Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya's first environmentally conscious golf-and-spa complex is an eco-friendly alternative to the Cancún strip on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.
Location: The debut hotel in the four-resort Mayakoba development is laid across 50 acres of carefully preserved mangrove swamps, a network of freshwater lagoons and canals, and a 700-foot-long sugary white-sand beach--all just a 50-minute drive from Cancún.
Pedigree: Greg Norman designed the Audubon-certified golf course, his first in Mexico; Maxime Cormier, a thalassotherapy expert from nearby Paraíso de la Bonita, is at the helm of the Willow Stream Spa.
Style Design: Rooms have a Maya-goes-Zen aesthetic that pairs thatched roofs and splashy green-and-red fabrics with serene touches such as slatted wooden doors and cool marble floors. But the real masterpiece is the mangrove-and-flower landscaping.
Service Amenities: All the usual perks of a self-enclosed resort (five swimming pools, four restaurants), with a plethora of ways to get around: lanchas (boats), golf carts, and bikes.
Rooms to Book: The 458-square-foot, lagoon-facing casita rooms are worth the $100 upgrade for additional space and a private balcony overlooking nesting herons.
800/441-1414 or 52-984/206-3000; www.fairmont.com; doubles from $239.