I Did a Wellness Retreat at One of the Best Resorts in Mexico — Here's What It Was Like
A tranquil boat ride through a mangrove-bordered lagoon was the perfect beginning. Arriving at my suite at Rosewood Mayakoba, I stepped onto a wooden dock that led to a heated plunge pool. With my Wellness Butler, I entered the main level to see a living room, dining area, wet bar, and a coffee center arrayed with healthful snacks like granola, nuts, honey, and dried fruit. Soft music, lagoon views, and a selection of art books and sculptures enhanced the tranquil atmosphere.
Upstairs, the bedroom looked out over the lagoon with a glass wall that allowed views of lush greenery, birds, and the occasional turtle swimming by. A spacious bathroom, with an aromatherapy rain shower and free-standing tub, opened to the "Serenity Pavilion," a private area with an outdoor shower, cushioned seating, and a reflexology fountain — a shallow stone-lined pool designed for acupressure on the soles of the feet. Before leaving, my butler pointed out the well-stocked minibar and offered to mix a mezcal and lime cocktail. I was happy to learn that cocktails could be part of a wellness program.
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Mine was one of eight new Wellness Suites located near Sense, A Rosewood Spa. Wellness Suite guests have complimentary access to scheduled fitness and wellness classes along with the guidance of a dedicated Wellness Butler. In addition to activities, sleep is a focus, and each suite includes a circadian light lamp and nightly moon aromatherapy — bedside scented oil that aligns with the moon's cycles to address energy levels and sleep quality. The light lamp is said to harness the beneficial effects of sunlight. Welcome amenities like chakra stones and incense allow guests to customize their surroundings.
A welcome dinner with specialty cocktails and lively atmosphere at the new Zapote Bar was a great start, perhaps also contributing to a good night's sleep and readiness for float yoga the following morning on a board in the spa pool. Later that morning, we met at The Palapa at Sense Spa, a breezy spot under a thatched roof among the mangroves, for a Power of Breath Workshop with Ayurveda practitioner Daniel Seymour. His pleasant voice, warmth, and enthusiasm guided us as we explored the impact of breathing on the mind and emotions. The afternoon "Kuxtal" Sensory Garden Ritual, named for the Mayan word for life, began with an explanation of the cycle of life and the selection of a plant to begin the journey. A deep aromatherapy massage with a personalized blend of oils followed.
Our meals also reflected the Mayan influence on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Chef Juan Pablo Loza created a Yucatán Heritage Menu for one of our dinners at the Spa Cenote alongside the lagoon, under the glow of lanterns hanging from trees. Ingredients included Recado Negro, a condiment based on roasted peppers and spices, Espelón beans, corn, cacao, and honey. Handcrafted copal resin, believed to induce a connection with the spiritual world and to focus the mind during meditation, was burned at dinner. The trees that provide the copal resin are considered medicinal to the Mayans, and the smoke offers the additional benefit of discouraging mosquitoes.
At a cooking class at La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen, we made several salsas with ingredients grown just steps from where we sat. We returned to La Ceiba Garden for an exciting dinner with musical entertainment, free-flowing cocktails, a menu that included zapote-smoked lettuce, grilled shrimp, striped bass, rib eye steak, and agave-glazed lamb, and an opportunity to meet other guests staying at the resort.
A highlight of my time at Rosewood Mayakoba was a visit to Centro Educativo K'iin Beh, a bilingual school supported by Rosewood Mayakoba's owners, associates, and guests, inspired by the leadership of Daniel Scott, Rosewood's regional vice president and managing director. Located about 15 minutes away from Mayakoba, the school opened with 200 elementary and middle school students, and there are plans for a high school nearby. Giving to the community fits with the Rosewood Spa's "Hour of Kindness," a commitment to extend compassion towards the local community.
While wellness was the focus of my visit, there was time for a leisurely walk among dense mangroves to the beach where I splashed in the warm water and enjoyed the best-ever shrimp tacos at Aquí Me Quedo, translated as "I'm staying here" — and I wished I could have. I know I'll be back, and soon, for golf at El Camaleón, snorkeling at the beach, cocktails at Zapote Bar, Juan Pablo Loza's delicious food, and the incomparable hospitality of the staff at Rosewood Mayakoba.