Tranquil Villas, Fine Dining And Plenty Of Adventure Define Your Stay At This Luxury Resort In Playa del Carmen

The road to spring break was exhausting. After weeks of research and deliberation about whether or not my son Journey and I were going to escape Brooklyn for somewhere warm, we landed on a destination. Don’t do it. Don’t judge me. I’ve been a mother for five years and April 2022 was the very first time that I willingly accepted the challenge to travel with the masses for spring break. And traveling with the masses is a massive undertaking.

Before public school, we could and would go, wherever, whenever. Cuba. Cayman Islands. Guadeloupe. Southern California. Pulling Journey out of his preschool program in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, for a week here to road trip down South or a week there to catch a flight out West, was painless. Big boy school is a different animal. Attendance matters. Punctuality and participation matter. A commitment to collective learning amidst the other gifted and talented five-year-olds in Journey’s class really matters. So the only time we could go now, was when everyone else was going.

It was a region of the world we’d already visited. Just last summer, my sister, nine-year-old niece and curious four-year-old traveled to Playa del Carmen to experience the new Nickelodeon resort before they officially opened their doors to the public. With its oceanfront swim-up suites and sparkly water park covered in slippery slides and slime, Nickelodeon was a vibe. And although I promised Journey we would return—not for our inaugural spring break trip. 

Instead, I had my eye on another destination in the region: Banyan Tree Mayakoba, an Asian-inspired hideaway in the heart of Mexico’s Riviera Maya where relaxation is encouraged and prioritized. The luxury beach resort is in perfect harmony with nature. And harmonizing with nature is exactly what we needed. Canal waterways wind through the private gated community surrounded by lush mangrove forests on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. The staff is kind. The other families visiting from all over the world are warm. Every villa, no matter the size, comes with a private pool. Culinary experiences are endless. I could go on. And on. And on. 

The road to spring break may have been exhausting but the gift that greeted us on the other side made it worth it. 


Courtesy of Metanoya Z. Webb

Enjoy Your Villa

Banyan Tree’s tranquil villas and suites make it easy for the whole family to slow down and decompress. With an outdoor bathtub, private heated swimming pool and a spacious lounge pavilion ideal for dining, playing and straight chillin,’ some days you won’t want to leave your room. And that’s just fine. 

Bike the Property

One of the best ways to explore the property with children is on wheels. Bikes are conveniently parked outside of your villa and ready to roll whenever you are. Take advantage. 

Ride down to the beach, over to Oriente for breakfast or simply get lost in the joy of wandering. Journey and I did a few times during our stay and admired the flowers, birds and tropical wildlife along the way.


Courtesy of Metanoya Z. Webb


Sail through the lush waterways of Mayakoba and discover what’s dwelling in the mangroves. We spied alligators, iguanas, turtles and several different species of birds on our private guided tour, which operates daily from the Saffron Dock. Pro Tip: Book in advance. The tour is pretty popular and so is the guide. 

Recycling Paper Workshop

It took a minute for Journey to get into this activity as playing catch in the pool with his new buddy Luke from Montclair, New Jersey was more appealing. He’s five, I get it. But once he found his groove and was reminded of the importance of recycling paper and how it reduces our ecological footprint, he was all in.  


Courtesy of Metanoya Z. Webb

For breakfast, do huevos motulenos (salsa roja, corn tortillas, over-easy fried egg, refried black beans, green peas and sweet plantain) with a green juice at Oriente. Try the Caesar salad topped with grilled shrimp and avocado at Sands for lunch. And for dinner, authentic Thai cuisine at Saffron it is. 


Courtesy of Metanoya Z. Webb

Rangers Kids Club 

You’re going need a break from your little one, and I’m certain that they’ll benefit from time away from you too. The beauty and convenience of Banyan Tree’s kids club is that it’s steps away from the beach, poolside cabanas, food, drinks and all-day entertainment. So while you bake, sip and read, they can enjoy treasure hunts, board games and fun water sports with new friends. 

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