Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Photo courtesy of the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Just 15 minutes from Playa del Carmen in Mexico’s Riviera Maya is a music-lover’s paradise. The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel sits along four private Caribbean beach lagoons and features the adults-only Heaven resort and the kid-friendly Hacienda resort. Each one has an array of one-of-a-kind rock star memorabilia (like Johnny Cash’s guitar and Eddie Van Halen’s go-kart) and some seriously impressive music amenities—all included, of course.

Customize the “Sound of Your Stay” with a downloadable playlist when you check in, or practice strumming on a Fender guitar delivered right to your room. Don’t miss the Music Lab experience, where you can star in a music video, perform in a band or become a DJ with the help of local musicians who will coach you before your live performance for hotel guests at Hacienda’s Sun Bar. Afterward, take some downtime in your room’s deep soaker tub or private balcony hammock. Rates from US$400. —A.Q. 


Mahekal Beach Resort

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Wake up to a seemingly endless stretch of golden sandy beach and be lulled to sleep by the soothing sound of the ocean waves in this little pocket of paradise in the Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya. Fresh from a recent $10-million renovation, this beachfront resort’s interiors are equally as impressive as its ocean views; colourful pillows and pieces of locally made Maya forest wood furniture and wall decor add cozy touches to the airy, bungalow-style rooms that are topped with thatched palapa roofs. Along with five open-air restaurants and bars, the resort features some can’t-miss culinary experiences. Once a week, guests are invited to watch Chef Crescenciano Nerey prepare freshly caught fish right on the beach, while the Mayan Culinary Casita restaurant explores Maya culture and food with an interactive cooking and dining experience. —A.W. 

Nearby: Hire one of the resort’s bicycles or take a stroll to nearby 5th Avenue, a bustling street full of shops and restaurants.


Read more: Behind the Scenes of Mahekal Beach Resort’s Redesign

Occidental at Xcaret Destination

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Occidental at Xcaret Destination, Photo courtesy of Barceló Hotel Group

Photo courtesy of Barceló Hotel Group

You may miss them at first, but once your eyes adjust to the light streaming through the jungle, you’ll see the deer and, depending on the time of year, its fawn. This resort south of Playa del Carmen is home to an array of wildlife, from saraguato monkeys and flamingos to small mammals such as coatis. Rather than raze the area to build the all-inclusive, swaths of jungle were left untouched. Earthen footpaths wind through the jungle and netting hangs above the main pathway allowing monkeys to cross from treetop to treetop. Twice a week, the resort offers guided eco-tours, where interpreters talk about the plants and animals, and their reverence in Maya culture—butterflies, for example, are considered the souls of dead warriors. —D.L. 

Nearby: The resort is home to Maya ruins, including a lighthouse on the shore and a nearby temple.


Royal Hideaway Playacar by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

This is an adults-only hotel

“I love my job!” proclaims flirty staff member Elvis as he leads guests through a water aerobics class at this adults-only all-inclusive resort.

It’s no wonder: with just 200 rooms, the boutique property welcomes a chilled-out clientele who can alternate their time between a swath of pretty beach and seemingly endless on-site amenities, including six swimming pools, a dive centre, a full-service spa and tennis courts.

Guest rooms and suites in small villas feature private concierges, ubiquitous WiFi and furnished terraces and balconies.

But it’s the food that truly impresses: six bars and six à la carte restaurants with quality top of mind, from the upscale breakfast buffet at Spices to the custom four-course dinners at Club Royale—and, of course, beachside service from your lounge chair. —K.T.