Welcome to paradise! Hotel Esencia is easily one of my favourite places in the world. Quietly tucked away along one of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches along the Riviera Maya, midway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, and about 100km South of Cancun.
What was once built as the vacation getaway of an Italian duchess, was converted in 2014 into an exquisite boutique hotel. Named one of the hotels on Conde Nast’s Gold List 2017, it is truly one of the most places to spend your vacation while drinking a Piña Colada.
This beautiful beachfront property is set on 50 acres and there are no cars allowed past the entrance gate — for the duration of our visit we were driven around in a golf cart through the jungle, all the while surrounded by palm trees, peacocks, iguanas and baby coati (infamous among hotel guests for stealing our morning pastries!).
When you come to Esencia you are a part of your environment. The resort blends into its surroundings with minimal disruptions to the ecosystem.
For all yoga connoisseurs (I am not one), the hotel offers yoga sessions in the morning under a traditional palapa-style roof just off the main house. For those of us who prefer to sleep in, there are hammocks perfectly suited for an afternoon nap! That’s what I call a win-win 🙂
The main house is the centre piece of the property with its library, gift shop and concierge office. It has a beautiful patio overlooking the lawn where we took afternoon tea and cookies courtesy of our gracious hosts. You are never alone when you are on the patio – dozens of iguanas of various sizes sun themselves on the grassy lawn while observing your every move.
During our last visit, the property had 38 suites and 3 villas scattered throughout the resort grounds. They have since renovated a bit and switched things around but that only makes me more excited for our next visit!
There is a natural coolness to the glazed concrete floors, white-washed walls, and private in-suite plunge pools. I was completely obsessed with the music playlist the staff creates for the guests which is always playing in the background when you come back to your suite.
Everything, from the coffee and fresh pastries left on the patio every morning to the delicious bed-time gifts, lets you know that impeccable service, privacy and guest happiness are top priorities.
The powdery white beach is nestled in the charming little bay of Xpu-Ha and is perfect for swimming, snorkling and paddle-boarding. But mostly, it is perfect for chilling in your cabana and looking out into the beautiful nothingness of the ocean.
Every year in the beginning of May the giant sea turtles come to nest on the beach and little baby turtles are born between July and November.
The Food & Cocktails
It wouldn’t be a real vacation if I didn’t comment on the food and drinks offered at the resort! There is an amazing juice bar where every morning we got some delicious cold-pressed juices from locally grown fruits and vegetables. “Happy hour” goes all day long with craft cocktails and made-to-order drinks!
The hotel food culture is centered around a fusion of Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines — all ingredients are sourced from local artisans and farmers. The property has a Beach and a Garden restaurant — the garden one is only open on Saturday evening and is a somewhat more formal affair, while the beach one is where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily. My favourite dish is one of their appetizers — deep fried avocado slices!!!
The spa is definitely where it’s at! The delightful therapists tailored bespoke treatments for us, using locally sourced ingredients from the surrounding Mayan jungles. We loved our massages and the dips in the tranquil jacuzzi.
This truly is one of those places that you simply do not want to leave – and why would you really want to – who doesn’t want to live in paradise. And to further drive my point, I will leave you with this photo of a couple “walking” their horse along our strip of beach while we were drinking our piña coladas – true story.