The energy of the Yucatan is intoxicating. Only a quick hop straight south from New Orleans, the Yucatan Peninsula has continued to lure me into its cenote dotted, crumbling stone, jungle beach oasis vibe. I find myself yearning to explore more of what's hidden behind the mess of tangled vines: a pristine beach, maybe a partially excavated ruin, turquoise waters. There's healing energy there. This continuous curiosity led me back down to the Riviera Maya with Palladium Hotel Group to discover more of this magic and uncover more ways to wander well by staying well.
Part of the draw is the abundance of water and living by the cycles of nature while everything else is taken care of. Rise with the sun, swim in the sea, gaze at the stars. The Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium is an exclusive resort within a resort, a boutique experience but with tons of amenities to choose from, that truly includes and embraces everything that makes the Riviera Maya so special. Getting to the beach or salt water rock pool requires a quick stroll through the mangroves listening to birds sing and spotting ringtails and iguanas. The sunrises are unbeatable and it's situated far enough away from the light pollution of Cancun to enjoy the clarity of the Yucatan stars. Not surprisingly, I took full advantage of their water-centric activities to find my jungle zen. Here's what I loved:
Cenote Inspired Spa
The Palladium Hotel Group has a world-class spa called Zentropia in all of their properties and the spa at The Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium in particular is an architectural wonder. The whole theme of the spa is based around water rituals. While you wait for a treatment you can take part in multiple water stations that are meant to bring tranquility to the mind and body. The first station starts with an outdoor shower positioned underneath an opening to the sky meant to mimic a cenote. Then, you move through a series of sauna, steam, river rock walking through a labyrinth-like coil, cold and hot plunge pools, maybe a temazcal experience and finish with a lazy river out to the pool. It's a water lovers dream. They have a juice bar on-site where you can detoxify with prickly pear and jicama.
Salt Water Pool & Sunrise Yoga
One of my favorite features was the salt water pool. Constantly fed by the Caribbean waves, the pool is the best way to just zen out in the water alongside brightly colored tropical fish. We were lucky enough to have a yoga session right by the pool during sunrise and it's by far the best spot in the morning hours to see the sky change colors and take in some quiet time before the crowds. Post-yoga we had a giant plate of fresh fruit under a palapa cabana. It was heaven!
A Haven for Watersports
I never turn down an opportunity to paddle board and with our room came an unlimited use of their watersports, which was pretty epic. The hotel also gave us the opportunity to swim with sea turtles and learn how to sail a catamaran. I won't be setting any records for best sailing but I did almost end up in Cuba...by mistake ;-). I had a chance to try out my new GoPro Hero 5 and I'm pretty pumped about the results!
Swimming with turtles is one of the coolest most peaceful experiences. They are massive and move with such grace. We hopped a quick boat to Akumal to find them, which the hotel arranges. This was on my bucket list and it far surpassed my wildest expectations. We swam through shallow crystal clear waters and watched the turtles in their routine of munching sea grass then coming up for air. It's an incredible sight to see. From what I heard from the guide, September is the best month to see the most turtles.
- Book to stay at The Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium (there are multiple properties within the property). This is a separate, more boutique section of the hotel and each room comes with a giant tub on the patio and a private butler. The pool is adult only and you also get lobster included in meal options.
- Eat Breakfast at El Jardin. It's tucked into the jungle and feels quaint and relaxed.
- Wake up early to catch the sunrise and also to claim an outdoor bed on the beach in The Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium beach section. It's heaven!
- The hotel is in a great location. 30 minutes from Tulum, an hour to Coba. Cenotes are all over the area and easy to take excursions through the hotel.
- If you book in The Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium you get access to the spa whenever you please. The spa pool is incredible. It was my favorite place to find peace and quiet, as most of the other pools have ambient music and a more lively atmosphere. Plus, you can take advantage of all of the amazing water therapy options.
- Take one night to have room service and have the butler come draw a bath in the amazing tubs. The fridge and bar are stocked to your preferences (everything comes with the room, so drink up!) and you can select multiple options for pillows as you desire. The great thing about this property is you don’t have to deal with mosquito nets, lack of A/C, and other basic amenities that places like Tulum can lack