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Tulum is hot right now, and not just temperature wise. Cancun’s southern (and spring breaker-ridden) neighbor may have always been a hot spot for the world’s more adventurous travellers, but today, the secret is out – hipsters and honeymooners are rushing to the serene stretch of sand in droves. But Tulum hasn’t quite caught up to its tourist-ready neighbor – 24-hour electricity is still a luxury in some remote parts of the area, some strips of the beach still offer ramshackle cabanas without private bathrooms or power sockets, and Wi-Fi is often more of a daydream than a reality. That remaining rustic vibe (plus the region’s burgeoning cuisine, striking natural beauty and hip party scene) is all part of Tulum’s charm. Should you find yourself shrugging off Cancun’s all-inclusive crowds, here’s where you should stay in Tulum.

1. Best Hotel for Hipsters: Papaya Playa Project

In a new project from Design Hotels, 80 no-frills cabanas are spread out along Tulum’s beach and jungle – many with little electricity and shared bathrooms, some with a slightly higher level of comfort and rustic design. But Papaya Playa isn’t courting luxury-seeking honeymooners. The spot is aimed to attract “like minded, creative individuals,” (see: hipsters) and the concept has certainly caught on. The hotel’s beach club hosts both resident and international DJ acts and has become a hot spot for music lovers. The Club’s restaurant sources ingredients for its Mayan and Mexican dishes from a local organic market, and the hotel’s spa offers yoga, ancient medicine and Temazcal – a ritualistic sweat lodge ceremony that’s popular with the more adventurous (hippie) crowd. It may not be the lap of luxury, but Papaya Playa is quickly becoming a place to see and be seen.

 

2. Best Hotel for Pool People: The Beach Tulum Hotel

Some people just don’t like to swim in the ocean, and when the ocean is the turquoise hue that it is in Tulum, we think that’s weird. Nonetheless, only some of the hotels in Tulum have swimming pools, and boutique hotel The Beach is one of them. In fact, eight of the hotel’s twelve rooms have private access to the hotel’s maze-like swimming pool (where happy hour happens every day from 4 to 6), hammocks, private roof terraces with ocean-view jacuzzis and designated beds on the beach. The hotel has an impressive yoga palapa with a Mayan thatched roof and and classes – both communal and private – are available from Tuesday to Friday.

 

3. Best Hotel for Foodies: Mi Amor

Aside from the taco stands and ceviche joints of Tulum town, the Mi Amor hotel is a serious eater’s best bet. The hotel’s Unico Restaurant is helmed by Chef Brian Sernatinger, formerly of NYC giants Gramercy Tavern and Craft. Sernatinger’s menu includes creative dishes with both local and international influences, plus refreshing alcoholic pairings from Mi Amor’s expert mixologist: Jasper Soffer. Before coming to Mexico, Soffer built his impressive resume at NYC’s famous Soho House, Spice Market and Boom Boom Room bars, and at Sydney hot spot Eau du Vie. Intimate seafront rooms at Mi Amor boast outdoor jet tubs, floor to ceiling windows and plenty of outdoor living space.

 

4. Best Hotel for Romantics: Be Tulum

This adults-only contemporary boutique hotel of just twenty rooms offers a chic yet relaxed atmosphere for couples and honeymooners looking to soak up the sun in peace. The hotel’s beach club offers a pool, bar and restaurant, though all of the property’s suites also offer their own private rooftop pools or jacuzzis. For an ultimate day of indulgence, start off with an in-suite champagne breakfast followed by a relaxing lounge or stroll on the beach. Finish off with a visit to the hotel’s Yaan Wellness Energy Spa, which offers private Temazcal ceremonies, indigenous therapies, Mayan herbal baths and a steam room, sauna and massage pool.

 

5. Best Green Hotel: Casa de las Olas

This five-suite bed and breakfast may not consider itself a luxury hotel in the traditional sense but instead, the folks at Casa de las Olas concentrate on preserving Tulum’s natural beauty and leaving as little of a footprint on the local ecology as possible. The property is 100{a6f918a28d0c453b79f16bf9c353d89c8f4246dd535f28283d5e631e0d8f251e} sustainable – all of the electricity used comes from the sun, all of the water is captured from underground streams and rain, and the food in Olas’ restaurant is sourced from local family farms. The hotel is located on Tulum’s southern stretch of beach (and claims to be unlisted on Google Maps), which means that guest privacy (and space on the beach) is easy to ensure.

 

6. Best Hotel for Fitness Junkies: Amansala Bikini Bootcamp

Are you the type who just can’t sit still on vacation? Bikini Bootcamp might be your perfect paradise. At Amansala, fitness classes, yoga, morning stretches, power beach walks, healthy eating, biking and dancing are all part of your typical daily itinerary. The retreat-style hotel features 24 cabanas, a beachfront restaurant and lounging terrace, yoga shalas and massage rooms – between daily activities, guests have time to relax on the beach and explore Tulum’s local Mayan ruins and cenote swimming holes. The hotel also offers off-beach accommodations for those looking to attend Bikini Bootcamp without the beachfront price tag.

 

7. Best Hotel for Wildlife Lovers: el Pez

El Pez’s location on an outcrop of land and sand in Tulum’s Turtle Cove makes it the perfect nesting site for endangered sea turtles, a congregation site for local birdlife and an attractive stomping ground for local Mayan fishermen. Rooms at El Pez are elevated to catch the local breezes, and six oceanfront cabanas boast touches of Mexican charm. The hotel’s largest accommodation, the Beach House, sleeps six guests in three bedrooms, which also makes El Pez a good option for families. As does a small swimming pool set off the beach.

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