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In Tulum, there are two clusters of hotels: those on the six-mile ‘beach road’ that stretches from the Tulum Ruins to the entrance of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and those in ‘Tulum town’ (essentially the city center), a five-minute drive from the beach. Tulum town certainly has its perks; it’s packed with authentic local food and often offers more affordable accommodation. That said, we’re partial to beachfront stays — they’re more than worth the splurge. Waking up steps from crystal clear water and falling asleep to the sound of the gently rolling ocean every night? Sign us up stat. There’s an overwhelming number of beachfront hotels in Tulum, but those below made our very selective cut.
Best Overall: The Beach
This upscale property on Tulum’s southern end truly makes the most of its enviable location. All 28 rustic-luxe rooms and suites have direct beach access and/or an ocean view. In fact, many allow guests to step straight onto Tulum’s soft white sand. The junior suites have a private, heated plunge pool facing the ocean, while the two rooftop jacuzzi rooms have a private second-story terrace with sunbeds and a hot tub. No matter which accommodation you choose, you'll find air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.
Dining options abound at The Beach, so there’s no reason to leave the hotel premises if you don’t feel like it. Choose from Ziggy’s, the more casual Fresco’s, the Beach Club, or the Pool Club (a generous free daily breakfast can be enjoyed at Ziggy’s or Fresco’s). The Beach also offers guests plenty of things to do: take a free daily yoga class, get zen at the Naj Naay Spa, or imbibe at the weekly tequila and Mexican wine tastings.
Best Budget: Las Palmas Maya
As Tulum’s popularity booms, it’s getting harder to find the kind of affordable accommodation that first drew travelers to the bohemian Mexican beach town. One place you can still have that experience is Las Palmas Maya. With just six no-fuss bungalows planted right on the sand, the hotel is in the heart of the beach road, steps from the Mayan Clay spa and plenty of restaurants. Staying on the beach in Tulum on a budget does, of course, mean foregoing some luxuries.
The bungalows at Las Palmas Maya don’t have air-conditioning or television, but they do have a ceiling fan, a hot shower, and comfortable beds draped with a mosquito net which offers its own rustic romance. The hotel offers complimentary coffee from 8 to 10 AM daily, and at the on-site café guests can purchase juices, smoothies, and breakfast options. Long-term travelers or those who prefer to prepare their own food will be grateful for the communal kitchen. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, including in guestrooms.
Best Boutique: Casa Malca
This boutique hotel at the most southern end of Tulum’s beach road was founded by Lio Malca, a hotelier, gallery owner, and renowned art collector. The property, once owned by notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, opened with just eight rooms, but the art-filled estate quickly became so popular that an expansion was needed, and Casa Malca now offers 41 beachside rooms.
Entering the hotel, guests are greeted by vintage armchairs hanging from the ceiling and an art installation made of old wedding dresses — and that’s just the beginning of the Instagram-able moments. Wander the property and you’ll stumble upon countless artworks. The rooms at Casa Malca are large and luxurious, with polished concrete floors, huge rainfall showers, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, colorful art, and eclectic furnishings. The hotel also offers guests a large swimming pool, daybeds on the beach, and a sophisticated restaurant, Philosophy, where you can choose from a menu of modern Mexican and western dishes. Relax with a drink on the rooftop, at the funky black-and-white bar, or in the dimly-lit jazz-bar-esque room nearby.
Best for Families: La Zebra
Luxurious but unpretentious, La Zebra is the ideal setting for a family trip to Tulum. All 15 spacious rooms offer either a balcony with ocean views (second-floor rooms) or a private plunge pool facing the beach (ground floor rooms), and most have a king bed, an indoor ‘day bed’ that’s essentially a single, and an extra roll-out single — AKA room for the whole gang. Air-conditioning, luxury bathroom products, a Nespresso machine, and strong WiFii make for an extra super comfortable stay.
La Zebra is one of those hotels where there’s little need to leave the premises. Staff ensures a daybed on the beach is reserved for each room at all times, and the beach menu is an impressive one: guacamole, ceviche, quesadillas, tacos, sandwiches, and an extensive list of beverages are all available. Guests praise the high-quality food and reasonable prices at the on-site restaurant, especially given its enviable location at the heart of the beach road. Of course, if you do want to get out and about for a bit, La Zebra is just minutes on foot to local restaurant favorites like Hartwood and The Real Coconut.
Best for Romance: Encantada
Encantada is the perfect beachfront hotel for a romantic stay in Tulum, whether it’s for a honeymoon, anniversary, or just a much-needed vacation with your beau. There are only eight boho-chic bungalows on the property, which is situated on the southern end of the beach, so privacy and peace are guaranteed. Each room, either on the ground floor or second story (the latter have ocean views), is equipped with a king-size four-poster bed draped with a mosquito net, air-conditioning, a sleek bathroom with a powerful walk-in shower, and a wrap-around hardwood balcony.
