12 February 2019
For centuries, the wetlands, mangroves, sprawling jungles and virgin beaches of Cancún sat untouched; the deserted coastland unheard of until as recently as 50 years ago. The area’s gradual development precipitated the government’s decision to transform the peninsula into a tourism project and, today, Cancún is a dynamic and prosperous city, attracting more than three million tourists every year (#Cancun at 7.1m and counting).
My Mexican adventure began at the TRS Yucatan Hotel on the Riviera Maya, where I was to spend the first half of my stay, before heading to the new TRS Coral, located in Costa Mujeres. Built among tropical jungle, the hotel is visited by various wildlife, including the spiny-tailed iguana and the resort’s resident flamingos. At check-in, a giant beetle the size of my fist was battling the valet’s foot as he tried to persuade it back into the greenery. Cancún itself got its name from the Mayan ‘Kan Kun’ meaning ‘nest of snakes.’ I was hoping not to stumble into any of those.
Inside the hotel, on a gleaming marble floor, a pianist played a melody that resounded around the expansive lobby, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls showcased the flowing water fountains and lush palm trees outside. You’ll find TRS (formerly known as The Royal Suites) in some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful destinations, including two in the Dominican Republic. Designed for adults only, these hotels are particularly suited to couples looking for a romantic retreat. You can even get married at the resort’s very own chapel.
Part of Palladium Hotel Group, one of Spain’s biggest hotel groups and creators of such renowned resorts as Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, TRS has trademarked a concept called Infinite Indulgence® with the slogan “honour your freedom” – and its influence is evident at every turn. Guests can adapt their room to their liking with the help of a pillow menu and a selection of scents to choose from. An electronic waterproof wristband instead of a typical room key is provided and a motion and heat detector outside the door indicates to cleaners whether the room is occupied – perfect for an undisturbed morning lie-in. In a place like this, even jet lag can’t dampen your mood and I was able to watch the sunrise transform the ocean from midnight blue to glistening turquoise from my private balcony.
Across the resort, a range of international à la carte restaurants – Italian, French, Spanish and Argentinean included – provide the luxury of trying a new cuisine every night. For dinner with a difference, Chic Cabaret is a must-see. Drinking and dining amid live dance acts and acrobatics performed in spectacular costumes make for a night to remember.
The Chic Cabaret show runs across both of the hotel group’s locations in Mexico, including TRS Coral, where I spent the second half of my stay. Here, there’s a slightly more modern feel to the resort, having only been launched at the end of 2018. Luscious greenery and palm trees are juxtaposed with grand modern architecture in striking geometric designs.
My open-plan room included a beautiful Jacuzzi bath and a sofa area decorated with Mexican-inspired tapestry. I spent my days lazing on my balcony overlooking the pool, occasionally venturing down to the swim-up bar, snoozing to the dulcet tones of harpists and saxophonists. I was also encouraged, just the once, to forsake R&R for a poolside Zumba class. There’s also the Zentropia Spa, complete with steam rooms, saunas, an ice cabin and an indoor infinity pool that opens out to an ocean view. The property is also about to open its Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre, one of the world’s most comprehensive tennis facilities.
Both TRS Yucatan and TRS Coral are just a boat ride away from some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. Approaching the dock at Isla Contoy was a moment I will never forget. The cloudless sky was full of birds, as far as the eye could see. The island is a protected National Park, and as we climbed off the boat our tour guide warned us to “not take anything off this island – no flowers, no shells, no iguanas”.
This region of Mexico is also home to the Great Maya Reef – the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. Don a snorkel and explore the submarine world, where you’ll encounter schools of multi-coloured fish, sea turtles, whale sharks and dolphins -– if you’re lucky.
Isla Mujeres – or the Island of Women – is home to the Mayan goddess of fertility, so it is rumoured that young girls would visit to increase their chances of falling pregnant. Today, this island is bustling with vibrant street markets and taco restaurants. You can also visit the ancient ruins of the Mayan temple and a beautiful sea turtle sanctuary. On the boat back to the mainland, with the sun beginning to set, I realised just how easy it is to fall in love with this extraordinary corner of the world.
Junior Suites at TRS Yucatan are priced from £240 per night, TRS Coral from £325 per night, based on two people sharing on an all-inclusive basis, palladiumhotelgroup.com