Would you like to stay at a resort in Mexico where authentic Mexican cuisine is the star of the show? Then look no further than Andaz Mayakoba in Riviera Maya! In this article, I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the dining, the activities, the kids club. And of course, I’ll cover the Covid safety protocols at the resort. Many thanks to Andaz Mayakoba for hosting us!
Andaz Mayakoba is in Riviera Maya, so to get there we flew into Cancun, and from there it was about a 45-minute drive. If you’re not familiar with Mayakoba, it’s a private community set on 620 acres of lagoons, jungles, and beaches. Mayakoba is home to Andaz Mayakoba, as well as several other high end resorts, and some really gorgeous private luxury residences. We loved the modern, minimalist aesthetic of the property, as well as the huge, colorful murals you can find all over the resort.
We stayed in a lagoon view suite on the second floor. This was a spacious one bedroom suite with enormously high ceilings, big windows facing the lagoon, and lots of natural light pouring in. There was a plunge pool on the balcony, and lots of seating. The bedroom had one king bed, and the living room had a daybed, where Sean slept. They brought in a rollaway bed for Ella and even with this in the living room, we had plenty of extra space. The suite featured lots of natural materials like wood, stone, and leather. There were many pieces of Mexican folk art throughout that brought in bright pops of color. The bathroom had double sinks, and a huge frosted window, which made the shower feel almost like an outdoor shower because of all the natural light it let in. There was also a separate powder room.
One thing we realized very quickly is that this resort is really spread out, and not that walkable. For this reason, the resort offers free bicycles for guests to use. You pick up and drop off bikes wherever they are available. If your kids are too small for the adult bikes, you can contact the kids club to borrow kid-sized bikes. But those are pretty limited in number, so they may not have any available. If you have toddlers or preschoolers, you can also rent bike trailers for them to sit in. For families with smaller kids or for people who are bicycally challenged (hello that’s me!), it’s probably easiest to just get around by golf cart. You can either call for a golf cart, or just flag one down as they pass by.
Whenever we talk about beaches, we get a lot of questions about the seaweed. Granted, the Sargassum seaweed situation in some parts of Mexico was pretty bad this summer. At Andaz Mayakoba, there was some seaweed, which was to be expected, but the staff did a great job of cleaning it up and maintaining it. So it wasn’t bad at all!
Andaz Mayakoba has two main pools. The Lagoon Pool is really modern, with colorful umbrellas and lounge chairs. If you’d like a pool cabana, this is the pool where you’ll find those. We spent most of our time at the beach pool. I especially loved the loungers, which were more like mattresses or daybeds.
The Eco Cruise
One activity I highly recommend at Andaz Mayakoba is the eco cruise. It’s complimentary, and is offered twice a day: once at 11 am, and once at 3 pm. You can also arrange for a completely private tour if you prefer. It’s about 30 minutes long, and is a great way to explore the lagoons of Mayakoba. We saw lots of wildlife, especially turtles and birds.
The Kids Club
The kids club at Andaz Mayakoba is called Kimbo. It has table tennis, foosball, a few screens for playing video games, and an arts and craft area. There’s also a separate room for toddlers so they can have their own area away from bigger kids. Our girls spent a little time here doing some arts and crafts projects and really enjoyed it.
And here’s a look at the gym. It’s split into two rooms, with cardio machines on one side And weight machines on the other side.
Ok, let’s talk about the dining at Andaz Mayakoba, because in my opinion, this is the reason to stay here. This resort had some of the best food we’ve had all year. And we’ve had a lot of great food this year already!
One thing I love about this resort is that unlike many other properties, Mexican cuisine isn’t just one of many cuisine options on offer. At Andaz Mayakoba, Mexican cuisine is the star of the show. And when you’re traveling to Mexico, that only feels appropriate.
Cocina Milagro was one of our favorite restaurants. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the breakfast buffet is definitely the reason to stop by. There’s a section with fruit and cold cuts, a section with hot dishes, and outdoors there’s a quesadilla stand where you can customize your own quesadilla, or pick up some tamales. I’m a sucker for cactus, so the nopales quesadillas were my favorite.
