The Mexican Caribbean has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world — so much so that when visitors come to the Riviera Maya they often forget to do one very important thing: turn around.
The bone-white, powder-soft sand and gently rolling turquoise waves are indeed special on the Riviera Maya. For many travelers, the beach is their favorite part of a Mexican Caribbean holiday.
But the Ventus Ha’ at Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort does things a little differently than most resorts, putting the focus not on the beach but on the lush mangrove forests. With their mesmerizing birds and wildlife, the canal-webbed forests are just as definitive of the Mexican Caribbean as the postcard-perfect sea it shares the canvas with.
The newest member of the all-inclusive El Cid Resorts family, the Ventus Ha’ sits on the same grounds as the already-established Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort and the Ventus at Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort.
The Ventus Ha’ features 150 rooms and suites that range from Junior Suites with one king bed and one queen Murphy bed to the expansive Three Bedroom Suite Platinum units.
Rooms at Ventus Ha’
The room I stayed in was a One Bedroom Suite Platinum, which featured a spacious living room, two balconies and a hammock. Platinum Club Level rooms have added amenities like complimentary lounge access, separate check-in and checkout, late checkout and butler service.
The design of the rooms as well as the public spaces is focused on the jungle aesthetic at the Ventus Ha’, with wooden accents, bamboo, stone and clay. Jungle-shrouded paths with footbridges over small creeks weave their way through the property.
Perhaps the most coveted space at the resort is its chic Rüf Bar. The only adults-only escape at the resort, the rooftop perch has its own private pool, Bali beds, a bar area with live DJs and private massage areas. The exclusive space is perfect for stealing away at a corner table to enjoy a crafted cocktail or a glass of wine and watch the sun slip down into the mangrove forest.
An illuminating meal
One of the ways Ventus Ha’ highlights the mangroves — and their role in the history and culture of the Mayans of the Yucatan Peninsula — is to host a Mayan dinner overlooking the canals, shrouded by jungle foliage. The dinner experience is more like dinner theater, with video projected across the tables and over the mangroves.
Each dish in the multicourse meal is paired with a story that tells legends and traditions of pre-Columbian Mexico. It’s an engaging experience where guests can chat with each other; learn a little bit more — and perhaps from a different perspective — about the Mexican Caribbean; and try lovely Mayan-inspired recipes. Tip: Don’t forget the bug spray.
Of course, not everything at the Ventus Ha’ is about the mangroves. Guests certainly have access to the beach and all of its amenities and activities. It’s a quick stroll over to the Ventus at Marina El Cid and Hotel Marina El Cid, both of which have beachfront real estate and multiple pools. Guests at the Ventus Ha’ can use all of those facilities at no additional charge.
Dining at Ventus Ha’ and beyond
Ventus Ha’ has five restaurants and bars open only to its guests. In addition to Rüf, my favorite was Aakat for its Ibero-American cuisine, which focuses on smoked and grilled meats. Kobo was also a lot of fun, particularly for groups or families who like the entertainment of a teppanyaki experience.
Whenever I visit El Cid Riviera Maya resorts, I love to make a reservation at Trattoria Di Gulio, the Italian restaurant at the Hotel Marina El Cid. The homemade pasta and pizzas are excellent.
Guests of Ventus Ha’ have access to a small, private gym on the property. The intimate space has free weights and cardio machines along with a few other pieces of fitness equipment. If guests want a more comprehensive workout, they’re welcome to use the larger gym at the Hotel Marina El Cid. They’ll find El Cocay Spa there, as well.
With so many places to explore and different settings to choose from, it’s easy to stay entertained at the Ventus Ha’. But at the end of the day, there was nothing I looked forward to more than zipping up to the rooftop for the chance to experience the less-appreciated Mexican Caribbean sunset over the mangroves.
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