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The Mayaland Hotel

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It’s kind of ironic that on the first-class bus from Cancún to Chichen Itzá they were showing Jurassic World, the 2015 movie where the dinosaur theme park is set on acres and acres of lush, verdant, rolling landscape seemingly out in the middle of nowhere.

That lush, verdant, rolling landscape is exactly the first thing to catch you eye when arriving at the Mayaland Hotel.

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The hotel, located approximately 2-1/2 hours from both Mérida and Cancún in the Yucatán region of México,, is actually part of the Mayaland Resorts company, which encompasses five properties: Mayaland Hotel, Hacienda Uxmal Plantation and Museum, The Lodge at Uxmal, The Lodge at Chichen Itzá, and Hotel Chichen Itzá.

One of the things that makes the Mayaland Hotel so special its unique tie to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the ancient temple of Chichen Itzá, as it was the first resort located within any ancient site in the world.

Since it was built in 1923, reminiscent of the grand haciendas of that era found all over México, it has stood as one of the best resorts in the world and has been designated as part of Historic Hotels Worldwide.

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The over 100 acres of grounds are absolutely stunning, encompassing an amalgamation of soaring trees, flowering bushes, thick open expanses of lovingly manicured green space, patches of rain forest, fountains, ponds and waterfalls, several outdoor pools open year-round, sun decks, and miles of horseback riding trails.

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The rooms located in the main building, which include Standard, Superior, Mayan Suite, and Superior – Mayan Observatory View, are spacious and well-appointed with hand-carved mahogany furniture, multi-hued square foot tile floor throughout, glass-enclosed showers and oversized jetted tubs in the bathrooms. And depending on their location, with divergent spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

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The bungalows dotted around the property (and accessible with their own entrance as The Lodge at Chichen Itzá), include the Mayan Bungalow, Honeymoon Suite, Superior Mayan Suite – Pyramid View, Sarah Brightman Suite, named after the English soprano, actress, musician, songwriter, and dancer who stayed here when performing the Concert of the Pyramid, and the Luciano Pavarotti Suite, in homage to the now late Italian tenor who also performed at Chichen Itzá and lodged here as well.

In addition to the hand-carved mahogany furniture, guests will find that these thatched roof bungalows—crafted by hand with local materials—also incorporate beautiful ceramic tile, Mayan décor, exclusive bathroom amenities, mosquito netting over the beds, and outside rocking chairs and hammocks on the roomy terraces for enjoyment of the natural surroundings. Some of the bungalows have a separate from the main building swimming pool nearby.

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Regardless of which accommodation you choose, all guests have access to the resorts amenities and activities, including horseback riding trails, bicycles, and the nightly Planetarium show (nominal fee), a 30-minute presentation providing an excellent overview of ancient Mayan history as it relates to the founding of Chichen Itzá.

Dining options here are plentiful here as well.

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Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner is El Mural, featuring a spacious indoor dining room with soaring ceilings and inspiring artwork and a voluminous hand-painted mural, as well as a picturesque outdoor terrace. For lunch (until 4pm), Los Vitrales de Frederick Catherwood is a buffet serving a very wide array of traditional Mayan and Mexican dishes, international flavors, salads and desserts, while Don Francisco, open for dinner, features creative national and international dishes. There is also a beautiful lobby bar for cocktails and small bites and in season, there are several Palapas (thatched roof structures) offering buffet lunches and/or handmade tacos and wood oven fired pizzas.

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In the evenings, El Mural and Don Francisco are highlighted by a trio of local musicians performing beautiful, melodic traditional Mexican and Mayan songs.

A few words about Los Vitrales de Frederick Catherwood, which they just refer to as The Buffet – this is far better than your average, tourist-oriented buffet with American and international specialties that often are poor renditions of “the real thing.”

On the contrary, the hotel’s culinary staff is expertly skilled at creating delicious, refined entrees, soups, salads and side dishes that appeal to a wide variety of diners. This includes a well-thought out vegetarian section and several options throughout that would appeal to vegans as well.

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However, an honorary mention goes out to the traditional Mayan fare offered at several of the buffet stations, offering guests a unique opportunity to enjoy several dishes derived from the Yucatán region.

Many of the diners here are “day guests” – members of tour groups that come here either just for a meal, or for a meal before or after their tour of Chichen Itzá. There are also Mayan dancers that stroll amongst the tables throughout the lunch hour for entertainment.

(Note: Some of the accommodations can include a European Meal Plan as well).

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For shoppers, there is a boutique in the main building, a beautiful shop next to the grand entrance to the lobby, and a chocolate shop selling everything from chocolate bars to soaps, lotions, shampoos, creams and gifts – a real chocolate lover’s paradise!

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The spa, set in its own spacious building in the middle of the luscious grounds, offers a wide array of body treatments including massages, facials, chocolate wraps, hydrotherapies, and other services for both men and women.

One of the benefits of staying at the Mayaland, is that guests have access to a private entrance into Chichen Itzá, and can enter—with or without a guide—one hour prior to the public opening at the main Chichen Itzá entrance (a short taxi ride away), which helps you beat the heat and the crowds!

For an incredible resort experience in the midst of México’s beautiful Yucatán region, the Mayaland Hotel is its own spectacular wonder all its own.

Check out these other great México features!

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