EDITION Riviera Maya Playa del Carmen Review

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When I got the invite to the opening weekend of Mexico’s newest luxury resort, The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai in Playa del Carmen, I couldn’t RSVP fast enough. It wasn’t the first time I’d frequented an EDITION property (which is Marriott’s luxury lifestyle brand). In fact, I find myself at the Sunset Boulevard location almost weekly, as it’s a popular venue for industry events in Los Angeles. While the newest property is a far cry from bustling city life, there are a few common minimalist design details—a soothing all-white color palette, lots of limestone, and flattering lighting everywhere you go—across all of the Ian Schrager-designed properties (this time in collaboration with architecture and design firm Rockwell Group). Add in a few local elements like lush greenery and a scenic Caribbean coastline, and it’s easy to see why standard rooms are not cheap, starting at $799 a night.

My three-night stay commenced during the grand opening weekend and truly felt like adult summer camp, except instead of crafts and campfires, there were penthouse get-togethers, late-night beach concerts with sets by Mia Moretti and DJ Ruckus, and plenty of celeb sitings. After a quick 40-minute drive from the Cancun airport, we pulled up just in time for sunset. The open-air lobby immediately captured my attention with sky-high ceilings decked with green plants everywhere in sight and a quaint infinity pond that perfectly reflected the fiery sunset.

Courtesy of Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai.

As I was escorted to my room, we strolled past the lobby bar, complete with crimson velvet seating and a floor-to-ceiling Mexican sculpture installation propped behind. Little did I know that my soon-to-be friends and I would retire there each evening for a nightcap. It’s the one moody space on the property and is a stark contrast to the clean, minimalist, and all-white theme everywhere else on the property. On the brief stroll to my room, I was able to scope out the three wings of the resort, which are built atop a majestic floating mangrove forest. I was lucky enough to have nabbed a bottom-floor suite with a private dipping pool that overlooked the 620 acres of thriving green landscape.

Courtesy of Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai.

In true EDITION fashion, the room itself was the epitome of chic with large tile limestone floors, all-white linens and decor, a custom-made cream-colored couch, and a king-size four-poster bed. The bathroom was complete with a freestanding bathtub, a walk-in rainforest shower, and an oversized vanity mirror (where many a selfie was taken). The hotel’s signature Le Labo Black Tea fragrance (which is famously found wafting through the air at all EDITIONs) filled the room and lined the countertop. My evening routine consisted of retiring back to the room as soon as I could to slip in the plush terry robe, draw a bath, order from the 24-hour room service menu, and chill on the patio before drifting off.

Courtesy of Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai.

As expected, the food offerings were exceptional, thanks to a modern Mexican culinary program led by award-winning chefs Tomás Bermudez and Francisco Ruano. Next to the main bar in the lobby is the Kitchen, which is open for breakfast. Francisco “Paco” Ruano is behind the resort’s most upscale restaurant Ki’is (translating to “zest” in Mayan). The date night spot is known for its innovative tasting menu that includes coursed-out plates like roasted suckling pig and fennel and mole, which are full of local ingredients. If you follow the palm tree-lined sandy path toward the Caribbean Ocean, there you’ll find Bermúdez’s So’ol Beach Club (meaning “oyster” in Mayan). The lively day-to-night restaurant often features live music and a fresh seafood-heavy menu that’s full of the freshest raw bar offerings. Hot tip: If you continue down to the water’s edge, you’ll find cozy above-ocean hammocks where you can lounge and sip cocktails at leisure.

Courtesy of Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai.

Unsurprisingly, the spa is a can’t-miss. The curved white building is inspired by the circular structure of cenotes (natural pools inside caves that are local to the area). Inside, you’ll be able to experience hydrotherapy pools, a private outdoor pool, a Turkish hammam, and both wet and dry saunas (where I spent a good amount of downtime). The spa menu offers a robust list of facials and massages, all of which I would immediately say yes to. As a creature of habit, I went with their traditional Swedish massage coined The Edition Signature Massage (which, of course, features the Le Labo black tea scented massage oil).

The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai

When it was time to depart the resort, I genuinely felt a wave of sadness. On the somber drive back to the airport, memories of beach party bliss and hours-long dinners with new friends replayed through my mind. And while another stay might be a bit out of my price range, something tells me I’ll figure out a way to make it happen. If you’re planning a trip to Playa del Carmen, this is where to stay.


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