Above: Serenity Villa, Chablé Maroma, Punta Maroma, Mexico

Sensational Hideaways in the Yucatán

Serenity Villa, Chablé Maroma, Quintana Roo

It’s easy to forget that tranquil, intimate resorts dot the eastern Yucatán Peninsula, overshadowed as they are by the large, mass-market hotels now clogging parts of the coast between Cancún and Tulum. This area of Mexico has long attracted travelers to its seductive combination of Caribbean beaches, ancient ruins and idyllic cenotes (freshwater-filled sinkholes, sacred to the Maya). We recently paid an undercover visit to the Riviera Maya in search of new luxury hideaways to recommend. All three of the recently opened boutique hotels we tested offer plush accommodations and bespoke excursions to the region’s natural marvels and archaeological wonders.

Alas, tranquility may be in increasingly short supply. Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador is pushing for the completion of Tren Maya, a high-speed railway circling the Yucatán Peninsula, despite strong opposition from Indigenous communities and environmentalist groups. The project has already cut through swaths of jungle and ancient sites. Whether it will be able to start operation by the end of this year, as planned, seems very much in doubt. But if the project continues, the Yucatán will doubtless change. If you’ve been contemplating a trip to the Riviera Maya or elsewhere on the peninsula, this is the year to do it.

And don’t let safety concerns dissuade you from visiting this stretch of the Caribbean coast, far from the troubles at the U.S.-Mexico border (it’s faster to drive to the border from Chicago than from Punta Maroma). We had a relaxing, rewarding trip, and we always felt secure.

La Casa de la Playa

Presidential Suite bath, La Casa de la Playa, Xcaret Park, Playa del Carmen
Presidential Suite, La Casa de la Playa
Wellness Ocean View Suite bath, La Casa de la Playa
The 140-foot infinity pool cantilevered over the beach, La Casa de la Playa
Infinity pool, La Casa de la Playa
Beach, La Casa de la Playa
Tuch de Luna restaurant, La Casa de la Playa
Bedroom in Wellness Ocean View Suite, La Casa de la Playa
Wet bar, La Casa de la Playa

An all-inclusive resort at Xcaret Park, the Yucatán’s answer to Disney World, sounds unpromising. But gazing at the ocean vista from our private infinity pool, it was impossible to remember that we were surrounded by a giant theme park and two 900-room hotels. Adults-only La Casa de la Playa is a world of opulence unto itself, with just 63 lavish accommodations.

The indoor-outdoor lobby soars to a view of pelicans diving into the surf near a 140-foot infinity pool cantilevered over the beach. We happily reclined on a big, round swing hung beside it, but the sunning was even better at the smaller rooftop infinity pool, where we snacked on lobster rolls paired with mezcal margaritas. Built to integrate with the striking jungle plants growing in its midst, the hotel is a maze of open-air hallways leading to numerous included treats. I got lost several times, and started to consider dropping a bread-crumb-like trail of bonbons from the 24-hour self-serve chocolaterie — located right down the hall from the all-hours tequila bar and gratis wine cave.

Above: Serenity Villa, Chablé Maroma, Punta Maroma, Mexico

Read More from Our Trip:

Archaeological Adventures in the Yucatán