Chase discontinued it’s Fairmont Visa credit card in January of 2016. My wife and I had both applied for it quickly before the links had disappeared. Luckily in got in under the wire and each earned two free nights at any Fairmont after spending $3000 in 3 months. We used these free nights at the Fairmont in San Francisco last summer.
Another perk of having the card was the ability to earn another free night after spending $12,000 in a calendar year. Since Chase discontinued the card since Fairmont was acquired by Accor Hotels, they sent out a notice that if you spent $6000 before they converted your Chase Fairmont to a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you would earn the free night since you no longer had the full year to meet the $12,000 requirement.
Since we both had already spent $3000 for the signup bonus, it was a no brainer to spend the extra $3000 each for another two free nights. After receiving the free night certificates that expire at the end of February 2018, we decided to use them at the Fairmont Mayakoba in Mexico for a long weekend.
The standard ‘Fairmont’ room that can be booked with the free night certificates runs about $500/night. Since we were going for three nights, I had to pay for a single night and was able to get a prepaid rate of $441. I was then able to apply a ‘suite’ upgrade certificate I had from Fairmont’s Presidents club to secure a Signature Casita Suite that runs just under $1000/night.
At the end of the day, I paid $523 (after taxes, etc) for three nights in a suite that would have run ~$3500 – not too bad.
Mayakoba is ~30/45 minute ride south of Cancun – in north Playa del Carmen. We used Canadatransfers.com (#2 on Tripadvisor for Cancun transfers) and was very happy with their service. It was a little over $100/roundtrip. You can order beers ($1-2), drinks, etc for the ride from the airport to the resort. I should have ordered a bunch more to bring to the suite as there was an empty refrigerator in our room.
The resort shares the property with the Andaz, Rosewood, and Banyan Tree with Fairmont being the oldest.
Our suite was ‘sweet’. It was the full 2nd level of this casita, with the bottom floor housing two standard rooms.
Entering the suite included a furniture piece that housed the refrigerator.
The first room when walking into the suite, was a large living room with pullout queen sofa (for the kids).
Off the living room was a hallway that lead to the first of two bathrooms.
Next to the living room was the master suite.
And there was a huge deck that spanned the full length of the casita from the living room to the master bedroom.
Pools & Beach
There were a few pools – one smaller one by the entrance tower where the typical hotel rooms were housed. The main pool was in the center of the complex – it had a section for kids with a slide near the kids club. There was also an adults only area with an infinity pool along with a large hot tub area near the main pool.
The beach was a ~30 minute walk from the main pool area. There were golf carts running back and forth nonstop throughout the resort to get you places. There were also BMW bicycles all around the property that you could just hop on and ride where ever you wanted.
The beach area featured a restaurant along with another pool area.
Spa & Fitness Center
There was a spa and fitness center located on the property – unfortunately I did not partake.
After short walk down a nature trail, we discovered a small area that all of the hotels shared with a few shops and a Church. A few times a week, vendors come and have outdoor carts selling items.
You can also signup for a free ~45 minute boat ride around the mangroves. The captain tells you about the resort and ecological systems. You get to ride by the Andaz resort also. It was a nice ride.
There are three main restaurants on property. La Laguna is the main restaurant near the pool area with seating areas both indoors and out. It serves breakfast along with lunch and dinner. We had breakfast here one day and dinner twice. Reservations available on Opentable.com with menus and prices located here.
Breakfast ran us just about $100 for the four of us. We ordered off the menu instead of having the $30/each buffet.
Dinner was more expensive at $136-$198 (without tip) each night.
The second restaurant we ate at was El Puerto serves latin-asian dishes with seafood specialties. It is only open for dinner and located in the main building at the entrance. Reservations can also be made with Opentable.com with menus and prices located here.
El Puerto was more of a ‘family style’ meal meant to be shared. I really like everything we got.
We had planned to try the third restaurant that specialized in seafood at the beach area but the night of our reservation, it was pouring raining and we didn’t feel like taking the golf cart ride out all the way to the beach so we ended up eating tacos at La Laguna.
In addition to the three restaurants, there is a main lobby bar that served some small bites food at lunch and dinner. There was also a small shop, Cafe Maya, near the pool that sold dry goods, souvenirs, coffee, pastries, and pre-made salads and sandwiches.
We ate breakfast here one morning which ran about $30 for two cappuccinos, two milks, fruit bowl, and four pastries.
Things to Know
- There is a $20/per adult resort fee charge for each night of your stay
- There is also a 20 peso (~$1) ecological county fee charged for each night of your stay
Our suite was huge and beautiful and just about all of the employees were very friendly. The beach was beautiful – plenty of chairs and huts available along with employees to set you up with chairs and towels. The food was better than I expected and not outrageously priced. We ended up spending about $1100 on the resort fees, one sit down breakfast, one quick breakfast, three sit down dinners, and drinks/snacks/apps at the pool and beach for lunch.
But, I would be disappointed if I had actually spent the $3500 going rate for the 3 nights in the suite instead of the $523 out of pocket costs. Fairmont Mayakoba is a nice resort but I don’t have any desire to return anytime soon.