Romantic getaways abound in Mexico as it is one of the most popular destinations in the world for honeymooners. With so many choices, it can be hard to figure out where to stay or even what area of Mexico is right for you.
I traveled to Mexico on two separate trips and discovered these two gorgeous properties; both are so different and are ideal escapes for a romantic getaway. The planning process was completely different: Azulik was planned on the fly; Hacienda Temozon was suggested by a seasoned travel agent. Luckily, and I do use the word “luck,” both trips were perfect.
With vacation travel, there is a certain degree of uncertainty when it comes to finding the perfect place. As much as you research and read reviews, your dream vacation may not be met based on a small snafu: Traveling outside the United States can be tricky as “5 stars” as a standard rating varies from country to country. A quick search of reviews for Hacienda Temozan and Azulik offers stellar comments from satisfied visitors, myself included, and both destinations thankfully panned out as perfect!
What’s great about both Azulik and Hacienda Temozon is that they are offer a deep dive into the culture of Mexico and a greater understanding of the Mayan people. If history is correct, the Mayan people were highly evolved as witnessed by their spirituality and architecture. A visit to Chichen Itza, considered one of the new “7 Wonders of the World,” supports this belief of their superiority as a culture.
As our taxi turned down the drive, the stately hacienda welcomed us with its gorgeous coral walls, fountains and tile floors. Hacienda Temozon was build in the late 1600s to accommodate the descendants of Francisco de Montejo.
Hacienda Temozon was once a working hacienda plantation that produced sisal. Much like the cotton industry in the South, sisal was one of the most sought-after materials in the second half of the 19th century. Hacienda Temozon employed over 600 workers and had the most powerful industrial equipment in the region.
When we arrived, we were greeted with chilled tropical drinks and shown our room. There are 28 rooms, including nine suites, and each is completely different.
Since it is located in the Yucatan Peninsula with its rich vegetation, you awake to birds singing and a lizard or two on your patio. Hacienda Temozon offers guests a full spa and many amenities on the property, like tennis courts, pool, gardens and cenote. Speaking of the spa, The Hol Be Spa (named after Mayan for “open way”), with its cave-like entrance, gives patrons a true respite from the outside world. You can expect a full range of services like hot stone massages, luxury exfoliation and facials.
While there, we hired a guide to give us a tour of some of the haciendas in the area. The entire economy of the area was built on the sisal trade and as a result, opulent haciendas were built to house the wealthy plantation owners, many of whom went to Europe as witnessed in the architecture. The machinery that was used to produce the sisal in itself gives you a glimpse into how massive the industry was. The contrast of the industrial machinery and the ancient tiles creates a lovely backdrop.
We engaged in another adventure that I highly recommend. Located on the property is a cenote. If you aren’t familiar with cenotes, they are underground swimming holes filled with crystal clear blue water that are prevalent in the Yucatan Peninsula. Hacienda Temozon offers you the chance to jump on a donkey-drawn carriage as the cenote is about 15 minutes from the property. As the donkey pulled us along ever so slowly, we made the quick decision to walk back.
I had never experienced a cenote before. You literally climb down a ladder to swim. Some may get claustrophobic, but I loved floating and looking up at the blue sky. In keeping with the tradition, a siesta was in order. The cool, dark room and fragrant flowers put me right to sleep.
Dinners at Hacienda Temozon are divine as they serve only locally caught fish, fresh vegetables and Mayan delicacies. After dinner, take a walk around the properties as the stars are magical.
Bougainvillea adorn the buildings, and the wafts of floral fragrances are truly magical. Leaving Hacienda Temozon, with its glorious setting and nod to old world history, is a place that you will want to visit again.
The property is part of the Luxury Collection Hotels operated by Starwood Hotels.
It is not unusual for my husband and I to plan last minute travel. With three children of all ages, sometimes we give each other the looks as if to say, “Time to escape, right?” We had traveled to Tulum briefly the year before and knew we wanted to return for a longer stay. While Cancun, one of Mexico’s most popular vacation spots, has a definite allure, we shy away from all-inclusive resorts. The thrill of discovering something different runs in our blood. If you read about Tulum, it, too, has been discovered as even 10 years ago it was considered a sleepy, eco-tourist resort. But we found that even in the “discovered” Tulum, it was filled with small boutique restaurants and funky beach bars.
Azulik, an eco resort and Mayan spa, from the outside, is completely non-descript. So much so that my first thought was How did I get this wrong? In relation to the rest of the strip (meaning the narrow two-lane road going through town), Azulik is close to the beginning. As we walked through the thatched door, the magic of Azulik unfolded. We were literally walking through winding paths surrounded by a jungle. The reception area is located in the middle and this is the only place WiFi is available on the property. Once there, we were asked to take off our shoes, wrap arms around each other and ask for a blessing for our vacation. Not sure exactly what we signed up for, our curiosity was piqued. Here is where the luck plays in. The trip was booked so last minute that the details outlined in the fine print were overlooked. I actually didn’t know there was no WiFi or, for that matter, electricity in the rooms. For some, this is a deal breaker, but for me, it was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Our room was literally a tree house with an open air balcony to the sea. Each night, we arrived back to our room from the beach with candles flickering in every corner of the room. It was simply magical. In keeping with the theme to slow down and smell the roses, the rooms only have bathtubs filled with rose petals.
On our first night, we found that the main restaurant was booked, which ended up being a Mayan godsend. Instead, we headed for the beach to swim and ordered dinner at the beach bar. A tray arrived laden with grilled local fish and veggies, fruit and a round of cocktails. As the sun set and the gentle ocean breeze kicked up, we were in Nirvana.
In the morning, you are treated to fresh smoothies, fresh eggs and the delicious Mayan coffee at the outside jungle cafe. Smoothies are offered everywhere in Tulum — all are made with a variety of veggies, fruits and fresh almond milk.
The spa services at Azulik do not disappoint. Again, the Mayan people take it seriously that you have entrusted them to liberate you from your physical and mental pain. I walked down a brief flight of stairs to the massage table in an open air space positioned on the edge of the sea. The massage started and ended with a blessing for a good experience. My massage was undoubtedly one of the best I have ever had. The combination of the sea breeze and sound of the surf put me into a deep meditative state.
A couple of things to know about Azulik — it is an adults only resort with one of Tulum’s only nude beaches. The first day on the beach, an absolutely gorgeous young woman sauntered by completely naked. Honestly, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her as she had a near-perfect body. I didn’t even want to ponder what my husband was thinking if “thinking” is the word to use. Hate to say it, but the nude guys I saw on the beach don’t measure up (no pun intended). Let’s just say after a day or so, you get used to nudity, but if you don’t think you will, which hey, I can totally understand, this is not your resort.
The beach is so relaxing that you have to drag yourself away from there to see Tulum, but do. Tulum offers a sophisticated shopping scene that is not typical in Mexican beach towns. This is where you do find that Tulum has been discovered as the hotels, shops and restaurants have owners from outside of Mexico. A worthy half-day trip is a visit to the Tulum Ruins situated right on the Caribbean Sea.
If you feel so inspired, both Hacienda Temozon and Azulik are close enough to do both in one trip. It’s not a bad idea if you can pull it off, as the Yucatan Peninsula offers a view of Mexico that is rich in history, natural beauty and most of all, the Mayan people.
Happy travels as you head to one of the most breathtaking areas of the world.
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