Gradually travellers are dusting off their suitcases and finding their way to the airport with the thoughts of warmer climes on their minds. And if they have not already headed south (or west or east) they are at least planning for it!  Even those courageous enough to consider a trip are reluctant to choose a destination where they may find themselves swarming a buffet table with the bathing-suited masses for that last piece of bacon or a fifth margarita.

Chablé Maroma

Beachside swimming pool, outdoor yoga centre, concierge office and restaurants of the Chablé Maroma

Sure, you are seeking the usual luxuries of beautiful weather, pampered spa treatments, a myriad of sports and cultural activities as well as delicious haute cuisine but still wish to do so with proper social distancing and privacy. Then welcome to the utopias as presented to you by the Chablé brand of wellness resorts located on the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico!

When I first stumbled upon the Chablé website (chablehotels.com) my breath was literally taken away by the romantic beauty of the two properties and they immediately soared to the top of my personal “bucket list”. Like many others re-emerging from nearly two years of relative travel inactivity, I had accumulated a travel budget that could afford to indulge in a dream vacation as my first. Believe you me, my instincts were rewarded.

Chablé Maroma

The airy lobby of the Chablé Maroma

My initial dilemma was which of the two Chablé properties to choose? The Chablé Maroma, located 40 minutes from the Cancun airport and on 650 feet of private beach on Mexico’s Caribbean coastline, or the Chablé Yucatán, a stunning 750 acre setting within the heart of the Mayan forest and 25 minutes from the historic city of Merida? Then I thought, I wonder if I could do both? Apparently this is the wise decision that many of the Chablé guests take: do both. So I did!

As I planned out my trip and considered these two properties; I decided I would start at the beach (the Chablé Maroma) and would finish inland (at the Chablé Yucatán) connected by a four-hour bus or private car drive. A call to properties’ concierge office confirmed that this was not only possible but common and recommended.

Chablé Maroma

70 luxurious and spacious suites at Chablé Maroma include
a private plunge pool

Therefore, I hopped on an easy four and a half hour direct-flight to the Cancun airport and was picked up by a hotel car (at a supplement but a true relief given the transport chaos that awaits travelers outside this airport). From the gates of the Montreal airport to security at the Chablé Maroma was a mere six hours, customs and immigration included. Fantastic!

From the second I stepped out of the car at the Chablé Maroma’s reception I could immediately feel life slow down. In the airy lobby with its earth tone furnishings immersed within a tropical jungle, I was greeted by a sincerely welcoming front desk staff that immediately allowed my urban stresses to dissipate. I knew I was in good and caring hands.

Chablé Maroma Raw Bar

The Raw Bar is perched above Bu’ul with sweeping views of the ocean for cocktails and bar snacks as well as full meals

As I was led to my room, one of their 70 spacious suites, I had the sense of genuine privacy, as hardly any of the suites are visible from the labyrinth of paths due to the lush vegetation on this property that has only been open since November 2018. As we climbed the steps to my king casita, I stepped around my own “plunge pool” on a balcony that felt as if I were nestled within the treetops. Magical!

As the bellhop opened the room’s sliding heavy wooden doors, I was welcomed into my own personal wellness refuge impeccably decorated by one of the country’s leading interior decorators, Paulina Moran. Her choice of art and artefacts by local Mayan artisans made me pause and appreciate these creative touches.

Chablé Maroma

The rooftop bar offers snacks and full meals

As I stepped in the adjoining bathroom, which was practically the size of the bedroom, I was shown its unique features such as both an indoor and outdoor shower (which I took one evening under the glittering stars and moonlight), a spacious changing area, lounging settee and enclosed water closet (WC). The exterior of the suite was pure flora as visible from the many windows. I could have been on my own private island in the Caribbean. This was luxury personified!

Chablé Maroma

Beachside yoga is a popular activity at the Chablé Maroma

While the centrepiece of this hotel is its 17,000 square-foot spa (more on that later) I was drawn immediately to the spacious beachfront. Navigating the property’s pathways can be tricky at first but at any missed turn there is often a helpful staff member to help direct you.

As I emerged from the tropical pathways, a small hamlet consisting of a beachside swimming pool, outdoor yoga centre (beachside yoga is popular here), concierge office and a pristine beach unfolded before me. In addition, this is where the hotel’s dining takes place with three offerings to guests: the Kaban restaurant is popular for breakfasts, lunches and more casual dinners; Bu’ul Restaurant is for fine dining and features the best local cuisine for hundreds of kilometers in any direction and includes an extensive wine cellar (and recognized by the Wine Spectator) as well as an impressive collection of tequilas including their own exclusive Chablé brand; and the Raw Bar perched above Bu’ul with sweeping views of the ocean for cocktails and bar snacks as well as full meals.

Chablé Maroma

Spa treatment room at Chablé Maroma

It should be noted that these hotels are not “all inclusive” and all meals, drinks and wellness treatments are billed separately. However, some package deals are posted on their website.

