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TravelWhat it’s like staying at the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai

What it’s like staying at the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai

Marriott’s buzzworthy Edition brand has finally arrived in Mexico.

The Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai, Edition’s first location in Latin America, packs plenty of the glitterati must-haves the brand is known for: picture-perfect guest rooms and suites; a staff that goes above and beyond for guests; and plenty of vibey bars, restaurants and green spaces that make for an ideal selfie backdrop to flaunt your extravagant getaway. In short, you probably want to overthink every outfit you wear to the pool or beach here.

But it’s also a beautifully planned property that blends with its natural surroundings while still providing the minimalist approach Edition co-founder Ian Schrager weaves into each property.

It might be only a quick half-hour drive from Cancun International Airport (CUN), but the Riviera Maya Edition may as well be a world away from the spring break all-inclusive vibes that make other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula so popular.


What is the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai?

The Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai is one of three resorts within a 620-acre nature reserve (a St. Regis is next door, while an Auberge Resort is on the other side of the St. Regis). The mix of mangroves and Caribbean coastline give this slice of paradise more of a natural vibe — albeit a perfectly manicured one. No palm tree is out of place amid this luxury resort trinity.

Edition is Marriott’s luxury lifestyle brand, so expect attentive service with a fun edge. Parties at the beach club can go until the wee hours, and the venue gives off the characteristic Edition vibe of being the place to see and be seen. (Schrager did co-found Studio 54, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.)


How to book a stay at the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai

My three-night stay was complimentary, but you can book rooms starting at $799 per night on select dates in the spring. I noticed rates dip to as low as $599 per night in the summer. Award redemptions start at 84,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

When booking this Edition property, you’ll want to use one of the credit cards that earn the most points for Marriott stays, and possibly one that offers automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status for value-added benefits. These include:

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  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, automatic Platinum Elite status and 25 elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, automatic Gold Elite status and 15 elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card: Earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, automatic Gold Elite status and 15 elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, automatic Gold Elite status and 15 elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, automatic Silver Elite status and 15 elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 3 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, automatic Silver Elite status and 15 elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.

The information for the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The location

The Riviera Maya Edition is about a 40-minute drive south of Cancun International Airport (CUN) and sits within the gated Kanai development. You’ll also find The St. Regis Kanai Resort and Etereo, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, in the Kanai development. A fourth resort is expected to go on the other side of the Edition.

Private transport on Edition-provided vehicles costs $418 round-trip from the airport in a four-person Suburban, or there is a six-person van option for $290 round-trip.

The resort is fairly isolated beyond the two neighboring resorts, and it’s more convenient to check out restaurants and bars at those properties rather than drive into town. But Playa del Carmen to the south is the closest city, just under a 30-minute drive from the Edition.


In-crowd vibes

Sleek, modern architecture abounds here, with the Edition brand’s signature color palette of various hues of white accented by wood, stone and green. All in all, this gives the Riviera Maya Edition a distinctly different architectural vibe than the towers of Cancun’s Hotel Zone.

The three wings of the resort are built above the mangrove forest, so you’ll traverse via elevated boardwalks that crisscross man-made and natural water features between buildings. A sandy path lined with palm trees guides guests from a pool and bar area near the main hotel complex out to the beach.


The beach is highly manicured: You’ll see Edition staff members frequently raking, so these sugary white shores remain picture-perfect round the clock. Perhaps that’s why I saw supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio pose here for a few stylized snapshots while I — the non-supermodel — wolfed down a delicious tuna crudo at the nearby beachfront infinity pool. To each their own!

My stay was during the grand opening weekend, so the Edition guest roster was heavily skewed toward celebrities and influencers. But, when you see celebrities like Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio and any number of Jenners and Kardashians popping up at other brand locations, it’s hard to envision the Riviera Maya Edition dropping its scene-y vibe anytime soon.



Since I was attending the opening weekend, my check-in experience was devoid of walking into the lobby for the usual arrival process of looking up a reservation. After a front portico greeting, an Edition team member walked me up a stone, orchid-flanked staircase into the lofty lobby area that is full of hanging greenery and white couches begging to host a good gossip session with a glass of something delicious from the nearby Lobby Bar.


The bar area broke from the usual mix of Edition greens, whites and wood. Instead, you’ll find velvet seating areas in shades of red, lime green and pink under the watchful gaze of Mayan art peering out from behind countless bottles of mezcal and reposado.

Open windows with wooden shutters in the main lobby area overlook a lagoon pool and mangroves, and, depending on your room placement, you’ll either loop to the right at the top of the entry staircase to a wing of rooms or head left and go outside to a boardwalk to the property’s other two hotel wings.


The narrow boardwalk is one of many places at the Riviera Maya Edition where you’ll want to pause for a photo break, as it’s lined with lush greenery and reflecting pools. The sunsets here offered some incredible lighting for glamor shots, impromptu LinkedIn headshots and everything in between.

