Five-star survival on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera: Rock-star luxury isn’t as expensive as you might think

Rock-star luxury isn’t as expensive as you might think. Whether you book a family celebration, wedding, quality time with the kids, or vow to shake up your love life, here is the ultimate A-to-Z guide for your tropical reconnect at the newly opened Royalton Riviera Cancún Resort and Spa on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera.

Awaken your senses with tropical air that’s dense with floral scents, the sound of the relentlessly rhythmic surf, and the ultimate tease – that azure ocean.

Beach: Renowned for more than 23 kilometres of beaches with sand as fine as icing sugar, Cancún beach life is the antidote to every single stress in your life.

Caves: Swimming in an underground river is otherworldly sublime. You snake your way through the calcified structures in glacial-like green water. At RioSecreto, the tour takes a few hours by the time you get to the site, suit up and explore – which seems too short by the time you finish.

Diamond Club: This upgrade at the Royalton Riviera Cancún means personalized butler service, preferential dining reservations, an exclusive beach area, and some suites with rooftop Jacuzzis. You’ll get in touch with your inner celebrity.


Equinox: If you time your visit during the spring equinox at Chichen Itza, you can watch at the Castillo de Kukulcan pyramid as sunlight reveals seven isosceles triangles that form. Then, observe the resulting shadow that looks like a giant snake creeping toward the huge serpent’s head at the base of the stairway.

Family: A burgeoning trend is to block several rooms and bring the extended family for celebrations and bonding, tropical style. Something about the sun and surf makes everyone get along: You’ll be cruising this resort with your happy entourage.

Gourmet Marche: Like everything at the Royalton Riviera Cancún, the cuisine is top notch. It’s a buffet with local and international fare, and a special kids’ section. Marche is a culinary playground you’ll want to visit every day – if only to have dessert for breakfast.

Hideaway is the intimate adults-only section within Royalton Riviera Cancún. It’s like a boutique hotel within a resort with its own pool, restaurant and exclusive bar. Guests also have the option for full access to all resort services, restaurants, a spa and bars.

Isla Mujeres: Word is this is a lovely day trip to an island that retains old-world Caribbean charm. Or book a few days for diving or fishing. There are ferries that run from Puerto Juarez, just north of Cancún. The name translates to Island of Women. Gotta love that.

Nuptials: Peak season for destination weddings is April though June, when the Royalton Riviera Cancún averages two weddings per day. Whether on the beach, at a gazebo or with a bird’s-eye view atop the resort, nothing beats a golden tan paired with a white wedding dress.

Opa Restaurant: This restaurant oozes opulence in its Mediterranean setting with Greek-inspired cuisine. Consider yourself warned: Save room for dessert. For our group, the chef created a large chocolate egg that, once broken, contained more chocolate pieces inside, and was displayed on a marble slab with cheesecakes, tarts, fruit, bitesized cakes, and streaked with sauces.

Price: A week’s stay at the Royalton Riviera Cancún Resort and Spa starts at $1,295 – plus $392 in taxes – per person based on two people sharing a luxury junior suite, for February’s peak season. Go to for full details.

Quintana Roo: This is the Mexican state where Cancún is located. You will save yourself the cultural embarrassment if you pronounce the second word as Ro, not Rooooo.

Recharge: You won’t want to leave the Royalton’s spa, especially the hydrotherapy circuit. There are powerful shower heads that blast the tension from your neck and shoulders and submerged lounge chairs that use pulsing water to massage.

Sunwing: This sun specialist flies to Cancún from 20 different Canadian and U.S. gateways with its signature Champagne service. A morning flight typically gets you onto the beach before cocktail hour. Full info and schedules are online.

Tulum: The only Mayan settlement constructed on the shores of the Caribbean, this site is exquisite. One of the later Mayan discoveries – it remains a work in progress – Tulum’s walled village was the quintessential blueprint for community.

Xcaret: Just south of Playa del Carmen, this eco-park is built around a lagoon. There’s an aviary and a zoo, turtle and dolphin pools, and an underground snorkelling river.