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
Transportation, arrival, and welcoming: This is a peaceful and calm place that always felt like there were many fewer guests than were actually there. It took us about an hour to get there from and to the airport each time using another private company on the way there and Esencia's transportation on the way to the airport. Both were great but the private company we used on the way there was actually about half of Esencia's price for a similar car and level of service.
Restaurants, Food, & Drinks: While we stayed, at lunch and dinner everyone came at slightly different times, so there was never a time that felt rushed or busy. Sometimes we were just one of a few tables. That being said, the food and drinks were really quite overpriced for the selection, style, and preparation of the food. Overall the selections were often on the healthier side, which I enjoy, although sometimes underseasoned. I thought the bottle wine list was pretty good with variety though and there was enough selection we could try a different bottle every night to pair with the food and based upon our mood. There are really just 3 restaurants with one only opening one day per week, which we were not there for. It really felt like just two restaurants though with one serving similar offerings for lunch and dinner. One restaurant is right next to the other without a clear divider, but staff can show you which serves which menu. We did get tired of the food as there is not much variety if you are staying a week, with just one different daily special, so we probably wouldn't stay here again unless there was another option here, plus it's so overpriced for what you get as compared to similar hotels around the Playa del Carmen area. I wish the coffee service would have been more consistent as we always look forward to our coffee in the morning. A couple times we asked the day prior when we had arrangements for things to do outside the hotel for a different time which was forgotten both times, along with bringing milk a couple times, and then it took a while to get it.
Room: The room and bathroom were large and spacious with a cute patio you can lounge on with a table to sit at as well. The rooms are very private and we never saw any neighbors. Even though it was listed as a regular room it was more like a junior suite. One of the mistakes we made was not clearly indicating we wanted a king bed instead of two doubles when we made the reservation (there was some fine print I should have read with a picture of a king bed but a subject to availability notation). So I'd recommend making this clear when booking if you have a preference, since the king rooms were full. We were tired from traveling and didn't want to switch rooms, but if I had realized it was a double instead of a queen I would have followed through with that, and my impression was they would have tried to make something work. I loved the bathtub and bath products. I slept well even though the bed felt small and there were good shades to block the sun. I liked listening to the jungle birds in the morning, but if you are a light sleeper this could be an issue. This being said, one morning when I was up early I saw staff chasing them away from the rooms! This is not a criticism, but rather, just an example of how seriously they take their service--they didn't want the birds waking up guests.
Service: The service was excellent in all aspects; servers at the restaurant, beach and pool service, housekeeping, and at the front desk are all very friendly. Our room was very clean most of the time. A couple times the cabinet for dishes and food wasn't cleaned out that is outside on the patio of the room. There is an adult pool and a family pool that are marked but could possibly use a clearer indication. The beach was beautiful and access to the beach and ocean was easy and beach service was always available and quick. The concierge was friendly and helpful in booking other things to do outside the hotel. There was quiet entertainment some nights during dinner that was often guitars and singing.
This place is in probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (go ahead, Google Earth it). In fact they had a property which was integrated recently into the hotel called “El Cielo” (Heaven) which truly is. Stop there for lunch and drinks. They redefined even the concept of Nachos, mind blowing. Great cocktails. Had an”issue” with my drink, mentioned it to the waiter, he turned away, I was like “what the heck?” just for him to be back with a new one. No questions asked. That’s service, period.
Go there, stay. You will feel like a rock star...in heaven.
My wife and I had four fabulous nights in this seriously beautiful hidden oasis.Just 30 minutes from the hussle of Playa del Carmen, Esencia is beautifully appointed and tranquil.
Service,food and beverage were first class as was our accomodation in a jungle villa with private plunge pool.
Congratulations to the owner who has created a very stylish yet relaxed ambience and a culture amongst the staff which has an understated charm.
The best complement I can pay is that we would love to return to this place,again and again.
I was expecting nothing short of heaven, and this is what I got!! My friend and I were there to celebrate Mother's Day.
The customer service is amazing! The staff is very attentive but not annoying. They are always welcoming with a smile and are ready to assist you with whatever you need.
Our lodging was a 2 Bedroom Jungle Villa with the plunge pool. The rooms were immaculate and everything was so comfortable and pleasing to the eye. Beds are very comfortable and loved the two shower heads shower.
We would start our day with the very fresh pastries and wonderful coffee out by our private pool. Then head over to the white sandy beaches and two huge beautiful pools for our day of sun and fun.
The dining experiences were top rate. Whether it was breakfast (eggs benedict on a croissant, fresh fruit, omelette with Chihuahua cheese and mushrooms, french toast, etc.) or the lunch and dinner menus, we were never disappointed in any of choices. The wait staff was also amazing and there for our every need. We even had a great burger in addition to all the Mexican dishes. The special Mother's Day Dinner with live music was nothing short of spectacular! Oh and I can't forget about the desserts, Tres Leches (Cake) and Tiramisu to die for!
The grounds are beautiful and it was exciting to see the two teenage peacocks come and visit us at our Villa! If you want to get away from it all and have a relaxing stay, Hotel Esencia is the PLACE! I didn't want to leave and definitely want to come back!
New beachfront suites, new food, same amazing service and location. Go Here!
The staff and accommodations are beyond 5 star. Yoga every morning, tea in the afternoon and the location is ideal for exploring Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. The concierge was exceptional at getting us what we needed whether it was restaurant reservations, horseback riding, or adventure.