Breathtaking ocean views dominate from one of two massive balconies in our Sian Nah suite at Maroma by Orient Express

Superlative hospitality at Maroma starts from the moment you’re greeted by the transfer attendant at the airport, board a leather-trimmed SUV and are handed ice-cold towels and bottled water. It’s the little touches that define a true luxury property’s service, like the soothing Mexican guitar music that starts to play as the driver whisks you away towards the tranquil haven that awaits you. On arrival, a personalized greeting at the hotel’s understated lobby is followed by a guided tour to acquaint each guest with the grounds. This understated elegance, combined with exquisite cuisine, extensive wine and tequila offerings and a breathtaking beach on punta Maroma has drawn celebrities, politicians, and plain aficionados the world over.

Double doors separate the Sian Nah suite’s bedroom, which is topped by a brick dome // (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

No two rooms alike, each handmade by a family of local masons

Even entry level rooms offer unique features and amenities. Balconies and terraces, most with hammocks, bring the ocean in to your client’s rooms. And, while upgraded amenities are to be expected in five star luxury properties, some are pleasantly surprising in anticipating your needs: how about use of a digital camera during your stay, on the house. When you’re ready to go home, the staff will burn the pictures onto a CD as a courtesy with their compliments. Three different kinds of handmade soaps and an aromatherapy set are just some of the fine touches in the bathroom. Custom handmade tubs were designed and built by three generations of local masons. No two are alike and come in all shapes, from ovals and rounds to octagons.

I could only get a quarter of the huge bathroom, but unfortunately not its massive custom made stone tub, into the picture // (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

The resorts signature accommodations are the Sian Nah one bedroom oceanfront units. Nine luxurious suites offer two floor plans both featuring an immense balcony or terrace with a plunge pool. A large living room area, a separate enclosed private workout room with an elliptical machine and mats, and an in-room massage treatment area round off the space. The upstairs unit’s massage room is actually in a thatched roof tower up a flight of private stairs, with breathtaking views of the ocean and jungle. The downstairs Sian Nah layout offers a private palappa a few feet outside the expansive terrace. Downstairs, the plunge pool is larger, but the views of the ocean are not as dramatic as from upstairs. For the ultimate in exclusive luxury, highly discriminating guests should consider Villa Carolina, an enclave of rooms set with its own beach and secluded access.

Food, Wine, and Tequila – The cuisine alone is worth the visit

Breakfast, even an extensive room service breakfast, is included in all room rates. Room service breakfast offerings run the full range from healthy (fruit, cereals, yogurts and juices) to hearty (eggs and traditional Mexican offerings). I highly recommend the Motuleños eggs which combine fried eggs, cheese, ham and steamed peas over tortillas garnished with a red salsa sauce.

Inviting day beds provide an exclusive retreat on Maroma’s beach // (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

On the subject of room service, it’s said by some that the quality of in-room dining is a hallmark of true five star hotels and resorts, and in this arena, Maroma definitely delivers. Meal offerings are unassuming yet tasteful, simply presented, arrive timely at the proper temperature, and are made with quality ingredients. In-Room lunch features mainly light and tasty salads, pasta, and sandwiches. The Arrachera steak is definitely worth ordering for its home-made Chimichurri dressing of herbs and flavored olive oil.

For more variety, venture outside your lavish haven of a room to El Restaurante for lunch. The specialties are authentic Mexican haute cuisine. Again, the small things shine, like food presented atop heated stone platters on a wooden tray, ceviche served surrounded by crushed ice to keep the temperature just right, and guacamole made traditionally with just avocado, onion, cilantro, and lime.

On barbeque night, the culinary staff prepares meats and seafood under an open sky and on open flames. This night’s dinner is on the beach –enjoy an alfresco experience under the stars, on the sand, and nearer to the sea. Delectable dining includes healthy salads, grilled meats and fish, and very impressive lobster options. Top the barbeque off with one of several deserts made from scratch and the finest ingredients, including home-made ice cream. For other nights of the week, El Sol mixes up tapas-style plates with brasserie courses of steaks, seafood, fish and fowl.

A second balcony offers a “small” private plunge pool in the upstairs Sian Nah suite at Maroma by Orient Express. Downstairs, the Sian Nah plunge pool is three times as big // (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

By far the most impressive culinary adventure is the Chef’s table, where multiple themed courses are specially prepared and paired with wine and spirits. My five course menu, for example, featured the chiles of Mexico. Every dish, such as the complex duo appetizer of Xcatic stuffed with tamarind shrimp and Chipotle with goat cheese tomatillo and dry figs, features chiles. Even the simple yet decadent Chocolate fondant with honey and cinnamon uses the Pasilla chile. Alternative Chef’s table options have included Mexican chocolate themes.

Another unique experience is the executive chef’s afternoon cooking demonstration and tequila tasting class. Guests can interact in an intimate small group setting outdoors, with the Caribbean as the backdrop. Courses are prepared step by step, with colorful commentary. As each course progresses, the resort’s tequila master guides participants in the etiquette of proper tequila tasting, together imparting a deeper understanding of the food and drink of Mexico.

From the onset, I had wondered how this beach resort would live up to the legendary hospitality and elegance of the Orient Express name. I arrived with very high expectations, and left more than satisfied that Maroma embodies the essence of true luxury and practices it daily through the genuine anticipatory service of its staff. From the grandiose to the minor details, every aspect is executed flawlessly like few resorts or hotels around the world can

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A portion of this review’s underlying trip was hosted by Orient Express. My opinions, however, are my own, and I was not paid to express any bias for or against this product or destination.