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“Luxury honeymoon ... we cannot wait for our next stay at a Banyan Tree.”

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Ranked #2 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 10 January 2011

My husband and I returned from our honeymoon to Banyan Tree this past November. We could not have picked a more perfect resort. Not only is the resort stunning, but the service was impeccable. There's a host/hostess available to you 24-hrs a day, a buggy on-call at your disposal, and all the waiters/servers are kind and trained to the utmost of standards.

The villas themselves were spectacular. We stayed in a courtyard villa which has its own separate breakfast nook with TV, bar, dinner table, large sofa, etc. Outside we had our own pool and jacuzzi. The pool was sometimes chilly (not heated), and the jacuzzi sometimes hot (but they would always send someone to adjust it), but we just preferred the beach and the resort pool anyway. The bedrooms in the villa have a cathedral ceiling, huge bathroom for two, walk-in closet, massive shower, and outdoor bath.

The food at the resort was divine. We ate at Saffron first when we arrived for our stay. They greet the women with flowers for their hair, and sat us at the special table at the end of the dock, overlooking the mangroves. Tamarind was also delicious and quite eclectic downstairs from the lobby. Sands (at the beach club) had a great barbecue night and served Mexican food in Oriente (which was closed for dinner during our stay because of 'low-season'). Breakfast every morning was at Oriente and believe us, you've never seen breakfast buffets like this. Think sushi bar, yogurt bar, fruit bar, bread bar, juice bar, pastry bar, omelet/egg bar, and hot stations. If you have the chance, the 24-hr in-villa dining is actually really good and the presentation is impressive.

The resort has a bar in the lobby, at the pool, and at the beach. The bar at the pool was closed during our stay (again, 'low-season'), but the staff around the pool was happy to order us drinks and bring them down from the lobby. You can get around the resort in the buggy, rent a bike, or walking in most cases from the villas to the lobby. The beach is a bit further and can't be walked to easily, but you can take the buggy/a bike and they do have a boat that leaves from the lobby which makes a really nice trip to the beach club. Definitely take the short eco boat trip which takes you around the mangroves to see the local wildlife.

Last, but not least, the spa. We spent two mornings in the spa. The first was a massage in our private spa villa with a bathroom, shower, and a seat for tea/water before/after the treatment. Really professional staff who are experts in their treatments. The second morning was the 'Rainforest Indulgence' which included an abbreviated 'Rainforest Experience' session followed by another massage in the villas. The 'Rainforest' portion included a cold/hot shower, steam room, full body scrub and shower, salt steam room (brine room), and then a tropical shower, followed by time in the vitality pool.

While staying in Riviera Maya, definitely put a few days aside to make a trip to Chichen Itza and to Tulum. We piggy-backed our trip to Tulum to also go zip-lining, snorkel in two cenotes (a must-do) and eat lunch at a local restaurant. And after Chichen Itza we went through Valladolid, a Spanish Colonial town, for a nice lunch in the most charming hotel, El Meson del Marques.

We spent three days following our trip in Cozumel. While we were anxious to get into a more festive, social environment, we were quickly missing Banyan Tree. We will absolutely look into additional Banyan Tree resorts for our future vacations.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank K-LoAstoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 January 2011

This place is crazy off the charts luxury. Hard to describe. Just spectacular, beautiful, relaxing, romantic, fun, large and pleasurable. Luxury at it's finest.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank charwood525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2011

The preceding reviews of this hotel are fairly accurate. The Villas are excellent, the Spa is fantastic and the level of service is very high. But rather than repeat what others have already said, let me make a few observations about the hotel and the surrounding area based on my 14 night stay, which you may find relevant:

LOCATION: The hotel is located in a private resort about 30 minutes away from Playa del Carmen. While the Banyan Tree is a peaceful, quiet and serene environment, Playa del Carmen is a cheap, touristy, dirty and run down place. On 5th Avenue (the major tourist thoroughfare), you will find very poor quality shops, bars and restaurants and streets littered with trash and dead animals (today a dog). Although some people will enjoy the delights of "Playa", it's hard to imagine that anyone who enjoys the Banyan Tree, will enjoy it's neighbouring town.

