Introduction: New Years Trip to Riviera Maya
Review: Andaz Mayakoba
My family had a lovely seven night stay at the Andaz Mayakoba over New Year’s Eve 2018! Our driver dropped us off after a 40 minute drive from Cancun’s airport. We were greeted at the entrance by two Andaz representatives. One assigned to grab our bags and one to welcome us inside.
The entrance inside the main lobby of the Andaz Mayakoba is named The Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is designed to mimic a Mexican cenote’ with its large opening up top and the water feature below.
We were welcomed inside and invited to have a seat in The Sanctuary. Our Andaz Mayakoba checkin representative informed us we will do the check in seated and he would bring over a few mezcal welcome beverages for us to enjoy.
After checking in and enjoying our drink we were invited to select a stone/gem from a box and make a wish and throw it in the water pond in The Sanctuary.
Next we were taken on a brief buggy ride around the resort and shown around the property. Finally at the end we were dropped off at our accommodation- a King-Lagoon View room. Each of the rooms is encompassed in a building with twelve other rooms.
Our room was 1911, which was a ground floor unit all the way in the corner of the building. Our building featured a blue bird of some sort on the entrance. All of the buildings have a unique animal art painted on them.
Our room was fair sized and plenty roomy for us. The room was very clean and in great condition.
There was a king sized bed with a flat panel TV wall mounted directly across from the bed. We requested a crib so they had the crib setup right next to our bed.
The bathroom portion of our room was nice and fairly large but missing a double vanity and separate bathtub.
There was a separate water closet housing the toilet.
The shower featured a full length glass wall that is frosted on the lower half for privacy. The shower was very nice featuring a waterfall shower head and a handheld shower head with nice water pressure.
A nice perk of the Andaz brand is that all the nonalcoholic items in the mini-bar are complimentary. There were plenty of variety for beverages and the items were refreshed daily. We had six large bottles of water in the room daily (three chilled and three at room temperature).
The room also had some nice snacks which consisted of a bag of chips, a jar of nuts, and two different kind of local Mexican chocolates (one is very spicy). These snacks were also replaced daily as needed.
Our room also had an outdoor patio that looked out onto the Andaz Mayakoba’s lagoon. The patio had a table with two colorful chairs and a comfy love seat were my wife spent some time reading a book while our son napped in the afternoons.
There was a cool book featuring all the birds local to the Mayakoba development on the table in the room.
FULL ROOM WALK THROUGH BELOW:
Overall our room was very comfortable and we enjoyed relaxing in the room both inside and out.
AROUND THE PROPERTY
Andaz Lagoon Boat
On a few occasions we took a cruise in the Andaz Mayakoba’s house boat. They have free daily tours of the lagoon and it gives you a good glimpse of the resorts ecosystem and wildlife. The boat can also give you a ride to and from the beach. Our son always enjoyed riding on the boat!
During the official tours on the boat the captain will tell you about the resort and the wildlife in the area as you pass by all the unique creatures.
We saw turtles, crocodiles and a variety of birds on our trips.
We recommend this as a fun way to get around the resort and get to see the animals!
The Andaz Mayakoba has two very nice pool areas. The beach front pool is very large and welcoming with plenty of seating around the pool.
Directly next to the beachside pool was the the beach and the Andaz had a ton of beach chairs for guests to relax! If you wanted a seat in the very first row of lounge chairs I did see people coming out at 6:45-7am to claim “their” chair with a book or beach bag so if that’s important to you plan accordingly during peak season. There were a lot of umbrellas for shade too! Even at full capacity we were able to find a nice spot usually.
Most mornings I saw staff raking seaweed to make the beach look pristine.
The beach was beautiful with soft white sand. Very pretty sunrises in the morning from the Andaz.
The lagoon side pools featured an upper smaller pool with connected hot tub and a small baby pool just next to it.
Then there were two large lower level pools with hot tubs connected as well.
There were lots of seating surrounding the pool and even some cabana seating areas as well. We spent a decent amount of time here due to our son liking the baby pool and also liking the blow up floaties.
