MY WIFE cast an anxious glance at the work crew scurrying about to hoist a half-dozen heavy platform beds from a grassy area off the beach—where we were comfortably reclining—to the shoreline. Hefting each bed required four men, who went about their business in relentless worker-bee fashion.
"Do you think they'll lift us right up with the bed?" Donna wondered.
"Let me ask," I said. And I did.
"Sure, if you want to, we will do it," said one of the workers in broken English.
We declined. But ask and it shall be done at Maroma, one of the jewels in the Orient-Express hotel chain. At this luxury resort about 30 miles south of Cancún, some 250 employees service 65 rooms, which explains why your morning coffee arrives at precisely the requested time and why American turistas bent on watching the World Series can get chilled margaritas and piping-hot chiles rellenos delivered to the common room known as the Palapa.
The resort was built over two decades by Mayan masons, who finished their work on Valentine's Day of 1995, 19 years after Mexico City architect José Luis Moreno discovered the unspoiled piece of land on a flyover. Moreno built two- and three-story hacienda-style buildings, which are dotted along the 25-acre beachfront. Stone walkways wind through the entire 500-acre property; at night they are illuminated by hundreds of candles, which makes your stroll to dinner seem like a romantic pilgrimage.
Don't expect noise and nightlife at Maroma—two guacamayas rojas (scarlet macaws) named Chris and Laura supply much of the former, and the latter basically ceases after a candlelight dinner at El Sol. But do expect an uplifting experience—literally so, if that's your wish.