Banyan Tree Mayakoba, along the pristine coast of the Riviera Maya, is an optimal home base for a wedding weekend in Maya Riviera. Just 75 miles South of Cancun, a team of biologists, architects, and designers came together to build six miles of freshwater canals surrounded by exotic mangroves connecting an 18-hole golf course with the Banyan Tree, Rosewood, Andaz and Fairmont resorts. With Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Cancun not far, there’s plenty to see off-property (if you can bear to leave). The all-pool villa resort is well justified in its claim to be a “Sanctuary for the Senses,” where tranquility, hospitality and recreation blend to create a restorative escape.
Plan a fun evening for your wedding party on Ixchel, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba dining boat. Translated as “Moon Goddess,” Ixchel is an intimate way to treat special guests with a tapas cruise. There are a variety of options for the actual wedding ceremony: El Pueblito, a locally-inspired replica of a traditional Mexican village can give your wedding a unique feel for up to 350 guests. Mayapán, an indoor event space, can accommodate up to 250. Mayapán Garden is a gorgeous, outdoor venue that can accommodate up to 210. For a more casual spot near the beach, MK Blue can welcome up to 350. More intimate options include the Lobby Terrace, Sands Pool or directly on the beach. Catering is provided by the Koba Restaurant culinary team (with locally inspired cuisine) or through any of the Mayakoba’s restaurants.
Xcaret, an eco-archaeological park located on the Riviera Shore, can be either a wedding venue or an excursion for guests. Xcaret’s more-than-50 attractions include the House of Whispers, Hacienda Henequenera, Paradise River and more. Hotel Xcaret Mexico is called a “haven framed by the natural majesty of the Riviera Maya.” You can schedule a civil ceremony at one of the park’s archaeological sites, a more religious ceremony in one of its two chapels, or a traditional Mayan Ceremony led by a Mayan Shaman — including wind instruments and an altar with seasonal plants, seeds, jicaras and Balche wine.
UNICO 20°87° also offers weddings filled with creative touches inspired by the region. Their experiential wedding packages start at $5,800 with the “Riviera Maya Experience,” a new take on the classic beach wedding. Their “One-of-a-Kind Experience” adds more perks, including private dining, hair and makeup, and a personal valet concierge. The “20°87° Experience” ups the luxury — weaving in more local spirit, live music and a major room upgrade.
Further down the shore in Tulum, consider a wedding week at the new Casa Malca. NY-based art dealer Lio Malca opened the first property in 2014 with eight rooms. Now boasting 41 rooms (ocean or garden), Casa Malca features three pools (two outdoor and one indoor), a rooftop sundeck, Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar, Filosofia Restaurant & Bar, and Haring Bar (complete with Keith Haring wallpaper). There are a variety of options for nuptials but the beach just off of Casa Malca is ideal. Be sure to get some wedding pictures in and around the famous Casa Malca Tunnel — and with the KAWS sculpture in the lobby.
Offsite, Gitano is a great spot for cocktails, dinner and mezcal tastings. Be sure to reserve for your group in advance and know that live music and dancing draw crowds several nights a week. Tulum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the site of an ancient Mexican walled city, one of the last built by the indigenous Mayans. A visit to the ruins is an essential morning or afternoon trip during your wedding week.
Additional adventure ideas include exploring the cenotes, natural sink holes where you can swim, snorkel and cave dive. (Grand Cenote and Dos Ojos are two of the most popular.) Take in more extraordinary ruins in nearby Chichen Itza or further, more rustic Coba. You can also charter a boat and cruise around Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, or go diving along the Mesoamerican Reef. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Last modified: August 24, 2018