I thought you might enjoy reading this report, from my friend – travel writer and spa lover- about her new spa adventure. Thinking about going to a spa, give me a call and I will help you find the right one for you – do you want to meditate, be active or just relax?
Sit back and imagine the possibilities…
Wellness Retreat and Spa
You may not think that daily yoga lessons, killer margaritas and sun-rise meditation would be compatible components of a vacation, if so, you’d be wrong. I’m here to tell you that you can have it all at Maya Tulum, a wellness retreat and spa on Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Peninsula.
The journey began with an email, one cold November afternoon, from my good friend and fellow spa aficionado. “How about it?” she asked, including a link to Maya Tulum’s web site showcasing an idyllic setting. To the tune of the accompanying new age music, I checked out their all-inclusive 5-day Mind-Body-Spirit package. It promised meditation, massage and more…mmm…mmm…mmm. We’ll take two.
Three weeks later we were in Cancun airport availing ourselves of the transfer included in the much more of our package and after an hour’s drive south we arrived.
Hola! Maya Tulum – as pretty as its pictures. The sight of the forty thatch-roofed cabanas nestled into the tropical gardens and along a gorgeous beachfront was better than advertised. We were shown to our cabana, just steps from the beach and were delighted! Its marble floors, white limestone walls and sparse furnishings were minimalist but not in that new designer hotel fashion – just simple and nice. An enclosed outdoor shower was a pleasant surprise that we really enjoyed – a modest one-with-nature, and all.
Cocktails anyone? After scheduling our first treatment, hot stone massages for us both, we strolled down the beach in search of a margarita. We discovered the large round, open-air cabana that serves as the resort’s restaurant and bar and there-in, the killer margaritas. They did not disappoint and the fresh guacamole to go with – to die for.
The all-inclusive package includes three meals a day with the option of a buffet or ordering from the menu which they describe as “basically vegetarian with seafood”. The breakfast choices of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal and eggs, including the de rigueur Rancheros and world-class French toast provided the fuel for the morning’s activities, like a pedicure on the beach – ahhhh. The menu also includes a nice variety of starters and salads, pasta entrees and lots and lots of fresh fish. There’s a half-decent wine list. And oh the view!
Maya Tulum has been somewhat of a Mecca for serious yoga enthusiasts and followers of high-profile teachers, like the guru, Baron Baptiste who regularly teaches there. During our visit, two yoga groups were in residence. One of whom was a friendly crowd of aging hippie chicks with a few male counterparts – I counted seven long, gray ponytails in all. The other was a rather serious, more holistic-than-thou group of 30-somethings who kept to themselves. Our fellow guests included couples, small groups of friends and interestingly, a number of singles.
The Yoga instruction was one of the things that attracted us to the resort and it was indeed first-rate. We generally opted for a ninety-minute morning session and the small size of the group (usually six or so) allowed for individual attention and modifications. In short, challenging but not intimidating. ‘Cause if you can only do a half shoulder stand that’s all you can do. The studio itself is a large open air cabana and the fragrant ocean breezes and sound of the pounding surf made the whole experience, well, so much more spiritual – not to denigrate my classes back home at the gym in the strip mall. And s swim in that gorgeous ocean was the perfect ending to our mornings.
Maya Tulum offers an extensive menu of spa services, including some more esoteric offerings, like Shirpdhara (Third Eye Therapy), essentially an hour of warm oil dripping on your forehead (we demurred) and a number of Mayan specialties. Which to choose? I considered the Yoot Keen, a deep belly message which promised a readjustment of my internal abdominal organs but begged the question, what if my organs didn’t need readjusting? I decided on the Mayan Clay Massage and padded barefoot after my therapist to one of the small open-air huts that serve as treatments rooms.
It was divine, essentially Swedish style but with warm mud massaged head-to-toe and then a sort-of gauzy wrap. An hour later and vertical, I was licking my lips, figuratively and literally and to my astonishment my upper lip was twice its size. What happened? Was it an allergic reaction? A bonus topical collagen treatment? It turned out that a mosquito had come between me and my mud. Honestly? I still rate it as one of my top-ten spa treatments and I remained so blissful through dinner that I wasn’t even tempted to snarl “what are you lookin’ at”, to the woman at the next table who starred at me all evening. I decided she was probably just jealous.
When we returned home, we pronounced it the most relaxing vacation we had ever had. Maya Tulum has no TVs, radios, internet or even newspapers and it was the first time I ever went “cold turkey”. Days that began with sunrise mediation or a walk on the beach followed by swimming, yoga and a pampering spa treatment, found us in bed by 9 PM nodding over our books.
Maya Tulum really is a retreat and may not be for everyone. It’s a bit rustic and the service level could be better, friendly enough but there are language and communication issues. But if you’re looking for a true get-away in a palm trees and sunshine environment you should definitely consider it. And if you practice yoga or would like to explore it, you should go!
When to go- Maya Tulum is open year-round, but the best season is November.- April
Cost- $705 – $905 per person for the 5 night package (based on double occupancy) Includes: roundtrip transfers, 3 meals per day, 1 spa treatment and 1 excursion. 7 day packages available. Rates vary with season and with choice accommodations.
Accommodations- Simple but comfortable; spring for the ocean front cabanas if available/