I recently had the opportunity to be the first guest at the brand new Andaz Mayakoba in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Read along to hear my thoughts of the property, service and surrounding area.
To stay at the Andaz Mayakoba, there are a variety of ways to go about paying. While room rates were hovering around $300/night, I opted to use points. The Andaz Mayakoba is a category 5 Hyatt hotel and thus requires 20,000 points per night or 10,000 points & $125 if using their points+cash option. Currently, there is a promotion to stay 2 nights and get the third free which represents a phenomenal deal but it isn’t the best out there. To get the best deal at this hotel, you’ll want to use the Citi Prestige card and book using the concurrent promo to actually pay for 2 nights but stay for 4. Citi lets you combine discounts and promotions so that would effectively make a standard room at this hotel around $150/night!
PSA: This is the first time i’ve ever seen anything like this but the Andaz Mayakoba has a variable resort fee. 15% of your nightly rate will be the resort fee, which is different from the usual set price resort fee that other hotels have.
Getting to the Hotel
We arrived from Havana, Cuba somewhat late in the evening. Although the hotel reached out to me earlier about transportation, I opted to take a taxi to the property. Current costs for a hotel provided transfer are about $120 each way while a taxi cost me around $60 each way.
Playa Del Carmen & the Andaz Mayakoba are about 45 minutes- 1 hour away from the Cancun Airport. The hotel itself is located about 8 miles away from Downtown Playa. If you’re looking for a hotel that is close to the downtown scene and nightlife, I would recommend the Grand Hyatt Playa Del Carmen over this hotel. However, if you’re looking for a nicer beach, less people and more tranquil environment, this is the hotel to be at.
Arrival & Check In
Upon arrival at the hotel, we were immediately greeted by almost every single member of the staff. It was sort of like a whirlwind because I couldn’t remember everyone’s names or what their job title was. However, every single employee who greeted us was extremely friendly and generally giddy as we later learned that we’d be the only guests at the hotel for the next couple days. To be clear, I had no clue until I arrived that the hotel was empty. A couple hours before our arrival, the Andaz threw a grand opening party and many other hotel employees and concierge members stayed back to get more acclimated with the hotel.
The check-in process was fairly smooth and like all other Andaz properties, there’s no desk to go stand at. We were seated in a nice lobby area and offered all different sorts of drinks. Once check-in was complete, I was shown around the lobby and introduced to the head concierge as well as the social media manager and rooms director. I scheduled a tour of the property the next day and was then led to our awaiting golf cart.
Getting around the Hotel
The Andaz Mayakoba is not a mega resort. with only 200+ rooms and 40+ suites, the hotel is actually quite small compared to the other resorts nearby. However, the hotel is split up into two sections: Beach & Lagoon. The distance between these two areas is astounding as they are around a mile apart. This leaves a huge logistical issue to which the Andaz has employed the use of about 60+ golf carts and 6+ boats to shuttle people back and forth. Check-in is done at the Sanctuary (Lobby) and then you are either given a room at the Lagoon side or Beach side. Although we never had any issues getting a golf cart, I’d like to hear from guests later on when the hotel is at capacity to see how efficient they are with transportation. In addition to the employee driven golf carts and boats, (we tried to drive them and they said no) there are also bicycles that guests can use to ride around throughout the property and neighboring hotels.
While riding to our room on the golf cart, the Andaz host mentioned that they had upgraded us to the best available room they had. While the Andaz is open for business, their two largest suites (Bi-level Villa & Presidential) are not completed yet. This left us with the Andaz King Beach Suite. When I checked later that night, the suite was going for around $750 and it was easy to see why once we arrived. The suite is the closest to the beach and is quite literally 15-20 feet away from the shoreline.
There is direct access to the beach from the outside patio and it is truly an amazing location for a room. Once inside, our host gave us a tour of the suite, which included a separate large living area and king bedroom. The total square footage is right around 1,070 ft. The bathroom is split in two with the sinks and shower on one side and then another sink and toilet on the other side of the room.
I think it was a great touch as our friends utilized most of the space to do their makeup while other were able to shower. Inside the master bedroom was a large king bed and walk in closet.
Everything was done in a very contemporary look that also brought along a couple local Yucatan touches. All suites at the hotel including ours have a plunge pool on the patio that comfortably seats around 5-6 people.
There’s also a couple loungers outside along with a small table. Each room had what looked to be a 55-inch tv.
The living room had a couch that could honestly double as another bed along with a desk to work at. The mini-bar at Andaz is always a cool little treat and this one didn’t disappoint. As usual, all non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary and replenished daily. I got a little obsessed with a lychee soda in the minibar and asked them to stock extra by the 2nd day. The suite also featured a Nespresso machine!
When all was said and done, we noticed a nice bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne as our welcome gift. To be clear, this isn’t the diamond welcome amenity, yet i’m sure some people will see it in their room as a gift. The welcome amenity was actually two different types of wine or points. My friends chose the wine over points, which turned out to be a terrible decision later on as some people drank too much.
