Riviera Maya Puckers Up

The hottest destination south of Miami has boldly hit on agents and their clients yet again. For the fourth time in a row, it’s received Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Award for Sexiest Romance/Honeymoon Destination in Mexico, proving once more that it’s got plenty of sizzle left in her.

“We couldn’t be more proud and honored to receive this recognition for the fourth consecutive year,” says Dario Flota, general director of the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office. “We believe our destination is truly one of the most intimate and romantic destinations in the world and when that sentiment is reflected by Recommend’s well-traveled readers, it means the world to us.”

The Riviera Maya also means the world to developers, who keep adding to its roster of hotels and resorts to beckon more couples, yes, but also families and other markets. One of our favorite new options in the region—and who’s to say it’s not romantic?—is the just-opened, oceanfront GrandSlam Fly Fishing Lodge in Ascension Bay, part of the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, which promises luxury accommodations as well as a private guide for plenty of catch-and-release of tarpon, snook, bonefish and permit.

Now Resorts & Spas, part of AMResorts, chose the Riviera Maya to debut its first two properties. Now Jade and Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun come with the umbrella company’s Unlimited Luxury service and together offer almost 1,000 suites with high-tech amenities, programs for teens and children and a flurry of romance, honeymoon and wedding offerings. Also new to the Riviera Maya scene is the intimate Ocean Breeze Riviera Maya and its Jack Nicklaus-designed, 18-hole golf course. And in Playa del Carmen, new properties include the ultra-hip Reina Roja Hotel, outfitted with a rooftop pool, and One Playa del Carmen from Grupo Posadas (the same parent company to Fiesta Americana), just two blocks from 5th Avenue and offering 108 guestrooms.

Among the up-and-comings is a 50-suite luxury property from Auberge Resorts (the folks who brought us Los Cabos’ Esperanza) in Kanai, a master-planned beachfront community opening next year on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Kanai will also welcome The St. Regis Kanai, Resort & Residence, with 124 guestrooms, 32 villas and suites and two golf courses. The coming year also brings the debut of both the JW Marriott Milla de Oro Resort & Spa (450 rooms) and the smaller Renaissance Milla de Oro Resort (150 rooms). Additionally, there is another development in the works: the Grand Coral Riviera Maya, which will encompass two boutique hotels, a shopping center, a beach club and a Nick Price-designed 18-hole course, all ensconced in more than 550 acres of beachside.

Of course, these new properties are only the icing on the cake for this romantic destination, seemingly fated by the gods to bear stunning sunsets and inimitable experiences for hundreds of thousands of lovebirds. “We hope this award will encourage more honeymooners and couples simply looking to rekindle romance to visit the Riviera Maya,” says Flota. “This award, coupled with the Riviera Maya’s more than 38,000 hotel rooms, seemingly endless adventures on both land and sea and a wide array of dining options and cuisines, will help to make the destination an ideal couples getaway for years to come.”