Palmaia Resort Spa Review: Riviera Maya’s New Luxury Jungle Spa Is Stunning

Palmaia Resort Atlantis Spa Jungle Treatment Room

Palmaia, The House of Aia, in Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico, opened December 14, 2019, is taking the jungle spa to the next level with Atlantis, the new eco spa with glass-wall casitas, natural cenotes and centuries-old, Mayan-inspired treatments.

For my *full review* of Palmaia, The House of Aia, click here.

The jungle spa concept at luxury resorts in Riviera Maya is not new, but jungle spas are gaining popularity (and demand) due to its unique, exotic setting. Rather than beachfront locations, many top resorts in the area offer a luxury spa immersed in the jungle to stand out, and Travelbinger has visited several of the best, like Rosewood Mayakoba, Nizuc Resort, Banyan Tree and Grand Velas.

Now, Atlantis at Palmaia may be leading the pack in Riviera Maya, Mexico, because the spa offers a truly authentic, nature-rooted Mayan experience—and it’s also incredibly private. Travelbinger was among the first visitors to stay at Palmaia, where we experienced the pampering spa. Check out our photos below.

The best rate for Palmaia is on Tripadvisor

Take a look at Atlantis Spa at Palmaia, The House of Aia, in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Atlantis, the jungle eco spa at Palmaia, is mere steps from the 317 suites at the resort, meaning you don’t have to hop on a golf cart to get here (as you would at many larger resort spas in the area). The spa is behind the resort, which is on a gorgeous and secluded, white-sand beach in Playacar (a quiet, upscale residential community) in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

The resort is extremely eco-conscious and celebrates nature and holistic well being, while it remains geared toward younger travelers with fire ceremonies, a live DJ and boho experiences (like sound bathing), which means two things: It feels like Tulum in Playa Del Carmen, and you know the spa is going to be well thought out. 

The resort straddles the Caribbean Sea and the jungle, and Atlantis spa is on the jungle side.

The spa feels worlds away from civilization. Here’s JetSetRuby posing in front of the spa’s wooden door, which is essentially a doorway to the jungle. While the building may look huge from the outside, it’s actually quite small and intimate.Here’s the beautiful spa entrance. The main check-in area is inviting, drenched in sunlight thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass wall looking into the jungle.

Notice how the spa is minimalist and cozy, furnished with only natural fabrics and woods. Thanks to the glass wall, you already feel connected to nature as soon as you arrive.Before the treatment, guests can change into their robe in a private changing area with shower and all-natural spa products.

Atlantis Spa is rooted in ancient Mayan ceremonies and traditions. The spa uses natural, local materials, including stone and wood, for the structures, and there are stone pathways through the jungle that connects all treatment casitas.While the spa unfortunately didn’t have a steam room, sauna or Jacuzzi*, it was built around a traditional and authentic cenote, which made it feel more immersed in the jungle and elevated the “nature” theme. (*guests staying at Palmaia have access to all the amenities at Sandos Playacar next door, including the outdoor Jacuzzis).A cenote is a natural, underwater sinkhole that Mayans used for ancient traditions and ceremonies. These cenotes are abundant in the Riviera Maya coast, and they come in many forms (some are so small you can’t go in, and some are extremely large like a lake). At Atlantis Spa, you can go for a dip in the freshwater cenote, which is incredibly restorative. You can’t tell from the photo, but the cenote actually goes around this boulder.There are five treatment casitas sprawled throughout the jungle. They’re very intimate and private, and once you enter with your spa therapist, you definitely know you’re in the jungle……because the treatment casita has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall, which is incredibly unique and connects you further to your natural surrounding. Here’s a view of one of the spa casitas at Palmaia Resort’s Atlantis Spa. The forward-thinking design allows for a more immersive experience. The design of the spa casita also opens up the space. Rather than a typical spa casita in the jungle with four walls, I felt and knew I was in the jungle, and I appreciated it twice as much. And, of course, the 90-minute massage to the soundtrack of nature I booked was amazing. 

After the treatment, friends and I walked along the wood pathways through the jungle, exploring many other features, like an outdoor platform for other treatments, like mud wraps.There’s also a traditional Mayan sweat lodge (“temezcal“), should guests want a complete detox. This treatment helps you flush out toxins, and you feel incredibly rejuvenated and alive afterward. We didn’t have time to do it this go around, but it means we’ll have to come back.
The spa offers many holistic journeys, like sound bathing or sound healing. This activity is completely free as it’s part of the resort’s complimentary programming. Here, we meditated in one of the casitas as the spa master sound guru elevated the experience with soothing sounds from objects like shells and Tibetan bowls that give a soothing ring. To complete the spa experience, Palmaia is opening a glass-wall gym perched in the jungle. Here’s a sneak peek at the structure.

Have you had a spa treatment in a jungle spa? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Why not book yourself a post-pandemic summer getaway to Mexico? 

Hotel Review: Palmaia, The House of Aia, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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