Banyan Tree Mayakoba
How do you make a splash in a destination that’s already seen its share of It List hotels? Banyan Tree’s first foray into North America starts with an impressive 50-foot pagoda-style lobby; moves into Asian-meets-Mexican-style villas with outdoor pools, Jacuzzis, and rooftop terraces; and really delivers on the promise of an Asian property by staffing its spa only with Thai-trained therapists. Once we were suitably relaxed (who can resist an alfresco treatment?), a riverboat awaited to bring us through a lush mangrove forest to a stretch of powdery white sand.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.