Riviera Maya: Mandarin Oriental’s Wellness Yoga Retreat

Face it. You need a quick escape. Recharge that battered spirit. Elevate that funky mood. Take the OM out of ominous. We can feel it. We’re there too. These days, everywhere we turn and everything we see is doom and gloom. Aside from trekking in the Andes and eating hot noodles in Saigon (which takes a bit more than four days), the Yoga Wellness Retreat at the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya is a surefire way to relax and feel good about spending your hard-earned cash. When you give to your spirit, the Universe gives back. Did we mention that the honorable Rishi Bharadwaj of India is teaching? Well, he is… and he’s 15 years of yogic magic.
Alas…

Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya presents its 2009 Wellness Yoga Retreat, a four-day holistic program featuring guided meditations, yoga classes, yogic diet and nutrition sessions from:

March 26 to 29
May 28 to 31
June 25 to 28

A relaxing weekend break at an award-winning spa and resort located on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula? Si senorita. Eso es la vida perfecta. Yoga Instructor Rishi Bharadwaj, leads the stellar program for a long weekend sure to recharge the senses.
The retreat begins on Thursday evening with a welcome group dinner and opportunity to meet with Rishi and fellow guests. Throughout the weekend, guests will experience Asana and Pranayama yoga sessions, diet and nutrition classes, quiet time for meditations, group discussions and bask in the luxurious accommodation at Mexico’s most sophisticated resort.

A naturalist’s paradise, Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya is nestled in mangrove reserves and tranquil lagoons highlighted by a spectacular cenote, a deep, freshwater reservoir sacred to the ancient Mayan.

The resort is only 10 minutes north of the always happening Playa del Carmen with dining, entertainment, and boutiques, just a 30-minute drive from Cancun International Airport.

The “Wellness Yoga Retreat” includes:

· Three-night stay at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya
· Yogic breakfast daily and one group dinner
· Choice of one spa treatment
· Morning and evening yoga sessions
· Daily meditations
· Diet and nutrition classes
· Participation in daily fitness activities
· Complimentary use of Heat and Water Therapies
· Round-trip airport transfers

Now how’s that for OM-nificent?

Rates from $2465 (single occupancy) and $3340 (double occupancy)

http://www.mandarinoriental.com

Mexico: Yo Quiero Conchinita y El Caribe


Playa del Carmen, Mayan Riviera

When most people think of Mexico they might think of loud Americans with fanny packs heading to Cabo for a cold Corona, but the real Mexico… she’s somethin’ else entirely. Yes, I am enamored with Mexico. Aside from the fact that I’ve fallen in love there on more than one occasion, she’s still, in so many wonderful ways, undiscovered country. Sure, she can dangerous, untrustworthy, and macho, but she’s full of riches. Sometimes I wonder why she suffers so… this wild country of margaritas, ruins, rugged hills, tumbling waves, crystal waters, and more chiles than you can handle. Then I remember… she can’t really be trusted, and if a people can’t really trust themselves, then who can they trust? Ah, yes… other countries may capture my soul, but Mexico, she has mi corazon (y mi Chichen Itza).

This Jaunt will take you to Mexico’s caribe, but stay tuned as we break down Mexico into the breathtaking regions that give the country her rich history and her renegade spirit.

Locals have been known to ask the secret aid of Mayan curanderos (healers) to mend a broken heart or cure a pesky ailment, but visitors flock to the Riviera Maya for the healing properties found in the sweet Caribbean lobster, electric blue waters, ancient ruins, and nightlife teeming with sleek European and South American tourists seeking out the relaxed bohemian vibe.

Situated on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, it’s a land of ancient tradition stretching from Punta Brava to Tulum. Tropical mangroves, exotic chiles, and achiote lend wild flavor to an already lively region of locals and ex-pats. In addition to the cozy port town of Playa del Carmen where Ula Gula (5th Avenue and Calle 10) traps guests with their fresh fish entrees, there are countless Caribbean gems that offer travelers a chance to find seclusion and sophistication away from the throngs of Cancun party-goers.

When to Go:

The best time to visit is during the winter, spring and summer months. Hurricane season is typically summer into fall.

What to Do:

Take in the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza, relax with unique spa offerings, snorkel/scuba in the second largest coral reef in the world, and visit hidden cenotes (sinkholes) or the caves of Aktun Ha with a local guide. Don’t miss dinner at John Gray’s Kitchen in Puerto Morelos (Av Niños Heroes, Lote 6 Puerto Morelos Tel: 998-871-0449) and cocktails in Playa at Fly (5th Avenue), Hotel Deseo, and Om. For brunch, I’m a fan of 100% Natural.

Where to Stay:
Paraiso de la Bonita $$$$$

One word. Gorgeous. One more… DELUXE. Translated from Spanish, “Paradise of a Beautiful Woman” is the ultimate sexy retreat for the hotel connoisseur. The definition of privacy and sophistication, it’s located in Puerto Morelos twelve miles south of the Cancun Airport. From airport pickup in Lincoln Navigators to piano concerts and culinary afternoons with the chef, there are ninety ocean view suites on fourteen acres of beach, mangrove, and gardens. Open courtyards lead to private plunge pools, Bulgari amenities, and fountain filled paths. Reflecting pools make it designed to feel like a five-star private residence rather than a hotel. Mediterranean, Indian, and Balinese artifacts create a decidedly island chic getaway.

http://www.paraisodelabonita.com

Maroma Resort
Located ten minutes from Playa del Carmen, Maroma is a favorite among my Hollywood friends. A sophisticated, yet rustic hideaway located on a beach front portion of a coconut plantation, it’s among the finest resorts in Mexico. Built in the tradition of a Mexican hacienda, this sixty-four room resort boasts a powder soft white-sand beach named “Top Beach of the World’s 10 Best Beaches” by the Travel Channel and Forbes. Beautiful unspoiled beaches and over a hundred cenotes offer an eco-adventure or exotic escape. Don’t leave without trying the Goddess/God Ritual, two hours of relaxation which begins with the burning of copal, the sacred resin of the Burrsera tree, and ends with chamomile tea poured over your body and a two person Lomi-Lomi massage.

http://www.maromahotel.com

For those who want to get their groove on with the likes of old Italian movie projections set to the beat of local house DJ’s, head to Playa del Carmen and try:

Hotel Deseo (www.hoteldeseo.com) and fellow Habita property, Hotel Basico (www.hotelbasico.com).

I’m a fan of Deseo for drinks, but it could get a bit loud if you’re staying there as well. The bar is right outside the rooms. I stayed at the Blue Mosquito in Playa as well, but wasn’t that impressed. For a fraction of the price, you can stay at any number of spots on Fifth Avenue.

PS. For the true diehard Jauntophile who would rather be in the quaint town of Playa, but doesn’t want to break the bank, I have a list of what I lovingly refer to as ‘secret’ hotels… we’re talking $45-$75/night gems that I have personally scouted out and stayed, but guess what… you’ll have to send an email expressing your genuine interest, otherwise, they’ll become entirely too popular and you know what’ll happen next, don’t you? That’s right… they’ll raise the prices. We simply can’t have that now, can we?

Now Vaya Con Dios!