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“another synonym for vacation. Banyan Tree”

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Ranked #2 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 22 February 2010

This is my second review for Trip Advisor and again I am pleased to give a positve one. Just returned from Banyan Tree and look forward to returning again soon. From the moment you enter Mayakoba the drive excites you as to what lays ahead. You feel that you have left Mexico and diverted to a lagoon in Thailand. What brings you back is the warm Mexican hospitality of the staff as you are greeted and escorted to your villa. Upon entering your villa, you face a lap pool with your living apt to one side and dining and lounging lanai to the other. The room is expansive , the outdoor tub is inviting, The glass walled shower facesa small garden and outdoor tub. A privacy screen is there if you should need it.
HIs and her vanity sinks face each other seperated by a large mirror and are stocked with amenities in case forgotten. other reviews further comment on the rooms so i will stop here. The point is that all is well thought out for your comfort.
What seperates Banyan Tree from other luxury resorts is the overall experience of being pampered and appreciated by the staff. The restaurants menus are diversified and delicious although i would suggest eating at Saffron more than once. The wine list is reasonably priced and offer a full selection of Californian, French, Italian, Spanish and Mexican wine. i suggest when in Mexico try the Valle de Guadaloupe wines a treat you should not pass up.

The beach attendents make it worth while to go to the beach even in less than perfect weather. The attentiveness, and sincerety they exhibit when saying that their main interest is that you have a vacation and let them worry about everything for you, is true in how they cater to anticipated wishes.

Which brings us to the SPA. WOW. i suggest you not go if you would like to return home and continue to enjoy your home therapist. However if you would want to experience being brougt into the moment of peace and tranquility , than you must risk it. If only a vacation could accomodate trying all the treatments.

if a property should have some negatives, the ones that i found could have been overcome with some calls on my behalf and did not negatively affect my review of the property. There is no central concierge to consult on area restaurants and opinions diifer as to the quality of outside eating places. i would suggest that even though you can eat on propery every day and be happy, that the front office should have a list of menus available. Also, as i am one to cook when the iron is hot, i had asked each day to meet with a sales representative for the residences and each day i was promised that someone would be in touch with me. its more difficult to tour the property once i have left.

i suggest that if your looking for the ultimate Couples resort, where you can enjoy your privacy, eat great food, experience a fantastic spa, and be pampered then you need look no further that Banyan Tree

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank itsallabout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, Vice President - Area General Manager (Mexico) at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2010

Dear Valued Guest

We thank you immensely for taking the time to share your experience with others and for your gracious comments about our resort, food, spa and associates.

We are very conscious that we have created a wonderful “Sanctuary for the Senses” with the perfect blend of Asian and Mexican cultures, and it could not be perfect without the professional team who is totally committed to deliver the finest service and most genuine care to our guest.

We have our new “Experience Concierge”, which you can contact before your arrival so you can get all the information about Playa del Carmen and our property. She can assist you making the previous arrangements to your arrival, such as restaurant reservations, night clubs, tours, and other special requirements you may have. You can contact her at experienceconcierge-mayakoba@banyantree.com.

We are so pleased to be named by you as an “Ultimate Couples Resort” We look forward to your return to Banyan Tree Mayakoba and to having the privilege of “pampering” you again soon.

Sincerely,




Pancho Llamas
Vice President
Area General Manager
pancho.llamas@banyantree.com

Report response as inappropriate
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1,721 - 1,725 of 2,177 reviews

Reviewed 21 February 2010

Just returned to the Connecticut snow from 8 days at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba. This was our first trip to Mexico and we picked the Banyan Tree based on the reviews here on Trip Advisor. Congrats to the Trip Advisor family - the high ratings were right on target! We are an active couple with three children ages 10, 8 and 6.

Overall, the Banyan Tree is as good or better than any resort we have stayed in (Four Seasons, Rtiz etc...). The resort is beautiful and is imbued with a zen like feeling that as you start to abosrb it over a few days, you begin to notice the flow and details. By far the biggest plus for the resort is a staff that is always looking for ways to make your stay a little bit better. This is a young, bright and eager staff of mostly locals that give you the feeling they truly enjoy helping you rather than just angling for a tip.

