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With handfuls of infinity pools, daily activity rosters, and a million onsite restaurants to choose from, the appeal and practicality of a mega-resort is real, especially for large families. When it comes to Tulum, however, we draw a line in the sand. On a vacation to the premier bohemian beach town on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, you’d be much better off experiencing the tranquility, local culture, and cuisine from the comfort of a boutique property. There, every effort is made to stay true to Tulum’s roots, and the staff is able to offer more personalized attention to guests. For that reason, we’ve uncovered the best boutique’s Tulum has to offer.
Best Overall: Casa Malca
The best boutique hotels are packed with personality, and Casa Malca has it in spades. Once a mansion owned by infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the extensively renovated property is now an art-filled, 41-room beachfront hotel. Arriving at Casa Malca at the southern end of Tulum’s beach road, guests are ushered through the property's gates and greeted by the hotel’s Instagram-able entrance: vintage armchairs hang from the ceiling, and a white tower leads up to a rooftop deck with views over the jungle and ocean (a lookout leftover from the estate's storied past).
Inside, you’ll find spacious rooms decked out with cool and colorful furniture, huge rainfall showers, air-conditioning, and strong Wi-Fi. Casa Malca also has a large swimming pool, daybeds on the beach, and Philosophy restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner serving a mix of modern Mexican and Western dishes. In the evenings, pull up a stool at the black-and-white bar just off the foyer, or settle into one of the cozy couches in the dark, 1920s jazz bar-esque lounge.
Best Budget: Ginger Hotel
To do Tulum on a budget, stay downtown, a five-minute drive or 10-minute bike ride from the beach. Sure, you won’t be steps from the sea, but you will be in the heart of the most authentic food and cultural experiences Tulum has to offer – and it’ll cost about a quarter of what it would to stay on the beach. Ginger Hotel offers a leafy pool area and is praised by visitors for its clean rooms featuring local art, comfortable beds, powerful showers, air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and strong Wi-Fi. It’s also the home of Ginger, one of Tulum’s most popular restaurants, an unpretentious spot where the menu includes guacamole, ceviche, and fresh fish. Ginger Hotel is conveniently located amongst bars, restaurants, and shopping, and is a 10-minute walk to the ADO bus terminal for coaches to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.
Best Hideaway: Mukan
Tulum gets busier every year, so if you want to get away from it all, check-in to Mukan. The only luxury hotel inside Mexico’s UNESCO-protected Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Mukan is reached via a 45-minute private boat ride or 90-minute drive on a dirt road. Situated with the beach on one side and a pristine lagoon on the other, Mukan has just 10 bungalows, all of which have air-conditioning, cable television, a mini-bar, a dangerously comfortable bed, hot shower, and deep-soaking tub.
When you’re not on a small-group snorkeling tour of the biosphere to see dolphins, manatees, and turtles, paddle boarding, or cycling the trail that weaves through the jungle, the resort itself is a stunning place to unwind. Kick back on a day bed by the beach, take a dip in the hotel’s rooftop plunge pool overlooking the jungle, or get a massage. The attentive staff hosts a complimentary sunset wine hour on the lagoon each night and can organize romantic touches like dinner under the stars.
Best for Families: La Zebra
For the perfect family vacation to Tulum, look no further than La Zebra. With all 15 spacious rooms sitting right on the sand, children have plenty of space to run and play right outside. A daybed on the beach is reserved for every room at all times — making it the ideal home base for a day at the beach, and wait staff will gladly bring food and drinks right to you, simplifying meal times. The on-site restaurant is open all day, too, and reasonably priced given the high quality and location — a plate of tacos will set you back around $10.
La Zebra also has an on-site spa, so parents can easily sneak away for some me-time. When a change of scene is needed, La Zebra is smack-dab in the middle of Tulum’s best shopping boutiques and restaurants: Hartwood, Casa Banana, and The Real Coconut are all within a few minutes’ walk. The staff is also happy to organize excursions to cenotes, nature watching, or Mayan ruins if you're interested.
