Playa del Carmen devotees are already keenly aware of the Fives -- the two resort-meets-residence hotels on the beach in Playa del Carmen and in the heart of downtown on La Quinta Avenida. But a new, highly anticipated oceanfront resort has joined the exclusive fold: The Fives Oceanfront officially opened its chic, sleek doors in July, and Travel Weekly visited amid the pandemic to see just how this resort is operating in the "new normal."
I arrived at the new resort, which is tucked on a secluded stretch of beach just down the shore from the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Morelos. Charming, quiet Puerto Morelos is between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Its sandy streets are flanked with lovely restaurants and a few souvenir shops. Guests can stroll into town if they choose, but the Fives Oceanfront feels like its own luxe oasis, where high-end cuisine and infinity pools pair perfectly with pool wear and bare feet. Anyone familiar with the Fives' two other properties knows that service is a pillar of what makes the brand so comfortable and elegant -- and the Fives Oceanfront is even a cut above the others.
The pool at the Fives Oceanfront, which opened in July. Photo Credit: Meagan Drillinger
The lobby is small, but by no means unimpressive, with soaring ceilings and a direct view of the tiered swimming pools and out to sea. The resort, while part of a chain, has a decidedly boutique vibe, with only 94 suites set up in one-, two- or three-bedroom configurations. Seeing as it's such a small property, the personalized attention is truly memorable. It's not uncommon for hotel staff to remember my name (I am writing a review, after all), but to see that the staff remembered the names of most of the guests, including their favorite drinks and breakfast orders, was something worth noting.
The lobby level is devoted entirely to public spaces. A short walk from the lobby leads right to the main pool, which is lined with loungers and pops with bright yellow umbrellas.
The pool is connected to the RoMarley Beach Club, a restaurant that is the brainchild of Rohan Marley, one of Bob Marley's sons, who has a long-term partnership with the Fives. Here, the menu swings fresh, local and organic, using local fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and plenty of vegetarian and vegan options -- as is the Rastafarian way, after all.
Cocktails are bold and inventive, as well. A personal favorite was the mezcal with pineapple juice and a hint of rosemary. Just a few steps away on the sand are plush beanbag chairs underneath shady palapas, as well as loungers, where guests of the beach club can relax after a swim along this tame stretch of coast.
Rooms are, in a word, impressive. The starting category begins at more than 640 square feet, with floor-to-ceiling windows, smart TVs and balconies. But that is just the beginning. The Presidential Oceanfront Suites, for example, are more than 5,900 square feet, with a rooftop private pool, hot tub and a sprawling terrace.
Travel advisors and others recount reassuring experiences from arrival to check-in.
A second pool is perched on the sixth-floor rooftop, with an infinity edge that overlooks the beach. There's a fully stocked bar there, as well. The resort is anticipating food service on the roof as well as an additional restaurant and a spa, but these will open later this year.
In terms of Covid-19, the Fives Oceanfront is working tirelessly to make sure that the resort lives up to the health and safety protocols implemented by Quintana Roo. It operates at a limited capacity and has deployed ample hand sanitizing stations. Staff is masked at all times, as well. Guests, however, are not required to wear masks anywhere in the resort, and social distancing did not seem to be enforced, which may make certain travelers nervous. That said, the resort was at limited capacity. As a general precaution, you might want to recommend your clients wear their masks.
Overall, the Fives Oceanfront has been a highly anticipated resort opening for 2020, and even though the year has not panned out quite like we all had hoped, the Fives is certainly a much-needed bright spot and a comfortable place to call home amid an ever-growing world of uncertainty.