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With aqua water, white sand and a rustic-luxe vibe, Tulum should be on the bucket list of every beach-loving traveler. Just 80 miles south of Cancun Airport, the laid-back, eco-chic town may be quieter than Cancun or Playa Del Carmen, but its restaurants, spas and shopping rival any vacation spot in Mexico. Whether you’re honeymooning, traveling with kids, splashing out or on a budget, you'll find the best Tulum hotel for you right here.
Best Overall: La Zebra
Like most hotels on Tulum’s heavenly beachfront, La Zebra is a boutique property just steps from the water. But where La Zebra really excels is its spacious, luxurious and thoughtfully designed rooms. All 15 guest accommodations offer a private plunge pool (ground floor) or a private balcony with uninterrupted oceans views (second floor). A daybed on the beach is reserved for every guest at all times, and wait staff will bring you all the margaritas, Coronas, tacos and guacamole you can handle. The on-site restaurant is open all day and reasonably priced given its high quality and location. Otherwise, La Zebra is smack in the middle of Tulum’s best restaurants: Hartwood, Casa Banana and The Real Coconut are all within a few minutes’ walk along the main road. To top it off, La Zebra has an on-site spa, so there is no need to leave the hotel if you want a massage.
Best Budget: Nueva Vida de Ramiro
If you want the original Tulum experience, look no further than Nueva Vida de Ramiro. This low-key hidden gem, on the southern end of the beach, offers 32 rustic bungalows varying in price and amenities. The hotel takes being eco-friendly seriously and is mostly solar-powered, which means sacrificing some luxuries; hair dryers are not allowed and air-conditioning is only available in five of the bungalows (and only between 9 PM and 8 AM, at that). But it’s hardly roughing it as all rooms have comfortable beds, hot water and Wi-Fi (though it is weak in the cabanas closest to the sea). A breakfast of coffee, fruit, bread and eggs to order is included and served at Casa Banana just across the road. The best of Tulum, from restaurants to shops and yoga studios, are all close by.
Best Boutique: Mi Amor
With just 18 luxurious rooms, a high staff-to-guest ratio and a fine-dining restaurant, it’s hard to beat Mi Amor. The upscale property is at the north end of the beach, a seven-minute drive or easy cycle to the Tulum ruins. Mi Amor opened in 2015, and the contemporary rooms are equipped with all the creature comforts you’d expect: air conditioning, rainfall showerheads, Nespresso machines and wireless Bluetooth Bose speakers. Guests can choose from seafront, jungle view or garden view rooms. The restaurant at Mi Amor is helmed by former New York City chef Paul Bentley and offers a sophisticated menu of modern French, Italian and Mexican dishes. Oh, and the cocktails at Mi Amor might just be the best in Tulum. The bar, overseen by former Soho House mixologist Jasper Soffer, serves up expertly blended concoctions like the Diego & Frieda: vodka, strawberry and St. Germain.
Best for Families: El Pez
Situated on a cove of shallow water toward the north end of the beach, El Pez is a quiet, understated hotel, perfect for those traveling with children. The rooms are all ocean-facing, generously sized, modern and comfortable without being ostentatious. Second-floor accommodations all have a private balcony with a couch for afternoon siestas, while ground-floor rooms have decks with sunbeds (though they're without the upstairs rooms' impressive view). All have air-conditioning, hot showers, Wi-Fi and a bar fridge. There’s also a small pool at the back. The restaurant at El Pez is open from breakfast through dinner. Feast on delicious Mexican fare, like fish tacos and ceviche, or kid-friendly American classics like burgers and sandwiches.
Best for Romance: Encantada
Encantada is the definition of eco-chic. The hotel's eight bungalows have an undeniably romantic vibe: the king-size, four-poster beds are draped in mosquito nets and at night, the rooms are lit with low-wattage light bulbs and soft-glowing candles. In between ocean dips you can enjoy margaritas and tacos on your private wrap-around terrace, or have a massage, facial or body scrub. Breakfast is included in the room rate and served at the on-site restaurant, as is lunch. Dinner is just across the road at Nu Tulum, an open-air modern Mexican spot founded by a team of chefs from Mexico City. Try to snag an upper-floor, ocean-facing bungalow for the 180-degree ocean views, although the garden view rooms are still idyllic and only steps from the ocean. All rooms have hot water and air conditioning, but no television. But why would you want TV when you can fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing?
Best Luxury: The Beach Tulum
If you’re going all out for your vacation, stay at The Beach. The upscale boutique property on Tulum’s south end is on a private stretch of sand, so it feels especially tranquil. The 28 rooms boast luxuries not found at most Tulum hotels: the junior suite has a private, heated plunge pool facing the ocean, the rooftop jacuzzi rooms have — you guessed it — a private second-story terrace with a hot tub, while the deluxe rooms have deep-soaking baths with ocean views. To eat and drink, choose from several on-site eateries including Ziggy’s, health-focused restaurant, Fresco’s (where even the cocktails are nutritious), the Beach Club or the Pool Club. But what truly makes The Beach a cut above the rest is the staff — they’re the kind that anticipate your needs before you do.
Best for Nightlife/Singles: Papaya Playa Project
Papaya Playa Project attracts sophisticated world-travelers looking to meet and collaborate with like-minded people A creative, communal atmosphere and a range of accommodation price points make it a great choice for single travelers — or anyone seeking a social experience in Tulum. The vibe is peaceful during the day, but when the sun goes down the common areas have a lounge feel as the bar fills up with plenty of non-guests and house music plays. Papaya Playa Project is one of few venues on the beach with substantial nightlife. Every month there’s a full moon party, where world-class DJs take to the decks, and the celebration goes quite late. Room options range from simple cabanas with concrete floors and minimal amenities to more luxurious 387-square-foot casitas with high ceilings and private pools.
Best Business: Sanara Tulum
Digital nomads — or anyone mixing work with leisure while in Tulum — should check-in at Sanara. The high-design, 19-room boutique property is perfect for peaceful productivity. Reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi is available across the beachfront property, restaurant The Real Coconut serves up healthy cutting-edge fare and delicious juices and there’s a world-class yoga and workout studio overlooking the ocean so you can get your daily exercise in. When your working day is done, relax on a daybed with drink in hand, or book a treatment in the wellness center. There’s something for every health concern, including a Crystal Healing massage, and Immune Fortifier package, which combines a detox bath and reiki healing. The rooms at Sanara have been designed to encourage rest and relaxation. Choose from beachfront suites or more affordable rooms tucked away in the tranquil jungle across the road.
Best City Center: Prana Boutique Hotel
It’s 10 minutes by car to the beach, but staying in downtown Tulum does have its advantages. Authentic, affordable cuisine loved by locals abounds, it’s more convenient for going on day trips to nearby ruins and cenotes and rooms are a much better value compared to those in the pricey beachfront hotel zone. Prana Boutique Hotel is the best of Tulum town hotels: a modern, boutique property with a quiet, leafy pool and day bed area. There are six spacious rooms with private terraces, one larger suite with a lounge room, outdoor tub and fully equipped kitchen, and two 215-square-foot ‘Lotus Belle’ glamping tents with air conditioning and private bathrooms. There’s also daily yoga classes and bicycles available for riding around town or to the beach.