We’d all like to spend our vacations blissfully unplugged, but the reality is that most of us can’t. TripAdvisor’s just-released Working on Vacation Survey found that 77% of U.S. respondents have worked on vacation in the past year, with 91% checking email and 42% creating and editing documents while on vacation. I’m one of that overworked group, and that’s why I’m forever on the look-out for that holy grail of the 21st century: An exotic yet close-to-home escape where I can accomplish two conflicting goals—work and vacation—simultaneously. When every second with your loved ones counts, you want a resort that enables you to be so efficient that your work cuts into your precious bonding time as little as possible. And, so that you don’t resent being tied to email, you need a desk with a view and a beach with Wi-Fi.
That’s why I chose Rosewood Mayakoba—on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, a 40-minute drive from the Cancun airport—for my family vacation this summer. We just got back and, in fact, this was my third trip to Rosewood Mayakoba. I’d gone twice alone on business for Condé Nast Traveler—see My New Favorite Tropical Beach Resort and 7 Special Touches That Every Hotel Should Have—and each time I could tell that the resort would fit my family’s needs perfectly. I finally made it back with Tim and the kids, and I was right: The combination of tropical jungle setting, wildlife, water sports, and a complimentary supervised kids’ club–all just a four-hour non-stop flight from home—meant that they could get a vacation they loved while I got what I needed as well.
Here’s why Rosewood Mayakoba is a resort to consider when you’ve got no choice but to work on vacation:
* You’ll find free, fast Wi-Fi on the beach, at the pool, and everywhere else.
I’ve been to a lot of tropical resorts and have spent untold hours wrestling with tech hassles. But at Rosewood Mayakoba there’s Wi-Fi throughout the property, indoors and out. You need log in only once, upon arrival, and you need never enter a password. It just works, wherever you go. (The resort’s butlers carry iPads and use the Wi-Fi system too.)
* There’s even Wi-Fi in the car that picks you up at the airport.
This means that upon landing in Mexico, during that dead time between airport and hotel, you can use your phone to check email without worrying about expensive roaming charges. (To avoid such charges throughout your stay at Rosewood Mayakoba, keep your phone in airplane mode and keep your Wi-Fi turned on.)
* When you’re too busy to leave your room, you can still enjoy a pool.
Need a quiet space for a conference call? You can seal yourself off from noisy kids by closing the door to the living room or bedroom, or you can move to your terrace or even your plunge pool.
* You get a desk with a view.
Should you opt for working in the air-conditioned indoors, the only thing separating you from a water-and-palms view is floor-to-ceiling glass.
* There’s a never-ending supply of complimentary coffee and fruit to sustain you.
Each room has a Nespresso machine too—and unlimited complimentary bottles of water.
* The supervised kids’ club is free and open every day from 9 to 5.
Yes, there’s someone to watch your kids so your spouse can get a well-deserved break. My boys are now 10 and 12 and, even though the Rose Buds children’s program is used mainly by younger children, they enjoyed it enough to spend quite a bit of time with the group, taking ecotours in the lagoon, painting ceramics in the clubhouse, etc. After signing them in to Rose Buds once—at the start of our stay—I never had to leave my desk to sign them in or out again. They could come and go as they pleased—and, of course, they were old enough to wander around the resort on their own.
* Each guest gets a bike.
Each bungalow on the sprawling property is connected by winding “roads” designed for walking, biking, or riding in golf carts. This means you live in serene seclusion, yet there’s no long walk to wherever you need to go (e.g., the beach club, the spa, the sushi restaurant) because you can zip there by bike. Even when I had to work all day, I still got precious family time during our morning family bike rides to and from breakfast.
* The resort’s app saves you time.
Wherever you are on the property, you can use it to check the menus in the restaurants, order room service to be delivered at a particular time, or ask your butler (yes, butler) for help with whatever you need.
Now, I’m the first to acknowledge that Rosewood Mayakoba is a splurge. The price of an entry-level “room” (again, a freestanding bungalow with a view of water and palms) ranges from $465 in low season (July–September) to $675 in high season (approx. December 15–April 15). My family went in low season—specifically, August, when the weather was surprisingly lovely (breezy, with little rain, and not much hotter or more humid than New York City). The resort was kind enough to provide complimentary accommodations to my family; I paid our airfare, meals, activities, and other expenses. In keeping with my standard practice, there was no request for or expectation of coverage on Rosewood’s part, nor was anything promised on mine. This truly is one of my favorite resorts—for either a family or a romantic couple (it works equally well for either)—which is why I’m writing about it: I want to make sure you’re in the know. As mentioned, this was my third trip to the resort, so I feel confident I can give you a fair evaluation of the experience.
I have a lot more advice to share based on my trip, including why going in August is a smart idea (hint: it’s the perfect moment to swim and snorkel with whale sharks), so stay tuned, but meanwhile, if you have any questions, feel free to ask below.