As overwhelmingly beautiful as I found the grounds of Hotel Xcaret, I should have been prepared to be fully swept away by the splendor and luxury of the suites. Alas, I was naive, believing I wouldn’t “spend much time in the room anyway.”
After spending the morning being extraordinarily well fed at Fuego, the adults-only ala’ carte restaurant exclusive to guests staying in Casa Fuego, and being pampered by the attentive rooftop pool staff, my own personal butler, Nidia, came to greet me just before 3:00 pm. Just writing the phrase “my own personal butler” feels bizarre. This level of “spoiled” was entirely new to me and I wasn’t entirely certain I knew what to do with a butler. Nidia was delightful and charming, though, and graciously explained to me how she could be of service during my stay. She escorted our party to our rooms, which were now ready for check in.
The bracelets that guests wear at Hotel Xcaret aren’t your run-of-the-mill resort-style bracelets. Xcaret’s bracelets are color-coded to indicate in which Casa or building each guest is staying. The bracelets are equipped with chips that serve as each guest’s room key, which is tremendously convenient given the numerous water and adventure activities available. These bracelets also serve as the entry pass to each of the parks and tours included in the price of your stay, are linked to your room and account for purchases in the park and resort, and incorporate an RFID chip which interacts with the Alebrije cameras strategically placed all over the resort. The cameras allow guests to pose for endless pictures and the digital images are then visable on the televisions in each guest’s room. Photo packages are available based on individual or multi-park prices and generally run around $60 per park.
Nidia showed me how to use my bracelet to unlock the door to my room, an ocean-front suite on the ground floor of Casa Fuego, and began to orient me to the features of my room. Room Orientation? Butler? Is this place for real? I actually needed room orientation to understand all of the tremendously fancy and truly ingenious convenience features of my suite.
The decor echoes that of the rest of the resort. Subtle, natural tones and materials are utilized throughout the space to create a sensual, relaxing atmosphere. The art and even the furniture are created by local artisans and reflect the culture and landscape with integrity and reverence. The influence of bright colors splashed purposefully against a generally neutral palette suggests a refinement one doesn’t generally expect from a sprawling resort. This entire space feels like a luxury spa. It smells like one, too. There is an open concept bathroom which adds to the spa feel. The natural stone, two-person sink essentially serves as a room divider between the bathroom and sleeping area. Next to the sink, and open to the room is a stunning Jacuzzi tub with plenty of room for two. Behind this area sits a well-lit closet; to the right, an enormous, beautifully tiled glass enclosed shower with rain head and hand-held wand, and a separated toilet area. The entire shower area can be closed off from the rest of the room with a lovingly crafted wooden pocket door, should guests desire privacy.
Among the more interesting features of the room, for me at least, was the glass window in the toilet area. Yes, window. This water closet featured a window that could be frosted or cleared with the touch of a button from the “comfort” of the toilet. Nidia explained that this feature was because the view is intended to be enjoyed at all times. I like to consider myself relatively mature, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t play with this feature to torment my travelling companion.
Nidia also explained the lighting features in the room and helped us understand how to manipulate the lighting to our preference. All of the lighting in the suites can be controlled from the beds, a fantastic feature. This even included a soft lit sculpture lamp that was placed on the dining table. I was continually amazed by the thoughtful design and planning that went into this space.
The interior of most of the suites at Hotel Xcaret are identical, with the exception of whether the room features two double beds or a king. All of the suites highlight the same beautiful bathroom, they all include a sleek pull-out couch, they all have a small dining table with hand-crafted chairs, and they all feature a mini-bar stocked with sodas, beer, and snacks. The real difference is the exterior view. Depending on the Casa or building in which a guest is staying, the balcony, all of which are equipped which furniture and two artisan hammocks, overlooks something different. Some guests may have lush garden views, for which they pay the least expensive premium, but these views are truly stunning. The mid-range price includes a river view overlooking the stunning, almost unnaturally turquoise river that winds lazily through the property, and in and out of its ancient, mysterious caves. Finally, the premium view is the ocean view, limited to only a handful of buildings. These balconies look out onto the devastatingly blue Caribbean Sea. Hotel Xcaret, like many of its competitors, does feature swim-up rooms, but they are anything but traditional. Some of the swim-up rooms are more private, while others are incorporated right into a pool with a centrally located swim-up bar, and still others feature stone patios suspended some feet above the river. Adventurous guests can dive right off their patios and swim to the nearest lagoon beach.
Hotel Xcaret has five Casas: Tierra, Viento, and Espiral are available for families. Agua is adults-only, associated with the sumptuous Muluk spa, and features luxurious stone tubs on the balconies. Fuego, where I was staying, is the exclusive adults-only, ocean-front building, ideal for couples or groups of adults looking to celebrate without children. Most of the views are available at each of the Casas, but each Casa has its own individual identity and benefits.
When Nidia was through explaining the features and amenities in our room, I felt almost ashamed of myself for being so spoiled. This beautiful spa-like oasis was the sort of place I watched travel shows about, dreamed about visiting, but never actually got to experience. I stepped out onto the balcony, which was only steps from the Fuego swim-up pool and had a stunning panoramic view of the river, the caves, and the sea. It was unlike anything I’d seen before. I felt like I was seeing in color for the first time in my life. The hammock looked so inviting, but I know myself too well to have allowed a break in the hammock. It was close to 4:00 o’clock, and the opportunity to swim through an underground river was waiting just next door at Parque Xcaret.
The hammock would have to wait.