Golf with “a Shot of Spa” in Vibrant Mexico

The 18-hole, par 72 Playa Mujeres Golf Course.
The 18-hole, par 72 Playa Mujeres Golf Course.

blue diamond riviera maya
THE STAY: This adults-only Small Luxury Hotels of the World property, surrounded by a lush tropical rainforest and caressed by the Caribbean Sea, offers travelers an intimate space with 128 units tucked into modern-style villas. That’s an invitation to relax in an intimate space devoid of the crowds that are known to flock this world-famous destination. For a unique stay, we recommend the 1,023-sq.-ft. Cenote Blue Lagoon Junior Suite (accommodating up to two guests), with, of course, a view of a cenote, floor-to-ceiling windows, separate bedroom area, outdoor bathtubs, and two raindrop showers. In March, the average weekend room rate per night for the Cenote Suite is $

THE GOLF: Guests have access to the 18-hole, par 71, Nick Price-designed Grand Coral Riviera Maya, which is set within the surrounding natural jungle and offers worthy obstacles such as eight lakes and 71 traps. That said, the course is ideal for any level of player. Depending on the room category and minimum nights booked, guests are able to enjoy greens fees pp per stay; the use of a golf cart is mandatory ($60) and complimentary on-course food and beverage services are included. Note to agents: Tee times need to be arranged with the hotel concierge.
THE SPA: The 25,000-sq.-ft. spa, which combines Mayan philosophy and Asian healing, offers eight treatment suites, as well as three couples’ suites, with outdoor bathtub, shower, hydrotherapy bed and rest area. Additionally, there are kinesis and yoga studios, a janzu pool and a traditional Maya temazcal treatment area. bluediamond-rivieramaya.com

iberostar playa mita
THE STAY: Located in Riviera Nayarit, near Punta Mita, this 452-room, all-inclusive, four-diamond property opened its doors to everyone in the family in December 2013. And what a stunning location everyone will enjoy—with the Pacific Ocean as the front yard and the Sierra Madre Mountains as the backdrop. For a stay that plays up a wellness getaway, we recommend one of the adults-only, 496-sq.-ft., oceanfront SPA Rooms, with upgraded in-room spa amenities and whirlpools. Rates for these SPA rooms in February start at $377 per night.
THE GOLF: Guests have access to the onsite Greg Norman-designed, 18-hole, par 72 Litibu Golf Course, which offers panoramic views of the ocean. Players are up for a challenge—there are 130 sand traps—as they traverse the course where the first seven holes are link style, eight are set within the virgin forest, and the rest are found alongside the Pacific Ocean. It’s said to be quite demanding, and for golfers who are definitely up for a challenge. Greens fees are not included in the all-inclusive rate.
THE SPA: The onsite SPA Sensations offers several private treatment rooms, a beauty salon, a relaxation room, a thalassotherapy pool and an intimate garden ideal for some “alone time.” There are also dance lessons and yoga classes available. iberostar.com 

Moon Palace Golf Spa Resort.
Moon Palace Golf Spa Resort.

moon palace golf & spa resort
THE STAY: Located in Cancun, alongside the Caribbean Sea, this all-inclusive resort is a veritable playground and ideal for visitors to the area who want everything at their fingertips—15 restaurants, 2,400 guestrooms, seven pools, a FlowRider wave simulator, six tennis courts, a Dolphin Discovery encounter…and the list goes on. Golf aficionados will appreciate the Junior Suite Golf Course View, ideal for two adults. It’s located on the grounds of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, offering views of the golf course, and with amenities such as a private golf cart for personal use, a whirlpool tub, separate seating area and large screened terrace. Rates for this accommodation start at $562 per night dbl.
THE GOLF: The resort’s Jack Nicklaus Golf Course—the first one built by Nicklaus for Palace Resorts—boasts 27 holes within the following combination of golf courses: Dunes & Jungle, Jungle & Lakes, and Lakes & Dunes. The 7,165-yard, par 72 course, as many in Mexico, is rich in flora and fauna, and, in fact, there’s a population of white-tailed deer that’s part of the course’s protection and sustainable management. At the onsite Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf, students can learn the techniques and playing philosophy of Jack Nicklaus with certified instructors, as well as integrated state-of-the art technology. The $1,500 Resort Credit can be used toward the academy.
THE SPA: The Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort’s spa facilities encompass 39 spacious treatment rooms, as well as three couples’ rooms with golf course/lake views. Additionally, two master spa suites provide balneotherapy, with soothing mineral water. Among the bevy of spa treatments, a couple that caught our eye were the 80-minute Chocolate Wrap—this is Mexico, after all, where chocolate is all the rage—and the 50-minute Seaweed Wrap. All spa packages include complimentary use of the hydrotherapy facilities on the day of the scheduled appointment. palaceresorts.com

secrets playa mujeres golf & spa resort
THE STAY: Located 10 minutes from downtown Cancun, this adults-only, all-suite resort, which opened this past November, offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea from most of its 424 suites (from some, guests can see Isla Mujeres). The ground floor suites, incidentally, offer direct swim-out access to a pool from a private terrace. One of the most unique amenities, although this being Mexico and all, it’s no surprise, is the nature preserve brimming with indigenous flora and fauna. Without a doubt, recommend the Preferred Club status, with access to a private lounge and Preferred Club suites, which includes check-in and check-out with concierge service; daily continental breakfast service, afternoon hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, and desserts and fine liquors served in the lounge; and Preferred status. The 602-sq.-ft. Preferred Club Master Suite Ocean View features ocean views, a separate bedroom with a king-size bed facing the ocean, flat-screen TVs, rain showers, a jacuzzi and a host of other goodies. As an example, rates for the Preferred Club Junior Suite Ocean View range from $596 to $914 pp per night based on the season.
THE GOLF: The 18-hole, par 72 Playa Mujeres Golf Course is said to be quite challenging, even for the most experienced of players, with daily trade winds that demand pinpoint accuracy. It’s a Greg Norman design that features strategically placed holes offering exceptional ocean views. Guests of Secrets Playa Mujeres can enjoy one complimentary round pp, per day for stays through Dec. 19, 2016.
THE SPA: The 16,000-sq.-ft. Secrets Spa by Pevonia combines hydrotherapy and indigenous treatments to create a very thorough spa menu. There are several packages that combine a few treatments, including Welcome to Secrets, which we’ve heard is a great way to start a vacation. It includes a Seaweed Wrap, a Swedish Massage and a Secrets Exclusive Facial. Couples, or individuals, can also opt for a beachside massage (we highly recommend this option for clients who have a hard time disconnecting as the refreshing ocean breeze and the soothing sound of the water lapping against the shoreline does indeed help one detach from the every day). secretsresorts.com 

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue archive): 
Five High-End Stays (October 2014)