Peaceful Easy Feeling

If you a looking for a reprieve from winter and want to go somewhere for a week of comfort, calm and luxury, you can’t go wrong with the tranquil El Dorado Casitas Royale in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera.

The Mayan Riviera remains one of my favourite southern destinations and I’ve been there numerous times. The official description (provided by the hotel) certainly lives up to its name. “El Dorado Casitas Royale, one of Conde nast traveler readers’ top 100 hotels in the world and a AAA four diamond resort, is the pinnacle of romantic seaside luxury. Nestled along the beach in a separate, secluded area within El Dorado Royale on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, El Dorado Casitas Royale by Karisma is an adults-only resort designed for romance. A superb array of amenities and services makes this an unrivaled destination for romantic getaways, weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries. From the moment you  arrive you’ll find very attentive staff  and you won’t  want for anything”.

My initial plan was to stay at the El Dorado and then at some point take the ten-minute cab ride into the local town of Playa Del Carmen for the day. I never made it. The resort has everything and I was just too comfortably ensconced in my surroundings to leave. 

From the grounds to the landscaping and beaches, everything is beautiful. The resort even has an on-site greenhouse where they grow all their own vegetables and many of the fruits served to guests. There are three sections at the resort, the Royale and the Casitas that are for adults only while Generations is for families.

The El Dorado Casitas Royale is a foodie haven. My favourite part of the trip was the evening I spent dining at Fuentes Culinary Theatre. Preparing the meal is the show in this very special evening under the 90-foot-high, thatched-roof culinary theatre. The chef and his culinary team prepare a five-course meal in front of you while you watch them on one of the big screens in the room. Think TV’s Top Chef.

The week I visited the resort owners had invited several award-winning Canadian chefs to pare Alberta beef with local Mayan recipes. For a small fee, a sommelier pared a different wine with each course of the meal. Before preparing a beautifully choreographed, multi-course meal, the chefs showed us the ingredients for each dish and explained why they worked together. It was an unforgettable evening of fun, food and wine.

From local fare to Italian to Asian, the resort also features nine restaurants, with a multitude of offerings I found the Asian food selection at Kampai was particularly good with great sushi and lots of other choices.

The resort offers all kinds of recreational activities. Take a day trip or just hang out and grab a hammock or beach chair and relax. Cold drinks and light meals are conveniently located at little beach bars at the resort. I was a regular at JoJo’s beach restaurant and bar. They had nice lunches, live music and, best of all, cold drinks. For health aficionados and vegans there is a health bar serving vegan food and healthy vegan drinks. The peanut butter and banana shake is to die for. You can even get a protein shake here. El Dorado has two gyms. The Royale’s is much better and has very modern equipment and weight systems. There are classes available including cross fit and spinning at $20 per session. There are some free classes also including morning yoga next to the sea.

If you forget the sunscreen, there are two shops at the resort that sell a variety of amenities and local crafts.

Most people walk around even though the resort is spread out. However, there are oversized golf carts driven around the resort that you can jump on and off at any time to take you where you want to go.