There’s not much to do at Encantada except swim, relax on a daybed, or go to the spa for a massage, facial, or body scrub — and that’s exactly the point (FYI, there’s no television). Enjoy breakfast (included in the nightly room rate) and lunch at the on-site restaurant, while dinner is served at Nu Tulum just opposite the hotel. The open-air eatery is getting rave reviews for its modern Mexican menu. Encantada’s romantic atmosphere kicks up a notch in the evenings when your luxurious bungalow is lit with candles and soft-glowing lights.
Best for Luxury: Mi Amor
If you want to do Tulum in absolute luxury, look no further than Mi Amor. Since opening in 2015, the sleek and stylish property has become one of the most sought-after stays on the beach. Mi Amor is the definition of boutique with just 18 rooms and a highly professional and attentive staff. Choose from a sea-front room with uninterrupted ocean views, a jungle view room surrounded by lush greenery, or a garden view room with a plunge pool. The super-modern accommodations are decked out with luxury linens, air-conditioning, a rainfall shower, Nespresso machine, and wireless Bluetooth speaker.
At the on-site fine-dining restaurant, former New York City chef Paul Bentley has created a delectable menu of contemporary Mexican and European dishes. When you’re not soaking up the luxury of your incredible lodgings or having a mouthwatering bite to eat, relax by the hotel pool, order a craft cocktail at the bar, or head to the on-site spa. Situated at the northern end of the beach, the Tulum ruins are just a short drive or bike ride away.
Best for Nightlife/Singles: Papaya Playa Project
Single travelers or anyone looking for a social experience in Tulum should check-in at Papaya Playa Project. The clientele is a mix of digital nomads, creatives, and millennials looking for more than just a cocktail on the beach (not that there’s anything wrong with that). In the rustic-cool communal areas, there’s a sociable atmosphere, with an amphitheater intended for guests to perform, present ideas, and collaborate. At night, the bar has an upbeat vibe with house music playing that attracts plenty of non-guests from other hotels. Papaya Playa Project also attracts world-class DJs for dance parties on the sand which go late into the night. It’s especially renowned for its monthly full moon parties and hosting incredible acts during the annual BPM electronic music festival in nearby Playa Del Carmen.
There’s a room to suit every budget at Papaya Playa Project, from bungalows with concrete floors and the most basic amenities (bed, mosquito net, ceiling fan, toilet, shower) to decadent 387-square-foot luxury villas with a private pool. The hotel also has an impressive sustainability policy, so you can leave Tulum with a clean conscience.
Best for Business: Sanara Tulum
Tulum has long been a haven for digital nomads and remote workers, and Sanara Tulum is hands-down the best beach hotel for a productive stay. Each of the 19 rooms, whether on the beach or nestled in the jungle at the back of the property, has been designed to encourage a sense of calm and clarity, with polished concrete floors, reclaimed wood, locally made crafts, and comfortable beds that encourage a good night’s sleep. Super-fast Wi-Fi throughout the property enables business travelers to work from their room or on a daybed overlooking the ocean.
It’s all too easy to maintain a balanced lifestyle at Sanara, with a world-class on-site yoga studio, and a spa with a focus on healing treatments (the Immune Fortifier combines a detox bath with Reiki). At award-winning on-site restaurant The Real Coconut, the menu is nourishing and delicious. (Yes, it really is possible to leave Mexico without that uncomfortable taco bloat.) Every item is gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar-free, and it all tastes so good you wouldn’t notice if they didn’t tell you. Order the coconut-flour quesadillas, coconut ceviche, or the super-green bowl.
Best Hideaway: Mukan
Yes, it’s possible to experience Tulum like it was 20 years ago — just with a little added luxury. Take a 45-minute private boat ride (or drive 90 minutes down a dirt road) into the UNESCO protected Sian Ka’an biosphere to Mukan, the only luxury resort inside the reserve. A stay here is the definition of getting away from it all; there are only a handful of other accommodation options nearby, and no restaurants or shops. Mukan’s ten bungalows are not ostentatious, but they’re certainly luxurious for the jungle: each has a heavenly soft bed draped with a mosquito net, air-conditioning, a deep-soaking bathtub, hot shower, mini-bar, and a flat-screen television with cable.
Make the most of staying inside the reserve with a small-group snorkeling tour to see dolphins, turtles, and other wildlife, or cycle the dirt road through the jungle to soak up the serenity. At the on-site restaurant where you’ll enjoy all your meals, the menu is simple but sophisticated, featuring fresh, homey Mexican meals like tacos, salads, and fresh whole fish. The on-site spa menu is limited to massage.
Our writers spent 10 hours researching the most popular boutique hotels in Tulum, Mexico. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different hotels overall, read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative), and visited 6 of the hotels themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.