‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Riviera Maya in Mexico.

We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points.  There will be a deliberate mix of European and worldwide properties, super luxury and mid market, branded and independent.  You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.

Today’s hotel is the Rosewood Mayakoba in Mexico.  It is reader Chris’ favourite hotel and here is his review:

Getting to the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort in Mexico

Under normal circumstances British Airways has a daily flight between London Gatwick and Cancun.  This is the route we flew – on an ageing 777 with the old style World Traveller Plus.

From Cancun Airport to the Rosewood Mayakoba resort it was about a 45 minute drive.  The resort arranged an airport pickup for us which went smoothly and was particularly welcoming after the 10 hour flight.

Check in

The welcome at the hotel was as you would expect from a five star property. After a long and sweeping driveway surrounded by what the hotel describes as “jungle” we emerged into the open air lobby of the hotel and were met by porters and cold drinks.

Check-in was seamless and we were directed towards our suite. As this was a reward trip from my company we had no choice over the type of room, but we ended up in a Lagoon Suite, which backed onto one of the many crocodile infested (!) lagoons which make up the resort.

It ameant that we were “driven” to our room by a small electric boat boarded from the lobby, arriving at our own private jetty outside the room. It was certainly a unique way of arriving and offered something different compared to the golf buggies of other large resorts.

Review Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Our room

Our still modest Lagoon Suite was 90m2.  Here is a brochure shot of how they look:

Review Rosewood Mayakoba

It had tall ceilings, a separate seating and dining area, a bathroom with separate toilet and views on to the outside garden.

Review Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico

A roof terrace with shaded day bed was lovely in the evening, but didn’t get much use.  To the rear was a patio with lush looking garden which any London flat would be happy to own. We also had our own heated plunge pool.

Review Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico

The suite offered huge amounts of privacy and huge amounts of wildlife on the doorstep. Don’t worry about the baby crocodiles you see swimming near the banks of the lagoons – larger ones get “re-homed” we were told!  Although I have stayed in many hotels, this one, combined with it’s unique setting, really had a wow-factor that you don’t find very often.

Our butler

One of the aspects that features in many reviews of this resort is the service they receive from the hotel staff.  Our experience was no different – the efficiency and manner of every staff member we met or passed could not be faulted, and it was exemplified by our butler.

Either the hotel had planted microphones in our room, or our butler could genuinely mind-read (I’m not sure which is more concerning).  She consistently anticipated our requests and desires to move around the resort. She would have a buggy arrive to take us to dinner as we stepped out of the door, or rustle up clean glasses and fresh ice just as we arrived back from the beach. It was impressive. You would also occasionally see the butlers on the beach, chatting with their guests, checking everyone was happy or personally delivering food to the sun loungers.

The beach

Speaking of the beach, there was certainly enough space to spread out.  The inclusion of Evian face sprays, bottled water and a beach attendant who was as efficient as he was subtle, made the whole experience of being on the beach so much more enjoyable.

Rosewood Mayakabo review

It was never going to beat a Caribbean island for the idyllic sea colour but the delicious guacamole and chips served to our sunbed made up for it! Service was always efficient and friendly.

Review Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Dining at Rosewood Mayakoba

There were seven formal dining options to be used throughout the day, ranging from pizza on the beach to more formal and expensive options in the evening. Breakfast at Casa del Lago, overlooking the lagoon was a highlight, as was the sushi prepared at Agave Azul – easily on a par with decent sushi restaurants I’ve eaten at in London. Not on a par however were the prices. It was easy to spend $250 on a modest evening meal for two, and so it transpired that this was the most expensive free holiday that I’d ever been on.


We didn’t opt to try the spa or the sports facilities while on site, but you do get given a bicycle for the duration of your stay.  This is used to get around the resort on the winding but safe pathways, and also to explore the wider area.  With tracks around the golf course and neighbouring resort properties, it was a relaxing way to explore the large grounds.

There is criticism, not levied by me, that the resort is not “Mexican” enough. I didn’t find that to be the case, and neither did it bother me. Rosewood is an international chain after all and the touches that were there were more than enough to remind you of your location. The complimentary tequila in the room, plentiful tequila cocktails (which the barman was only too happy to try out on us) and free eco-tours of the hotel waterways and cenotes allowed us to get a feel for the unique geography of the Yucatán Peninsula. If you do want to venture out of the resort, dare I say it that the nearby town of Playa del Carman (a 20 minute taxi ride) is not a great example of what it is to be in the real Mexico either!


The big question has to be, would I return if I were paying with my own money?  This trip has certainly ruined us and our expectations of what the service in a five star resort should be like. There is no doubt that with suite prices starting at $600 per night plus food and drinks, this is not somewhere a family of four could easily consider without comparing it with some pretty impressive competitors.  Every other member of our group had the same positive views, however.

If you want to find out more, the hotel’s website is here.

Booking Rosewood Mayakoba

HFP’s hotel booking partner, Emyr Thomas of Bon Vivant, is able to access exclusive Rosewood Elite benefits.

If you book via Emyr, at the same Best Flexible Rate as you will see online, you will also receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
  • $125 USD spa credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary wi-fi

There’s also a ‘4th night free’ offer until 20th December.

You can contact Emyr via the form on this page of Head for Points.

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  1. Will in SFO says:

    We went to Mayakoba last autumn for our first beach vacation since relocating to the West Coast US.

