Maroma Improvements Continue

Resort on Mexico's Mayan Riviera brings in new chef among other things

By: Lisa Jennings

With the makeover of the main restaurant complete, Maroma Resort and Spa last month brought in Nicolas Gomez Duran as executive chef, one of a series of improvements at the property over the past year.

Born in Spain, Duran is known for his work at the acclaimed La Manoir Aux Quat Saisons in Oxford, England. He brings to Maroma plans to merge the regional cuisine of the Mayan Riviera with his French and Spanish influences at the resort’s newly renovated restaurant, El Sol.

Maroma reopened in November after an eight-week closure, during which El Sol was redesigned with a new beachfront dining area seating 50, to offer more ocean views. El Sol also added a private reserve wine cave, and a private room off the bar.

The outdoor dining area now features a stone kitchen, where the chef will prepare dinners twice weekly: one seafood-themed meal, and another highlighting traditional Mayan cuisine.

The restaurant’s new look was designed by Jose Luis Moreno, the original developer and owner of Maroma, who is now a partner in the property with Orient-Express Hotels.

Artist Bertrand Castelli also contributed to the redesign with murals, and his unusual art collection. The executive producer of the original Broadway musical “Hair,” Castelli loaned the resort several pieces from the original production, which are on display in the new bar and billiard room.

Maroma has also added a new spa, called Kinan (pro-nounced “keynan”), which is scheduled to open in March or April. Kinan, in the Mayan language, means “source of life,” and the spa will combine Zen and Mayan concepts in treatments and design.

Outdoor treatments are available in the Zen Garden, for ex-ample, and treatment rooms are available in the rooftop tower with full ocean views. And the spa will also offer a flotation tank, as well as a traditional Mayan sweat lodge, or “temezcal.”

A new cafe, called Cilantro, adjoins the spa. Cilantro is open for breakfast and lunch, and offers lighter cuisine.

The 64-room Maroma joined the Orient-Express collection of hotels in March 2003, and made a number of improvements, including the addition of 11 new guest suites, two free-form pools and a new wellness center with cardio and weight equipment and a spinning studio. In December, the resort also added two new sani-turf tennis courts.