Tinta del Pulpo
Tinta del Pulpo is the other all-day restaurant. Here breakfast is only a la carte. Our favorite breakfast dish here was grilled salmon with steamed rice, spinach, sesame sauce and vegetables. Not your traditional breakfast dish, but it was absolutely delicious. We also had dinner here one night. We particularly enjoyed the fish tostada and the tempura fish taco.
If you’re vegan, you’ll be happy to know there’s a whole vegan restaurant here called VB!
They serve fresh coconuts, fresh pressed juices and smoothies, and everything from salads, to wraps, to grain bowls.
Sotavento is a restaurant on the beach with an open-air grill. If you love having dinner with sand between your toes, this is the place to go. You can’t go wrong with any of the grilled fish, but make sure you don’t miss out on their frozen desserts! I particularly loved the affogato, which was vanilla ice cream served with a moka biscuit, espresso cream, chocolate sauce, and cacao nibs.
But our favorite meal from the whole trip was at Casa Amate. This cozy restaurant is designed to look as if you’re walking into the home of a sophisticated world explorer. The bar looks like an old-school drawing room, with leather club chairs, and one of the dining rooms is even decorated like an old library. Kids are allowed, but it definitely feels like more of a date night restaurant, so if you were looking for a night out without the kids this would be the place to go.
Anytime there’s octopus on the menu, I’m going to order it. The marinated octopus with fried corn, roasted peanuts and glazed yellow sweet potato was so good. For entrees, Serge and I each had one of the two fish dishes. I had the smoked totoaba fish with plantains, peppers, prunes, and coconut broth, while Serge had the red snapper wrapped in banana leaf with roasted peppers, red onion, tomato and garlic oil. Both were amazing.
The All-Inclusive Package
Now one thing you should know is that Andaz Mayakoba is not an all-inclusive resort. However, you do have the option to purchase what is essentially an all-inclusive option. This is called the “open kitchen” package. It’s about $125 per day per adult. I’m not sure about the cost for kids, unfortunately. There are a couple things you should know before you decide if you’ll go for this option.
First, with this package, you’re still presented with the bill for the full amount, because you’re expected to tip on the full amount. There’s already a ten percent service charge added to your bill, but servers will expect a tip of anywhere from 18 to 22% on top of that. This policy is obviously different from most all-inclusive resorts, where tipping is usually encouraged but not expected.
On the menu of each restaurant, there are certain dishes, like lobster, or certain cuts of steak, that require a surcharge. These are clearly marked on the menu, and it’s very clear how much extra you can expect to pay if you order those, so that’s all fine. When it comes to drinks however, it’s not as clear, unfortunately. So I would recommend at every meal, making it clear to the server as soon as you’re seated that you have the open kitchen package. And double-checking with them that whichever drink you’re ordering is going to be included in that package. Unfortunately we ran into a few situations where drinks we expected to be included were not, and I read a few online reviews from other guests who experienced the same thing, so I’d recommend being crystal-clear just to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
In general, the open kitchen package is probably only worthwhile if you plan on drinking a lot, or if you’re a big eater. Otherwise, you’re better off just ordering a la carte. If you’d like to estimate food costs before you go, all the restaurant menus are available on the resort’s website.
Okay, let’s talk about Covid-19 safety at Andaz Mayakoba. The breakfast buffet is not self-serve. Instead, you’ll indicate what you’d like, and the staff will serve it to you from behind plexiglass shields. The resort provides sanitation kits in each room with antibacterial wipes and masks. All staff members are masked at all times. Masks are required in indoor areas, but I’d say that the place where this was the most enforced was at the breakfast buffet, understandably. The resort offers on-site COVID tests on a walk-in basis every morning from 8 am to 1 pm. As of August 1st, Rapid Antigen Tests are $15 USD per person, and the PCR Test is $80 USD per person. You get your results by email in about 12 hours.
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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