story and photos by Susanna Starr
“A Mexican Spirit. A Mayan Soul”
To Nizuc's exquisitely expressed description, I would only offer “an experience in beauty.” The location was originally a vacation home for one of the previous presidents of the Republic of Mexico during the early days of development on the small but breathtakingly beautiful peninsula now known as the Cancun Zona Hotelera. Separated from the concentration of hotels by a laguna, this relatively new hotel stands out for its architectural beauty and superb setting.
The entire stretch of beach from this peninsula down to Tulum, including Riviera Maya is remarkable for its pristine white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and the intense colors of the warm Caribbean ocean. But Nizuc Resort & Spa is not only outstanding for its location on a stunning private cove, but for its magnificent architecture and ambiance. With six different restaurants, a 30,000 square foot spa, including nine treatment rooms and offering an amazing thermal experience and multiple pools, in addition to the pristine white sand beaches, a stay at this dramatic and elegant hotel is an experience never to be forgotten. Pure luxury.
From the very first moment of entering the grounds along the tropical, landscaped driveway, you're still not quite prepared for the sensual impact of the stunning entry. With marked Japanese architecture, simple and elegant design, and artistically landscaped water features, you know immediately that this is a special place. The staff does its best to reinforce that feeling with courteous but friendly, personal service. Beginning with those who park the cars to the smiling faces at the front desk and concierge station, to those who take your baggage, and to those who show you to your room, there is no doubt that they are there to be personally helpful in any way they can. They'll make your dinner reservations, direct you to the golf course, arrange for spa treatments or tell you the story of the evolution and vision of the hotel.
The juxtaposition of the spacious, soaring lines of the buildings exterior and interior with the simplicity of important art pieces and the organic driftwood as well as the recycled wood that has been deftly designed to create a dramatic wall works in a surprising harmonious marriage of materials. Although the water outside is a gift of beauty in itself, additional water features such as standing pools and subtle fountains are everywhere. With the intensity of the colors of the Caribbean, the décor does not compete but rather the natural organic colors of grays, whites, beiges and blacks have been used to provide the perfect compliment to the sun-drenched colors of the outdoors.
The rooms continue the theme of simplicity and elegance with every luxury that one would like to find. The linens are of fine Egyptian cotton, the towels and toiletries are luxurious and all the amenities, including the espresso machines in each accommodation, are of the finest quality. At night, when someone comes to turn down the bed, they leave a mini-tote bag of what can only be called wicked chocolates. The accommodations are generous in size as well as luxurious in design and furnishings. The Ocean Suite is 950 square feet, comprising a spacious 710 of interior space and 240 of terrace.
An experience not to be missed is the Amate Spa. With 30,000 square feet and nine treatment rooms, including hair salon and fitness room, the thermal experience is truly outstanding. Beginning with a spa treatment of your choice, it continues with immersion in the various pools with jetted waters, steam room and cold room, and body wrap. It is a glorious way to luxuriate in the whole spa experience.
Dinners in the various restaurants offer a variety of cuisine. Indochine offers superb fusion Asian dishes while Ramona serves elegantly prepared Mexican cuisine at its finest, definitely a departure from the concept of that country's traditional fare. I had a green bean soup that surpassed any soup I've ever had. Breakfast was my favorite with an outstanding buffet that offered an amazing variety of choices. Beginning with the coffee, strong and flavorful, to the pastry bar (impossible to resist, even for those watching carbs), to the enticing array of tropical fruits and yogurt compotes and finally to the hot dishes, this was a meal to be leisurely enjoyed and savored, a wonderful way to start the day.
If all of this sounds like a perfect adult vacation, think again. I was surprised and pleased at the number of young couples who brought their often very small children with them. They were to be seen playing on the beach or in the pools, of course, but also in their strollers while their parents enjoyed a sophisticated dinner in one of the various night time restaurants. There is also ample opportunity for parents to enjoy some alone time with the convenience of having the kids well taken care of with lots of creative activity in the Winik's Kids Club. Although this hotel is elegant and sophisticated, it is definitely not limited to adults only but welcomes families to share in this beautiful experience that Nizuc Resort & Spa has to offer.
Just as a postscript, I discovered this amazing, pristine beach more than 40 years ago and, yes, our children were part of the experience. From our simple tent when we camped out on this deserted beach then to the luxury accommodations that exist now, the magic of Nizuc remains the same, just with a few more comforts.
If you go:
Most major airlines fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN) and Nizuc Resort and Spa is only 15 minutes from the airport.
Where to stay in Cancun:
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Susanna Starr is an entrepreneur, photographer, speaker, artist, writer, and traveler and holds a degree in philosophy from Stony Brook State University of New York. Susanna has over twenty years experience in the hospitality business as owner of Rancho Encantado, an eco-resort and spa in Mexico. She has lived in Northern New Mexico for more than thirty five years and has lived in and traveled throughout Latin America. She is a member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) Susanna is the author of the book: Fifty and Beyond: New Beginnings in Health and Well-Being. Her blog is here. Her new book, “Our Interwoven Lives with the Zapotec weavers: An Odyssey of the Heart” can be seen here.