For a fly-and-flop beachside fix and splashy fun in Cancún
To the Mayans, cacao was a food fit for the gods. They carved pictures of the pods on their temples, served up warm, foaming cups of the stuff at religious banquets and believed in its mood-enhancing properties. So it’s entirely apt that Mayan Cacao is the signature treatment at Nizuc, a hotel set in 12 hectares with an ESPA spa at its heart and an Aman vibe (the hotel was originally meant to be Aman residences, so the rooms are designed by Jean-Michel Gathy).
First though, there’s the hydrotherapy ritual, which you’re guided through by staff who communicate discreetly with each other via headsets. After the steam room, ice fountain, the pounding jets on your neck and back and a head massage, you’ll be zoned out before you even cross the pretty, tree-lined courtyard to one of the limestone cabins. The treatment itself starts with a cacao granule and salt scrub, followed by a massage using a blend of cacao and restorative oil (the sweet orange of the latter balances out the scent of chocolate), with cleansing milk and balm for your face, before warm oil is poured slowly over your forehead.
There’s also a new programme of daily complimentary classes: yoga, salsa, total body conditioning and the excellent sound-therapy meditation with life coach Milissa Rosberg, who uses huge crystal bowls, Tibetan brass bowls and bells to fill the room with reverberations.
But what mischief is your brood getting up to during all this? They’ll be happily making piñatas and watching films at Winiks Club, taking part in the tennis carnival or splashing about in one of the four pools. A Zayak Sea Sled is an easy alternative to snorkelling where children lie face down to spot fish on the reef, and whole families can fit on paddleboards – sit the tiniest at the front and leave fathers steering at the back across the lagoon-like bay.
At the Terre Nostre restaurant, the waiters dress like gondoliers, and at more grown-up Mexican Ramone, you can tuck into melt-in-the mouth short-rib stew while the kids empty plates of grilled chicken and chips. Save room for a pudding of sugary churros dipped into mugs of cinnamon hot chocolate. Forget the calories – think of it as a way of continuing the Mayan cacao tradition.
- INSIDER TIP
- Book a paddleboard-yoga lesson with Marimar Pascua, great for balance and core strength. Then reward yourself with a wine-tasting session featuring reds from the hotel’s Baja California vineyard.
- BEST FOR
- A total escape, A hit of sunshine, Family-friendly
- BOOK IT
- Elegant Resorts (+44 1244 897517; elegantresorts.co.uk) offers seven nights from £1,555 per person, including flights and transfers.