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Wellness Shines at Unico 20°87° Riviera Maya

Unico Offers An Ideal Experience For Healthy Travelers During the Aura Wellness Retreat and Beyond

For most travelers, a visit to an all-inclusive resort, complete with an all-you-can-eat-and-drink stay, doesn’t immediately scream “wellness.” At Unico 20°87° Riviera Maya (Mexico), however, it’s is a major focus of the property, particularly during its annual Aura Wellness Retreat. I recently took part in the second edition of this immersive health and wellness experience and am pleased to report that while the property offers plenty of opportunities to indulge, healthy-minded vacationers can find unlimited options to fill their wellbeing cups.

What We Love

  • Aura Wellness Retreat
  • Charming Accommodations
  • Essencia Spa
  • Local Host Service
Swim up pools side view
Unico’s rooms feature either a semi-private swim-up pool or a spa tub.

Accommodations

In comparison to some of the massive all-inclusives in Cancun and Riviera Maya, Unico is charmingly intimate with 448 lavishly appointed guest rooms, which boast predominantly ocean views. Ground-floor rooms offer semi-private swim-up pools, while all other terraces feature outdoor double-hydro spa tubs.

I visited the property with a friend, and we stayed in an Alcoba Ocean View room with two double beds. The room was spacious and charmingly designed with authentic local accents and artwork. The property is a lovely retreat for couples, but we also found it to be a wonderful spot for a girls’ getaway. Neither of us are night owls, so after dinner each night, we retreated to the room to watch a rom-com and get a great night of sleep in the comfortable beds. Early mornings watching the sun rise from our cozy patio were an equally great way to start the day.

As for amenities, there were juices, waters, and a few lower calorie snacks. A 24-hour room service menu is available, which offers some healthy offerings. I also enjoyed the custom Esencia products and locally sourced soaps, which provided an additional authentic touch, as well as the cozy jersey robe, which was a perfect light option for the Mexican heat.

For travelers who want an ultra-clean experience, Unico offers Pure Wellness Alcoba rooms. In addition to the regular cleaning protocols, the Pure rooms undergo an additional seven-step process intended to trap and eliminate viruses, bacteria, and airborne particles and minimize the presence of potential irritants.

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Rice With Lobster at Mura House

Cuisine

With five globally infused gourmet restaurants, six bars and lounges, and two swim-up bars, there’s something for everyone when it comes to food and drink. From an aesthetic perspective, Mi Carisa, the Italian restaurant, is perhaps the most picturesque, with a lovely over-water walkway leading to the restaurant that is a great spot to stop for photos. The salads and the beef and tuna carpaccio dishes were among my favorites. Cueva Siete, the locally inspired Mexican restaurant, had some excellent shared dishes—I particularly enjoyed the tuna tartare and the tacos. My favorite restaurant (we ate there twice) was Mura House, where the sushi and sashimi were delicious. Don’t miss the pad thai and rice with lobster for another culinary treat. The morning buffet and lunch at 20.87 restaurant were also quite good with a wide range of options. Of all the dining choices, the poolside lunch choices probably offered the fewest healthier alternatives, with a lot of deep-fried foods filling the menu. However, the guacamole was very good and not to be missed. Each restaurant offers an assortment of plant-based and vegan dishes for those who prefer not to eat meat. We also enjoyed the extensive 24-hour room service menu when we decided to enjoy a night in or were simply craving a late-night snack.

One of most unique things about Unico is that each room is assigned a local host who can guide you through your visit and make reservations for dining, spa, activities, excursions, airport transfers, and more. Ours was Alberto, and he booked all our dining reservations upon our arrival and was available any time via What’s App to share the day’s schedule, answer questions, and make any changes needed to our reservations.

Spa relaxation a
The spa offers multiple inviting relaxation areas.

Spa & Fitness Facilities

Esencia, Unico’s 17,700-square-foot, 26-treatment-room spa, is a haven for spa lovers. Like the rest of the resort, it features an authentic Yucatan-inspired design and offers plenty of places to relax and linger, including a co-ed outdoor lounge and pool area, multiple relaxation spaces, and more.

