It’s All Talk At Maroma Resort And Spa

Resort’s language lab makes learning fun

By: Dawna Robertson

Forget about the labored, deadly dull vocabulary drills of old. Instead, vacationing “students” of all ages can learn to speak Spanish in situ - as a guest and “language lab” participant at the Maroma Resort and Spa on the Riviera Maya.

Visitors to this unique Mexican hideaway have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Spanish language during their stay. Donning a special pulsera (bracelet) signaling to resort staff that they wish to operate in Spanish-only mode, guests will then bring local language classes to life.

According to Felipe Espinoza, General Manager of the property, Maroma is the only resort in the region that offers such a program. “Maroma represents a truly Mexican hideaway, and the language is a very important way to transmit the culture and legacy of a country,” Espinoza explained. “Often, it is only Spanish words that truly capture the feeling and meaning of things.”

Espinoza explained how the language lab enhances a guests experience. “It gives them the opportunity to learn, have fun and learn new words they will use in the future when they return home, and that will remind them of their stay in Maroma.”

To help participants along, Spanish-English dictionaries are placed in every room along with a “cheat-sheet” of helpful phrases. Maroma’s two-to-one staff to guest ratio ensures its visitors plenty of people with whom to practice.

Espinoza noted that while only a few guests have officially participated in the program to date, many dabble on a casual level. “On any given day, you will hear staff interacting with guests in Spanish and casually teaching them a few phrases.”

Those wanting a more intensive language program can arrange for private instruction on Maroma’s talcum-white beach. Or they may book excursions to nearby sites, with a Spanish teacher as their guide.

Espinoza remarked that these excursions take guests far beyond the language. “It’s also a learning experience about the Mayan Culture, the different ruins of Tulum and Coba, the fortress, the city, the different stages in the Mayan culture, the jungle and the ocean,” he stated. “It gives an enormous possibility of going back home with a better knowledge of such an important culture that is still alive all around the Yucatan Peninsula.”

Study break

When it’s time to do absolutely nothing, Maroma takes relaxation to a new level with its Temazcal. This ancient sweat lodge combines a steam bath with mud, creating a cleansing ritual that clears both the mind and pores.

The 60-minute natural treatment begins with a therapist blowing into a ritual conch shell. Inside a pyramid-shaped Temazcal, guests form a circle and the door is closed. As the Temazcal heats up, the body immediately begins to release toxins. After 50 minutes, a bowl of cleansing mud is passed around for guests to slather onto their bodies. And finally, when the Temazcal is opened, guests are led to the ocean to cleanse both their bodies and minds.

Open to the sea and shaded by palms, the 25-acre Maroma Resort and Spa offers 64 rooms situated in two- and three-story villas with thatched roof terraces. All guest rooms provide ocean or garden views, original art, hand-loomed bedding and rugs, terraces with colorful hammocks, bamboo shutters, CD players and oversized handmade bathtubs adorned with Mexican tiles. The resort was named among “The Best in the World Readers Choice Awards” in the November 2004 issue of Conde Nast Traveler.

“Each Orient-Express Hotel strives to offer a travel experience that is unique to its destintation, and Maroma is no different,” Espinoza said. “From the language lab, to the Mexican and Mayan staff, from the architecture of the buildings to the unique amenities offered like Temazcal, each contributes to the creation of a travel experience for our guests which allows them to walk away with so much more than suntan.”

Based on double occupancy, package rates are from $2,328 through May 14 and from November 13 - December 17. From May 15 - November 12, rates are from $2,248.


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