Free minibar snacks, beach bags and Havaiana sandals
Location on one Playa del Carmen’s most spectacular white sand beaches
White-on-white minimalist decor that doesn’t detract from the region’s natural beauty
What To Know
The health club (with a fitness room, juice bar and spa) is housed in a palapa and overlooks the estate’s cenote
Garden Suites don’t have water views
Parking on site
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Romantic boutique escape with minimalist style and an organic spa on one of the best beaches in Riviera Maya
From the moment you step onto this secluded 50-acre private estate, originally purchased by the Duchess of Ferrari as a vacation home in the early 1990s, you’ll understand just how appropriate a name Esencia really is. Attention to detail is the essence of the place; the minimalist white-on-white design complements, rather than competes, with the pristine tropical paradise just outside. Rooms juxtapose the earthy with the designed, framing native hardwood furnishings, artfully arranged pieces of driftwood and Mayan bowls against colorless walls, ceilings and floors. Even the beds are done in the same crisp whites, with delightfully soft down pillows and sheets and duvets made of high-thread-count Egyptian cotton. Modern conveniences like entertainment systems and electronically controlled shades to dim the bright sun add further contrast. Less than 20 minutes from developed Playa del Carmen, the beach at Esencia is quiet and undisturbed, one of the best on the Yucatan Peninsula. The staff takes pride in learning each guest’s name; there’s no need to reintroduce yourself while dining at one of the two on-site restaurants (head to The Garden for traditional Mexican fare) or while treating yourself to an organic treatment at the spa — unless you want to. You’ll be recognized and the bill will be added to your room.
In the Area
In Playa del Carmen, grab the ferry to Cozumel for a day on the beaches or just take a stroll around the small downtown. Here you’ll have your pick of dozens of restaurants and shops that offer a more authentic Mexican flavor than those in Cancún. For golfers, the nearby Playa Mujeres golf course combines Greg Norman details with a picture-perfect natural setting, while the coral reefs in the crystal-clear shallow waters just off of El Garrafón National Park offer an excellent opportunity for snorkeling amid a rainbow of tropical fish. More experienced divers can opt for a dip along one of the largest reefs in the Caribbean, Manchones, while those who wish to stay completely above water can explore the region in a glass-bottom boat. Back at the hotel, the delightful all-organic spa offers myriad treatments using heated rocks, precious stones, seaweed and cacao. Try the temazcal ceremony, a traditional Mayan cleansing ritual that takes place in a pyramid.