DINING: Having conveyed my views on Playa, it should be clear that any decent dining options lay in the hotel itself, or in the restaurants of the surrounding 5* hotels. In the Banyan Tree, the dining options are extremely limited. This is problematic given how unappealing it is to leave the resort. "Saffron" the signature restaurant of the Banyan Tree is a perfectly good Thai restaurant set in the most romantic setting within the hotel on a series of piers overlooking the lagoon. The food here is nice, but not spectacular, and my palette generally struggles with Thai any more than once a week. The next option is "Tamarind", the hotels fine dining restaurant. This restaurant is located in the somewhat sterile lobby building and the food is far too complicated and over-engineered to be a regular dining option. And while the food in here is ok, you probably won't want to eat there twice - think Nouvelle Cuisine with large portions and just a few too many flavours going on on one plate. That leaves "Oriente", which is the main hotel restaurant where an excellent breakfast is served. In the evening however, Oriente normally serves a buffet, which in my experience is exceptionally poor and overpriced. Furthermore the atmosphere is one of a canteen, which at $65 per person for the buffet is unacceptable.

In short then, dining options outside the hotel are very limited, while the hotels own dining options are not adequate to carry the burden. The in-villa BBQ dining is well worth doing however and restaurants at the nearby Mandarin and Rosewood, can help to fill the voids.

ATMOSPHERE: the hotel is tranquil, calm and relaxing. As a consequence, do not expect any night life, energy or vibrancy in the hotel in the evening.

BEACH: my experience of beach and poolside service was very good. The beach is nice, but the sea bed is covered in a green algae which feels unpleasant underfoot.

TENNIS: the hotel shares 2 tennis courts with the adjoining Fairmont and Rosewood (around 800 guests max) which is inadequate for a resort of this size and booking a court is difficult.

CONCIERGE: the concierge function at the hotel is not strong. There is little understanding of the quality / type of travel and dinning arrangements that guests require outside of the hotel.

Notwithstanding the above comments, we loved our stay at the Banyan Tree and enjoyed the environment of the Mayakoba Resort. The hotel also proved a good base to explore Tulum, Chitchen Itza and Cozumel - on the latter place, the scuba/snorkelling here is fantastic and the beaches are nice, but the rest of the place is a total dump, so I would advise against taking the 40 minute boat unless you want to explore the reef.

In summary then, the Banyan Tree is a great hotel to relax, unwind and enjoy the sun. As ling as that's all you are looking for, you will not go wrong at the Banyan Tree.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank SIMONandCARO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTGroup, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 11 January 2011

Dear SIMONandCARO

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review on our hotel. Your remarks are very much appreciated as they help us to improve our service and our product.

I was very pleased to read all the positive comments you had for us. We appreciate the feedback you have provided regarding our food and beverage offerings. We are reviewing it currently to ensure an appealing optimal variety is available to our guests.

Once again thank you for your feedback and please let me know when you will be back to our property. I will personally make sure that your next visit will be a perfect one, and that you experience some culinary delights.

Sincerely,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager
max.lennkh@banyantree.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2011

First of all, this hotel is amazingly beautiful. If I give it 3 stars, it is because I am not sure it was worth the money it asked from us. Money aside, this is without doubt a 5 star venue. It is the curse of the super exclusive resort that every little blemish gets overblown exponentially by the demanding guest. I am aware of this and will try to avoid giving the wrong impression that this resort is terrible. It is not, it is very nice. However:

Biggest problem: Service. Very friendly, but perhaps a bit over-motivated? When we moved in we asked for a couple of extras. "Yes yes, we will check" was the answer to everythying and then I never heard from them again.

There was always a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver. It extended to the restaurants as well, for example, they would say "ok we will serve the spice and coriander separate from the soup" and then everything was mixed together anyways. Or, they would ask "are you allergic to any foods" and then what do they actually do with that information? Nothing. My wife has lactose intolerance. They still recommended all kinds of cheese and milk dishes. It is nice you ask, but what do you actually do with it?

My wife and I have stayed at much more exclusive and expensive resorts in the past (e.g. six senses) where they ask the same things, but they actually do work with that information. Unlike Banyan Tree, they also make sure your special requests are handled correctly.

For example, we asked for late check out and were surprised to hear, a couple days later, that our request had actually not been entered. We also asked for a copy of the menus from all the restaurants so we could plan our dinners, asked twice (!), and never got them. Was that a difficult request? I asked for a cable to connect my MP3 player to the stereo, was told "I will check for you" and never heard back. Not to mention the buggy that never came to pick us up on our first night.

On the last night I offloaded my frustration over all these things on the poor guy who takes the guests phone calls. Maybe I overreacted, but thinking about the level of service we experienced in other resorts I really do believe I had a point there.

Minor thing: My wife and I have different last names. Hotel staff kept addressing me with my wife's name. They did take my credit card and passport when I checked in, so they should have known I have my own name.

