This was my very first introduction to what a luxury sustainable or regenerative vacation even meant. To say that Playa Viva is the most sustainable luxury hotel in all of Mexico, is an understatement. The Owner, Management and staff take extra care when it comes to persevering the local heritage, culture, flora and fauna. With opportunities for guests to be involved with cultural and environmental activities, Playa Viva sets the bar with how sustainable luxury hotels should function. And if guests would prefer to stay put at the peaceful resort, then all they would need to do (if they choose), is add a few school supplies to their suitcase that the staff can then deliver to the local elementary schools in Juluchuca. It’s a do-good-feel-good experience at Playa Vista, and one that no one should miss out on should they choose to visit Mexico.
Below is a picture of me painting a local school as part of an off-site activity. But again, if you’re only keen on staying at the resort, you can opt for releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean, which the resort does every morning, or if they find lost baby sea turtles on the beach. If the staff and guests don’t release them, then they face the major issue of being swooped up by hawks or eaten by stray dogs. Aside from the sustainable aspect of the hotel, or should I say, regenerative , the villas and common areas are just stunning. It’s a bit of a rustic, island vibe feel but yet you’re immersed in peaceful and natural sophistication and privacy. Each villa is carefully made and boasts a beautiful vanity and living space using only natural and organic wood and materials. The common area is filled with books, a uniquely designed pool that overlooks the ocean, as well as a yoga studio. If you’re someone who enjoys Yoga, I’d highly recommend their retreats!
The food though is out of this world. They’re willing to work with guests on their dietary restrictions, but tasting the abundance of fresh food, homemade tortillas, chili sauce and basil margaritas, is definitely a must. There’s no shortage of natural produce, dairy or meats when they source it all from their own garden and local farms. They have outdoor movie night and massages that are truly amazing.
The overall rating that I gave Playa Viva is a 10/10.
What I loved: From being not only sustainable, but close to 100% regenerative, to the luxurious elements, to the staff, food, and everything in between, Playa Viva is high on my list. It’s my goal to go back and if you travel to Mexico and don’t stay at Playa Viva at least once, you’re missing out! This place is just wonderful.
What Set It Back: Nothing. But note that if you’re handicapped, it might be a bit of a challenge since, not being your traditional hotel, there are no elevators and the cabanas are perched up above. This type of hotel is for your traveler that loves a bit of a rugged experience without having to leave most of their comforts behind.
Overall: The best, most sustainable luxury hotel to stay in within the Maldives. Perhaps even more so than their sister hotel, Soneva Jani (also in the Maldives).
What makes a sustainable or regenerative hotel? A reverse osmosis water system, farm to table produce, supporting local dairy and meat farmers, engaging with local non-profit or community organization endeavors to address an issue within the country or community, energy efficient lighting, low pressure water systems, recycling, employing locals and offering fair and equal pay, replanting what was lost during the construction, use of biofuel (for boats), engaging guests in local cultural experiences and making them aware of environmental and cultural needs, LEED Certification, educating staff on importance of sustainability (turning off lights, observing for wasteful practices, etc.), reducing bathroom amenities waste (using bamboo toothbrushes instead, locally made/organic soap, shampoo and conditioner that help the environment), the list goes on.