Words and photos: Katie Kearney
After the high of the PGA Championship in my hometown of St. Louis, I needed a cool down and recovery. Logically, I hopped on a plane for Mexico’s, Riviera Maya. Nestled in between the lavish resorts of Cancun and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum is the magical destination of Riviera Maya. Atop an underground river, lost among deep, dark cenotes and unspoiled rain forest, you will find Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an, a luxury five-star resort and residence. At just 50 miles from Cancun International Airport and 15 miles from Playa del Carmen, sits this tropical and golf club deep in the Mayan jungle.
From the moment I stepped out of the shuttle, the welcome felt warm and sincere. From the receptionist, to the bartenders, the golf pros, the butlers. And yes, you have butlers. Plural. I was greeted by Paola, my smiling face butler, almost instantly. She was setting up aromatherapy in my kitchenette and offering me different pillow options. I’ve never seen so many options for pillows in my life. You will undoubtedly feel like a king, or queen, staying at this property.
I was given a beautiful suite perfectly in sync with nature complete with luxury space, privacy and large garden jacuzzi. Post round at Riviera Maya Golf Club, my butler, Paola, prepared whimsical bath complete with rose petals and a delicious full-bodied red. The perfect ending to a challenging day on the course.
Riviera Maya Golf Club, an impressive 27-hole Robert Trent Johns II design in the heart of the Tulum jungle captures golfers around the world and for good reason.
“Riviera Maya Golf Club plays easy for the beginner golfer and difficult for the most expert,” says Director of Golf, Alberto Rodriquez, the cheerful, smiling face of Riviera Maya Golf Club.
There’s nothing quite like playing golf in the middle of a lush jungle as iguanas’ slither across the cart path, or as I like to call them, the squirrels of the Mexico. As we drove past bright yellow signage that read “cuidado,” Spanish for beware, and a prominent photo of a crocodile with sharp, jagged teeth, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder at every bunker shot and water drop. Yes, this course is challenging.
Come October, Riviera Maya Golf Club opens its doors to host the Bahia Principe Golf Open where the best golfers in world gather for one of the most important tournaments in the Riviera Maya. Hole in one prizes are given on the signature hole 15, a pleasant par three off an elevated tee over a natural lake. Past hole in one prizes have included a condo at the luxurious Bahia Principe Residences and a BMW. I happened to play the infamous hole with a colleague. She was just two feet short from a hole in one. As it was her third round ever, there’s hope to be had to drive all the way home from Mexico in a fancy new sports car.
Just imagine if it had gone in.
“So, how was your trip to Mexico?”
“Great! Made an ace and won a condo.”