Then my wife got hurt when the hammock crashed down because it was not tied properly. No serious injury, and we are not Americans who sue for millions in damages for emotional trauma. But she does have a chronic back problem and this was potentially dangerous! The staff did not immediately understand the problem and it felt a bit as if they did not believe us. They sent chocolates, this is nice, but also a bit lame. If my wife had dislocated the disc in her back, our vacation would have been over.

When the hotel repaired the hammock, they used what sailors call a Palstek type knot, but it was not done right and I had to correct it. It felt as though they did not (want) to get out of their way to make us feel better about this incident. I suspect they did not really believe us.

Another thing that was a bit uncomfortable was the Wifi. There was no signal in our villa. We had to go to the garden to get a signal, but it was so weak that the connection was very slow. Same applies to cell phone coverage. I wanted to make some business calls and actually had to hike up to the lobby to get a good signal.

The food: I did not think the restaurants were very good. I mean, really expensive and really average. The so-called christmas dinner was very average and very overpriced. Speaking of Xmas: Did it actually happen? There was not a trace of Xmas in the hotel. Why?

The Thai restaurant was outstanding, not because of the food, but because of the owner (I guess he was the owner, the thai guy). He made us feel very special and gave us the best and most romantic table in the whole restaurant, overlooking the water.

This is the kind of service and attention to the customer that I had been expecting from everybody there. Perhaps I am a bit spoiled from having stayed at more expensive resorts. But I really thought that Banyan Tree was playing in a similar league. I am sorry if this is not the case and my high expectations were unjustified.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Pumkin2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTGroup, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 11 January 2011

Dear Pumkin2000

Thank you for your valuable feedback regarding your recent visit to Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

I appreciate your positive comments about the hotel and was very happy to read that you hold our hotel in high esteem. Regarding the points which you did not like so much we will continue to work on improving our service delivery.

The incident with the Wifi was due to extremely heavy internet traffic during the holiday season. This problem also affected our neighboring hotels.

Once again thank you for bringing your experience to our attention.

We hope to have the honor of welcoming you back to Banyan Tree Mayakoba, allowing us the opportunity of providing you a truly wonderful and memorable Banyan Tree experience.

Kind Regards,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

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Reviewed 3 January 2011

We stayed at the Banyan Tree for our honeymoon and I would recommend it to everyone. We did have an issue when we arrived though. On the first day, they brought us to our villa, which was amazing, but it was hot. They said to give it 30 minutes to cool down. So we went and got some drinks/snacks at the bar. Went back to our villa about an hour later, and it was still hot. The A/C appeared to be broken, which isn't good when you're in Mexico in August. So we called the front desk. They came and looked at it, I'm not sure if they did anything, but they said to wait 45 more minutes and it should be working. The room stayed hot. Now at this point, it was just getting ridiculous. This was our first day there, they knew it was our honeymoon, and for the price of this place, I would have expected them to either fix the A/C ASAP or move us to a new villa ASAP. So I was getting really annoyed that they were wasting our time with this. We called the front desk back and they came back to the villa. They said that the A/C was broken and they were going to upgrade our room now. Oh thanks a lot, after this whole ordeal took 4 hours out of our first day here. So we had a rocky start. But everything after that first day was great. I would recommend swimming with the whale sharks. That was an unforgettable experience but I think it's a seasonal excusion. We visited the other hotels, Rosewood and Fairmont and both had great food. Also, the Rosewood acknowledged our honeymoon with a dessert :) The food and drinks at the Banyan Tree were good too. As everyone stated below, be ready to pay a premium price for EVERYTHING. We prepared for that beforehand but it's still difficult to order an $18 drink and try to enjoy it. The in-villa dining experience was amazing. Definitely one of the top 5 meals I've ever had. Overall, I think we would go back to the Banyan Tree if we were ready to spend a small fortune again.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank emma2303
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTGroup, General Manager at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 11 January 2011

Dear emma2303

On behalf of the Banyan Tree Mayakoba family, thank you for your comments. It is exactly feedback such as yours that assists us in achieving the service excellence that we constantly strive for.

Regarding your comments about the air conditioning, I would like to deeply apologize for the inconveniences this may have caused. We have shared this uncomfortable situation with our Rooms Director and our Engineering Director in order to ensure that this problem does not occur again.

We were delighted to read that you enjoyed your stay with us, despite this inconvenience.

If you plan to visit us on the future, please do not hesitate to contact me directly and I will personally take care of your booking, to ensure you have a perfect stay.

Once again thank you again for your feedback.

Best Regards,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager
max.lennkh@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 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Luxury 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: RM2,724 - RM7,596 (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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