Tuesday,  October 3, 2023  7:47 am

PAX On Location: We take the Stairway to Heaven at Hard Rock Riviera Maya

PAX On Location: We take the Stairway to Heaven at Hard Rock Riviera Maya
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: christine@paxglobalmedia.com.

“Raise your hand if you’ve ever done yoga,” our teacher said, glancing around the small circle of women who had joined the class that morning.

A few hands shot up; mine remained down.

“Never?” he said, smiling.

“Never,” I replied, immediately regretting that all-inclusive breakfast an hour prior. 

With that, I finally realized why people say yoga is actually really hard, after the yogi at Hard Rock Riviera Maya had us twisting and turning during an hour-long session of the resorts’ Rock Om yoga experience.

Hands up for early morning yoga at Hard Rock Riviera Maya!

As someone who has never done yoga in her life, the last place on earth where I thought that I’d finally give it a go is at a Hard Rock property.

But within 20 minutes of our lesson, our yogi, Joshua Garcia Reyna, who goes by the name Joshua Tree — partly due to the tattoo on his back — had me convinced that Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has shed its party image, and is embracing a whole other side Canadians have never seen before, incorporating world-class wellness and relaxation programs across the resort’s Heaven adults-only complex.

Breathe in, and out

Every morning when he arrives to the hotel, Joshua opens up The Yoga Studio, lights an incense stick, removes his shoes, and walks over the grass to watch the sunrise.

He's been working at Hard Rock Riviera Maya for one-and-a-half years, and is one of the yoga instructors who leads daily classes for guests to enjoy.

And, after watching him instruct our group that first morning, it's obvious that not only is he an amazing teacher, but that he truly loves his job.

"It's really amazing to share my lifestyle with people from different countries and cultures," Joshua told me. "I'm living my dream at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in the middle of nature, feeling the breeze of the ocean on my face, listening to the birds singing around the yoga temple, and contemplating the sky, clouds, trees and sunrise every day. This is my ephemeral life, the life experience that I created. I really love to connect with people on a higher level. I love when they open their hearts and just let go of the things that they need to in order to evolve."

Joshua leading a class in The Yoga Studio at Hard Rock Riviera Maya.

Rock star treatment

Hard Rock Riviera Maya is split into two parts: Hacienda, the family-friendly section, and Heaven, the adults-only “resort within a resort.”

By no means is this adults-only section just a tiny square for adults to escape to — the property is so large that guests who opt to stay in Heaven would quite literally never have to cross over to the other side (pardon the pun).

Combined, there are 1,264 rooms, 394 of which are on the Heaven side, where PAX stayed for the remainder of the trip.

Those in search of a good time will absolutely find it at Hard Rock Riviera Maya — with nine restaurants, 10 bars and lounges, in-room liquor dispensers, 24-hour room service, and of course, nightly live entertainment in the lobby, decked out in décor that features outfits worn by some of the world’s biggest music stars, from Motley Crüe to Madonna.

Heaven has its very own private beach, flanked by private cabanas and sun loungers.

Heaven guests can visit all of the amenities at Hacienda (hint, this is the only place where adults can enjoy some ice cream, and Mexican restaurant, Frida), and vice versa; parents can enjoy the amenities at Heaven, so long as the kids stay at Hacienda, perhaps at The Kids Club.

However, over on the Heaven side, guests who choose the Limitless All-Inclusive package are treated to unbelievable, unlimited luxury that focuses on self-care.

Rock n’ relax

Hard Rock hotels pride themselves on their music-centred programs, and at Hard Rock Riviera Maya, this commitment takes on a new twist in the resort’s wellness centres.

Hard Rock Riviera Maya’s Limitless All-Inclusive concept means guests who want to enjoy all the fantastic wellness and relaxation programs at the resort are only subject to a 25 per cent service fee.

Hard Rock Riviera Maya's Rock Spa is the largest spa in the Caribbean, and boasts beautiful places of relaxation.

The fee applies to select spa treatments, tours, golf, private dinners, Bali bed reservations and more.

"Although the Hard Rock brand may not immediately be associated with wellness and relaxation, guests visiting our all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels can definitely expect overall world-class service from our staff," said Carilis Felipe, director of field sales, AIC Hotel Group. "We pride ourselves in being able to offer guests the opportunity to tailor their vacation according to their interests. At Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in particular, those seeking wellness are able to immerse themselves in the diverse programs we offer such as Rock Om Yoga, Les Mills classes at Body Rock fitness centre, Fresh Fix, the calorie-conscious menu options at our restaurants, and our state-of-the-art Rock Spa."

All Rock Spa facials incorporate luxury beauty products, and natural skincare solutions.

For example, facials start at $130 USD and massages start at $210 USD, so with Limitless All-Inclusive guests would be paying $32.50 USD for a facial and $52.5 USD for a massage.

The Rock Spa is the largest spa in the Caribbean, and is home to 75 treatment rooms, a yoga temple, the hydro spa facilities, and the cross-current pool. Guests who book a spa treatment can come down to the spa one hour beforehand to enjoy all the hydrotherapy pools, steam room, and sauna, free of charge.

Even the chairs in the hydrotherapy spa area at the Rock Spa emit music.

Hard Rock Riviera Maya is the first property in the world to introduce the Rhythm & Motion treatments, implementing a fully immersive music-centric spa menu that uses amplified vibrations, pressures and patterns, as the foundation of its treatments.

All of the Rhythm & Motion treatments have guests lie down on a table that emits sound vibrations that, in turn, totally relax the body. The treatments that feature this are:

  • Synchronicity
  • Face the Music
  • Wrap Remix
  • Smooth Operator

Madonna's custom-made bathrobe that she wore on  her

The Yoga Studio at Hard Rock Riviera Maya.

Over in the yoga studio, guests can try out the Rock Om sessions, offered daily by instructors.

And if Joshua tells you that he believes you can do the handstand just like him, well, that's up to you to decide.

For more information on Hard Rock Riviera Maya, including the Heaven adults-only section, click he