Yamuna is reading my aura—whether I like it or not. The Costa Rican native has been wandering the grounds of Chablé Maroma, a new wellness retreat in Mexico’s buzzing Riviera Maya, with a clay pot of smoking incense in his hand all morning. I first glimpsed him at the pool, assessing the energy of a mother and daughter before they set out on a snorkeling exhibition among the reefs just off the resort’s golden beaches. Billows of odorous smoke had been wafting through the resort’s grounds for hours: among the winding jungle footpaths, around the palm trees on the beach, even by the restaurant. I saw Yumana only on occasion, but I seemed to smell him all the time.
That is, until I arrive at Chablé’s spa and, without introduction, Yumana takes of my sunglasses, raises my arms to my sides, and gently tells me to close my eyes. “I see orange and yellow,” he says. “Do you see it?” Nope.
“Open your eyes and look at the sun,” he says. “Now close your eyes.” Tiny puffs of air swish across my face as Yumana waves his hand in front of my eyes. And then strangely, there it is: orange and yellow. Must be the power of suggestion, I decide.
You don’t have to be a spiritual person to visit Chablé Maroma, but it certainly helps. The resort—the second from the Chablé brand, which opened its first resort in Yucatán in 2016—isn’t merely about facials and massages (though there’s plenty of those, too). Deeply connected to the Mayan culture of the Riviera Maya, the property has built a traditional temazcal for ritual baths and translocated an ancient Alamo tree—revered among the Mayans for their spiritual qualities—for meditative ceremonies. The spa’s menu abounds with similar depth: The Tree of Life four-handed massage, for instance, promises to align the body, mind, and soul in a “cosmic dance.” It even includes a conch-blowing ceremony on the beach.
For those (like me) who prefer their wellness resorts a bit less heady, Chablé still has the right vibe: Beyond the spa, the property is just a really great hotel. In the main area, two restaurants and a rooftop lounge overlook a tiled swimming pool and wide swatch of golden sand. On the roof, the mezcalitos and margaritas are almost too easy to throw back; down below, chef Jorge Vallejo of Mexico City’s Quintonil (currently number 11 on the World 50 Best Restaurants list) has created casual and fine-dining menus, both of which are heavy on local seafood and regularly utilize the resort’s giant parilla (grill).
For most, however, the call of Chable’s secluded villas might be too strong to venture out all that often. Each has its own private plunge pool and jungle shower, both of which are prime settings for glimpsed of the property’s population of mischievous spider monkeys. Though the rooms themselves are only sparsely decorated with white linens, local woven straw, and natural woods, the private terraces are the kind of secluded oases that you just can’t seem to tear yourself away from.
Of course, when you do finally wander out of your private jungle retreat, don’t be alarmed if you come across Yumana with his clay pot of mysticism. Whether you choose to take him up on a spiritual reading will be only somewhat up to you.