Belmond Legends: Maroma

Words by Belmond Editors

Belmond Legends: Maroma

A woman carries a round tray of drinks and unusual glasses on her right shoulder as she wades through waist-high ocean water.

Anchored in the grounds of Mayan legends, our hideaway between jungle and sea has enchanted the beachfront of the Riviera Maya for decades. Welcome to Maroma, now opened to stage the stories of tomorrow.


In the beginning, there was only stillness and silence; water beneath an endless sky. According to Mayan legend, the feathered creators of the sea and heavens called the world into being by name—first manifesting the mountains, plants and trees, and then the animals and the birds. Finally, they sought to create humanity—a people capable of giving worship.

They tried, and failed, to create creatures of mud and wood, before finding success in creating man out of maize: beings who were curious explorers, who could love the land and its creatures and offer thanks. From this beginning, thousands of Mayan myths and rituals were sewn into the lands of the Yucatán and Quintana Roo.

Centuries passed, and an architect named Jose Luis Moreno arrived in Cancún from Mexico City. It was the mid 1970’s and there were few hotels in the area; the terminal of the airport still had a thatched roof. He fell in love with the Riviera Maya and built a restaurant between the jungle and sea. Over the years he would add rooms and suites to accommodate his friends and family; never using blueprints, he instead opted for free-flowing designs sketched into the sand. Maroma was born as the first hotel in the Riviera Maya, using the best of Mexican craft and materials, and established itself as the heart of this magical coastal stretch.


As the years passed, Maroma developed an international allure: an idyllic beachfront sanctuary where guests could reconnect with nature while soaking up heartfelt Mayan hospitality. When approaching the redesign, interior architect Tara Bernerd sought to retain and enhance the natural beauty of the space and find ways to let its intrinsic spirit shine. Working with local artisans, they sought to inject a contemporary elegance but a warmth that would instil a sense of home. They drew inspiration from traditional hacienda-style living to create spaces that felt relaxed and tranquil while framing spectacular views, using indigenous design that embraces the identity of the location.

All construction materials—the wood, stone, iron and ceramic—were sourced from Mexico. Tara found design elements from the Riviera Maya but also from surrounding areas of Mexico. Handwoven textiles from Chiapas and Oaxaca, hand-painted clay from Puebla, and terracotta tiles from artisans in Guadalajara. Moreno’s original restaurant echoes through to today’s Casa Mayor, where original features are preserved and highlighted against colourful locally-woven fabrics. Statement pieces, such as chandeliers in certain guest spaces, were designed with shells and indigenous ingredients to honour the ‘tinklers’ of ancient Mayan dance costumes.


Built upon a mythical heritage and deeply rooted in the locality, Maroma is set to stage the legends of tomorrow. Some are just beginning their first chapters: Woodend, the new restaurant from Australian chef Curtis Stone, has a focus on exceptional seafood cooked over an open flame. Maroma Spa by Guerlain combines the resort’s history of Mayan wellness philosophy with Guerlain’s savoir-faire, infusing the pampering menu with new therapies including sound and healing rituals. Alongside long-time favourite Freddy’s Bar, Bambuco is another new bar that invites travellers into a playful, vibrant Mexican space for an unforgettable sundowner.

And with all that’s new, there’s also a focus on preserving the essential; a responsibility and conservatorship of the region that has bestowed us with so much wonder. Artwork throughout the resort has been sourced from Mexican artists; a showcase of the contemporary talent blossoming in the country. Maroma is also continuing its work with local organisations Fundación Selva Maya and Mayahuum to protect the endangered Melipona bee, the stingless bee which was sacred to the Mayan people. With Guerlain’s help, they’ve expanded their on-resort colony while supporting preservation initiatives across the Yucatan. This combination of past, present and future is the lifeblood of Maroma, ensuring the magic of the Riviera Maya remains for future generations.

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