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Traveling to a special destination: Mexico

Honestly? Mexico has never been an obvious choice before. Sorry, but far, unknown, the usual reasons. Until friends pointed us to a unique resort on the Caribbean coast, in the middle of a nature reserve on the Yucatán Peninsula. On a bicycle through the jungle to your breakfast, where you will see turtles swimming past the water and in the afternoon you can sit on a bed under a cabana and peer into the sea over the white sand. KLM recently started flying directly to Cancún, what was stopping us? Text: Tamara Gijrath
Online editor: Patrick StofferNiets. So I delved into the ancient Mayans from Central America, because there was also plenty to do in terms of culture. I learned that the Maya had a special relationship with space and time, with the position of the sun and moon. It had everything to do with the natural cycles of sowing and harvesting. Sowing and reaping, I had to think about it again later. That's why 'our' man Robert-Jan Woltering fits in so well as general manager of one of the most luxurious resorts in the country, I thought. He is called 'Cool Boss Blue Eyes'. Considering that according to the Mayans the color blue represents transformation and renewal, Woltering is the embodiment of his own mission: the multi-million renovation of the five-star Fairmont Mayakoba Resort in Playa del Carmen, near Cancún. A mission that, after four years, also led him to become the best Hospitality Manager in all of South America. And then our journey had to begin…

Archaeological treasure site

"Hello, my name is Daniel and I am your butler.” If only every day started like this. At the Fairmont Mayakoba you can efficiently share your wishes via WhatsApp with Daniel, who will also fulfill them. And so the first morning in Mexico there is a delicious breakfast next to our bed (because of the jet lag we are taking it easy) and two nice white bicycles are waiting in front of the door, with which we can explore the area. The Riviera Maya, the area south of Cancun, runs along the Caribbean coast of the state of Quintana Roo. The Fairmont Mayakoba hotel, part of the luxury resort community of Mayakoba, is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, approximately 68 miles south of Cancun. The tropical climate provides a wonderful temperature (especially in the winter months) and with the occasional friendly rain shower, the environment remains fresh and green. The area is an archaeological treasure, with Tulum and the Mayan ruins and pyramids at Chichen Itza and Coba as the most famous attractions. The bed, the bath, the balcony and even the ultra-luxury soaps with our name on the label: everything is right here. Our spacious and modern suite overlooks a romantic part of the river that runs like a vein through the jungle of Mayakoba. More than two hundred bird species find their habitat here, the sounds of the jungle sound new that first night. But the idea that you are in the middle of nature brings unprecedented peace. Swimming in the river is not allowed, it would disturb the natural fauna. It is also the last thing we would want: a few days later we take a boat trip through the reserve and see three life-size crocodiles along the shore. The wilderness is close.

True luxury experience

There is a lot to experience, both in the resort and beyond. It would almost make you restless. Fortunately, Fairmont's hostess Sylvia guides us with all our questions and puts together a program for us. We swim in the crystal clear waters of the Rio Secreto caves, which are located about twenty minutes outside the resort. A luxury car with its own driver and a packed three-course lunch in the trunk takes us, waits and delivers us safely. Señor Roberto-Juan did an excellent job of convincing his team what a true luxury experience includes. We learn about the Mayans from our private guide and visit the Tulum ruins from the thirteenth century. We eat in an authentic Mexican cantina where the locals meet on Fridays. We can choose from twenty-two different high-end restaurants in Mayakoba alone and sign up for a Mexican cooking workshop, where Fairtmont chef Sandra teaches us how to make guacamole (now a serious addiction), ceviche and empanadas filled with bean paste. “Mexicans are proud of their rich culture,” Sandra explains. “We are helpful, hospitable and like to make others happy. And eating, preferably together with the whole family, plays a very important role in this.”

Golf like a pro

We visit the Mayakoba golf course, where hitting a ball represents a unique experience. Greats such as Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama and Tom Hoge play here. It is the only course in Latin America where the PGA Tour is organized. A unique one. And you can see that. The 18 holes are the brainchild of one of the best and most famous golfers in the world, Australian Greg Norman. The great thing is that guests staying at the Mayakoba resorts have free admission when the PGA Tour is taking place. Here you can feel the history and hear the footsteps of the great players. But according to the energetic golf manager David Monar, it is the mystical environment that determines the extra dimension: “El Camaleon, that is the name of the course. Because every season, every month, every day and every hour provides a different color, a different view. Here history, victory and complexity intersect. And high-end luxury.” That evening we eat in the Hacienda restaurant. When the doors open to our own private room, tears sting my eyes. It's moving, never before have I been welcomed somewhere with so much love and pride. We take a seat at a breathtakingly beautifully laid table. In a setting that is reminiscent of a mix of Frida Kahlo and Caribbean atmospheres, we taste a variety of authentic Mexican dishes, while we hear the warm rain falling in the river behind the wooden shutters. Dishes that the chef learned from his grandmother and she learned from her grandmother. The waiter explains to us passionately what we are eating and how it is prepared. I don't dare to do everything. Fried locusts and pickled larvae: “It's delicious, but so heavy”, I still try. They don't fall for it, but they still nod to me in a friendly and understanding manner: “All good ma'am, all good.” The tastes, the smells, the colors and the whole atmosphere: Sandra was right, that evening we closed Mexico in our hearts.


You can read the entire report about the trip to Mexico in MASTERS #49.

The spring issue of MASTERS celebrates regained freedom after two years of corona. The value of this is underlined by developments in eastern Europe, where the freedom of an entire people is at stake. We live in a new reality, but we can make plans again, go out for dinner, meet people. The world is turning again! Only: which way? Time for new bridges, new initiatives. What this edition of MASTERS offers inspiration for.