On Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Mayakoba Resort’s effort to blend luxury with nature is rewarded. 

Mayakoba Resort, the self-contained luxury destination on the Riviera Maya, encompasses three ecosystems—beach, lagoon, and mangrove jungles—and properties by Banyan Tree, Fairmont, and

Rosewood. ItÂ’s also home to an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course, which hosts The Mayakoba Golf Classic, MexicoÂ’s only stop on the PGA Tour.

Six miles of freshwater lagoons connect the properties, and guests are transported in boats via canals made exclusively for the resort, all leading to Mayakoba being known as “the Venice of the Yucatan.”

According to James Batt of OHL Desarollos, the developer of Mayakoba, business improved in the first half of 2011, with a 23 percent increase in room reservations from 2010, and July and August fared even better.

In addition, MayakobaÂ’s sustainable and eco-conscious efforts have not gone unnoticed. The United Nations World Tourism Organization awarded Mayakoba the 2011 Ulysses Prize for sustainable and responsible tourism development; the honor followed that of a similar award earlier this year from the Rainforest Alliance.

“Environmental recognition is important to us, as it is to many of our guests,” says Batt. “It is not so much a measurable concept as validation of our long-term efforts in this area. Guests are primarily looking for the right hotel for their vacation, and we regularly hear that our environmental activities have tipped the balance in our favor.”

For those wishing to buy here, Rosewood suites and Banyan Tree villa ownership opportunities are available, with prices ranging from $470,000 to $3 million. In terms of growth and development, Batt says that fresh products are being planned, adding that, “In the meantime, we continue to close sales on our [villas].”

 

Situated on seven acres and a 1,000-foot stretch of one of Nassau’s spectacular white sand beaches, the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort now offers adrenaline junkies the chance to swim among wild sharks in Nassau’s warm waters with its new Shark Dive Adventure Package. Each dive takes place at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas—Nassau’s leading full-service dive destination—and includes a free swim and a feeding dive. During the free swim, guests—who must be certified divers to participate—observe the sharks as they swim along nearby, and during the second dive, participants kneel on the ocean floor, forming a semi-circle in front of a professional shark feeder. The sharks swim around the divers in a feeding frenzy, chasing after bait that the shark feeder places on a spear. Three- to five-night packages, booked now through December 22, 2011, start at $915; double-occupancy, and include accommodations, taxes, resort fee, and dives. 866-716-8106 (mention rate plan DIVE3 for the three-night package or DIVE5 for five nights).