Found on Mexico’s paradisiacal Yucatán Peninsula, Tulum is not simply a pretty town. It contains the remains of the ancient Mayan walled port city, a pre-Columbian settlement, with a castle, cliffs, mangroves and cenotes. For holidaymakers seeking some sun, sea and sand alongside significant archaeological sites, it offers enhanced tranquillity, as compared to larger Mexican coastal destinations such as Cancun and Acapulco. There’s much to keep tourists occupied; Xel Ha (the world’s largest natural aquarium) is here, as is Sian Ka’an (a biosphere and World Heritage site). Tulum is a wonderful place in which to go swimming with dolphins, dive, snorkel, kayak and simply laze by the turquoise ocean.
Comprising three villa buildings, Aldea Canzul exudes contemporary rustic style. The high-end furnishings have a boho edge, ensuring the resort feels both fashionable and in keeping with its surroundings. Ideal for families and groups, the two, three and four-bedded self-catering casas include kitchens and terraces with BBQ facilities and superb views. The on-site concierge can book a private chef if you’d prefer not to cook, as well as arranging in-villa spa treatments, watersports activities and yoga classes. Tulum’s main beachfront is close enough to provide access to bars and restaurants, but far enough to afford peace and quiet.
This is true barefoot luxury – even a trip to the hotel’s bar and Mexican restaurant allows you to feel the sand between your toes. Guests are accommodated in huge thatched cabanas on stilts, with oversized mirrors artily leaning against the walls and muslin floating from four-poster handcrafted beds. The decor in the 21 suites revolves around richly hued wooden furnishings, offset by white textiles. There’s an appropriately lazy vibe here, with hammocks strung beachside and there’s a strong focus on sustainability, ensuring the local eco-system is supported rather than disturbed by its tourism.
The 12 rooms and villa accommodation at Nest back onto its private stretch of beach. Its name reflects a loose theme here, with plenty of thatching and weaving integrated throughout the resort. Much of it was built using traditional Mayan methods and local materials. Guests can lounge on comfy daybeds seaside, make use of complimentary bicycle hire, dine in several eateries and drink on the rooftop terrace. Like Delek, sustainability is big here, as such, guests are offered vegan LoredAna toiletries, recycled water and plastic-free excursions. While Nest tends to attract adult travellers, the five-bedroom villa is a good choice for older families.
La Valise Tulum
La Valise takes its interior inspiration from the natural beauty of its Tulum jungle and sea surrounds with palapa ceilings, stripped wood furniture, blonde and azure hues and Yutucan textiles. Palm-lined sandy paths connect each area of the tiny nine-roomed resort. There’s no spa, but treatments are provided in-room and the restaurant is an exotic alfresco affair serving alternative takes on familiar Mexican classics – or order room service for honeymoon seclusion in this magical hideaway.
This Tulum escape will suit wannabe castaways down to the ground. Its proprietor Lio Malca has created a unique, bohemian and quirky resort. With a concealed entrance and sandwiched between wild jungle and sandy shores, it houses just 40 bedrooms filled with colourful enormous modern art pieces and oversized grand mirrors – for the ultimate treat, opt for a Master Suite Beach Front with hammocks and a private terrace. The hotel and grounds are rustic, yet super stylish with an eclectic mix of baroque and contemporary design, with more oversized sculptures and artwork. Of its three pools, one has a moodily magical underground grotto and the onsite restaurants offer truly sensory dining experiences.