Need to know
18, including 16 suites.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability (Smith guests are given priority for early check-in and late check-out).
Double rooms from $241.50, excluding tax at 19 per cent.
Rates don't usually include breakfast.
Bendy Smiths should head straight to the tree-shaded yoga deck by the beach, where lessons can be organised to perfect your downward dog. As a reward for finding your inner Zen, you can order drinks here post-class and enjoy the panoramic ocean views.
At the hotel
Private beach, yoga deck, free WiFi throughout and laundry. In rooms: air-conditioning, Bose speakers, free bottled water, a mosquito net, Malaya toiletries, a safe and a beach bag.
Our favourite rooms
All Maria del Mar’s rooms are decorated in classic, beachy style with natural-wood furniture, a neutral colour palette and bamboo accents here and there. Our top pick is the Oceanfront Penthouse Suite which, as you’d expect, is blow-the-budget gorgeous: head from the light, airy room (complete with king-size bed and huge, squashy sofas) onto a sweeping balcony with views of the beach and the pool. Stretch out on the day-bed – it’s almost as big as the one inside – and cool off in your private plunge pool, before its alfresco dining table is set for dinner.
The unheated, L-shaped pool is metres away from the beach, though you’ll feel like you’re there already: it’s surrounded by soft sand and tall palms, with several hammocks strung between the trees. Try to bag one of the pergola-shaded day-beds, which are big enough for two to lounge on.
With just one treatment room, the Ikal Spa is as intimate as it gets – ask for a treatment (we’re fans of the 90-minute couples’ massage), take a dip in the hydrotherapy pool or book a private reflexology session.
Skimpy bikinis are a requisite, but you might want to include a few sturdier swimsuits in your suitcase for kiteboarding and snorkelling excursions. Bring a torch if you're planning night-time walks, as there’s no street lighting in some areas.
Due to steep steps, sandy lanes and winding passages, the hotel isn’t best suited to wheelchair users and guests with mobility issues.
The hotel doesn’t accept under-16s, so leave your sprogs at home: it’s a romantic, adults-only retreat. However, the restaurant and bar accept little ones of all ages and have highchairs and a children’s menu.
The hotel is passionate about environmental protection and uses mostly biodegradable, organic and ethically-sourced products; hydroelectric generators, natural-gas boilers and a water-recycling system keep waste output to a minimum. Most produce (including food and furniture) is sourced from local Yucatán and Quintana Roo cooperatives, and the hotel works with the Art of Conservation organisation, which engages communities in environmental issues through art and education.