Minimalism meets Riviera Maya in the guest rooms

My welcome guide walked me down the boardwalk path and up to my third-floor room in the Riviera Maya Edition’s easternmost wing that sits perpendicular to the beach. While the Lobby Bar offered a pop of color, the guest room wings strictly adhered to the Edition’s usual design code — albeit with some Yucatan Peninsula and Mayan cultural flair here and there.


Stone corridors abide by Schrager’s sleek minimalist aesthetic, meaning they’re only broken up by the occasional wood-paneled elevator bank, an accent boulder or a reflecting pool encasing bamboo shoots. While these are protected interior corridors, the resort is largely indoor-outdoor in terms of design, so you can still enjoy fresh air thanks to outdoor-exposed ends at each end of the hotel room wings.

My deluxe king room was a natural extension of the hotel’s aesthetic. A blond wood four-poster bed and nightstands paired well with limestone floors, cream rugs and white linens. A cushy white chair with a stone side table formed a small reading area, while walnut hues on another chair, bench and accent wall provided the room with some of its limited pops of color. It must be a challenge to keep all that white looking so pristine, but luckily, there’s twice-daily housekeeping to stay on top of that.


A private outdoor terrace included a white sofa with a coffee table, terra cotta-potted plants and sweeping views of the surrounding environment. It was an idyllic spot to retreat to with a beer from the minibar and enjoy a little sunset solitude before evening events began during the opening weekend festivities.

The flat-screen television featured streaming capabilities via a QR code you could scan with a smartphone to log in to Netflix and other streaming services — nifty for some late-night rewatching of “Suits.”


Back inside, there was ample storage split between two closets that had plenty of shelf and hanger space, plus the in-room safe, complimentary Nespresso coffee pods and tea and a minibar.

The marble bathroom just off the entry hallway featured a large single-sink vanity with Edition’s signature black-tea-and-bergamot-scented Le Labo products. While it’s certainly good for the environment, I’ve been sad as the brand has moved away from mini Le Labo bottles to larger, refillable ones, which aren’t for taking home. A rainfall shower and soaking tub meant I had a variety of ways to freshen up, and I was happy to see the Edition included bath salts on a stone side table near the tub.


If you forget any toiletries at home, odds are it they’ll be in a small white box below the sink: Combs, toothbrushes and shaving kits were all tucked away inside. There was also mosquito repellant next to the sink, and the hotel provided sunscreen and after-sun skincare in a welcome bag. (However, it’s unclear if that extends beyond the opening weekend event. Sunscreen and after-sun lotion were provided at stations by each pool, though).

While I wasn’t the lucky guest staying in the Sky Rooftop Villa, the 27,000-square-foot penthouse on the fourth floor of my room’s section of the hotel is the largest hotel penthouse in North America. The villa features a private infinity pool running the length of the outdoor deck with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea — it’s simply begging to host the best party ever.

The Sky Rooftop Villa features five en suite bedrooms (each with its own private terrace and plunge pool) and a guest kitchen as well as one for catering. There’s also a grassy end to the entertainment deck where you can kick back on a hammock and bask in the glory of whatever luck it took for you to afford the starting rate of $40,000 per night.


Lightning-fast in-room dining

Given the various opening weekend festivities, my most “normal” and non-party dining experiences entailed in-room dining, a poolside ceviche at So’ol Beach Club and breakfast one morning at Kitchen. However, all meals were provided during the hosted event.

When I got to my room on the first afternoon, I felt famished and ordered an Italian chopped kale salad with grilled shrimp (740 Mexican pesos, or about $44) from room service, plus a side of guacamole (350 Mexican pesos, or $21) — when in Mexico, right? The shrimp were plump, the salad crisp, and the guacamole hit all the right notes of lime and cilantro for this hungry reporter. But what also stood out was how it arrived in about a half-hour — certainly quicker than any room service I’ve had recently back in the U.S.

One morning, I ordered an egg white omelet (470 pesos, or $28) with a side of bacon (100 pesos, or $6), and it arrived at a similar speed.


All of the menus for the Edition’s restaurants — Ki’is, a luxe Mexican restaurant; Kitchen, a more casual all-day restaurant; and the pool and beach venues — were in preview during my stay or specialized for the opening weekend crowd.

My tuna crudo at So’ol (520 Mexican pesos, or $31) had an Asian-fusion flair thanks to being soaked in ponzu and Japanese hot sauce. A New York wagyu steak with chimichurri sauce and celeriac puree clocked in at 1,450 pesos ($87).

Breakfast at Kitchen included an “encamisado” egg folded inside a tortilla with a smoky sikil paak sauce for 390 pesos ($23) while a super green juice of celery, orange, pineapple, parsley and cactus was 180 pesos ($11). It’s not cheap to dine out at the Edition, and this certainly isn’t where you’ll find an all-inclusive bargain. But it’s also not the most astronomical pricing, either — especially compared to Edition properties in city centers.

