Updated dining on the menu at Fairmont Mayakoba

The Fairmont Mayakoba on the Riviera Maya.
The Fairmont Mayakoba on the Riviera Maya.

When it comes to luxury hotels along Mexico's Riviera Maya, the Fairmont Mayakoba undoubtedly ranks among the best. Part of the Mayakoba resort complex, which also includes a Banyan Tree, a Rosewood and an Andaz, the 45-acre Fairmont Mayakoba offers quintessential five-star accommodations combined with impeccable service.

The 401-room hotel is not new to the luxury game, having opened in 2006, but it isn't resting on its laurels. Late last year, the Fairmont Mayakoba appointed Diego Sobrino as executive chef of its main restaurants. Sobrino has nearly 20 years of culinary experience from around the world, and he has shaken up the dining experience, bringing a healthy dose of chic contemporary meets authentic traditional to the Mayakoba's menus. 

During my recent stay at the property, my group was lucky enough to dine with Sobrino for a sampling of his menu innovations at casual poolside restaurant Brisas. We sampled pumpkin-seed hummus, Peruvian curry ceviche, watermelon salad with beets and fresh Chiapan cheese and whole grilled fish accompanied by salsas, pickled onions and fresh, blue corn tortillas. 

And that was just lunch. In the evening Sobrino invited us to an executive tasting of the menu he was creating for the restaurant's premier Mexican restaurant, La Laguna.

The resort’s Brisas poolside restaurant.
The resort’s Brisas poolside restaurant.

Born in Mexico, Sobrino started his career at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. In 2012, he returned to Mexico, where he coproduced recipes at restaurants in Playa del Carmen, was executive chef at Le Bouchon in Mexico City and developed eight restaurants as part of Grupo Only. 

Returning guests will be pleasantly surprised by the new dining offerings. But they will also be able to count on the beautiful backdrop and impeccable service that has given the Fairmont Mayakoba its reputation. 

There are 14 room categories, each of which is decorated in a chic style with pops of bold colors like turquoise and orange to create a sense of place. I checked into a Beach Area Casita Suite. This one-bedroom suite comes with a separate living room and a main bathroom with a soaking tub and a glass-walled shower. A wraparound balcony overlooks the lagoon and mangroves. As a bonus, these suites feature private infinity-edge pools. 

Suites come with butler service, and each butler handles everything from restaurant reservations to finding a replacement USB cable if yours happens to break. In fact, my butler, David, had been attending to another family who has come back to the resort year after year and always requests his services. His favorite part, he said, has been getting to know the children as they have grown over the years.

The living room in a Beach Area Casita Suite.
The living room in a Beach Area Casita Suite.

When it comes to facilities, travelers can spend days discovering everything the resort has to offer. The beachfront pool outside Brisas restaurant is perfect for guests who want the option of taking a dip in the Caribbean, rinsing off in the pool and grabbing a fresh, light bite without having to move more than a few feet. But the Fairmont Mayakoba has four other pools, including the 10,000-square-foot Island pool. 

Other amenities include six additional dining venues, the Greg Norman-designed golf course, aquatic sports and boat rides through the acres of mangrove canals to discover the wildlife that lives within the preserved natural area.

Rates begin at $279 per night. See www.fairmont.com.

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