What We Love
- 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
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
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.
How to Get There
What a great experience. Great second floor room with plunge pool, our own concierge/butler, patio, service, food and amenities. Beautiful beach. Flawless check-in and checkout. Special kudos to Arturo, Daniel, Oscar, Mario, Jean Pierre and Miguel. The reviews are totally accurate.
I had a phenomenal experience at the Hotel Esencia as a solo traveler: you are constantly surrounded by an incredible staff who is committed to making your experience unforgettable. The hotel itself is an amazing experience, but if you can try to visit sights like the Tulum Ruins which are only about 15 minutes away. The staff is, again, committed to helping you get around and feel safe no matter where you are. Not to mention the food is also world-class and the architecture/design makes the atmosphere extremely special to be a part of. I highly, highly recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a place to truly hide away and enjoy paradise.
We stayed at two hotels earlier on our trip (Belmond Maroma, Banyan Tree Mayakoba). The beach at Esencia was by far the best of the three, and the hotel is visually stunning. This place is designed for Instagram. Every visual detail is thoughtful. If that's important to you, you'll be in heaven.
The food is decent though service at the restaurants can be slow. The current trend in Riviera Maya seems to be fewer Mexican options or "frilly" varieties of the local cuisine. Hotel Esencia is right on trend, but let's agree it's time for this trend to end! We just ordered the Mexican dishes we wanted whether or not they were on the menu and somehow they appeared. We also loved the smoothie bar, vegan menu, and other healthy options.
Yes there are bugs. Lots of bugs (even cockroaches!). But it's the jungle in Mexico... what do you expect? Ask for mosquito spray at the INITIAL check in. You'll need it the second you step out of that little registration hut and make your way to your room. And the best solution is to be beachfront with the sea breeze - we wouldn't have wanted to stay in the jungle rooms...
This is an intimate little hideaway where the staff are so friendly and wonderful, the design is A+++, and the ocean is gorgeous (we were lucky to avoid the seaweed problem). It's certainly expensive, but because it's so small and personal, you don't feel ripped off the way you might at a Four Seasons.
After you've been there, this will be your theme song, sung to the tune of "La Isla Bonita" - "last night, I dreamt of Esencia!"