The big win with these pools were that they were heated unlike the beachside pool! Very comfortable to swim in and our son doesn’t like to play in the cold water so these lagoon pools were perfect for us.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
There are four eating establishments at the Andaz Mayakoba. We tried three of the four. The first we tried was OllaTaco which is located near the beach and beach pool. This is obviously a taco themed establishment with a Yucatan twist. OllaTaco is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Since the Andaz was 100% full during our visit we always made sure to call ahead for dinner as the restaurant is not very large. However during the day we just walked in and they were always able to seat us.
To me personally this is probably the best place to eat at the Andaz because this is the type of food I want to eat while vacationing in Mexico. I want Mexican food! Tacos, chips and salsa, tequila based drinks and the whole nine. Our drinks were all very tasty! We tried quite a few of them and were always impressed.
We tried several types of tacos and they were all quite good.
OllaCeviche is the Andaz’s seafood restaurant located right next to OllaTaco at the beach side pool. It has much better views of the ocean and beach due to it being slightly closer to the beach.
We actually only ate here one time as the dinner we had here was subpar. We tried several dishes and my wife and I were not impressed. The drinks however were the same as OllaTaco which was the only saving grace. OllaCeviche has a nice outdoor seating area but is also fairly small with limited seating.
Cocina Milagro is the “main” restaurant at the Andaz Mayakoba. It’s the largest restaurant at the resort and where the breakfast buffet is located. It is located lagoon side and thus very conveniently located to most of the rooms at the Andaz. Breakfast could get very busy in the mornings but we always were able to find a decent seat.
Because Cocina Milagro was walking distance from our room we ate here for breakfast, lunch and dinner many days. The problem is then the choices feel semi-stale after a while.
The Andaz also hosted a New Year’s Eve party at Cocina Milagro. The tables and the entire restaurant was decked out with party favors for the event.
We decided to skip eating at Casa Amate which is the resort’s attempt at fine dining with an “at home” feeling. Because we we were generally unimpressed with most of our food we decided not to pay more to eat there as were were convinced we would think it was “just OK”.
Overall the food is fine at Andaz Mayakoba but by our 5th or 6th day we were getting a bit tired of the food and while some was good, some was “meh”.
I will say a major perk of eating at the property with our 2 yr old son is that all his meals were free! It was great to order any items off the kids menu or just order some oatmeal with fruit at breakfast and have it all be complimentary.
On two separate occasions we visited the Andaz’s kids club. This is a very nice feature of the resort and was well utilized during our time there.
The kids club had a few different areas. The room had a TV viewing area with two TV’s and an Xbox One hooked up to one TV. There was a small area next to the TV with some books.
There were several tables used for arts and crafts. The baby-sitters seemed to have craft projects for the kids if they were interested.
Our son had fun with a bag of large legos.
There was another separate room with a Nintendo system hooked up to another TV.
The space was fairly large and the first time we visited there were about eight other kids using the room. Just outside the kids club is la arge grassy area for the kids to run around.
Also the kids club has a basketball hoop on the back side of it.
All the staff we interacted with was very nice and attentive, offering our son some items not immediately available to us. During New Year’s Eve they even had a kids club disco but the music was too loud for our two year old. They even had a portion of the day in which they took the kids to the beach which was interesting.
While my wife and I brought our tennis shoes and some workout items we just didn’t quite get around to actually utilizing the Andaz Mayakoba’s fitness center. I did want to stop in to take a peek though!
The fitness center is just off the non-beachside pool and consists of a large room filled with cardio equipment and another smaller room filled with resistance equipment. There was plenty of cardio machines and the fitness center was never very crowded when we passed by.
There was also a small chilled refrigerator with water available. Overall the room was fine and looked well maintained and nice.
El Pueblito is a shared community center designed to replicate a small Mexican town. All the Mayakoba hotel’s share this community. There is a Catholic Church in the center of the town which is nice. We attended mass on the Sunday of our stay and it was VERY well attended! It’s nice that you don’t have to leave the Mayakoba complex if you want to attend mass.
On Sundays they also have a farmers market in El Pueblito. Approximately 10-15 vendors set up booths selling there goods.
