Esencia, Riviera Maya

Mexico’s Riviera Maya has no shortage of hotels but if you want to avoid the bells and whistles of Playa del Carmen then the elegant Esencia estate offers the perfect beachside refuge. Once a favorite retreat of an Italian Duchess, this hotel combines simplicity and refinement fit for royalty.


Wedged deliciously between tropical jungle and the Caribbean Sea, the Esencia is a private 50-acre estate nestled on a quiet stretch of the Riviera Maya’s finest white sands. Only an hour from Cancun, it is ideally located to experience the best of the region. 25 minutes south lies the majestic Mayan ruins of Tulum, or if you prefer to spend an evening partying the night away then the nightclubs and beach bars of Playa del Carmen are just a 20 minute drive away.

Your room

Natural, minimalist design reigns supreme at the Esencia with each room sporting a crisp white décor. Native hardwood furnishings, 600-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and mahogany louvered doors add luxurious touches. You’ll have ample room to relax here with 12-foot high ceilings and extra-large bathrooms sporting rain showers the size of frisbees. There’s a choice of ocean or garden views, but our favorite is the Torre Deluxe Ocean View room which boasts a 360 degree panorama of the aquamarine ocean. If that wasn’t enough to impress, the electric window shades also double as a private movie screening room complete with surround sound and a wide screen LCD High Definition monitor. For large groups we can arrange a two-storey private cottage on the estate with its own swimming pool.

Why we like it

We love nothing better than a good pampering and the Esencia day spa certainly ticks all the boxes. The first organic spa in the Riviera Maya, Aroma is a spa-junkie’s delight. An array of holistic rituals are available harnessing the revitalising powers of the region’s ancient indigenous fruits and plants. Think flower-filled Jacuzzi baths, herbal saunas in Mayan-style domes and massages on the calming shores illuminated by tiki torches. Here you can get in touch with your inner Mayan god or goddess.

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