Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Located inside an 80-acre mangrove and jungle reserve, the all-inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Maya has an exotic, faraway feel within easy drive of Playa del Carmen and other Riviera Maya hot spots. Spread along a pristine, white-sand strand, the resort features both adult-only and family areas, and a range of room choices from tranquil Zen suites tucked in the tropical woods away from the beach to spacious oceanfront suites with private plunge pools and views across the water to the twinkling lights of Cozumel. Though the resort’s 75,000-square-foot spa is one of Mexico’s largest, the real treat at Grand Velas are the eight restaurants, which include Frida for veal osso buco in a molé de olla, Sen Lin for Asian fusion, and Cocina de Autor for Spanish-inspired molecular Mexican Caribbean cuisine. (We loved the liquid quesadilla, a blue corn tortilla with quesillo cheese that accompanies an intensely flavored mushroom soup, seasoned with the wild epazote herb.)
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.