Is Palmaia the Ultimate Zen Retreat?

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If you’ve found your way to this post, you’re likely curious about Palmaia, The House of AIA. Just last week, my husband and I returned from a five-day stay at this wellness sanctuary, which easily ranks as one of the most serene and fulfilling vacations we’ve ever enjoyed.

From its five-star cuisine to the meticulously curated eco-friendly grounds, this resort left no stone unturned in providing an exceptional experience.

Aia statue.

I want to clarify from the outset that our visit was purely personal. We weren’t hosted by the media, nor did we receive any discounts. This trip was booked to celebrate our anniversary, and everything I share here reflects our genuine experiences and unfiltered impressions at the same full price that you would pay.

I decided to write it up so others who are scouring for more information could get a personal opinion from someone.

So, let’s dive into the details of this remarkable retreat.

one of the best resorts in the world.

Palmaia – The House of AIA, with its 234 rooms, is a secluded sanctuary that makes every guest feel cherished from the very first moment.

The experience begins as soon as you arrive, courtesy of a car service arranged by the resort—a touch of luxury that sets the tone for your stay. Upon stepping out of the vehicle, we were greeted with scented towels, a refreshing drink, and a golf cart ready to whisk us to our room.

  • Note what time your flight arrives. In some cases, your room will not be ready when you arrive.
the front lobby.

Palmaia enjoys a unique setting, nestled within the grounds of a larger Sandals resort. It occupies the outermost area, accessible via a short bridge overseen by a guard, creating a sense of exclusivity and privacy. This physical separation enhances the feeling of entering a private enclave.

bracelet was a key to our room
The Key to our room was a bracelet we got to keep.

Our arrival was smooth and informative, thanks to a guided tour by our golf cart driver, who navigated us through the lush resort grounds. Once at our swim-up suite, we were introduced to our nomadic guide.

This dedicated staff member was instrumental in enhancing our stay; using WhatsApp, he sent us daily schedules, promptly fulfilled requests like replenishing our water supply, and adjusted our dinner reservations as needed.

communication at the resort.
  • Tip: While I hadn’t previously used WhatsApp, setting it up was straightforward and immensely helpful for staying connected and informed during our stay. For a smoother experience, consider downloading the app before your arrival.

The room

Choosing the perfect room for a vacation can be a daunting task, one I took quite seriously before our stay at Palmaia – The House of AIA. My heart was set on a swim-up suite, a luxurious option that requires direct booking with the resort.

swim up suite in Palmaia resort
Swim up Suite

After a straightforward email exchange, I secured our swim-up suite. While many standard rooms are available through online platforms like Expedia, specialty rooms like this are exclusive to direct bookings. We even snagged a special offer that included free car service, saving us $350.

The room was consistently stocked with fresh water and amenities, and we enjoyed the convenience of 24-hour room service.

adult suite in mexican resort Palmaia
Room in Palmaia

If I were to offer any feedback—and I hesitate to use the word “negatives” because every day on vacation feels like a privilege—it would be about the placement of the bathtub.

While large and stunningly beautiful (so much so that I dream of having one just like it at home), its location in the main room meant that filling the tub in the morning could disturb my sleeping husband.

bath tub in suite.

Besides the bathtub, the suite featured a separate shower, a water closet for the toilet, and, of course, the swim-up area with seating outside.

So, did the swim-up suite live up to my expectations?

Absolutely, it was everything I had hoped for in terms of luxury and comfort. However, it’s worth mentioning that despite its allure, we didn’t use the swim-up feature as much as anticipated. The resort itself offers numerous shaded and secluded spots to read or swim, and we quickly found our preferred hangouts.

This pool area, for example, had an incredible bee hive above it high in the trees! We checked on it every day.

shaded resort pool.

In hindsight, while the swim-up suite was great, given the resort’s overall beauty and amenities, any room would be fine for future visits.

But I am not Vegan. Is this a resort for me? 

If you’re unfamiliar with my blog, let me clarify something upfront—I’m not vegan either. Initially, I had reservations about the all-vegan menu. It’s easy to be bogged down by misconceptions about vegan cuisine. If you’re not vegan, you might wonder, as I did, if you are just gonna starve while there.

However,  once arrived, any doubts were deliciously dispelled.

The cuisine at Palmaia is nothing short of awesome.

It’s not merely about eating plants; it’s about experiencing food in its most creative form. The dishes are vibrant, with a dynamic palette of colors, textures, and flavors.

samples of food at the resort Palmaia house of aia vegan.

From the surprising watermelon tacos to the refreshing lemongrass ice cream, each meal was just so interesting. We approached with an open mind, and in return, we were rewarded.

For those skeptical about a vegan-forward menu, rest assured—traditional options are available. The resort’s restaurants offer substitutions like free-range chicken and organic beef—think burgers and steaks—that can be enjoyed in the dining areas or within the comfort of your room.

homemade burger at mexican resort.
Yep, we got a burger at Palmaia too!

No judgment, no pressure.

Whether I indulged in chicken instead of cauliflower, the service remained exemplary. The wait staff never batted an eye. The special at Su Casa one night was actually a Ribeye steak!

This flexibility and attention to detail enhanced our experience, making it clear that Palmaia is not just a sanctuary for vegans but a haven for all foodies.

pizza at house of aia.

Reflecting on my experience, I’ve gained a newfound respect for what it means to truly nourish the body. Palmaia’s innovative approach to vegan cuisine has broadened my perspective on what food can be—both as an art form and as a source of sustenance. It’s impressive, transformative, and, above all, delicious.

