Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
A little further down the road from sister Karisma resort El Dorado Royale, the all-inclusive El Dorado Maroma is a more intimate place that contains 157 suites, studios and villas as well as palafitos (overwater bungalows).
The drive into the property is through a mangrove jungle that does make you wonder where you are going, but the reception area immediately lets you know that El Dorado Maroma offers a different experience from El Dorado Royale but one that is equally romantic and luxurious.
It is situated on Maroma Beach, voted by the Travel Channel as one of the world’s best thanks to the bright white sand that stretches beyond the bend to the lighthouse in the north. The beach is also especially inviting for swimming.
El Dorado Maroma offers great personal service, with concierges and friendly staff. And it doesn’t take long to get to know some other guests. There is a friendliness here that makes it easy to meet others.
This isn’t the false rah-rah approach of forced togetherness of some other resorts. El Dorado Maroma presents these possibilities because of its intimate size and laidback but attentive atmosphere.
Guest Rooms at El Dorado Maroma
Our room in El Dorado Maroma in the Infiniti section, set a little further back from the beach, was a swim-up suite with the resort pool and Sabores restaurant to one side and the beach just yards away.
We enjoyed lazing on the chaise lounges placed in the water and watched parasailers in the distance as they floated over the Caribbean.
Rooms feature contemporary Caribbean decor. Our king-size, four-poster bed was decorated each day with a towel sculpture and flower petals. There is a fully stocked mini bar with sodas, beer and water, and the bowl on the table is filled with bananas, mangoes, apples and grapes.
All rooms in El Dorado Maroma have Jacuzzis for two and a separate shower. When we returned to our suite after dinner, the bath was filled with a layer of bubbles on top of which floated flower petals. The rim of the tub glowed with 12 tea lights.
Who could resist such a romantic invitation? It left us no time (and less interest) in watching anything on the plasma TV or tossing a DVD into the player.
Dining at El Dorado Maroma
Intimate, luxurious, informal: these qualities characterize El Dorado Maroma’s three restaurants.
There is a relaxed dress code. Dress shorts are acceptable, as are sandals (not beach, though).
Mio, Italian cuisine, and Kiyoko, an Asian restaurant, share the same building, although the décor is different. Candles light Mio and there are white tablecloths. Kiyoko represents the toned down Japanese aesthetic. There is a long narrow table with water flowing down the middle and a few tables, for two, along the sides.
The Kiyoko chef slices, dices, and cooks most of the dishes for the guests to see. We had spring and summer rolls, a spicy Malaysian soup, tuna, duck and rice, all fresh and nicely done.
Sabores, which faces the spectacularly blue pool and ocean, is the only restaurant open for breakfast at El Dorado Maroma. (Room service is always available.)
A few guests, we included, enjoyed the cooking lesson arranged at poolside. El Dorado Maroma’s head chef wheeled out a cart and we took turns slicing fish that we then made into a delicious appetizer cocktail. This was followed by creating a liquid cocktail from lime juice and beer. A few drops of Tabasco sauce were added. This drink wasn’t the culinary highlight of our stay.
There was a highlight that was a standout not only for El Dorado Maroma but, in our opinion, one our most memorable food experiences: A fishing skiff pulled up to the beach and it brought the day’s catch of red snapper and cod.
The staff stood by a kettle of boiling oil. The gutted fish was sprinkled with seasoning and deep-fried. Not one, not two, but three fish were eaten by each of us — and we probably could have had more.
Activities at El Dorado Maroma
The resort provides kayaks and beach sports.
There is beach volleyball every afternoon, and bocce balls and horseshoes are waiting to be picked up. Within minutes, we had an easy game going with a family and their college-age daughter.
We opted for a couples massage at El Dorado Maroma. Called a sky massage, we lay side by side in an open gazebo built out over the sea, two masseuses working in tandem.
We shared the gazebo with a silent yoga class. The water lapped against the pylons, and in the distance we could hear the occasional motorized boat going out to sea.
Nearby El Dorado Maroma
El Dorado Maroma shares the beach with the Marina Maroma.
This makes El Dorado Maroma ideal for those who want an active water vacation without the hassle of having to leave the resort.
The Maroma Marina has nearly everything—deep-sea fishing boats and scuba excursions that sail to the Meso America Barrier Reef, just hundreds of yards off shore. This barrier reef—which stretches from here to Honduras—is the second largest in the world and supports 500 species of fish.
One afternoon two guests from El Dorado Maroma shared their story of having caught two sailfish the day before. If you prefer the water from above, parasailing is a popular pastime.
On dry land, ATVs and horses are available for rental. Both offer enough adventure in their trek into the mangrove jungle.
Shopping tours and excursions to Mayan sites begin here. Tulum is less than an hour away. The ruins of Coba are nearby. And if you have the inclination, World Heritage site Chichen Itza is a full day’s trip. You can also swim with the dolphins at Xcaret and wait there until sunset for the Mexican folklore show.
Destination Weddings at El Dorado Maroma
El Dorado Maroma schedules only one wedding a day, ensuring exclusivity.
Through Karisma wedding services, El Dorado Maroma arranges for the necessary documentation and the requisite blood tests, provides either a justice of the peace or non-denominational minister, the services of a wedding coordinator and a professional wedding photographer who delivers a hand-made wedding album with 36 color photos.
For weddings with 20 or fewer guests, dinner can be held in the Wine Room, situated between the Italian and Asian restaurants.
A wedding coordinator is available in the U.S. She is available to make all the arrangements, with your input, of course.
This is a tremendous plus, since Mexico’s requirements for weddings are very particular.
For example, both the couple and four witnesses must arrive at least three working days before the wedding. But what if your guests can’t arrive that early? No problem. Karisma will arrange for alternative witnesses.
Is El Dorado Maroma Right for You?
If you want informality mixed with luxury right on the ocean, El Dorado Maroma is a good choice. Couples who dream of a honeymoon or a romantic getaway at a childfree resort that is a little bigger than a boutique hotel but feels nearly as intimate will find it here.
El Dorado Maroma has the added advantage of sharing the beach with Marina Maroma. So if you want to be active but don’t want to have to travel to go fishing or sailing or all the other watersports the Caribbean provides, El Dorado Maroma is an excellent vacation choice.
Where to Find More
El Dorado Maroma
Carretera Cancun-Tulum, KM 52