The premiere of The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai introduces a completely new concept of laidback luxury to the Caribbean coastline, combining unparalleled dining and entertainment, services and amenities with the unique traditions and tastes of the famed locale
Created by Ian Schrager as a result of a partnership between Ian Schrager and Marriott International, the EDITION brand has become synonymous with individualized, customized, and one-of-a-kind hospitality experiences, and The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai is yet another example of Schrager’s visionary magic.
Situated within a 620-acre nature reserve with two miles of pristine white-sand beachfront, the property rises up from a forest of mangroves and tropical flora. Set within Kanai, a new luxury resort community in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the latest EDITION was designed with a minimal construction and environmental footprint to protect and preserve the area renowned for its mangroves, lagoons, ancient Mayan cities, tropical beaches and the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second-largest coral reef.
Abundant with rainforest plants, palms, cacti, tropical fruit trees and flowers, and home to iguanas, raccoons, spider monkeys, deer, anteaters, indigenous white-nose coatis, Yucatan squirrels and hundreds of species of birds, Kanai is a nature-lover’s paradise. The turquoise waters of Riviera Maya are also home to flourishing marine life including sea turtles, which are protected both by the Mexican government and the property’s comprehensive conservation program, which to date has hosted 12 nests, each containing an average of 120 eggs.
Designed to be in harmony with its surroundings and local culture, whilst also making an architectural statement, the resort takes inspiration from the ancient Mayans’ concept of the universe. Encompassing the heavens, the earth, and the magical realm below, this tri-level world is embodied in the unique native elements of the land as well as the architectural structures. One of the region’s most famous natural wonders is the cenote, a sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock, exposing groundwater, that was thought by the Mayans to be a gateway to the world below. Formed when an asteroid hit the land some 65 million years ago, this near-perfect ring of rock formations and turquoise freshwater is the largest connection of underground caves in the world, both a sacred water source for the ancient Mayans and an attraction for modern-day adventure seekers. As guests approach the property via a three-mile road that winds its way through the lush mangroves and verdant natural vegetation, the outside world fades away.
The timber-covered exterior walls of the property come into view, appearing to rise from the forest, then vanish again as guests continue down a gentle slope, sinking below the tree line to the root level, nearly touching the water. At the property’s entrance, water meets jungle and guests alight below a tunnel of greenery, gazing up at the terrestrial world through the leaves. This leads to a grand travertine staircase, ushering guests back up to land in an almost ceremonial fashion, where they’re immediately greeted by a view of the ocean and vast expanses of water in the massive reflecting pools flanking the lobby. Beyond the lobby, an oversized lagoon-like swimming pool continues the water concept, seemingly bringing the ocean into the hotel, complete with floating cabanas. Meanwhile, a meandering white sand path connects the main buildings to the SO’OL Beach Club, home to a second outdoor pool with an infinity edge.
With interiors by Ian Schrager Company in collaboration with architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, and architecture by Edmonds International, the three main buildings that make up the resort converge in the architectural equivalent of a cenote. A massive rippling bamboo structure, designed by Eduardo Neira, seems to rise from the water and funnel back down into it. This striking structure serves as the resort’s dedicated yoga space as well as a visual and spiritual centerpiece anchoring the terrestrial world and the realm below it, while also drawing the eye towards the sky and stars above. The undulating walls of the surrounding limestone buildings mimic the seismic ripple that occurred when the ancient asteroid hit the earth. Everywhere, the natural materials that make up the structures – local limestone and sustainable bamboo – seamlessly coexist with the lush mangroves, where the architecture takes guests on a journey of discovery and wonder at every turn. Playing with scale and dimensions, what could be an ordinary hallway becomes an extraordinary experience, as walls narrow and widen, curve and straighten to lead to various spaces. Paths rise and fall above and below the greenery, and EDITION’s signature timbers cast visual shadows across courtyards as the sun moves through the sky from day to night.
The property boasts 182 guestrooms, including 30 suites, with numerous rooms featuring plunge pools and terraces that provide stunning ocean or mangrove views. Additionally, it offers a one-of-a-kind Sky Rooftop Villa - the largest hotel penthouse in North America. The classic neutral EDITION palette within the property’s rooms and suites, uses materials that pull in the embroidery and patterning techniques from the region to ensure that the local culture is honored throughout. In every guestroom, light and airy materials and colors create a calm oasis. Slatted wood paneling, reminiscent of the screens in the lobby but on a finer and more delicate scale, enclose the large bathrooms, entered through 5-foot-wide sliding doors, ensuring the bath and living spaces flow into one another. Custom four-poster beds, bespoke lighting, nightstands and a curved sofa create an intimate sleeping area and allow the furniture to segment the large-scale space and create softness.
The Sky Rooftop Villa presents a 2,500 sqm/27,000 sqft super suite featuring unmatched ocean views through floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides, with a mid-Olympic-size outdoor infinity pool, and an expansive landscaped entertainment deck. 1,486 sqm/16,000 sqft of interior space presents a living area, catering kitchen, guest kitchen, and five apartmentlike suites each with their own plunge pool, jacuzzi and private terrace. In the Sky Rooftop Villa, the lounge area of each suite contains plush, contemporary furniture, natural stone floors, sheer drapery and a natural fiber handwoven area rug. The flexible living and entertainment area is flanked by integrated grand reflecting pools with an infinity edge, giving the appearance of a penthouse floating on water. An expansive covered outdoor terrace, accessed through full height sliding glass doors, transforms the floor into a space for large private events. An adjacent uncovered terrace of the same size leads to an outdoor raised private swimming pool with an infinity edge creating a waterfall on one end, while a sunken garden lounge on the prow of the pool deck boasts views out to the ocean.
