrated with the outdoors beautifully, with large sliding doors that can be opened right up, or kept closed if you prefer air conditioning at hotter times of the year. The relaxing massage I had did exactly what it promised and my expert masseuse had me drooling like a baby. Comfort is key at Maroma Resort, which even extends to their massage tables. Gone are the hard, tissue-covered affairs, and instead I sank onto a super-soft, duvet-like covering and covered by a huge soft sheet. It's the added details like this that Maroma Resort gets so right.

Out and about

Maroma Resort review - beachThe beach is just stunning
Maroma Resort and Spa
I doubt you will want to leave the resort, but if you do Playa del Carmen is about 20 minutes away by taxi. If you want to explore the area's sea life, you can take advantage of your free snorkelling trip out to the world's second largest reef (included in your booking). We were taken straight from the hotel beach by a boat for about 10 minutes, with all equipment provided as well as an expert guide. Being a novice snorkeller and not a massive fan of things that lurk in the sea I was a bit nervous, but after 5 minutes I was totally relishing the experience. I had opted for an inflatable life vest, which meant I bobbed around on top marvelling at the sea life below as our guide pointed out sting ray, star fish, lobster, coral, a plethora of fish and even a barracuda. The resort also offers kayaking, sail boats, snorkelling trips to other parts of the reef, jet-ski hire, parasailing and diving for the more adventurous.

There are also trips to the various Mayan sites in the area, including the stunning ruins at Tulum and Coba, and a little further afield to Chichen Itza.


Maroma Resort and Spa, by Orient-Express
Carretera Cancún Tulum Km 51, Riviera Maya
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Tel: +52 (998) 872 8200.

Rooms cost from $525 per night for a Garden View Suite to $1,495 for an Ocean Front One Bedroom Suite (Sian Nah). Offers and packages are also available.

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