Our plan for our romantic honeymoon was solely to kick back and relax: no off-property excursions on the agenda. We just wanted to walk the beach, soak in the warm temperatures and welcome humidity. Eat well, drink plenty, and sleep. Check, check, check.
The Palafitos at El Dorado Maroma, in the Riviera Maya, had been on our radar for a while — these are the first, over the water bungalows in Mexico.
Firstly, we received a glass of Champagne upon arrival. Next, a smiling employee took our bags and whisked us away to our room on a golf cart. The location of our over the water bungalow (Palafito 1626) couldn’t have been better.
Before you enter the villa, you’ll find your very own personal butler waiting at the entrance for you. Ours, named Israel, handed us a cocktail and a hot towel, then ushered us into our suite.
The courteous nature of every single staff member is extraordinary. From check-in (Paola, Hugo) to Butlers (Fernanda, Israel) to wait staff and housekeepers. We felt pampered all week.
Location and Property
Palafitos is located along the sandy white beaches of Southeastern Mexico, on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Right off the bat, you do have to check your expectations. The water in Mexico is beautiful, but not nearly as blue as it is in the Maldives. If you’re not going to enter the water and just want to relax, this is a great option.
The entire point of staying at intimate Palafitos in El Dorado Maroma was to sleep above the turquoise ocean water. And this experience does not disappoint. 30 or so, thatched-roof overwater bungalows are decked out with a king bed, huge hydro-tub, indoor dining area (with refrigerator stocked with beer, wine, sodas, juices, snacks), espresso machine, indoor shower, outdoor shower, deck with dining table and big ottoman-like lounge seating, and… your very own infinity pool.
You can walk down to a platform with a ladder leading right into the ocean, where they give you another couple of lounge chairs. The bungalow itself is spacious (800 square feet), as are the outdoor seating areas.
For sun worshippers, a few steps lead you down to your own sun pod
One of the coolest parts aspects about the bungalows are the sections of the floor made of glass. We got such a kick out of spotting marine life — coronet fish, parrot fish, at least one stingray — from inside our suite.
Another awesome feature is the outdoor shower. Why take a shower inside, when you can do it under an open sky? The showers are walled in, so you have complete privacy. Each bungalow has privacy screens up next to its infinity pool, so you the people next to you cannot intrude your romantic honeymoon.
The bungalow comes with a fully stocked mini-bar and an all-access booze policy. Yes, it’s one of the only hotels that offers an all-you-can-drink mini-bar! Even the full-sized bottles are complimentary. Score!
Your room service menu is creatively built right into the phone so you can just scroll through the menu and select what you want. The best part is it’s open 24 hours a day. Mind blowing!
One of the first things I did was to book a massage for my wife at the Naay Overwater Spa. It offers a variety of treatments and since we were staying at Palafitos, we had access to an exclusive treatment with Maroma Sea Moss, which can only be found in the Caribbean and is a great way to cleanse the body. A 50-minute full-body massage goes for $179, while the 80-minute treatment will cost you $247.
If you are traveling with a significant other, we found out that the resort offers sunrise and moonlight couples massages as well. Perfect!
The Food at Palafitos
The Overwater Grill and Wine Bar at the resort offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our one morning meal we took at the grill we enjoyed al fresco. My fave: All coffees are served in French presses.
The nightly menu offers three to five options for appetizers, soups, salads, pasta, fish, and meat courses. Funny story: My wife ordered a salad and meat entree our first night, and our waiter looked at her funny as if to ask, “Are you sure that’s all you want.” Yep. Well, servings are teeny tiny! The idea is to order at least three, if not four or five courses plus dessert! (Our faves included Chilean sea bass and a slow-braised short rib (yes, the meat off of one rib; remember, small portions).
The Overwater Grill is perfect for an intimate dinner.
To sample the offerings that “regular guests” have access to, we did have burgers at a beachfront restaurant for lunch one night, and for dinner, we sampled the reservation-only Peruvian restaurant within the El Dorado Maroma hotel, which I highly recommend: delicious tuna, ceviche and other seafood and meat dishes. Otherwise, we just ordered room service, and took meals on our deck. So decadent and awesome!
There’s nothing like fresh ceviche in Mexico with an endless view of the ocean.
Our best discovery is that Maroma Adventures belongs to the El Dorado Group and is a few yards stroll away on the best in Mexico. We found tons of adventure activities right on our doorstep ranging from snorkeling, speed boats, wave runners and catamarans. They even have camels and ATVs if you fancy a trek through the jungle. Amazing!
By the end of our romantic honeymoon, we really weren’t ready to leave. The Palafitos at el Dorado Maroma is an amazing property. Our entire stay at this all-inclusive resort on the Caribbean Sea was close to perfect. It’s a great way to experience overwater accommodations without trekking all the way to the Maldives or Bora Bora and is also lighter on the wallet than those distant destinations. I would absolutely return to this resort in a heartbeat!
Overall I would rate this resort 5 stars. It is an amazing place to go on a honeymoon, babymoon or to simply get away and recharge.