Luxe Resorts on the Horizon in the Riviera Maya

The Kanai development will feature a quartet of high-end resorts By: Mark Rogers
Rendering of the W Retreat & Spa Kanai // © 2012 Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Rendering of the W Retreat & Spa Kanai // © 2012 Starwood Hotels & Resorts

The Details

Kanai Auberge
www.aubergeresorts.com

Park Hyatt Kanai 
www.parkhyatt.com

St. Regis Kanai, Resort & Residences
www.starwoodhotels.com

W Retreat Kanai
www.starwoodhotels.com

Riviera Maya’s championship golf courses, improved infrastructure, appealing new attractions and wealth of natural beauty make it a prime investment for high-end resorts. A prime example of a successful Riviera Maya planned luxury development is Mayakoba, which opened for guests in 2008, featuring upscale Rosewood, Banyan Tree and Fairmont properties.

There’s another major Riviera Maya development waiting in the wings called Kanai. One look at the four resort brands at Kanai -- Auberge, Park Hyatt, St. Regis and W Retreat – and it’s plain to see that Kanai will be targeting the well-heeled vacationer.

Kanai is located 24 miles south of Cancun International Airport and six miles south of Playa del Carmen. In addition to the four resorts, Kanai will have two championship golf courses designed by Jose Maria Olazabal and Nick Faldo. Set among the natural beauty of the region’s lagoons and mangroves, the buzzword at the beachfront development is “eco luxury.” Kanai’s developers -- joint venture partners ALHEL and GIM Desarrollos -- have vowed to adhere to the highest standards of sustainable and conservation-oriented development.

“Having a breathtaking 135-acre site with a beautiful seafront of more than a mile and only four hotel sites for roughly 600 rooms required the best firms, both in resort architecture as well as hotel operators,” said Abraham Metta and Fredy Helfon, partners and developers of ALHEL and GIM Desarrollos. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we did not want to waste. We were very careful to select Park Hyatt, St. Regis and Auberge Resorts and the design teams with different proposals. But the one that really stands out for its presence and strong concept is the W Retreat by Richard Meier which is unlike anything we have seen for a resort before. Elegant and sensible, it is beautifully integrated with the privileged nature of the site.”

The 180-room W Retreat & Spa Kanai is being designed to appear to float on a carpet of mangroves set against a backdrop of sea and sky. Guestrooms will have unobstructed views of the sea and interior spaces will merge with an exterior deck furnished with lounge seating, cocktail bar, exterior tub and shower. The decks will be enclosed by retractable privacy screens and sun shading louvers. When the resort opens in 2014, it will have W’s signature Away Spa, with more than 10,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor treatment space, and 7,500 square feet of event space.

Starwood will also open the St. Regis Kanai Resort in 2014. The resort will have 124 guest rooms and suites, 32 exclusive villas, four restaurants, a signature Remede Spa, oceanfront swimming pools and 1,500 square feet of event space, including a 10,000-square-foot main ballroom. The resort's 32 exclusive villas include private swimming pools and indigenous Mexican design accents with full access to the hotel's facilities. The St. Regis Kanai will also feature the brand’s iconic St. Regis Butler Service, with butlers trained in the English tradition.

Auberge Resorts has announced Kanai Auberge, a 50-suite luxury resort scheduled to open in 2014. The resort’s design will comprise structures connected by a series of boardwalks and pathways and that appear to float like islands among fields of dense green vegetation.  Kanai Auberge will have suites with unobstructed ocean views, large terraces, private plunge pools and outdoor showers. The Auberge resort will also feature six luxury oceanfront villas, waterfront dining, swimming pool cabanas for spa treatments and a beach club bar and grill. The resort’s signature Auberge Spa will overlook a sea of protected mangroves, with treatment rooms having private gardens with outdoor showers and baths. Fitness and yoga pavilions will be integrated into the spa’s design.

There’s less information available on the 220-room Park Hyatt Riviera Maya, which is scheduled to open in 2016. The luxury hotel will offer meeting space, three restaurants, a coffee shop, a pool, a spa and a fitness center.

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