Tulum, Mexico

Azul Blue Hotel + Spa pampers guests with a gourmet-inclusive stay on the Mayan Riviera.

LUXURY MEXICO STYLE: The Mayan ruins of Tulum.

EASY LIVING: The bad news is that you have to fly in to the Cancun airport, a tourist trap bustling with party-down types. The good news is, once you’ve settled in the limousine (or helicopter) waiting to whisk you south to Azul Blue Hotel + Spa, you can rejoice as the huge chain hotels clumped together along the beaches in Cancun disappear in the rearview mirror. It’s about an hour-and-a-half drive to the lush, tropical, and blissful surroundings of the hotel property, where you are greeted by a butler who takes you directly to your villa (there is no check-in, as all details are prearranged). Since the hotel is all-inclusive, you don’t have to sign for pina coladas at the swim-up pool bar or a killer burger on ciabatta bread with Thousand Island dressing, sautéed garlic, and olives on the beach. SPECIAL PREFERENCE: Once you make reservations, the hotel sends a preference request form. Besides special meal requests, they offer a pillow menu, a choice of soaps (Love of Lavender, Happy Day, Tropical Bay, or Coconut), and an iPod with a docking station. Just pick your music selection—chill out, new age, classical, love songs, or Latin—and it will be waiting for you. Check the activities box if golfing, fishing, diving, sailing, or touring is your deal, and all the details will be finalized before you arrive. Or just relax. The hotel goes to great lengths to help you get in the mood to let go. The staff will change the aromatherapy oil burning in your room to suit your mood, whether it be romantic, anti-stress, tranquility, or energizing. THE BUTLER DOES IT: There are only 96 Mediterranean/Mexican-style suites, each with a double Jacuzzi tub (some of which overlook the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea). Each group of six suites is serviced by a personal concierge and a butler. Need a Sacred Stone Massage? (Who doesn’t?) Your butler will see to it. Want a couple of bikes to explore the spectacular Mayan ruins of Tulum just down the road? Consider it done. Heck, once you get settled and head out to the pool bar for lunch, you can return to your suite to find your suitcases unpacked. GOURMET GETAWAY: Every afternoon from 4 to 5 pm, Tinto, the wine and piano lounge, offers a vintage wine tasting paired with Mayan-fusion appetizers. There are three restaurants on the property, each with its own specialty. The thatched-roof outdoor restaurant, View, overlooks the waves crashing against the rock-lined beach. You must try the mix-your-own ceviche menu that allows you to pick ingredients that are then prepared by a “cevichero.” Globe is the main breakfast, lunch, and dinner restaurant located next to the infinity pool. The best dining spot is—get ready for this—Yuzu, an upscale Oriental grill and sake parlor. An elegantly appointed dining room with huge colorful silk paintings sets the tone for a menu filled with delicious culinary creations from Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. Kick off your shoes and settle into pillowed floor chairs. A server brings you a cold towel and an offering of hot or cold sake. Your dinner order is placed, and the first course is served in the parlor. Once the entrees are ready, the waiter takes you to your table, where someone will decant your red wine, check the rim color against the candlelight, and swirl the liquid with the skill of a French sommelier.

Sunrise over the Caribbean Sea and infinity pool.

Stress-A-Holics Welcome

The minute you set foot at Azul Blue, the aroma of restorative scents fills the air. The 10,000-square-foot spa is dedicated on the Azul Blue Water Ritual, a ceremony alternating hot and cool waters, followed by relaxation and hydration practiced by the ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Schedule the 60-minute herbal steam followed by a cool shower and herbal tea before you head up to one of the 10 treatment rooms overlooking the sea. (They even offer the Tulum Breeze Massage under a palapa thatched roof.) The list of stress-relieving services is long: everything from Zen Tahi-Atsu pressure point massage to improve your energy flow to the Temazcal, a native detoxifying ritual performed in a sweat lodge by a shaman. Hot lava rocks are placed in the center of the igloo-like structure known as a Temazcalli, and while the good doctor performs his chants, the scents of medicinal plants like rosemary and sage soothe your soul. If a romantic treatment is what you’re looking for, the spa offers a Duo Massage in a candlelit room with a view of the Caribbean. Or enjoy a hydro-therapy bath and a massage in the comfort of your own suite and order in room service. The state-of-the-art gym also offers Pilates, yoga, aquagym, and stretching classes. You can check in anytime, but you will never want to leave.

Massage room at Azul Hotel + Spa.

FAST FACTS
How To Get There
American Airlines (www.aa.com) has four flights a day to Cancun. Azul Blue is located an hour and a half south. The resort will arrange to have a limo waiting at the airport.
Azul Blue Hotel + Spa
800-772-7837
www.azulbluemexico.com
Rates through June
All-inclusive
$294-$534 per person

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