Biggest Plusses:

1. Staff (see above)
2. Design - beautiful flow, scenery. Do the boat ride/eco tour that the resort offers. Its less than hour, and a fun view of the area from the canals. We saw a huge (6-8') croc sunning itself on the banks!
3. Food - the breakfast buffet is fantastic (and open until noon!). Make sure you get it included in your room rate. We filled up there every morning, enjoyed chatting with the staff, then had a light snack for a late lunch. Dinners were often back at the main restaurant, out in Playa Del Carmen, or "in villa dining". We had the in room barbecue on the roof of our villa one night which was a lot of fun. Overall food quality is exceptional - you can order from any of the restaurants for in villa dining, so while not actually eating in Saffron, we ordered from it and were delighted.

Biggest Drawbacks

1. Sleeping in the dungeon. We were in a 3 bedroom terrace villa. The bedrooms are in the ground floor which feels like you are underground. There is a permanent damp, dank mustiness to it that might be nice in the heat of summer but is not pleasant at all in February. We would definitley not choose to stay in one of these again, despite the huge layout and ample space. We couldn't get the place to warm up or de-humidify. Yes, the rooftop pools are cold. To add insult to injury, all the bathrooms are on the bottom floor and we had a major plumbing problem where waste/sewer water was seeping up into the shower drains. The smell was pretty bad for a couple days, which mixed in with the natural musty smell to keep us upstairs for anything but sleep. To the resort's credit, they offered to move us, which we declined given the hassle. Lots of incense and candle oils helped to offset.

2. Beach access/layout. If you are looking for a true beach vacation, this is probably not the place to go. The beach is nice, but you have to plan to go. You can take a golf cart or bike to the beach very easily, just make sure you change before you go as there are no changing facilities there (we changed in the bathroom the first time as we were expecting a changing room at the "beach club"). Other resorts not in Mayakoba are right on the beach if that is what you are looking for.

3. Spa has no wating or recovery area. You have your tea after your treatment in the office were the ladies are typing! Also, made a reservation for a yoga class for wife and two daughters, and when we arrived, they were full with walk ins - so wife and only one daughter participated, with wife's feet hanging under the curtain practically out the door. This was the only staff member that we felt was a bit rude and unwilling to help. She seemed a bit put off that we were not happy that our reservation wouldn't be honored.

Overall we give it 4 stars - would have been 5 easily if not for sleeping in the dungeon.

The adventures we did from the resort were Xplor, Tulum and Xcaret. Xplor was fantastic, we wrote a separate review for it. We rented a car for a day and drove to Tulum. It's about an hour's drive and was very interesting (don't eat there - the food in the village area gave us a taste of Mexico that we are trying to forget!). The guide we hired at the gate was pretty lousy. You are better off with buying a book at the entrance and eavesdropping on all the other guides. Xcaret is huge amazing place - sort of a zoo, archeologic, water park, sea world all wrapped up in one. We had bad weater for our day there, so didn't do the water activities which was too bad. For those willing to, the dolphin experience and faux scuba diving looked great. We also spent some time in Playa del Carmen - walking 5th avenue is a lot of fun, with countless restaurants and shops and lots of street hawkers vying for your dollars.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank Florida_Family_Five
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2010

