DESTINATIONS: PASSPORT TO ROMANCE

Romance doesn’t have to end—or start—with the honeymoon. Resorts around the world are ramping up their offerings for couples, reinventing what it means to have a vacation with your other half. It’s no longer just couples massages and beds covered with rose petals (though there’s plenty of that, too). It’s also about cultural immersion, culinary experiences and sublime relaxation. Here, we present five resorts that are redefining romance.

By Jenna Scatena

Mahekal Beach Resort

Playa del Carmen, Mexico 

Situated between the lush greenery of the Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen’s longest beach sits Mahekal Beach Resort, a laid-back Caribbean paradise with a name that means “magical” in ancient Mayan. Hidden stone pathways meander through palm trees and tropical foliage, leading to nearly 200 palapa-style bungalows, some with personal plunge pools and outdoor moon showers. But it’s not just nature that draws guests to Mahekal; Mexican architect Hilda Espino designed the boho-chic interiors in partnership with event designer Todd Fiscus, whose clients include Tom Ford and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Best For: Getting engaged. The designated “Amor Aficionados” can help plan the perfect proposal, whether you need stealth paparazzi, a “Marry Me” margarita garnished with a glittering diamond, a “Take the Plunge” underwater diving proposal or an idea entirely of your creation.

Peak Romance: Splurge on the penthouse, which features a terrace outfitted with personal hammocks and a private outdoor shower. And don’t miss the Revive Spa to indulge in indigenous-inspired wellness treatments.

Go: In the spring, when temperatures are pleasantly mild, flight rates are more affordable and it’s no longer “rainy season.”

Play: Mahekal has plenty of activity packages to keep you entertained. Among many perks, the “Moon Over Mahekal” experience includes a “Once in a Blue Moon” snorkel trip with the Vida Aquática Dive Center on-property.

Eat: Don’t miss the new Mayan Culinary Casita, where Mayan chefs prepare traditional fare over a fire pit inside a thatched-roof hut. For some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted, head to Mahekal’s oceanfront restaurant and bar, Fuego. Twice a week, as part of the resort’s “Catch of the Day“ program, local fishermen dock their boats on property to display their recent catches. Guests can hand-pick their selection, which will then be prepared at the restaurant for lunch or dinner. Romantic tip: Request to have a private, multicourse dinner on the beach.

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