Cooling Easterly winds, the vibrancy of the Riviera Maya’s rich culture and the tranquil spirit of this previously undeveloped jungle landmass turns out our stay at this ethereal oceanfront retreat is heavenly respite.
A short drive from the region’s infamous all inclusives Etereo is in an area that some are excitingly referring to as “the new Cancun.”
Upon arrival, we’re welcomed into a seemingly-floating reception area with striking artwork. A local shaman performs a spiritual meditation in the central courtyard to bless our stay before we’re guided to our rooms along magically raised paths, built above thriving mangroves—said to be here since time immemorial.
Ours is one of 75 low-rise accommodations that range from 875 sq. ft. studios to a three-bedroom, 3,925 sq. ft. penthouse suite. Every suite features a generous living and terraced area with floor to ceiling glass doors that showcase magnificent ocean views. Open-concept bathrooms with attractive dual vanities and soaking tubs are subtly screened with themed privacy walls.
A work of art
Inspired by the resort’s lush beauty, cultural heritage, and balmy climate, the architects and designers worked to minimize the impact on the natural environment using raw materials such as such as lava stone, copper, and indigenous tzalam wood. Custom-designed furnishings and textiles by local artisans are also set against a backdrop of work by the late and highly celebrated Mexican artist, Manuel Felguérez. His sculptural lattice screens in wood and architectural plaster featured throughout the resort, create a delicate, constantly changing, interplay of light and shadow. There are also custom rugs focal pieces and hand-crafted outdoor dining tables as well as a woven rope sculpture by Marcela Diaz and a monumental, steel and glass sculpture by Hector Esrawe. Works by Charabati Bizarri, Tapiz, Peter Glassford, and Tere Metta adorn the walls, adding yet another joyful layer to the visual feast.
At the pool and beach areas, it’s all about enjoying the breeze and relaxing in the sunshine and enjoying fresh salads, raw bowls and freshly squeezed fruit juices. We also have access to sailboats, kayaks, paddleboards and snorkel gear for exploring the world’s second largest reef just 250 feet off-shore.
Exploring, we’ve also discovered SANA, the Auberge branded spa sanctuary where time-honoured ritual journeys that include custom scent blending, detoxifying Mayan clay wraps, crystal healing, sound baths, energy work and full-moon ceremonies. The most spiritual of offers—a moonlit massage conducted on an elevated platform above the mangroves. As guests we also have access to well-equipped gym, library and a number of tranquil spaces for small group experiences and gathering places. And of particular note, the use of underground passages, storage and mechanical areas, not only provides for shelter from the elements, discreet maintenance and staff movement but delivers a more clutter, noise free and private experience for hotel guests.
Regional Mexican inspired signature resto, Itzam, offers open air seating with ocean views for breakfasts and evening meals that boast exploratory flavours. Its’ sister, our favourite, Che Che, open for lunch and dinner follows Nikkei tradition blending the best of both world Japanese techniques with Latin American ingredients.
A visit to Chavitos, the kid’s club leaves us recommending a family excursion. Not only can young guests from around the world make friends and keep busy here while their parents enjoy some quiet time or a meal together, but they can engage in team building outdoor experiences, science-focused activities and cultural crafting. However, the fun here doesn’t seem to be just for the youngsters. Celebrating the vibrance of the Yucatan and its storied culture, outdoor adventures offers a close up look at nature and time spent with local artisans gives grown-ups too an appreciation of local culture and crafts.
Living in the moment
Etereo is one of a kind… a spiritual place where, we are reminded to honour the wisdom of our ancestors and, as we live in the joy of the moment, breathe deeply and take in all that nature has to offer.
We leave refreshed.
Try it you’ll like it
Mind-expanding experiences include taking part in a Mayan fireside blessing or Equinox Ceremony, tuning in to the sounds of the Yucatan with a sound bath, getting a reading of Mayan calendar astrology or tarot, uncovering lesser-known Mexican flavours and partaking in a cacao ceremony.