Renowned for offering some of the world’s best cuisine, culture and historical sites, I recently took my very first trip to marvellous Mexico, joining a group of industry specialists to stay in two beautiful Rosewood hotels in two captivating locations. Moving from the UNESCO-listed cultural hub of Puebla to the sun-kissed eastern coast, the combination of properties and destinations perfectly showcased the different sides to this spectacular country (particularly for a first-timer!) all while maintaining the luxurious Rosewood experience...
My first stop (around two hours by road from Mexico City Airport) was the enchanting city of Puebla, where a warm welcome awaited me at Rosewood Puebla, a beautiful new property that opened back in 2017. Small and perfectly formed, the hotel is made up of several different buildings with different architectural styles, all centred around a charming central courtyard, as well as preserved ruins from the Old Town of Puebla! From the rooms’ décor – including talavera tiles and bright embroidery – to the Mexican books on the lobby’s bookshelf, I was always sure I was in Mexico during my stay here. Alongside the historical elements and original architecture, the hotel still offers the contemporary luxury and fabulous facilities that you’d expect from Rosewood. After exploring the city, the rooftop pool and bar were the perfect place to unwind, with views towards the active volcanoes nearby!
Matching the delights of the new Rosewood property is its amazing location in Puebla’s Centro Histórico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just walking around the lovely cobbled streets and the historic Zozola main square, you can tell how old this city is (it was founded in 1531!). Our friendly local guide showed us Puebla’s main sights on an engaging tour, sharing some fascinating facts about the city – Puebla housed the first library in the Americas, was the birthplace of the Mexican Revolution and is home to as many churches as days in the year! My highlight of the tour had to be Cathedral de Puebla – the architecture and interiors blew me away, and it was great to learn more about its history from the guide. From Puebla, we also took a guided day trip to Cholula (only about half an hour by road) considered the oldest city in America. A unique underground pyramid is covered by the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies, a 16th century church with amazing views.
As well as its cultural delights, Puebla is known for its culinary history. While I was here, I enjoyed some of the best food I have ever tasted - both inside and out of the hotel. When in Puebla, I had to try Mole – a chocolate-based traditional sauce that is often served with chicken. I must admit, it was an acquired taste, but was great to sample it in the city that it comes from! More culinary highlights included sensational Mexican breakfasts, fresh ceviche and some amazing desserts. Rosewood Puebla also hosts laid-back cookery classes and trips to local markets, ensuring that guests really make the most of the region’s food and produce. What better thing to accompany authentic cuisine than local Mexican drinks? The hotel also hosts tequila, mezcal and wine tasting. Did you know that the oldest winery in America was established in Mexico in 1524!?
After exploring gorgeous Puebla (a city that I would wholeheartedly recommend for an authentic Mexican experience) a short flight east to Cancun and a quick road transfer took me from one Rosewood hotel to another – this time, I was staying in the amazing Rosewood Mayakoba on the Yucatan Peninsula. When I arrived in my lovely room, the pillows were embroidered with my initials and I was met by a handmade token of Mayan mythology each night at turn down. This incredible attention-to-detail continued throughout my stay.
Though the white sands and turquoise lagoon here rivalled some of the best I’ve seen on my travels elsewhere in Mexico, the Caribbean and beyond, there is much more to a stay at Rosewood Mayakoba than just the beautiful beachfront location. As well as a signature Greg Norman golf course and sensational spa that uses indigenous ingredients, the hotel has opened a school for the local youth (at which guests can volunteer), while there are also a range of great excursions that showcase the delights of the area. Easily reached on a day trip, famous Chichen Itza is around 2 hours and 10 minutes away from Rosewood Mayakoba. Though this UNESCO-listed complex of ruins is well worth exploring (dominated by the step pyramid El Castillo) my top tip would be to visit Coba, another ancient Mayan site that is closer to the hotel yet experiences fewer crowds. We explored the fascinating ancient city by bike and, unlike at Chichen Itza, you can actually climb the pyramid here. Standing at 138-feet tall, it isn’t for the faint hearted!
Once again, the food at the hotel was incredible. There was so much choice – from authentic Mexican dishes to some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten! My dining highlight, though, had to be La Ceiba. We sat for a private dinner at the outdoor communal table in the kitchen garden, beneath an impressive Ceiba tree (which the waiter explained signifies prosperity, strength and unity) filled with lanterns. Right in front of us, the chef cooked delicious dishes using the fresh ingredients surrounding him. We enjoyed chicken tostadas, the freshest lobster and succulent lamb, along with amazing cocktails made with herbs from the garden – basil infused gin is as fabulous as it sounds!
To book your bespoke luxury Mexico holiday with Rosewood, call our Luxury Travel Specialists today.