    We priced up each of the four resorts at Mayakoba and decided for our family of four (two under 2) the Andaz next door to the Rosewood was better suited for us. If I’m
    Honest I really wanted to stay at the Rosewood but when realizing it meant staying four nights not eight nights I was quickly keen on the Andaz.

  2. David says:

    Love the Rosewood Mayakoba ! Worth saying that you can eat at any of the the four Mayakoba hotels and bill to your own hotel account.

  3. Arnie_B says:

    We stayed at the Andaz in December 2018 – it is a fantastic property split into a lagoon resort and a beach resort. The whole Mayakoba complex is very unique – very green and eco-friendly and built into nature without disrupting it too much.
    With kids, I would recommend Andaz. Great pools and other facilities. Amazing beachfront Mexican restaurant. One negative on the Andaz – being more family friendly, the resort is quite dead after 8pm as most people retire to their rooms and order in. The Rosewood has a solid Thai restaurant which I would recommend (we love Mexican food but started craving Asian after 5-6 nights!)

  4. That conclusion wasn’t conclusive enough. The reviewer didn’t say they would definitely return. For a hotel that is their favourite that’s not really saying the right thing.

    I will return time and again to my favourite hotel as it ticks every single box for me. The price, while very important, is not the deciding factor, while the location, service, facilities, comfort, food and treatment received definitely are. I get value for my money and am treated as a VIP returning guest. Even so these are not why my hotel is my favourite.

    I miss my favourite hotel and look forward to returning (and hopefully will in September). That is the clincher for me.

    • What is your favourite hotel?

      • It’s the Iberostar Grand El Mirador in Tenerife though I’m not sure i wanted to share that as I wasn’t selected for inclusion in this series 😉 Maybe I will get a chance to write a review at some point.

    • That’s a fair point. We are trying NOT to equate ‘favourite’ with ‘most luxurious’, unless the writer has been to many luxury hotels and has found one which goes above and beyond. We chose this one primarily because it is a BA route and we hadn’t done Mexico yet.

      • Rob, that’s good to know the reason why HfP chose this review and a fair reason to do so. I am enjoying this series and I like the idea of the range of destinations and the variety of hotels so far. I also would happily visit a number of them, the hotel near Marbella being the choice for me so far.

        My favourite hotel is most definitely not the most luxurious hotel I have stayed in but it is lovely, Luxury to me is also more than mere furnishings and whether the taps are gold-plated or not and whether it costs £600 a night. If I was going for luxury I would be hard pressed to choose between nominating the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville or Pousada Literaria de Paraty in Brazil.

        The former for its grandeur, overall elegance, fabulous lobby and water-cooled courtyard serving amazing breakfasts.It has a wonderful swimming pool and poolside service bar-none but the pool is let down by possibly being the coldest I’ve ever experienced even in 40 degree heat! The latter hotel for the feeling that I was the only person staying in the hotel, and service that outshone even that in Seville. Service was so discreet and top notch that I.almost felt like I was being waited on hand and foot in my own home.

        But neither of those hotels is my favourite because, wonderful as they are, they were simply lovely one-off experiences. Unlike my favourite I do not want to return time and again to them.

    • Peter K says:

      Just because someone may not be able to afford to go back somewhere, or have the inclination to go back somewhere (I rarely visit the same place twice) does not mean the hotel can’t be their favourite.

      • You have a point but you have visited the same place twice. Therefore I’d be surprised if you went back because you didn’t like it. And if you chose somewhere as your favourite you would not hesitate to say you wanted to go back even if you couldn’t afford it. I got the distinct impression from today’s review that there was a hesitation to say that. Perhaps I am wrong.

        • Peter K says:

          The places I have been back to for holidays more than once have been that, places, not hotels.

          The hotels I have returned to have been for the convenient location for other tasks I have in that area (eg an airport hotel). Yes, I have returned to those hotels as they have a pleasant experience, but none were outstanding.

          There is only one hotel I liked enough to really consider visiting a second time, a 4* in Fuerteventura. It wasn’t special in any particular area but it just worked as more than a sum of its parts. Mrs K and I found Fuerteventura very dull however so may never return to the hotel for that reason.

  5. Evian face sprays lmao.

    Crocodiles sound interesting, although ‘re-homed’ maybe means euthanized?

  6. Concerto says:

    Those hotels and all inclusives down that coast change hands amazingly rapidly. There’s a few bad options too. I got stuck in one for 3 nights when my flight couldn’t leave due to a hurricane. Water was pouring in the ceiling and down the elevator shafts.

  7. mr_jetlag says:

    I’ve been to Cancun / RM too many times, but if we do ever go back this looks like a great hotel to try.

  8. Chris Heyes says:

    I Very rarely go back to the same Hotel, (twice sometimes) But not in general usually like to try different places & Hotels, Although our favorite in Sorrento next to the Harbor is the exception but there is only three rooms & we always have the Suite the attraction there is the host Pamela & her mothers home made cakes & deserts every other day & more than enough breakfast goody’s restocked
    Which you don’t get at your usual Hotel (unless you like your run of the mill breakfasts which can also be ok)

  9. General Mayhem says:

    Good review, thank you. It makes me quite nostalgic for Mexico. Maybe though hotels such as the Rosewood and the Andaz shou,d not be seen as representative of Mexico, though. £600 a night and $250 for lunch is pretty steep. In contrast with some of the beach hotels on the west coast, the villages in the sierras and Las Pozas, where a stay in the idiosyncratic and spectacular Posada el Castillo will be about 60 a night all in. I can also recommend a few nights in Mexico City. Fascinating country and lovely people.

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