When you arrive at Riviera Maya’s Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, it’s instantly clear that this is no run-of-the-mill resort. Twin Balinese dragons from the 16th century guard the entrance to the lobby and, as you stroll through the public spaces, you pass monkey cages from Nepal, a carved altar from a Peruvian church and rough-hewn birthing chairs from Africa.
Paraiso de la Bonita opened in 2001 and has received rave reviews for its artistic decor as well as a AAA Five-Diamond rating for six consecutive years. In 2008, AMResorts began managing the adults-only, 90-suite property and changed the name to Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, making it the company’s first resort in its upscale, boutique, all-inclusive Zoetry brand.
Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita is an adults-only seaside property.// (c) 2010 AMResorts
“What makes us unique is that, not only are we an all-suite resort, we’re the only resort in the Riviera Maya with 100 percent of our suites facing the ocean,” said Nashelly Tapia, associate director of sales for the resort.
Suites have such names as Monaco, Zanzibar, Aman and Bermuda, which reflect the particular decor accents in each suite. Nice touches in the rooms are an iPod docking station; a marble bathtub for two; fresh fruit and champagne each day; and Bulgari bath products.
Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita is a good match for travelers in search of sophisticated surroundings, top-notch cuisine and an atmosphere of wellness.
“We provide more quiet activities than most other all-inclusive resorts,” said Tapia. “You won’t find activities like tequila-drinking contests. Instead, guests have the option of yoga classes, Mayan and Spanish language lessons and wine tasting.”
Then there’s the resort’s 22,000-square-foot Thalassotherapy Center & Spa. In addition to traditional spa treatments, guests can opt for a variety of therapies utilizing sea water. The spa’s outdoor therapeutic saltwater pool is open to all guests, regardless of whether or not they have made spa appointments. Guests also receive a free wellness consultation from on-site wellness expert Sheldon Ginsberg.
“Most people who arrive at the resort are recovering from [the stresses of daily] life rather than truly relaxing,” said Ginsberg.
According to Ginsberg, the principles he teaches can give the body the signals to “rest and digest” rather than “fight or flight.” Ginsberg offers three-session packages in a variety of price ranges, from $745 to $1,895. Guests can also opt to take the initial consultation by phone in advance of arrival, which gives them the ability to dive right into their sessions at the resort.
Reservations at the resort’s restaurants are not necessary, although guests can request specific tables in advance. For the best sea views at La Canoa, the resort’s AAA Four-Diamond restaurant, call ahead for tables 25 and 41 through 44. La Canoa also has a private dining room for as many as eight guests, which is adjacent to the resort’s 3,000-bottle wine cellar. For prime views while dining at Restaurant Kaax, request tables numbered 40, 41, 18 and 25.
I really enjoyed the property’s Sushi & Ceviche Bar and El Chiringuito grill. Both are al fresco, with seaside views and an informal atmosphere. El Chiringuito uses indigenous zapote wood in an open grill, and the traces of aromatic smoke deliver an extra dimension to the dining experience.
AMResorts’ spin on the all-inclusive concept is called Endless Privileges. This is epitomized at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita by such perks as complimentary international phone calls and laundry service and such unexpected free activities as a 20-minute massage in the spa and excursions on the resort’s 48-foot catamaran, which can hold 14 people comfortably. I made a point of reserving space on the 60-minute afternoon catamaran sail and completely enjoyed the experience.
During my visit, I took advantage of many of the free opportunities, including a traditional Temazcal experience. These activities broadened my stay and provided the feeling of going on an off-resort excursion without having to leave the resort grounds.