The Banyan Tree, Fairmont and Rosewood all had extensions of there resorts at El Pueblito. Banyan Tree had a small cafe, Fairmont had a smoothie shop and Rosewood an amazing Mexican restaurant.
Just outside of El Pueblito is a cave.
There is a guide hanging out just outside the cave waiting to escort visitors down and tell them about the senote.
There is a large bat population in the cave that sleeps during the day and flies out the cave at night to feed. The water in the cave was amazingly clear.
El Pueblito also has a few stores for shopping which was nice for my wife as she picked up some nicer souvenirs.
Our son loved running around the water fountain in the center of town.
The resort has plenty of things to do and on-site activities to keep busy! There are multiple daily boat rides through the Mayakoba development. The boat ride gives you nice view of the natural habitat and some of the other accommodation in the area. You can also get some decent views of the golf course-El Cameleon.
We decided to get some family photo’s on our trip and so the Andaz has a wonderful onsite photography company, Del Sol Photography. Polly and Suzy were our photographers and were very nice and friendly. We ended up getting some great photos!
Since we stayed over New Year’s Eve the Andaz had a party for guests. It was initially scheduled to be at the beach pool area but due to weather it was moved inside to the large event space they have for wedding receptions and such. We did not attend due to being with our two year old we can’t quite make it up to midnight with him but I did see them set up for the event and they had plenty of Vueve Clicqot on hand!
At the beachside pool they had a foam party in one half of the pool for the kiddos! There were plenty of beach balls and bubbles to go around. They also had some balloons in the pool for the kids to play with. My son enjoyed being in the bubbles!
One afternoon they had a butterfly release ceremony to start the year off. This was pretty fascinating as there were multiple participants and music. They also got the crowd involved and invited the children to get as close as possible. Basically they wanted the audience to be cognitive to the Earths four elements and quizzed the kids on them.
After a nearly 30 minute ceremony the butterflies were finally released! I really enjoyed the outfits and face painting donned by the participants.
The Andaz Mayakoba has many walkways around the resort for a casual walk or running path. Most every morning we took a stroll over to the El Pueblito to pick up a coffee and light breakfast.
One evening I partook in a complimentary (for World of Hyatt members) tequila tasting class. My wife is not fond of tequila so I took one for the team here and saddled up to the bar with about 10-12 other Andaz Mayakoba guests.
We got to try three different kinds of tequila and also had a small bowl of chips and guac to accompany the drinks. The bartender was very knowledgable and friendly.
We also partook in a complimentary paddle boat ride down the coast near the Andaz. Our son was really excited for this and really wanted to go on the boat. We paddled around for about 20 minutes before we were done. There are two of these boats available. There was also some standup paddle boards available too.
Points Pinnacle Breakdown
Traveling during the Christmas holidays and the last week of the year is typically the most expensive travel week of the year. Many people have off of work and their kids off of school so demand is extraordinary.
The rates for our stay at the Andaz Mayakoba during our seven night stay were extremely expensive but not much different from many other luxury resorts in the area. Our Lagoon View King room was selling for $765/night! Had we paid cash our accommodation total would have been $7,157.70 with taxes and fees!
We decided to redeem some Hyatt points instead. The property had rooms available on points and cash and points. The points rate was 20,000 Hyatt points per night and cash and points rate was 10,000 Hyatt points plus $125 per night. I didn’t want spend 140,000 Hyatt points but 70,000 points plus $125 per night was more palatable in my mind. Do bear in mind with the taxes and fees added another $42.50 per night to the rate. So the true transparent out of pocket cost was $167.50 per night or $1172.50 for all seven nights.
Overall we had a very nice vacation at Andaz Mayakoba. All the Andaz properties are outstanding and plenty luxurious for our family.
Since we have stayed at Banyan Tree, Fairmont, and now Andaz Mayakoba I would rank them: 1. Banyan Tree, 2. Andaz, 3. Fairmont (unless you have a pool suite). I guess Rosewood Mayakoba will have to be the next visit for us in Mayakoba (if we can find a deal) but we would have no problems returning to Andaz Mayakoba.
Let me know if you have any questions/comments. Have you stayed at Andaz Mayakoba? If so, what is your opinion on the property?