Vacationers looking for an ecologically-friendly, unusual resort experience in the jungles of the Riviera Maya will enjoy the newest Bel Air Collection addition. This 37-acre property reportedly still belongs to the Palace resort chain but has been leased out to the Bel Air chain since 2011. Much of the resort was severely damaged by hurricane Emily back in 2005, especially the beach and pier areas; as a result, only 144 out of the original 400+ guest rooms are operational and the beach has been reduced to a narrow strip of rocky outcroppings where ocean entry is impossible. Instead, guests are taken via shuttle to the nearby La Playa Xpu-Ha Beach Club which has a reserved area set up with cabanas, palapas, and a bar just for resort guests. Back on-site there is a cenote which is perfect for kayaking and snorkeling (see if you can spot the manatee), complimentary bicycle use to cover the extensive grounds, and two-story thatched-roof bungalows scattered throughout the property–upper floor guest rooms have high ceilings and expansive decks with a view of the tree tops which provides a tree house-like ambience. Two on-site pools with adjacent slides and waterfalls and an on-site zoo provides more daytime fun for guests.
Pro: On-site zoo and cenote, free WiFi
Con: No beach or ocean swimming, limited dining options/hours
Best Suited For: Nature lovers who enjoy a different resort experience in a unique, naturalistic setting.
No. of Rooms: 144
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, large balcony/terrace with hammock and loungers, A/C, in-room dbl Jacuzzi, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, telephone, ceiling fan, coffee maker, alarm clock, robe and slippers, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, shower, and toiletries. Room service is an extra charge.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Two pools (main pool with swim-up bar and children’s pool), spa, beauty salon, fitness center (no A/C), kayaks, bicycles, zoo and aviary, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), complimentary resort shuttle, complimentary shuttle service to nearby beach, and complimentary WiFi. There is no pool or beach wait service.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet restaurant and two a la cartes (Mexican-Italian fusion and sushi restaurant–no reservations needed). A poolside snack bar serves lunch and drinks, while the main bars are located at the lobby and swim-up bar.
Entertainment: Casino night, movie night, and karaoke.