Our local host, Alberto, made our spa reservations, and we had a seamless experience checking in and getting ready to relax. We also arrived an hour early to take advantage of the Hydrotherapy Experience, where we were guided through hot and cold experiences (sauna, steam, hammam, cold plunge, cold shower, and Jacuzzi) to help detox and prepare for our treatments. My friend and I both enjoyed the Harmony ($450, 80 minutes), one of the spa’s signature massage services that includes Swedish, Hot Stones, and Reflexology. Even better, we got a discount for being part of the Aura retreat. My therapist, Concepcion, was amazing and worth every penny.

The spa offers a variety of retail products from Natura Bissé, Scens, and AgaveSpa, a Mexican brand. I particularly enjoyed the beauty bar where bath amenities, including bath salts, soaps, and lotions, can be personalized. The spa also features an expansive salon for hair and nail services.

As for fitness, we mostly partook in the Aura Wellness outdoor fitness offerings, however, the state-of-the-art fitness facilities are spacious and inviting. There is an array of LifeFitness equipment as well as a cycling studio. The fitness center is open 24 hours a day, and each day features a range of classes, including yoga, indoor cycling, Pilates, cross training, HIIT, and more, so there are plenty of choices for workout aficionados of all fitness levels.

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Unico offers lovely sunsets and three picturesque pools.

Amenities & Activities

Beyond the spa, there are other wonderful amenities that allow guests to enjoy a relaxing escape. The property features three expansive pools, one of which is the La Escondida quiet pool and a serene retreat where we spent most of our time. The beach, while not huge, is also lovely. Unfortunately, when we were there, the seaweed was intense, so aside from a morning beach walk, we spent most of our time at the pool.

Another offering I found quite compelling is Unico’s Vacation With A Cause volunteer program, which allows guests the opportunity to impact the everyday lives of those in our surrounding communities by bringing donated items from home to the hotel during their stay. I wasn’t aware of the program before my trip, but I think it’s a wonderful way to support the local community and would love to participate on a future visit.

Spa Hydrotherapy Interior
During Aura Wellness and beyond, the hydrotherapy experience at Esencia Spa is an exceptional rejuvenating add-on to spa experiences.

Aura Wellness

As part of the Aura experience, I was able to take advantage of truly standout wellness options. The week-long event featured chef presentations, pool parties, exclusive spa treatments, and fitness classes with an impressive array of high-profile members of the global health and wellness community.

Experts included fitness coach and HIIT instructor Roydian Chan; Kayla Nicole, personal fitness trainer and founder of Tribe Therepē; wellness and fitness influencers from Sweats In The City; mindset coach Shannon Bills; meditation coach Faith Hunter; yoga instructor Eugenia Muriel; Vinyasa yoga instructor Andrea Muriel; indoor cycling instructor and health coach Giovana Araujo: and Karla Hernandez, an acclaimed Mexican chef and best-selling cookbook author. Throughout the days we were there, the wellness options were endless, ranging from morning cold plunges, floating yoga, functional training, energy healing, and more to healthy cooking classes, skincare sessions with Natura Bissé, and shamanic beachside blessings. It was warm during our visit, so we particularly enjoyed the aqua options and the early morning fitness classes before things heated up. Afternoon Aura pool parties, complete with wellness juice shots, popsicles, catchy tunes, and giant floats, were a fun way to cool off and enjoy the sun.

*Word to the wise – Unico’s location at 20° latitude and 87° longitude is close to the equator. Be aware of the powerful rays. I’m meticulous about wearing sunscreen, hats, and hiding out under umbrellas, and I still got scorched. Use high SPF, and reapply often so you can enjoy your vacation experience without the hassle of a painful sunburn.

The next Aura Wellness Retreat is scheduled to take place April 13 to 20, 2025, but the resort offers fitness and wellness programming year-round, so no need to wait. While you may not have access to as Aura’s high-profile instructors all year, the wonderful spa, fitness, and wellness offerings are always available, and it’s easy to fill your visit to Unico 20°87° Riviera Maya with sun, fun, health, and wellness.

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About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.