'To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.' says Hans Christian Andersen, to travel is indeed to live. With the restrictions on the recess we most likely took for granted, we have been lucky to live again and stay amongst the sandy beaches just outside of Cancun, which we are confident is the most exclusive hidden treasure, NIZUC Resort and Spa.
Cancun may sound like a tourist trap filled with all-inclusive hotels and not usually an option for those seeking wanderlust and experiences. However, there is just one hotel a mere 15 minutes away from the airport that has revolutionised the area awarded by the Luxury Travel Advisor as the world's 'Most Instagrammable Hotel.'
The city in the South East region of Mexico lies on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea, with 14 miles of crushed coral white sandy beaches, clear water, and ruins scattered across the coast. It is indeed a spiritual place and home of the Mayan's, cenotes (used by the Mayan people for freshwater supplies) and ocean giants such as the docile yet beautiful Whale Shark.
Punta NIZUC, where the hotel lies, was once the former site for Private Presidential retreats of world leaders and was used by Mayan Astronomers. It is also home to the world's second-largest Great Barrier Reef and has achieved AAA distinction of 5 Diamond Rating.
The sacred location in Maya culture offers 274 suites and villas that sit across protected meandering mangroves of flora and fauna, spread over a 29-acre untrammelled private beachfront estate. Mayan translation of NIZUC explained to mean 'Nose of the Dog' refers to the area. The palatial grounds are located at one end of Cancun, Punta Nizuc, between the Caribbean Sea and Nichupté Lagoon. Typical Maya influences disseminate across the properties offering connection to oneself, spirituality, and inner peace, transporting one away from life's stressors.
It is easy to understand why this is the ultimate staycation for those looking for mindfulness and reconnection when the travel restrictions are set to ease.
Why NIZUC, you ask? Well, for UK travellers, there are no current visa requirements, British Airways offer direct flights, and as the world continues to move from the constraints of the pandemic and travel slowly resumes, a new traveller will evolve. The new traveller will seek enlightenment, luxury and safety, pursuing history and tranquillity with privacy and amenities that play to inner indulgence, this is why NIZUC resort and spa is the ultimate wanderlust staycation.
The spacious suites include ocean view, private villa or residence suites with pool view options ranging from 600-1000 sq feet.
We stayed in the Ocean View Room, a delightful yet sophisticated 700 sq foot sanctuary with a balcony of over 200 sq feet harbouring magnificent views of the complex and the glistening sea.
The room continues to pay homage to Mayan architecture, where the influences of the local environment lie within the heart. Stone simplicity intertwines with black onyx marble flooring in the main suite featuring floor to ceiling windows that provide panoramic views of the oasis.
The bedroom is stylish yet contemporary with neutral tones. Midnight teal accents provide balance and ambience. Wooden features, including furniture and arboresque walls from locally sourced wood (Casteloy Albina, Puche & Bullet Wood Tree), that soften the interiors and balance the nature and sophistication of the interior design. Mangrove wood framed mirrors are scattered subtly throughout the main bedroom. The room is complete with a deluxe king bed, with classic NIZUC finishes, including delicate branding on the soft cotton sheets.
There are only 44 ocean-view suites within the property that are moments away from the picturesque white NIZUC beach and main pool area.
The balcony catches panoramic sight of NIZUC, Reef beach and the pool, continuing the luxury yet contemporary design seen in the bedroom. Relax on the balcony table with a Margarita or perhaps the Jardin lounge, taking in the unforgettable sunset and immerse yourself in pure paradise.
The bathroom continues the sophistication with design and function, including a walk-in wardrobe, safe, a freestanding bathtub, chaise lounge, and rainfall shower.
FIJI water is flittered throughout the room, which is complemented with ESPA and L'Occitane toiletries for further indulgence. The NIZUC natural insect repellent is effective, compact, and delightful with hints of citrine and geranium, a perfect natural alternative to the highly intense deet!
Other features within the room include a Nespresso machine, mini bar, BOSE speakers, and state-of-the-art entertainment system complete with access to charging points.
A member of staff replenishes these daily and prepares the bed each night for a restful slumber. These are adult-only suites, accessible to the critical areas of the hotel. For those wanting a family or a private secluded experience, NIZUC also offers garden view rooms conveniently located on the ground floor for families and their bespoke private pool villas and penthouses.
The hotel is owned by Mexican Antonio Cosío Pando, CEO of Grupo Brisas, known for its collection of luxury boutique hotels. NIZUC was designed by renowned Mexican architect Alejandro Escudero, known for blending sophistication with contemporary natural elements. Due respect is paid to the heritage and site of NIZUC, where you will find Mayan iconography carefully scattered throughout and preserved unforgettable views with absorbent light in all key and central areas.
