Looking for a warm place close to Washington but far from the college crowd during Spring Break?
Mexico’s Riviera Maya has a string of resorts south of Cancun where you can find all the attractions without rowdy crowds.
Easy access for starters. Cancun’s big airport caters to crowds, but the spa traveler heads south to a quiet Caribbean escape. Places to stay range from upscale resorts like Fairmont Mayakoba or Orient-Express Maroma to family-oriented Aventura Palace Resort or the luxury huts at Xpu-Ha Palace Resort.
Topping my list, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, an all-suites resort with the grandest spa building on the Yucatan Peninsula. Not your typical all-inclusive resort, Grand Velas has a range of accommodations and dining, which can be combined with spa programs for four to seven days or as a day spa. Surrounded by an eco-preserve and jungle-like groves of mangrove trees, it’s a different world of luxury.
The $15-million architecturally striking spa at Grand Velas Riviera Maya is inspired by the jungle and natural water pools of nearby Tulum. Under a glass canopy, you enter a climate-controlled series of pools and tropical gardens. Almost 40,000-square feet are given to separate men’s and women’s sides of the spa’s Water Journey, each with custom-designed amenities including a Clay Room, a circular glass-tile-lined steam room with a fiber-optic “star light” ceiling, an Ice Room with floor-to-ceiling window, hot-and-cold Experience Showers, and a central infinity pool with powerful massaging faucets. For finishing touches, the spa salon offers hair and nail treatments.
All that’s missing is sun. Forget the weather.
Relaxing poolside on a comfortable chaise, refreshments are served as you await your therapist. Treatments are nature-inspired, range from Ayurvedic to Mayan. The journey: Purify, Renew, and Beautify. Featuring a selection of wraps, hydrotherapy circuits, and in-suite bath rituals, the spa also offers light dining, cooking classes, and personal training. Programs are complemented by meditation, yoga, and Pilates classes open to all guests.
Within the resort, you are free to take bike and kayak tours, beach and garden walks, eco and snorkel tours, and work out at a well-equipped fitness center steps from the beach and swimming pools. Transportation to the spa is arranged by the concierge, or you call for a car.
Restaurants at the Grand Velas resort offer Italian, Asian, and Mexican specialties. Most romantic, a room dedicated to artist Frida Kahlo, whose image gazes down from a wall-size mural. And you never have to pay for meals, as the daily tariff covers unlimited dining.
The ocean-front suites feature big bathrooms with separate shower and tub. The TV console in my bedroom swiveled as I moved to the sofa and terrace, where the ocean supplied constant comfort.
For reservations and more information: 888-309-5457 or visit Velas Resorts’ Spa Website: www.luxuryspasmexico.com