Tulum is a tropical paradise, replete with pristine white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and waterfront hotels. Unlike its neighbors to the north—Playa del Carmen and Cancun—Tulum retains the charm of a small beach town. And its accommodations are no exception. You won’t find massive resorts; instead, beautifully designed boutique hotels line the main beach drag. Tulum is also an epicenter of eco-tourism. And this deference to Mother Nature comes through in every facet of the town—including its design sensibility and architectural style. Luxury and Earth-inspired exist in absolute accord. From minimally-appointed spaces at Sanará to boho flair at Ahau, there's so much to inspire your decor choices—and desire to jetset. Here, six stunning spaces to choose from on your next getaway.
One of the chicest and most eco-conscious places to stay in Tulum, Sanará is an escape for the wellness-minded set. Conceptualized and designed by Studio Arquitectos, the hotel’s minimal aesthetic beautifully balances a clean, sophisticated vibe with more traditional Mexican style. A shining example of this is in the use of natural materials: modern gray and white geometric tiles and rustic wood from the nearby town of Noh-Bec. This boutique hotel offers travelers the option to stay on either the beach or jungle side of Boca Paila. Each of the 19 guest rooms is designed as a sanctuary—furnished with king size beds, Italian bamboo cotton linens, dreamcatchers and, of course, Tulum chairs (pictured back right).
Nômade lives up to its name. The hotels has what can only be described as a nomadic spirit. The vibe is quite eclectic and well-traveled—a mix of local and global products. Rugs, tapestries, and embroidered poufs it a Moroccan feel, which seamlessly blends with the more Mayan-inspired design choices. Rather than a hotel, Nomade bills itself as a temporary habitat. Nowhere is that more evident than in the rooms, which range from air-conditioned tents to jungle suites to oceanfront villas.
Ahau is as laid back as it gets. Perhaps of all the places to stay, this hotel and community most encapsulates Tulum’s eco-friendly mindset. From the use of local, sustainable timber harvested by the Mayan people to the structures that seamlessly blend into the beauty of the natural surroundings, every aspect of Ahua honors the environment. The oceanfront cabanas, Bali huts, and garden view palapas are designed with indoor-outdoor living in mind. Expect vaulted ceilings, palapa-style roofs, bright textiles, private patios, personal hammocks and ceiling fans.
Looking to unwind? Since opening in December 2015, Nest has solidified itself as one of Tulum’s most tranquil spots. Not surprisingly, it’s popular among honeymooners and those looking for a relaxing retreat. This nine-room property is most accurately described as intimate—it feels more like a friend’s beachside home than a hotel. The style is simple and rustic. Individually-styled guest bungalows and common spaces are appointed with locally-sourced furniture and décor. Think: benches made by woodworkers in Coba and brightly colored hand-embroidered pillows.
Be Tulum is quintessential luxury. Immaculately designed by owner and architect Sebastian Sas, this exclusive hotel—nestled in the jungle at the far end of the beach—offers guests privacy and elegant ambiance amidst natural splendor. Chic interiors, furnished with natural stone, Brazilian wood floors, cowhide rugs, and modern conveniences, like WiFi and AC, strike the perfect balance between sophistication and rustic charm.
In 2013, renowned art collector Lio Malca purchased Casa Malca and gave it a complete redesign. The aesthetic at the newly renovated 35-room property is at once grand and modern, warm and rustic. Contemporary art is prominently displayed throughout. (No surprise, given Malca’s penchant for modern masters.) Think: paintings by Kenny Scharf and giant fiberglass ants by Rafael Gomez Barros. Spacious guest rooms boast polished concrete floors, sustainably-stylish linens and floor-to-ceiling windows and with spectacular views of the beach or garden.