El Dorado Maroma: Riviera Maya's High-End Hideout

In Mexico's Cancun/Riviera Maya region, there are vacationers who seek revelry and those who prefer stillness. After being among thousands of conference attendees for a week, the last thing I wanted was to throw myself into more hyper-social scenarios on my time off. No tequila-fueled partying this trip...seclusion was calling. I followed in the footsteps of serenity seekers — most of them coupled, unsurprisingly — and checked into El Dorado Maroma, a mellow, all-inclusive resort known to deliver high-end beachfront R&R (and quality dining).

With just 128 suites (though it feels far smaller on any given day) and no minors allowed, El Dorado Maroma is the go-to for honeymooners and anniversary couples, both of which account for half of the resort's guest types. And it makes sense: there are no screaming children to interrupt downtime, and no overwhelming crowds in the resort's multiple pools and bars. The numerous palm tree fronds rustling from the constant breeze are the only "loud noises" one will endure here. Staying inside the spacious accommodations for the day or evening is not a bad idea either, as the resort features an impressive 11 different accommodation types, from swim-up Jacuzzi suites to two-story presidential beachfront villas.

The resort's beachfront offers plenty of space to lounge, with beach attendants delivering any drinks you'd like directly to your lounger or comfy cabana. Their spa program features Mayan influences and include special treatments such as the "Tequila Ritual" and "Kakaw Body Treatment." While indoor massages are available at the flagship Naay Spa, I went with the "Sky Massage" to linger longer on El Dorado's beachfront. I strongly suggest you do the same; nothing beats a body rub under a luxurious, open-air palapa where Enya-esque playlists are swapped for pure Caribbean Sea breeze.

As brand-conscious as the parent company's "Gourmet Inclusive" title might be, it is indeed apt, as every restaurant meal to be had — from contemporary Peruvian ceviche in hot spot Lima Limon to the succulent grilled prime rib at beachside Papitos — is excellent. Much of the produce is grown locally by the Karisma brand at their massive Green House complex, which uses hydroponic technology to grow everything from mint leaves to juicy tomatoes and cucumbers for all their Mexico-based properties. Not only are guests dining on fresh, tasty food, they can do so without the need to book restaurant reservations months in advance like other guests do at neighboring megaresorts.  

For the ultimate culinary experience, one should arrange at least one dinner out of El Dorado Maroma and to its cousin property, Azul Sensatori Hotel, where Mexico's gastronomic knockout Le Chique is based. Noma alum chef Jonatán Gómez Luna is the mastermind behind the avant-garde restaurant, where he indulges patrons with 20+ sensational courses inspired by regional Mexican cooking. Expect bites hidden in books, chocolate foie gras nuggets disguised as pecans, and entrees shrouded by clouds of liquid nitrogen.

Those who waited out the summer for secluded Riviera Maya travel are in luck as the resort's brand new "Palafitos-Overwater Bungalows" debuted on September 1st. The latest addition from El Dorado Maroma features 30 high-end overwater suites with glass-bottom floors and private pools jutting from Maroma Beach's shores, and its restaurant (Over the Water Grill and Wine Bar) and Naay Spa Over the Water are available exclusively to Palafitos-Overwater Bungalows guests.