Within this magical ecosystem of nature and sustainable luxury, EDITION presents culinary experiences unlike any others, envisioned by award-winning chefs Francisco “Paco” Ruano and Tomás Bermúdez, two of Mexico’s most acclaimed and youngest chef-restaurateurs. Each recognized by World’s 50 Best, having made their mark on the international dining scene with their signature restaurants Alcalde and La Docena respectively, Ruano and Bermúdez bring a heightened level of excitement and quality to The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai.
Helming EDITION’s signature restaurant, KI’IS (a Mayan word that translates to “zest”), Chef Ruano creates a modern Mexico dining experience with a tasting menu inspired by regional flavors, local ingredients, and a clear focus on the sea and the Mexican vegetable pantry, especially that of the Yucatan Peninsula. His talent earned Alcalde a spot on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and the honor of being named to The Best Chef Top 100 list. Honoring flavors from Guadalajara and taking inspiration from Mexico’s Pacific coast, KI’IS mirrors Alcalde’s culinary offer with ingredients found in the Riviera Maya. The restaurant itself is located on the south side of the property, accessible by golf cart or walking paths, surrounded by mangroves. Beyond the timber and limestone structure, the interior of KI’IS projects a clean and light aesthetic enhanced with white artisanal ceramics and serve ware and punctuated with greenery and local flora, both edible and decorative.
With his concept for EDITION’s beach club restaurant, SO’OL (meaning “oyster” in Mayan), Chef Bermúdez brings cuisine reminiscent of a Mediterranean beach club with Mexican influence. The casual beachfront venue focuses on seafood with southern France and eastern Mediterranean inspiration, featuring fresh oysters, clams, aguachiles and raw fish from the best catch in the Mexican seas. Bermúdez’s four La Docena restaurants have been named to Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list, bringing even more anticipation to EDITION with the debut of SO’OL. Adjacent to the beach club and pool is a private pier, featuring 10 lounge-style cabanas with direct access to the ocean.
The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai also features Kitchen at EDITION, an all-day dining experience concepted by Ruano with a breakfast-into-brunch menu as well as dinner. Accessible beyond the lobby bar and overlooking the nearby pool and ocean, the nods to local cuisine, culture and textures come together here with colorful tiles, pottery and textiles, and classic Mexican dishes as well as a selection of shellfish and ceviches, and the famous Yucatan street-style stew: cochinita. Kitchen offers a connection to the roots of honest Mexican flavors from north to south, from east to west, from sea to land. Comfort food with an adventurous character.
Between Kitchen and the Lobby Bar is a captivating black-and white photo display featuring 80 images extracted from authentic film strips by Gabriel Figueroa, a renowned Mexican cinematographer from the golden age of Mexican cinema. In the Lobby, guests will recognize brand signatures such as soaring, three-story windows with floor-to-ceiling crimson drapes intermingled with pops of citron and pink and a warmly lit wood and plaster double height backbar which showcases a grid of unique Mayan sculptures and vessels behind the statement bar. The design creates an intimate and energetic environment with burnt orange, citrus and chocolate fabric armchairs and sofas to enjoy a range of agave distillates, regional wines and inventive cocktails infused with local ingredients, and to socialize before and after dinner.
Completing EDITION’s category-defying, influence-driven food and beverage offerings is the Pool Bar. Flanking the lagoon-sized Pool and adjacent to the main lobby building, the bar offers a health-conscious selection of food items. A calmer alternative to the SO’OL bar, the Pool Bar is a wide oasis of sun-soaked warmth at the heart of The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai.
Of equal importance is The Spa, located in the main lobby building, next to the fitness center. Echoing the cenote inspired architecture, the central spa lounge sits directly beneath the bamboo yoga dome structure and water landscape, so guests can look up through the glass ceiling at the terrestrial world above. Curving hallways patrons on a delightful discovery journey to the hydrotherapy pools, a private outdoor pool, a Turkish hammam and infrared capsule room. Centered on local florals and aromatics and with a focus on wellness, mindfulness, customization and one-on-one connection with its therapists and aestheticians, The Spa offers six indoor-outdoor treatment rooms (including a couple’s suite) named after local white flowers: Buganvilla, Alheli, Pasiflora, Hibiscus, Ololiuqui and Achiote. Partner brands include 111 Skin, Ayuna Skincare and Mowellens. As for the local touch, massages will be enhanced with a custom mousse, a blend infused with The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai exclusive essential oils, synergies, and Bach flowers to follow the floral concept.
The resort also includes a Ballroom nestled amidst the mangroves, providing an ideal setting for meetings and events accommodating up to 450 guests across 980sqm/10,545 sqft. The venue is bathed in natural light and features expansive terraces offering sea views. It can be partitioned into three smaller areas and comes equipped with cutting-edge multimedia technology and floor-to-ceiling glass. The space is versatile, ready to seamlessly transform for various occasions, ranging from a glamorous wedding to a corporate shareholders’ meeting. Additionally, the main building of the resort houses three smaller studios suitable for private board meetings.
Integral to The Riviera Maya EDITION at Kanai experience, sustainability and ecology are at the forefront of every aspect, from the careful preservation of the surrounding red mangroves to the protection of and respectful coexistence with local flora and fauna. The developed land comprises less than 10% of the 620-acre reserve, and the resort operations strive for the highest possible environmental and sustainable practices certified by and in compliance with the Mexican government.
The Riviera Maya at Kanai EDITION is now open in preview. The hotel offers an exclusive opening preview rate, available for a limited time only. Room rates start from $637 (excluding tax and fees) per room per night, inclusive of $100 resort credit. Terms and conditions apply.