I cross the threshold into the Maya underworld – and it’s a piece of pure heaven.
We’re in a cenote in Coba Maya, a natural underground pool sheltered from the sun, surrounded by beautifully formed stalagmites. In Mayan culture, they are considered energy centres, with healing properties.
A good job too. Our heads are a little hazy thanks to delicious Mexican Mezcal cocktails at Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen’s chic restaurant, The Grill at 1 26, the night before but crisp water – and a slippy clamber down dozens of steps – sorts us out.
Alltournative Ecoarchaelogical Expeditions guide Euridice explains the site’s spiritual significance before a pre-swim blessing, adding: “We are losing our heritage, we are losing our surnames.”
It’s an appreciation of the past that the new 314-room Grand Hyatt has taken to heart – and executed to perfection.
For those who don’t fancy venturing an hour's drive from the hotel, there’s a Cenote Spa within the luxurious base. Within a slate grey cone, too tall to peek into, a warm natural pool is inspired by the rejuvenating spirit of their natural cousins.
Meanwhile, the Mayan massage is a delight – a perfect pummelling with herbs, oils and scents.
It’s a sign of how the Grand Hyatt resort – metres from the throbbing La Quinta Avenida – combines sophistication with Mexican tradition.
On the action-packed strip there are signature cafes in a kaleidoscope of colours while at the hotel you’ll find a modern take with zesty turquoise upholstery and exposed wooden beams.
In the heart of Coba Maya trip you may climb the Nohoch Muul pyramid while at the hotel, this indigenous architecture is captured in the form of a striking fountain.
And in its trio of eateries, Grand Hyatt Playa’s fusion of tradition and modernity finds its fullest expression.
The Grill is perfect for a dressy date; the raw seafood bar El Paseo is ideal for a snack; and you’ll find yourself returning to Mexican market-style La Cocina for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Zingy taste sensations can be found in a plate of blackened salmon tacos – fish stuffed into charcoal coloured wraps – while a fillet of grouper and delicious pear tart on the chef’s table was light yet packed with flavour. And take a nightcap with “El Torro” - the lively head barman at al fresco El Paseo bar - as you watch the sun set.
Afterwards, my swish, modern room is an irresistible invitation for an early night, especially after a day spent swimming with whale sharks in Holbox.
For some, the water experience comes right to the door in the form of the impressive swim-up rooms. For others, the trio of infinity pools overlooking Mamitas Beach are a selfie paradise.
Grand Hyatt’s must-visit resort is a place you can enjoy the delights of modern Playa del Carmen in luxurious fashion while exploring the hidden, traditional treasures nearby.
Double Rooms at Grand Hyatt Playa start from 199$USD per room, per night on a room only basis excluding taxes. Price valid for bookings until August 31 and travel until October 31 2015.
Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen resort, 1a Avenida Esq Calle 26, Playa del Carmen.
British Airways flies from Gatwick to Cancun three times a week.
Fares start from £641 including taxes and charges.
Top 5 things at Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen
1. El Paseo raw seafood bar.
Just steps away from your room you’ll find creative selections of fish for an al fresco feast.
2. Mayan Bliss Massage at Cenote Spa
The entrance to the Mayan underworld is right on your doorstep - and inside you’ll find a truly relaxing massage.
3. Room facilities
Whether you opt for movie-star glam in the form of a room with a swim-up pool or a guestroom overlooking the Mangrove, all boast a signature Hyatt Grand Bed.
4. Beach baby
You won’t have to travel far to get your sandcastle fix as Grand Hyatt Playa sits right on the sand of Mamitas Beach with activities like sausage boats and windsurfing.
5. Special touches
Whether it’s the box of macaroons, selection of sweet treats at turndown time or a pair of Hyatt Grand sunglasses, daily gifts make the stay extra special.
Crazy about cenotes?
Then check out Alux Restaurant, just a 10-minute taxi ride from Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen.
It’s inside a natural cavern, so you can explore the underground treasures and build an appetite before tucking into fresh fish and meat, washed down with an almost obligatory Mezcal.