The architectural concept makes your heart sing and your mind calm as you are surrounded by natural habitat and vegetation, whilst earth tones and luxury finishes are skillfully woven into each space. Cleverly each space is transformed by the varying light depending on the time of day, making your encounter (whether in your room or the main entrance) truly experiential each time.
Escudero and his team of designers worked closely with the Museo Nacional de Antropología to replicate Mayan hieroglyphs and by incorporating seventeenth-century stone door-frames.
NIZUC Spa by ESPA
Amongst the secluded Garden lies the distinctive yet tranquil 30,000 sq foot first and only ESPA-branded spa in the Mexican-Caribbean, that run's stylishly through our cultural psyche. Set within a sacred landscape with Mayan-inspired therapies that awaken the senses and open the chakras, the spa boasts treatment rooms, hydrotherapy, a beauty salon, and a fitness centre offering daily yoga sessions.
As you walk past koi ponds and floating lilypads deep in the landscape and views that seemingly transport you to Asia, tucked at the bottom of the path is the tranquil yet stylish ESPA spa.
Natural stone draws on the innate setting, with organic light pouring into each corner.
Try the ice fountain with a cool-mist to decompress from the day, or perhaps the couples retreat, a ritual that includes a couples massage, spa lunch and private pool.
Treatments tend to last 120minutes in secluded private casitas with enclosed rainfall showers.
Mayan Cacao Treatment
The Mayan Cacao treatment is designed bespoke for Nizuc by ESPA with a duration of 120minutes. You are greeted in the reception with a cool ginger and pear tea as your therapist guides you through the treatment options.
This Mayan inspired therapy is perfect for relieving tension and detaching from the stressors you left behind at the airport. The treatment starts with a full-body invigorating ESPA salt scrub that gently yet profoundly cleanses the body, while Sweet Almond Oil nourishes and hydrates the skin.
Following the scrub, you then commence a deep tissue massage with pure cacao oil. Cacao was considered a celestial drink and is often referenced in literature as the 'sweat of the stars'. It is said to be used by the Maya people for its restorative properties and release of endorphins. Aromatherapy oils are slowly poured to awaken the senses. The treatment is concluded with a slow yet powerful oil pour to the head to activate the 3rd eye chakra, the energetic centre that helps with clarity and intuition.
The ESPA hydrotherapy facilities are perfect for those seeking immersion; please note that they are separate for ladies and gentlemen. The alternative medicine, often called 'water cure', offers a wide range of elements to detoxify and relax through a guided hydrotherapy circuit of contrasting temperatures and strong yet subtle water pressures, as well as a co-ed exterior Spa Pool with a view to the serene Gardens.
To recreate this treatment at home, please see the below ESPA product recommendations.
Discover Havana with a Mexican twist in the onsite cigar lounge open to guests that feature a bespoke selection of whiskies, rum and cognac. For those wanting something perhaps a little lighter, try the Mojito or classic Margaritas as your expert talks you through the choice of your Oscuro or Colorado Claro cigar.
NIZUC is home to six prestigious and world-class restaurants where some include a fusion of traditional cuisines with a Mexican twist. French Executive Chef Sylvain Desbois leads the restaurants with a team of international chefs at his side to present six distinctive dining experiences for guests.
Dine at Ramona, headed by Chef Humberto Aguilar. In this signature restaurant, the Mediterranean fusion burrata is delightful with hints of local spice, providing an explosion of flavour and height to this traditional Italian dish.
For those seeking a taste of the east, Indochine is truly an experience. Traditional dishes are recreated from China, Japan, Indonesia, and other Asian countries, fused to inject flavours into the palette. Recommendations include the gyoza, rack of lamb and black cod. Chef Alicia Padilla spends months travelling the world for inspiration, with the menu changed every six months.
NI is a fabulous Peruvian inspired dining experience headed by Chef Adalberto Rueda, set at the beach's edge with astounding views. Try the catch of the day, or the tuna ceviche, both succulent and decadent, with the addition of fresh pineapple, orange and avocado. The beef tenderloin is perfect for those looking for something a little different; sauteed for mere minutes, it is both succulent and flavoursome, completed with a quail egg.
We were fortunate to be spoiled by the talents of pastry chef Rubén Sánchez who created this work of art for the magazine!
Other dining experiences include Café de la Playa, La Punta Grill and Lounge and Terra Nostra for further culinary delights.
NIZUC is where Maya steps out from history and into the future. The ancient commingles with the modern form a new idiom, a new voice, a new vocabulary. It's where the lost secrets of a vanished civilisation are once again brought to life - but in a fascinating further interaction. It's where the beauty, mystery, and geometry of the Maya are the inspiration behind creating a whole new world. A world where art and architecture are elevated to the level of religion. Where time uncoils following a new calendar and the rhythm of life is as timeless as the movement of the stars.
Nizuc Resort and Spa
Blvd. Kukulcan Mz 59 Lote 1-03 Km 21.26, Nizuc, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
For further information and bookings please visit HERE