Best for Romance: Encantada
This intimate eight-room property at the southern end of the beach is perfect for a couple’s getaway. Step into your luxurious bungalow, built with wood from the surrounding jungle, to find a huge four-poster bed, a spacious, stylish bathroom and a wrap-around terrace with deck chairs for wiling away your time beachside. The staff is only too happy to bring food and drinks for you to enjoy on your balcony, if you don’t feel like moving. There are no televisions in the rooms, but all have air-conditioning – although you might find the ceiling fans and cool ocean breeze blowing through is all you need. At Encantada it’s all about unwinding, so be sure to book in for a spa treatment: the menu includes facials, massages, body scrubs and more. In terms of dining, the hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, while lunch is available to purchase. For dinner, guests are directed across the road to Nu Tulum, a relaxed open-air spot serving casually elegant Mexican fare. Wi-fi is available throughout the hotel. Hot tip: the second-story rooms have breath-taking oceans views.
Best for Luxury: Mi Amor
Mi Amor, an 18-room hotel located just a few minutes’ drive from the Tulum ruins, attracts a sophisticated crowd looking to relax and indulge. Many Tulum hotels have an eco-luxe vibe, but Mi Amor is as contemporary as it gets. Comfort is king in the chic, design-forward rooms, which offer luxurious details like high-quality bed linens, a rainfall shower, a Nespresso machine and blue-tooth speakers. Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose from a pool, jungle, garden or sea view room – some have a jacuzzi and/or plunge pool. Mi Amor has everything you’d expect of a top boutique hotel: a sleek infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a spa with an array of treatments, and a world-class culinary offering. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in the breath-taking dining room overlooking the ocean – expect refined European-inspired dishes from chef Paul Bentley, a former New York City chef who’s become a rising star of Mexico’s food scene. With a bar menu created by award-winning mixologist Jasper Soffer it would be rude not to order a craft cocktail or three. Children are not permitted at Mi Amor.
Best for Nightlife/Singles: Papaya Playa Project
Papaya Playa Project is the unrivaled home of Tulum's beachfront nightlife. Since it opened in 2012, the laidback-cool property has attracted world-class DJs to play for revelers on the sand. Most weekends there are dance parties, and the monthly full moon celebration is especially well-known. The wide range of accommodation options, from simple thatched-roof huts for those on a budget, to luxury villas with private pools, means Papaya Playa Project attracts a diverse, mostly millennial crowd. Backpackers, young professionals, and digital nomads mingle over coffee or cocktails in the common areas, which are design-forward but natural and minimal, as to not take away from the picturesque surroundings. PPP is a great place to meet other travelers and potential creative collaborators and has a social atmosphere the hotel encourages. It’s not all about partying, though. Yoga is held every morning, spa treatments are available, and there’s a traditional Mayan temazcal — a natural sweat lodge — where you can book an “energy cleansing" session.
Best City Center: Casa Pueblo
Casa Pueblo is all the reason you need to skip the beachfront hotels and stay in downtown Tulum instead. The 16 minimalist rooms at this design-forward property feature floor-to-ceiling windows that face onto a plant- and light-filled atrium, luxury bedding by Parachute Home, air-conditioning, walk-in rain showers, and all-natural bathroom products; in other words, it's an exceptionally peaceful place to rest after a day of exploring Tulum. Fast, reliable Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, free breakfast, an organic coffee shop, communal dining, and working spaces are the icing on the cake.
Casa Pueblo’s on-site restaurant serves nutritious super-food bowls, vegetable-heavy plates (a relief after all those tortillas), home-style Mexican casseroles, and more. A bonus of staying in Tulum town, rather than on the beach, is the plentiful options for authentic, affordable food nearby. Just a short drive or bike ride along the street is El Camello Jr, a beloved local’s seafood restaurant where plates of fresh ceviche, shrimp, and whole fish are piled high.
Best for Business: Sanara Tulum
Tulum is a vacation destination first and foremost, but if you’re a digital nomad, remote worker, or have business to attend to while you’re in town, stay at Sanara. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic ‘office’ than this 19-room wellness-focused property. The spacious, eco-chic rooms (choose from accommodation on the sand or further back surrounded by jungle) aren’t equipped with desks, but there are communal spaces to set up your laptop and get through your to-do list, like beachfront restaurant The Real Coconut or the rooftop area (it goes without saying there’s fast, reliable Wi-Fi throughout the hotel).
Feeling well rested and energized is essential for working travelers, and it’s easy to partake in some self-care at Sanara. Daily yoga sessions are held in the wellness studio overlooking the ocean, and the multi-level spa offers a range of treatments, from massages and facials to reflexology, crystal therapy, and craniosacral massage. A healthy meal is always on hand thanks to the nutritious menu at The Real Coconut — try the tacos made with coconut flour and wash it down with a cold-pressed juice or an organic wine if you’ve clocked out for the day.
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.