As a Hyatt Diamond Member, one is given free breakfast daily. When I was walking around the beach the morning after arrival, I was approached by the head of food/restaurants and asked where i’d like to eat breakfast. It was almost too surreal as he then (jokingly) said that they would open whichever restaurant for us to eat that day since we were the only ones there. Diamond members get the choose where to eat breakfast at this hotel and it is either between the restaurant by the beach, OllaTaco or the restaurant by the Lagoon, Cucina Milagro. There is no set breakfast that one has to choose as everything on the menu is included for Diamonds. The first day, we chose the restaurant closest to our room but the subsequent days, I went to the more internationally themed restaurant by the Lagoon. Both restaurants had wonderful food but Cucina Milagro had more options like waffles and what not.
Following breakfast the first morning, I was brought to the lobby and introduced once again to the rooms director and social media manager. We had scheduled a tour of the property and offerings which took about an hour. Throughout the tour, I was given a glimpse of the Andaz King Room, Andaz King Suites and Studios and another suite that was on the beach side but didn’t open up to the shoreline. I do want to confirm that they are making the same Andaz King suite and calling it different names like Lagoon View and what not. This serves the purpose of potentially restricting more rooms to people who book on points kind of like what the Andaz Maui does. The rooms are the same sq. footage but are called different things. Not a huge deal but at peak times, it could be a tad frustrating.
Continuing with our tour, I was shown the kids center that was still under construction. There have been many conflicting reports as to whether there will be a kids center at this hotel. The answer is yes there will be a kids center but it will be split into two, parental supervision and paid supervision. However, the kids center did look very nice and even had a nap room!
Once I was shown the kids center, we left for the gym. Brand new workout equipment including treadmills, cycles and other things i’ll never use were waiting to be used. I almost felt bad for the place. It was really beautiful and dawned floor to ceiling windows to help bring in more natural light. There was also a separate section where guests could lift weights or do yoga/pilates.
The tour then took us along the path to two of the 4 restaurants. Like I stated before, two restaurants are on the lagoon side and two are on the beach side. The more formal restaurants are located in the lagoon section and feature everything from international to very authentic Yucatan inspired food. In addition to being a great breakfast spot, Cucina Milagro is open all day to serve those who are swimming in the nearby pool and those who come by for dinner. Across from Cucina Milagro is another restaurant called Casa Amate. I really was blown away by how well designed this restaurant was. It is inspired by a family home and looks as such. Guests will dine in two different areas which is either an actual library or another open room concept. Pictures don’t do this place justice as it really was somewhere I could sit all day. The other two restaurants that are located by the beach are more Mexican themed with one being more of a bar than a restaurant.
Like I mentioned earlier, the two lagoon restaurants are located near one of the two main pools. I thought the pool near the lagoon was actually nicer than the pool by the beach. They even scattered around some cool air blown floaty animals. However, the coolest part about the main pool was the no-touch sunscreen machine being installed. All you had to do was step in and sunscreen would be sprayed on to you! When asked, it was confirmed that there would be a small fee to use the machine but that the hotel was open to possibly include it as a benefit for some guests.
The tour then concluded right back at our room to which I promptly ran into the beach. Due to the hotel opening the day before, they didn’t put out umbrellas and loungers on the beach like the other hotels but they did offer to bring some should I ask.
Included Activities/Surrounding Area
The Andaz Mayakoba has an extensive list of included activities for guests. The rooms director insisted that we take him up on his offer to give us an eco-boat tour of the Mayakoba area and lagoon so the next day, he met us across our room to take us on the Andaz Duffy. Mayakoba itself is a manmade lagoon that connects directly to the ocean with underground cenotes. Due to this fact, there is a tremedous amount of wildlife that resides within the confines of the lagoon. This is also why guests are NOT allowed to swim in the lagoon as there are crocodiles and other animals. While on the eco tour, we were told of how all guests are able to walk around to the other surrounding hotels and eat at their restaurants/ hang out should they want a change of scenery. It was a cool little feature as the surrounding resorts included The Fairmont Mayakoba, The Banyan Tree and The Rosewood. He even let us know that there is a boat shuttle that will take you from one resort to another. There is also a golf course tying all of the resorts together and it looked as though a couple people were getting their rounds in. At the conclusion of the tour, we all went back to our room to take a quick nap before heading to the front for restaurant suggestions.
I cannot stress enough how well the service was during our stay. Now I can’t say for sure but i’m certain that every single employee knew our name due to the fact that we were the only ones there. However, glancing past that, everyone was so warm and eager to help. We were given amazing suggestions for places to eat every night and on our 2nd to last day, the hotel went above and beyond to help us secure a private snorkeling session off the coast of Playa Del Carmen. I cannot rave enough about how great everyone was. The word “No” literally was not in their vocabulary and every single person we met made sure that we were taken care of. I like to think that we were their guinea pigs on opening week as almost every employee had a chance to interact with us in different ways.
To be honest, I would go as far as to say that this is the best non-inclusive Hyatt in the area. It is leaps and bounds better than the Grand Hyatt, yet it costs the same amount. I predict that as time goes on, this hotel will most probably go up a level to a category 6. There is no way that they can sustain the same category as the Grand Hyatt with the size of the room, location and service provided. I loved everything about this hotel and wouldn’t hesitate for a second to book this property again.
I want to give a special thank you to Moises the rooms director and Aldo the Andaz host along with the rest of the amazing staff for making our stay so extremely memorable and comfortable.
Have you stayed here yet? I’m curious to know if my thoughts echo yours. Leave a comment below!