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Zöetry Paraiso de la Bonita Resort & Thalasso–Puerto Morelos

Carretera Chetumal — Cancun Km 328, SM 31,Bahía Petempich

The vision of a globe–trotting Mexican architect, all–inclusive Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita is an intimate villa–style spa retreat with a wellness focus.

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita resort

Set on 14 acres overlooking the pristine waters of Puerto Morelos National Marine Park, Zoetry (sometimes listed as Zöetry) Paraiso de la Bonita is just 20 minutes from the Canc?n International Airport but feels a world away from the glitz of the hotel zone. Flanked by a protected mangrove reserve on one side and the Caribbean on the other, it makes the most of its natural setting by offering seclusion, holistic spa treatments and healthy cuisine.

The Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita service experience begins at the airport, where guests are whisked into a plush Lincoln Navigator or Mercedes van kitted out with chilled towels. Upon arrival, check–in takes place in your suite or the library lounge where antiques, artwork and snapshots of the owners' friends and celebrity guests (Dustin Hoffman, Ricky Martin and Heidi Klum to name a few) create the sense you're at a wealthy friend's villa rather than a hotel. The resort's layout is Mexican hacienda–style with the lobby, library, restaurants, Hippo's Bar and other public areas surrounding a central courtyard featuring two carved statues of Balinese dogs, a gift shop and the sprawling pool area. The 90 low–rise villas stretch north along the beach while the Thalasso Center spa and fitness facilities anchor the south.

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita suites

Each of the suites are named for the owners' favorite places around the globe, and decorated accordingly, but with a light touch that doesn't significantly alter the Mediterranean finishes of cream stucco, dark wood beams and stone tile floors. For example, Durban sports a leopard–print bedspread (more tasteful than it sounds), while Monaco evokes French Mediterranean with rich chintz. The eclectic style could be a bit jarring were it not for the expansive views of the Caribbean and lush gardens filled with mature palm trees, flowering shrubs and native Yucatan vegetation. The themed décor doesn't extend to the bathrooms, which have a separate shower and two–person marble sunken tub, stylish his–and–hers sinks, a bidet, and Bvlgari toiletries. Some bathrooms have indoor gardens while the honeymoon suites include an al fresco jungle shower.

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita

Standard suites are similar in layout, with sea views and separate living rooms with a desk and sofa. Several ground–floor rooms have private plunge pools, rather than large terraces. The two–bedroom suites are especially spacious and differ from other resorts in that each bedroom is large enough to be considered a master, making them suitable for two couples traveling together. All villas are equipped with Do Not Disturb gates but guests seeking extra privacy should choose suites at the north end of the resort (staff offer shuttle service via golf cart upon request).

In addition to in–room dining, Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita has three excellent restaurants: El Chiringuito a casual grill at the water's edge, Kaax featuring Mexican cuisine plus Sikil sushi/ceviche bar, and La Canoa, a candlelit formal restaurant offering international cuisine. The recent arrival of Executive Chef Antonio Torres, who embraces the philosophy of "green cuisine," means you'll see plenty of fresh herbs from the resort's organic garden as well as a focus on big flavors and unprocessed local ingredients.

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita view of the Riviera Maya

As part of the resort's commitment to Healthy Eating Choices, the menu displays the calorie, carb and fat content of each dish. Gluten–free and vegetarian options are the most extensive of all–inclusive resorts in this region. The focus on healthy eating doesn't mean you can't order a platter of nachos, grilled lamb chop or a burger with all the fixins' — they're available assuming you can overlook the calorie count. The wood–fired pizzas are highly recommended. All food is ordered a la carte. There's no buffet line in sight, so keep this in mind if you're in a hurry.

The most eye–catching feature of the resort is the curvaceous, indigo–blue swimming pool ringed with palm trees. Towel service here and on the beach is top–notch with attendants ready to set you up comfortably with a shade umbrella on a double–wide lounger or Bali bed. Although the pool is too shallow for laps, it's more popular than the wide beach, as the water is a bit murky with sea grass. Although Zöetry Paraiso de la Bonita caters to couples, it's not an adult–only property so don't be surprised to see children around. But with no kid's club, playground, or tot menu, it's not top of list for young families.

What really sets Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita apart from other all–inclusive resorts on the Riviera Maya are the inclusions. The resort is part of AMResorts, operating a collection of resort properties under the brands of Zoetry, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now, and Sunscapes in Mexico, Jamaica, Cura?ao and the Dominican Republic. They coined the term "Endless Privileges" to describe their all–inclusive package of thrice–daily maid service, 24–hour in–room dining, and life enrichment experiences. This means that unlike many spa resorts, wellness classes are included in your room rate. And while some resorts may offer a token yoga class or two, here you'll get daily classes offered by a teacher accredited in Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga techniques. Other inclusions are meditation walks, ceramics painting, temazcal sweat lodge ceremonies led by a Mayan shaman, wine and tequila tastings, hands–on cooking classes, and more. Although some activities, such as private snorkeling and scuba diving tours, come with an additional charge, most do not. Upon check–in you'll receive an activity listing, sorted by Mind, Body, Spirit, and Nature to choose from. Book early for the popular sunset tour or trip to Puerto Morelos via 48–foot luxury catamaran departing from the onsite Marina la Bonita.

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita pool

One of the most attractive features of Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita is the Thalasso Center, a European–style spa using natural seawater, seaweed, mud and marine algae. The first Thalassotherapy spa in Mexico, the facility offers an indoor Jacuzzi circuit, steam room and seawater pool overlooking the Caribbean. A compact but well–equipped gym completes the wellness center. The spa menu includes specialized hydrotherapy treatments, massage, mani–pedis, and high–end anti–aging treatments with esteemed lines such as Valmont and Natura Bissé. Prices reflect the quality of these products. Unlimited access to the Thalasso seawater pool is included as part of Endless Privileges.

While competitive in size, amenities and service with nearby Maroma Resort & Spa or Esencia, Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita will appeal to travelers looking for an all–inclusive experience, plenty of wellness options, and original, handcrafted décor in a natural garden setting.

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Total Number of Rooms: 90
Published rates: $424 to $1878 per person, per night all–inclusive depending on season

Original review by Zora O'Neill, updates and photos by Michele Peterson

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