From ‘gratitude rituals’ to ‘soul readings’, Palmaïa – the House of AïA takes guests on a journey of inner exploration and connection with nature. Rose Dykins reports
Offering an experience designed to “awaken and enhance the connection between humans and nature”, Palmaïa – The House of AïA is located in the heart of Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
The pioneering barefoot wellness resort opened in 2020 and is set on a 1km white sandy beach fringed by jungle and ancient freshwater cenotes (flooded caves). Its “Progressive Wellness” concept is centred around immersing guests in the surrounding natural beauty.
Alexander Ferri, Palmaïa’s founder, created the resort to embody his own lifestyle and his belief that inner exploration, combined with respect for nature and community, can bring people together to create meaningful change.
“There is a growing community of unconventional thinkers and spiritual seekers that gather in small communities around the world to embrace creativity, music, and the environment. Together we are creating a new modern collective consciousness,” he says.
The luxury property offers a curated series of holistic, transformative activities and offerings, such as its “Architects of Life” and “Rituals of Sound” programmes, a choice of plant-based food and Waldorf Steiner-inspired, device-free Awen kids programme.
With the “Architects of Life” programme, guests can experience rituals, ceremonies, and life-changing practices led by their in-house “personal growth guide”. These holistic sessions take place at locations around the property including a Rituals Deck in the middle of the jungle.
Activities include ancient cacao ceremonies, gratitude rituals, soul readings, tai chi, yoga, sound healing therapies and meditation. Guests can participate on a daily basis or dip in and out of activities as they wish, and take part in one or two per day.
Music is integral to Palmaïa’s offering, and its “Rituals of Sound” programme showcases experimental visiting musicians from around the world. Sessions take place at the property’s Eolo Beach club and are said to resonate with guests on a deep level through “curated deep beats and a mix of electronic fusion music with acoustic overlays”.
The resort’s Atlantis Spa is set within the jungle, and has its own natural cenote. It offers transformative holistic treatments, including an ancient Temazcal ceremony. Carried out by the master healers, the treatments are designed to achieve inner harmony by working on different energy centres to facilitate being in the eternal present.
The five treatment temples feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the jungle. There is also the Avalon Beauty Room offering manicures, pedicures, and hair treatments, as well as a fully-equipped fitness centre.
The Awen Children’s Program for kids aged between three and 12 years-old features encourages outdoor exploration. Run by a qualified team trained in the Waldorf Steiner education method, it offers a device-free environment. Meanwhile, teenagers are encouraged to participate in the “Architects of Life” activities.
Palmaïa also encourages guests to explore Mexico and ancient Mayan culture. For example, “The Depth” experience is tour that offers immersion into local culture and ecosystems, where guests can itnessing first-hand how the Mayan people reconnect with nature and live their lives in a meaningful way. Other options include visits to Chichen Itza, and tours of Tulum and ancient cenotes.
Palmaïa has been designed in harmony with its natural surroundings – and the furnishings are vegan-friendly. Solar panels are installed throughout the resort, there are no single-use plastics on the property and all bathroom amenities are refillable and made with 100 per cent biodegradable ingredients and essential oils.
Each of the 234 suites have a private terrace with views of the Caribbean Sea or the jungle, and some have swim-out access to one of the resort’s four infinity pools. All guests are also assigned a “nomadic guide” to assist them with any requests or arrangements during their stay.
Ume is a Thai fusion restaurant; Su Casa is an integrated laid back beach bar/restaurant; Eolo beach club (below) is geared towards cocktails at sunset; Plantissa Café serve breakfast, smoothies and baked goods, and there’s also a vegan taco food truck called Charly’s.
Palmaïa guests have unrestricted access to all the daily wellness classes, the “Rituals of Sound” series, the Awen kid’s club, à la carte meals and beverages, pool and beachside service, bike-sharing service, wifi, and 24-hour room service.
Rates start from £843 per night for two adults sharing on an all-inclusive basis.