On day two of my wellness retreat I headed to the spa. Here I was greeted with Mayan welcoming ceremony, which included incense, chanting and chimes, while I stood with my legs and arms spread wide and my eyes closed. An actual Mayan shaman could have conducted the ceremony upon request. Next I was escorted to one of the massage cabins wonderfully appointed, candlelit and opening onto the mangroves. Here I experienced the best deep tissue massage of my life followed by a luxurious hydrotherapy circuit within their soaking pools, hot tub and Jacuzzi. Divine! At Chablé Maroma their slogan is “wellness redefined”. I agree 100%.

Chablé Yucatan

This historic XIX century henequen (agave) factory hacienda is part of the elegant Chablé Yucatan

The next day I was off to check into my next slice of paradise, the Chablé Yucatan.

For me this involved a four-hour bus ride from the Playa del Carmen bus station, though most guests do spring for the private car service. I decided the bus would be part of my overall Mexican adventure but, I do confess, I wish I had taken the car.

When I arrived at the “Red House” on the grounds of the Chablé Yucatán the entire front desk staff were lined up by the driveway to greet me (the front gate security had tipped them off)! I felt like I was a visiting dignitary and noticed all guests seemed to be welcomed in a similar way. Just a hint of the high-touch five-star service I was about to experience at this extraordinary property.

Chablé Yucatan

Chablé Yucatan fitness platform overlooking the resort’s private cenote

As I was driven in a golf cart to my private villa, one of forty on this historic XIX century henequen (agave) factory hacienda, I could see how the architect and designer managed to retain the abandoned ruins as part of the property’s landscape, adding to its mystical ambiance. This is what I had seen on their website. When we arrived at my “room” which was its own stand-alone villa, I was thrilled to see two bicycles waiting outside for my use as this property is vast and a bike would serve as the perfect mode of transport. While some guests choose to walk everywhere others do also avail themselves of the complementary golf cart shuttle service with a simple phone call. If you visit here, you will see why.

Ixi’im restaurant at Chablé Yucatan was voted Best Restaurant in the world for design and architecture

I was ushered into the most awe-inspiring room I had ever had the opportunity to experience. The bedroom was massive, complete with a living room sitting area, a walk-in closet and luxurious mosquito netting draping the king-sized bed facing another exterior plunge pool (four times larger than my previous one) with a hammock hanging over one end. Once again the bathroom had a choice of interior and exterior showers overlooking the Mayan jungle and offering complete privacy in all directions. I was overwhelmed by this luxury.

Throughout the Yucatán peninsula you will hear constant reference to mystical “cenotes” which are held sacred by the Mayans. Usually, one must make special pilgrimages to seek these out, however, at the Chablé Yucatán, they have their own cenote which serves as the focal point of their world class spa. Again, I enjoyed my entire spa experience as the only guest within the magical space, which has to be truly one of the nicest on the planet. My massage cabin overlooked the cenote and included such remarkable details as beautiful flower petals sprinkled throughout the room for added aesthetics. I was floating on air after my treatment.

Chablé Yucatan

Part of the world’s largest tequila collection in restaurant Ixi’im at Chablé Yucatan
Photo: AJ Twist

Other features of this remarkable property include their fine-dining restaurant called Ixi’im, which is famous for its for its many awards including, in 2018, the coveted Prix Versailles by UNESCO as the “Best Restaurant in the World” for its architecture and design. It also features the largest collection of tequila anywhere! Ixi’im is home of more than 3,750 tequila bottles, including the oldest bottle known and created for the 50th anniversary of Jose Cuervo.

Chablé Yucatan

Wellness golf at the Chablé Yucatan where bare feet are welcome

Tequila tastings are a guest activity in the XIX century traditional “Hacienda” which has been completely restored to and beyond its original grandeur. Here guests can avail themselves of an extensive library, chat with concierge services about excursions into Merida for other fine dining options and art gallery tours or to plan trips to nearby Mayan ruins.

However, leaving the property is really not necessary due to the many other diversions chez Chablé such as “wellness golf” (an executive 9 hole course where bare feet are welcome); a tour of the beekeeper’s corner and home of the Yucatán stingless bee; outdoor tennis or pickle ball; traditional Mayan cooking lessons on “corn transformation” or chocolate making; outdoor yoga by the cenote; an environmental tour of the hotel grounds; garden tours or an afternoon or evening in the cigar lounge. An exquisitely designed exterior pool welcomes the sun worshippers as well.

Following your retreat, you can be chauffeured to the Merida airport for a connecting flight back home via Cancun or Mexico City but I can pretty well guarantee that you will be in no rush to leave and when you do, will immediately start planning your return. I know I am!

Chablé Maroma, Punta Maroma, C.P. 77710, Quintana Roo, México. +52 (998) 387 0044
Chablé Yucatán, Tablaje #642, Chocholá, Yucatán México 97816. +52 (55) 4161 4262

A.J. Twist is a Montreal-based travel writer. ajtwist@me.com www.ajtwist.net

Chablé Yucatan

A luxurious suite with plunge pool at Chablé Yucatan