As for what’s ultimately going to be on the finalized menu at the Riviera Maya Edition? Don’t expect a taco and tamale extravaganza here. During a press conference, Schrager told reporters that he would aim to avoid “the cliches” of dining.

(But don’t panic: You can still find tacos on the menu at Pool Bar.)

Splash in style

You’ll have a variety of places to cool off in the water when you stay at the Riviera Maya Edition. For starters, ground-floor guest rooms feature plunge pools (though some of my fellow guests in these rooms complained of an unpleasant smell due to the proximity to the mangroves — a problem I didn’t have three floors up).


The lagoon-style pool closest to the hotel features partially submerged loungers in a small section, along with plenty of loungers and cabana options around the pool. Pool Bar is where you can order everything from a Corona beer to small bites. This pool is the more laid-back, quieter spot to submerge or chill poolside with a book — or take a stylized photo in one of those pool loungers when the sunset light is hitting at just the right angle.

The pool at So’ol Beach Club is the trendier hangout. Not that it wasn’t fashionable at the central pool closer to the hotel, but So’ol is definitely the watering hole where you debut the latest Vilebrequin swimsuit that cost a small fortune. That pricey pair of swim trunks will definitely fit in with the crowd that ventures back and forth from the pool to the beach to a private floating deck with cabanas directly on the ocean — all to the backdrop of pulsating pop music blaring from the sound system.


Towel service is provided at both pools and the beach.

Health and wellness

The spa and fitness facilities at the Edition were both exemplary by hotel standards. The fitness room featured a spin studio for cycling enthusiasts wanting to stay on top of their class schedule even while on vacation. A wide mix of Technogym cardio and strength training equipment plus free weights rounded out the gym.

The Spa includes indoor-outdoor treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pools, a relaxation room and steam and sauna facilities. There’s also a salon for manicures, pedicures and hair styling. While the facility was busy during my visit and not ideal for taking photos during treatments, my 60-minute Restfulness Massage (5,300 pesos, or $317) was just the right amount of firmness to get some of the knots out of my muscles … but soothing enough to not agitate the sunburn I accrued from enjoying the So’ol Beach Club a little too much the prior afternoon.


Sunrise yoga and other activities take place in an outdoor pavilion with a soaring wooden exoskeleton structure that’s just as much of an architectural showstopper as it is a den of Zen for the participants within.

Why the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai will be right for you

  • For those looking for a beach getaway with a glamorous backdrop and fashion-forward fellow guests, this is the place to unwind and get some marquee photos to post on Intstagram.
  • There are ample ways to tend to one’s health and wellness here, from yoga to dining to spa treatments — choose your own path for inner peace during your stay.
  • If you’re more of a reposado on ice and mezcal-rita kind of person rather than tequila shots and swim-up bars, this is the luxe Mexican resort for you.

Why the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai might not be for you

  • Food prices and spa services are far from cheap at the Riviera Maya Edition, so expect to find some hefty charges on top of the nightly room rates.
  • You might have to pause on walks around the property so the person in front of you can finish filming their second attempt at a TikTok or Reels shot. Don’t judge — you might be that person once the beach vista clears up for your turn.
  • If you want to be connected to local dining and various off-resort options, the Riviera Maya Edition’s relatively secluded location isn’t a great fit.


Elevators and ramps are prevalent throughout the property for accessibility, though the sandy pathway to the beach is not ideal for wheelchairs. There is a firm walkway below that is utilized largely by Edition staff members moving back and forth from the hotel to the beach and pool, and it is the most accessible way to get to the beach.

The hotel also has an accessible ocean-view king guest room and an accessible ocean-view suite, both of which come with various accessibility features.

There are no chair lifts at either pool.



  • The St. Regis Kanai Resort: The Edition’s ultraluxury sibling in the Marriott brand family is also its next-door neighbor within Kanai. Expect a more mature luxury hotel crowd here.
  • Etereo, Auberge Resorts Collection: On the other side of the St. Regis is Etereo, a luxe resort with a slightly homier — albeit still modern — vibe than the Edition.
  • Rosewood Mayakoba: Roughly 15 minutes south is the luxe Rosewood Mayakoba, a jaw-dropping resort that makes the Edition look like a bargain. Pristine surroundings come at a price!
  • Andaz Mayakoba Resort: Lifestyle hotel fans will also find solace in the Mayakoba complex at the Andaz, part of Hyatt’s loyalty network and typically more affordable than the Edition.

Checking out

The Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai left a strong first impression: Staff members were fun, attentive and at the top of their game — a reflection of the brand’s famous recruiting efforts that begin months ahead of an opening and entail aggressive poaching from other bars, restaurants and resorts in whatever market Edition is opening at the time.

There are strong competitors both in the Kanai development and nearby Mayakoba, but the Edition shows Marriott has major skin in the lifestyle hotel game on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Even if you aren’t feeling fabulous at check-in, you certainly will at checkout after a few days here … well, maybe until you see how much you spent on massages and meals.


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