I will strat by saying this was hands down the best vacation I have ever taken and I would return to Banyan Tree without hesitation however, there are a few areas I think could be improved on...The resorts seems to appear torn between being a family friendly resort or being a spa destination. In my opinion you can not be both as a a truely tranquil spa destination does not have small children and loud teenagers running about. There is a huge disparity in patrons at this resort. At one end of the spectrum you would find a well appointed Italian couple dropping Channel and at the other end an American group of 15 travelers complete with tatoos, camouflaged bathingsuit covers, and children who did not know how to cover their mouths when the coughed. Prior to taking this trip I reviewed the comments on this website and noted that one couple had given the resort 4 stars based on the quality of the food. I echo this sentiment. I have stayed at many resorts/hotels worlwide and the food is almost always lacking. The problem with the Banyan Tree is that there is no convenient alterative due to the secluded location. The resort host a few themed eating venues all priced in USD. We found the food some what lacking and after a few days bacame boring. The cerviche was excellent. The breakfast buffet was well appointed with foods from Mexico, pasteries, fresh fruits (which two days in a row there was mold on the raspberries) traditional American, as well as Scandanavian choices. The problem was that it was like a cattle call with children running about, babies crying, and loud parties of multi-famlies. The last morning the dining room was so packed that I felt rushed to eat. Not the most relaxing atmosphere. The staff spoke English very well but on numerous occasions request were lost in translation. On two occasions we ended up with other guest's orders and drinks were not prepared as advertised often missing garnishes. Our dinner reservations were also mixed up one evening. The staff always made a great effort to correct mistakes but it still seemed that eating was chaotic rather than a relaxing, enjoyable experience. The best meals were enjoyed in the privacy of our villa. On to the spa. The staff in the spa were amazing! The treatments were also very good; we found the rooms were a little cold. The before and after drinks were excellent and we enjoyed the free yoga. Our only complaint is that you had to pay to utilize the steam rooms etc. Having traveled to spa locations in areas of Europe use of such facilities is usually complimentary. At a minimum Banyan Tree should allow access to these areas for paying spa customers. The last area that I see could use improvement is the staff use of the golf carts (or buggies as they call them). On numerous occasions staff traveled much too fast considering that the golf carts share the same path as bicycles and pedestrians and there is barely enough room for the golf cart. We had to move off the path an into the grass to allow the carts to pass and we were almost hit one time as sevice staff was traveling in the dark and did not see us.
The things we really enjoyed at the Banyan Tree....we arrived at Cancun airport only to wait in line for an hour to pass immigrations and customs. The private transfer was well worth the money and we suggest you try it. We arrived at the resort and were promptly greeted and taken on a quick tour and served refreshments. Our villa was perfect! The room was staged with soft music. Perhaps we were just lucky but we never heard another guest while inside our villa during the entire stay. This was the best part. I very much enjoyed the seclusion and privacy provided by our villa. I often have trouble sleeping when away from home due to noisy neighbors, street noise, and hard beds...not at the Banyan Tree....it was perfect! We relished in the tranquility of the villa; often the only noise heard was a signing bird. The villa also comes with complimentary espresso machine, coffee, and milk as well as fruit, water, and insence. There was an IPod docking station in the bathroom and several CDs in the room. The resort was also very clean. We live in a beach resort area and the birds will almost attack you at resturants on the beach; the Banyan Tree does an excellent job of keeping the wildlife out of the main resort area while ensure they are allowed to remain in the surrounding environment. We did not utilize the beach facility other than to eat light meals. The view was beautiful but again a very "family" oriented area of the resort with children running about. We do not play golf but the PGA tour was playing during our stay (which I think added to the chaotic nature at times) and the course looked amazing. All in all a great stay and I would recommend this resort to anyone who is looking for relaxation and a good spa.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank carribeandreams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2010

The first time I experienced the amazing hospitality and luxury accommodations that Banyan Tree has to offer in Phuket, Thailand in 2004. I recently got back from my Bachelorette weekend at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba and was pleasantly surprised that they were able to recreate the same magical experience I had in Thailand on this side of the globe in Mexico.

We stayed in an amazing 2 bedroom villa (#301) that was so luxurious I felt like I was in Thailand. It was very spacious and great for a group of girls to share together for a weekend of relaxation and plenty of space to sprawl out to do your own thing or be a bit loud and not worry about your neighbors. We each had our own bike to ride to the main lobby/hotel area or to the beach area, which was only about a 5 minute ride - very peaceful. The resort has everything you need, no need to leave.

The view from the beach was amazing! What a great idea to put the pool and restaurant right on the beach so you had the best of all worlds, not to mention the swim up bar at the pool. The menu was the best pool/beach menu I have ever experienced. 4 pages of anything you could imagine to pick from. I love that when I travel to a resort, that every day I can get something new and there isn't just 1 or 2 things on the menu that end up being edible. By far the best part about the beach/pool area was the service. Jorge and Alfonso took care of our every need each day. I hope my future husband will be so attentive.

Speaking of food, the food at the rest of the resort was equally as amazing as the pool area. We ate at the buffet at Oriente Restaurant every day for breakfast and it was amazing. Anything you could imagine they had. 2nd best buffet breakfast I've ever had (second to The Setai hotel's in Miami beach.) Dinner at Oriente one night for Mexican fair was delicious and then 2 nights at Tamarind for more of an eclectic offering. The food was really good, but the Christian and his team were the highlight of the evening. You can tell he and they really take pride in their hotel and the service they provide. Fernando and Omar helped wait on us and did a great job.

One last thing I must comment on is the Spa. You MUST book at least one appointment here. We each had a massage. Speaking for my personal experience (although my girlfriends too said the same) this was the best massage I've ever had. Some hotels claim to have a spa, but this place is above and beyond. Just like in Phuket, you get your own spa pavilion - extremely clean, the staff is super thorough and professional and everything about the experience exudes luxury.

