If you're looking for a getaway to some sun and beach, definitely check out Playa del Carmen and the Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel.
Playa del Carmen is in between Cancun and Tulum about an hour away from each making it a perfect place to stay in the Riviera Maya.
The Mayakoba is a kind of luxury resort complex with the following hotels and residences: Andaz Hotel, Banyan Tree, Fairmont Hotel, and Rosewood Hotels. It's a great concept because they share certain resources like tennis courts, restaurants, and a bike trail. They provide a shuttle service to and from each resort.
The Banyan Tree is a great luxury resort where guests get their own villa complete with a small, private pool.
The rooms are big with their own bikes so you can cycle around to the beach, the gym, to breakfast.
The breakfast buffet is great with everything Mexican you can think of - chilaquiles, quesadillas, Mexican coffee, etc. However, at $40 per person plus tax, service charge, etc., it'll easily come out to $100 for two people. You can order a la carte from the menu.
Saffron, their Thai restaurant, is definitely a must. I'm usually very skeptical of eating at non-local restaurants at hotels but the Thai food here was delicious with great ambience. And it had better be great because the prices are out of control. Pad thai can go for around $30 a plate!
The beach is nice and feels very private since when we went it wasn't that crowded. We opted to get into the water in front of the Fairmont Hotel beach just because it was a little less rocky there. The water was blue, warm, and soft. You can take walks along the beach and visit the beachfronts of other hotels along the Riviera Maya. Banyan Tree offered free kayaks and paddle boards for use while at the beach.
And obviously, if you prefer the pool, there is a great pool area with inflatable toys to play with.
There's also an eco boat tour that lasts about an hour and leaves every morning at 11am. We saw all sorts of birds, turtles, crocodiles, lizards, and fish on this tour.
All in all, the Banyan Tree is a great stay if you're looking for sun and relaxation.
Kaxapa - I know it's not Mexican but I love arepas. This restaurant was so cheap and delicious - it's a great casual lunch spot.
Los Hijos de la Tostada - Recommended by a worker at the Banyan Tree Hotel.
La Cueva del Chango- Stumbled upon this place and it was a great Mexican restaurant with delicious sauces and guacamole.
Los Aguachiles - Known for their seafood with lots of variations of ceviche.
Chez Celine - if you're tired of Mexican, and can use a little bit of a European bakery, check out this place.
Taqueria los Tarascos - Ghetto, hole in the wall but popular for tacos.
El Hongo - Another place with a local flavor - definitely not a place for ambience.
Central Playa del Carmen is about a 20 minute drive away with a lot of local restaurants and 5th avenue, which is a big pedestrian street with shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
Here are some restaurants that I recommend: