Among fashionable international jetsetters, Tulum has long been celebrated for its laid-back chic, despite some questionable hotel evictions in 2016. One of the dreamiest accommodations options on the stretch of pristine sand between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is the Hotel Esencia, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Once the vacation retreat of an Italian duchess, the hotel is nestled on a lush 50-acre estate not far from Xpu-Ha beach. It’s an intimate, boutique property of whitewashed guest rooms decorated with mahogany doors and hardwood furnishings (some have their own plunge pools and a terrace or balcony). The organic spa showcases ancient herbalist practices, while the Garden restaurant specializes in seafood and Meso-American culinary practices like Pib (a traditional Mayan method of cooking meats and seafood in banana leaves underground).
In good news for Mayan Riviera fans: October will see the debut of eleven new suites (including six new beach suites)—as announced on Instagram—“for the ultimate #barefootinthesand #beachfront #vacation.” This brings the grand total to 38 suites and three villas. (Head over to Instagram to ogle the fun renderings by illustrator Pierre Le Tan.)
Directly on the sand, the new beach suites have large mahogany folding doors opening onto a terrace perched directly on the sand. What this means: gorgeous ocean views directly from your king bed. Other perks include in-room double bathtubs, HDTV, sound system, A/C, and even ocean-facing bathrooms. Note: There’s a special preview offer for returning guests, where you get your third night free through December 20 (excluding the period of November 22-26).