Sorry for the lengthy review, but this is the first Trip Advisor review I've ever left. I felt compelled to do so because I enjoyed my stay so much. I'm a VERY picky traveler, I only stay in 5 star hotels and have been to many of them around the world. Whoever you come with (group, family or a honeymoon) you will LOVE this place. I stayed at a few places in the Riviera Maya before and never really liked any of them, but this place has totally changed my opinion of the area. If you're looking for LUXURY with a capital "L" this is the place for the Riviera Maya!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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2  Thank BeachyKeenGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, Vice President / Area General Manager Mexico at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2010

Dear Valued Guest

We are overjoyed to read the nice description you made about your stay with us. We are delighted to know that our resort has pleased you in every area.

It is very gratifying for the Banyan Tree Mayakoba family to read that you and your friends enjoyed the villas, our food, the spa and the beach. We humbly work very hard every day to provide our guests “magical experiences”.

Regarding your comments about our spa, all of our therapists have an intensive two year training in our Banyan Tree Spa Academies in Phuket, Bangkok, Indonesia and China. I am glad you considered our spa “above and beyond” and you could experience the best massage ever.

We are so pleased to know that our associates, whom we are very proud of, were always helpful with your requests. Jorge and Alfonso at the beach, Christian and all his team at Tamarind, and the rest of our staff, will be very glad to know that their effort and genuine care for our guests is recognized.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with others, we really appreciate you chose us to be your first Trip Advisor review.

We look forward to your return to Banyan Tree Mayakoba and to having the privilege of being of service to you again soon.

Sincerely,

Pancho Llamas
Vice President
Area General Manager
pancho.llamas@banyantree.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2010

Everything else has already been said about this place but i will add if you're thinking about it, BOOK NOW. Once the economy really picks up, this place is going to be super hard to get into. We luckily booked through Jetsetter and got a ridiculous-probably-won't-happen-again deal.

A few personal additions:
Overall, the place did NOT disappoint. We bought liquor in duty-free on our way in and made our own drinks at the room a lot - worked out great since we didn't really want to leave our villa much. (This was more b/c we're pretty particular about our margaritas than cheap.)

The service was amazing. When we got there, we asked for some limes and ice in our room for the first night. EVERY afternoon when we got back there was fresh ice and limes for us. Alex and Alejandro at the pool were especially great.

The resort is really spread out so they give you bikes which are fun or you can "press the magic button" (zero on the phone) and they send a buggy to take you where you want. The only downside is that most villas are not ocean-front. we got over that really quickly esp b/c how private the villas are. Also, the bikes are fun.

The breakfast buffet - I'm not a buffet person at all but this was ridiculous. All the usuals including a juice bar and omelet station but also about 6-7 hot asian or mexican dishes - including one with giant prawns everyday - sushi, salmon/lox, just amazing. We typically ate a big breakfast and didn't eat lunch then which worked out well.

The restaurants were amazing - pricey but so, so good. Saffron is their signature Thai one and we ate there twice, sitting outside on the lagoon.

We went to Playa del Carmen a few times to experience more local flavor which was fun but also nice to go back to our serene setting.

Spa - AMAZING. I had a facial with a 30 minute massage before that and my husband had a 90-minute massage. You know when you're in the massage table, facing down through the donut, you just look at the floor? They have a floral arrangement on the floor for your viewing pleasure. That's just one little touch that makes you feel so special.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank runner4546
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Banyan_Tree_Mayakoba, Vice President / Area General Manager Mexico at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2010

Dear Valued Guest

We thank you immensely for taking the time to share your experience with others and for your gracious comments about our resort, service and associates.

I am sure Alex and Alejandro will be pleased to read your comments. Thank you on their behalf. Comments like yours encourage our staff to be better.

I appreciate your remarks for our well-known breakfast buffet at Oriente. Our Executive Chef, Matías Martínez, is planning to improve it further.

I am delighted to read that our little touches made you feel so special, we are more than happy to know that your stay with us has been so enjoyable to deserve your preference and recommendation.

We look forward to hosting you soon at Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

With kind regards,

Pancho Llamas
Vice President
Area General Manager
pancho.llamas@banyantree.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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:
#1 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#11 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: RM2,736 - RM7,629 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Mayakoba 5*
Number of rooms: 122
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 
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Also Known As:
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Playa Del Carmen, Mexico - Riviera Maya

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