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Andaz Mayakoba Review – Is Open Kitchen/ All-inclusive package worth it?

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Andaz Mayakoba - How safe is Mexico now
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Andaz Mayakoba is an upscale family resort located very close to Playa del Carmen in Riviera Maya. Recently they started offering their open kitchen plan making them a newest all-inclusive resort in Mayakoba! In this post, I wanted to share with you my honest Andaz Mayakoba review based on our recent 5-day stay at the hotel. Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored by Andaz or anyone else, and we paid for the stay at this resort ourselves.

If you’re new to this blog, hi, we are Liza and Jose, a millennial couple based in London, UK. Jose (long for Pepe) was born and raised in Mexico; hence, as you can imagine, we travel to Mexico quite often. This year was our third time visiting Cancun & Riviera Maya, and this time, we also managed to stay in Playa del Carmen for a bit longer. Interested in more posts about Mexico? Check our Mexico blog posts category!

Here’s what you can expect to find in this post:

Without further ado, let’s get started!

You can check prices and availability of Andaz Mayakoba here!

Where is Andaz Mayakoba located, and who is it for?

Andaz Mayakoba is located in Mayakoba, a commercial eco-reserve very close to Playa del Carmen in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Mayakoba consists of 4 luxury hotels: Fairmont Mayakoba, Rosewood Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Andaz Mayakoba.

Andaz is part of the Hyatt group, and it’s also the smallest and the newest resort in Mayakoba. It’s not as expensive as Rosewood or Banyan tree and unlike other resorts in Mayakoba, it offers an open kitchen (all-inclusive package). We’ll talk about the open kitchen package a bit later!

When we first looked at the photos of Andaz on Expedia (btw make sure to check my review of Expedia Rewards loyalty program and whether it’s worth being Expedia Gold member or not), we thought that it’s a small luxury resort targeted mostly at young couples.

However, young couples were only about 25% of Andaz guests – I would say 50% were families with young children and other 25% – older couples and solo travellers.

Andaz Mayakoba layout: lagoon rooms and beach area. Is the beach at Andaz very far?

It’s worth mentioning that while Andaz isn’t a large resort, it’s located on a massive territory and split into 2 distinctive areas: beach area and lobby area. These two areas are located very far from each other. By very far, I mean 10 minutes cycling or good 30 minutes walking. Luckily, you can also wait for a golf cart that would drive you to another part of the resort in about 5-6 minutes.

The rooms located close to reception are either standard rooms or lagoon view rooms. They, however, have the advantage of being close to 2 restaurants: Cocina Milagro, where the breakfast is served and Casa Amate. Also, the main pool is located in this area as well as 2 mini-jacuzzis. The main pool is actually heated in winter, which was totally unexpected and pretty incredible.

Because of the distance and the fact that the beach in Andaz is very far from the lagoon, we decided to pay a bit more and stay around the beach area. That was definitely the best decisions as we spent most of our time in this area.

Review of Andaz Mayakoba rooms and amenities

The rooms in Andaz Mayakoba are pretty modern and nice. Nothing luxurious inside the rooms, but the terraces are amazing. Our terrace was facing a bit of the lagoon despite being just 3 minutes away from the beach (walking). On the terrace, you have a table with 2 chairs and a very nice sofa, so it’s a wonderful place to sit and relax.

In the room, you have a mini-bar and all the standard amenities.

As for the resort, it doesn’t have that much apart from a spa, gym, parking a private beach. However, other amenities like a golf course and water sports (diving etc.) are shared with other resorts in Mayakoba and are accessible with an extra fee.

Restaurants at Andaz Mayakoba

Andaz Mayakoba has 5 restaurants. Only one, however, is open for breakfast: Cocina Milagro. Cocina Milagro also serves lunch and dinner, however, it’s probably our least favourite restaurant as I got food poisoning after eating a ceviche there. We were also surprised by the service, as the reaction of the waiter (when we told them that we got fish poisoning the previous day from eating at Cocina Milagro) was: “Okay, do you want a tea or something?”.

Casa del Pulpo is an equivalent of Cocina Milagro on the beach: they serve all-day food and dinner as well. They also cater to all the beach menu (yes, you can order food while being on the beach, which is pretty amazing and there the service is amazing). The waiters on the beach were the best of all the waiters at the resort.

Then there is VB or Vegan bar – they serve lunch and amazing smoothies. Lunch was a bit underwhelming, while smoothies were superb.

The last two restaurants are only open for dinner and require a reservation: Casa Amate and Sotavento. Sotavento had a unique location on the beach and was very lovely, however, 90% of the dishes are not included in the all-inclusive plan. Casa Amate had really amazing food, the best we’ve tried at Andaz for sure. It was so good that we went there twice.

Is all-inclusive at Andaz Mayakoba worth it?

Andaz Mayakoba calls its all-inclusive package an “open kitchen package”. However, on Expedia and Booking.com it’s featured as all-inclusive which is definitely a bit misleading.

You are asked to leave large tips

Each time after you consume something, you are presented with a check, where you are asked to sign it and leave a suggested tip of 18-22%.

That is the first time we’ve seen such large suggested tips at the all-inclusive hotels and that’s something we don’t agree with. Even more because we already paid another service charge of 10% that was mandatory and it was included in the hotel price. That 10% service charge also goes to tips of all the staff.

We had a chat with one of the waiters and they told us that these 18-22% tips also don’t go directly to the waiter – they are distributed among all the waiters and Andaz withholds a commission or some other fee as well. When we heard that, we obviously stopped giving the 18% tips and were instead giving cash to the waiters who gave us great service!

Drinks are confusing

It took us 4 days to figure out what is included in our package and what is not. It’s very confusing and you need to ask waiters and remind them each time that you have an all-inclusive package. All the special cocktails are not included. However, if you ask the waiters to replace the main liquor in the cocktail for a different liquor that is included in the open kitchen package, then it’s included. However, not all the cocktails can be adjusted, so it’s always a mess.

Some dishes are not included in the all-inclusive plan

Some of the dishes in Casa Amate and 90% of the dishes in Sotavento are actually not included in the open kitchen package and require a supplement fee.

It’s not really worth it unless you eat in Casa Amate every day and drink a lot

Open Kitchen package at Andaz is quite expensive and we calculated that we actually consumed less than what we have paid for the all-inclusive. Unless you eat a lot and you ask for the most expensive dishes, as well drink a lot of alcohol, it’s really not worth it.

Swimming pool at Andaz Mayakoba

Andaz Mayakoba review: our impressions and verdict

We really enjoyed our stay at Andaz Mayakoba and our highlights were definitely the area on the beach (Andaz had the most comfortable sunbeds out of all the resorts I’ve ever visited) and amazing service and food on the beach; dining in Casa Amate and overall ambience at the hotel.

However, I managed to have food poisoning at Cocina Milagro, which was definitely a low light.

As for the all-inclusive / open-kitchen package, I don’t think it was worth it for us – so I would recommend paying only for a breakfast rate unless you eat a lot and drink a lot of alcohol!

Some other posts you might find useful:

Cancun vs Riviera Maya: where to go on holiday

Driving to San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato

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