Restaurants we went to: 

  • Mar de Olivo: Mediterranean Cuisine
  • Su Casa: Plant-Based Global Cuisine
  • Lek: Mexican Fusion
  • Plantissa- I spent a few mornings at the coffee shop for quick bites, coffee, and smoothies. It opens at 8 am.
  • I also wanted to note that the dinner was casual. While the dress code requested that you not be wet or in a swimsuit, we were also not required to wear button-up shirts and business casual to enjoy a meal. This was a far cry from other resorts and made our evening meals a lot easier to show up to.
cappuccino in the morning.

I know nothing about Metaphysics, is this a resort for me? 

Are you wondering if Palmaia is the right fit for someone unfamiliar with metaphysics? Let’s debunk the myth that one must be metaphysical or religious to have a great experience.

This resort is dedicated to promoting full-body wellness and health, welcoming everyone regardless of their beliefs. Whether you’re deeply interested in manifestation, eager to deepen your yoga practice, or simply searching for a tranquil getaway, Palmaia caters to all.

inspirational text
Little words of wisdom from teachers at the resort.

During my stay, I never felt pressured to subscribe to any particular belief system. The guides and teachers embodied the essence of kindness and transparency. They were sensitive to individual needs, creating a nurturing environment that encouraged learning and personal growth throughout the visit. It’s really a non-issue.

If you come with just the idea that you want to relax, this vacation is for you. 

rooms with yoga.

I will note that I saw a lot more girls groups and mother/daughters than couples. I think the nature of the type of offerings brings in a natural female group but my husband came in with an open mind and had a great time. I would definitely go back with a group of friends, too!

The classes

Unlike our previous stay at Xcaret Arte, where we were tethered to the resort’s timetable, Palmaia offered more freedom.

One of the standout features is its flexible class schedule. Here, spontaneity is welcomed with open arms, which is good because we do not like to plan every day.

shaman experiance.

Whether you decide to attend a morning yoga session or suddenly urge to explore painting, you have the liberty to simply show up (although please be on time because otherwise it interrupts the entire class). This flexibility allowed us to truly embrace the flow of vacation devoid of rush.

painting class.

Our nomadic guide was wonderful, providing us with daily schedules, assisting in arranging private spa sessions, and handling our dinner reservations. Their guidance was instrumental in making our experience seamless and personalized.

a schedule during the resort stay.

I highly recommend diving into as many classes as you can. Each session, from the pranayama and the transformative Cacao ceremony to the gong bath and the intriguing mind control classes, was perfectly paced.

cacao ceremony

The classes maintained a relaxed vibe throughout our stay, ensuring we were engaged but never overwhelmed.

  • Yoga: Various styles in serene settings, focusing on mindfulness and flexibility.
  • Meditation: Guided sessions that promote relaxation and mental clarity.
  • Pranayama: Breathing exercises aimed at improving respiratory and mental health.
  • Art Classes opened me up a lot, and I purchased art supplies when I got home!
  • Cacao Ceremony: A spiritual class that uses cacao as a heart-opening tool.

For those interested in deeper exploration, the paid programs at Palmaia are worth every penny. I had a profound experience with the Soul Reader, Lucia, while my husband had a memorable meeting with a Shaman and enjoyed a massage at the Atlantis Spa.

The Tezmacal ceremony was another highlight, offering a unique cultural and spiritual experience. I do not want to give away much about this, but if you have questions, you can ask.

temazcal ceremony at Palmaia.

As a side note, and after a personalized conversation with my soul reader, I was recommended these books to continue my journey. I have started diving into them. I am sharing them ahead of time in case anyone wants to dive in: 

  • The Power of Now
  • The Power
  • Happiness is Free
  • The Greatest Secret
  • And authors Neville Godard, Joseph Murphy, Florence Scovel, Eckhard Tolle, Rhonda Byrne, and David Hawkins were also recommended to me. 

It’s important to note that while all classes are included in the initial booking fee, private sessions, and spa treatments are an additional cost. We spent approximately $1200 on these extra services, including tips, which were entirely optional but immensely rewarding.

atlantis spa.

I’ve included some additional photos of the resort to give you a closer look at our experiences and the beautiful setting of Palmaia. If you’re curious about any specific activities or need more details, please ask in the comments below.

5 Stars all the Way Around

There is no doubt that Palmaia earns its high rankings and rave reviews with reason. This resort stands out not just for its stunning aesthetics and exceptional cuisine but also for the palpable sense of wellness that permeates its atmosphere.

Leaving the resort, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and newfound freedom. I was equipped with practical wellness techniques to integrate into my everyday life, which has come in handy in the “real world.” Yes, a vacation at Palmaia comes with a price tag, but the value of such a personalized experience justifies every penny.

cenote

Vacationing is deeply personal. At Palmaia, the absence of specific schedules, the freedom from expectations to look or act a certain way, and the opportunity to reconnect with nature and oneself contribute to a truly restorative escape.

Here, you are encouraged to find your center, detached from the relentless pace of work emails and deadlines, and immerse yourself in a world where tranquility is the only true goal.

trisha and chris haas.

In conclusion, Palmaia doesn’t just offer a getaway; it promises a journey back to oneself, making it a true five-star experience in every sense of the word.

I have made this long enough, so I am going to stop before it becomes too much of a bear to read.

We will be back!

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