Hotel Esencia

Location: Riviera Maya | Mexico

Price guide: $$$$$ $350-$500 per person per night

On those icing-sugar sand beaches of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, tucked far, far away from Cancun’s crowds, is Hotel Esencia, the epitome of the boutique hideaway. Chic and stylish, yet understated, Hotel Esencia combines Mexican charm and hospitality with impeccable service and laid-back luxury to create one of our favourite hotels.

Perfect forLovers of boutique style and beautiful beaches, and families who prefer to entertain themselves - unlike some of the other boutique hotels on this stretch of coastline, children are welcome at Hotel Esencia, making this the perfect spot for families who like smaller, more intimate hotels.
In the knowThe real appeal of this hotel is the home-away-from-home atmosphere, the warm staff who know you by name and the personalised touches - we love the little notes left in our room - that make it stand out. 

Recommended for...

  • Beach
  • Boutique Hotel
  • Family-friendly
  • Honeymoon

Hotel Overview

Sense of Place

Hotel Esencia sits on a private 50-acre estate set in lush tropical gardens on the beautiful Xpu-Ha Beach, in a prime spot on the Riviera Maya. It is surrounded by Mayan jungle, yet is less than an hour from Cancun and just half an hour from Tulum.

Rooms at Hotel Esencia

Formerly the private villa of an Italian duchess and her Mexican architect husband, a stay at Hotel Esencia offers a real, and luxurious experience. The design-led interiors certainly have the wow factor, and the decor showcases the hotel's signature sleek white, with splashes of colour and rich mahogany furnishings crafted by local artisans.

The rooms, suites and villas are housed in the original villa, around the lush, tropical gardens and by the beach and sea, mere metres from the sand. They have private terraces, and some also have their own plunge pools. Small groups and families should splash out on a private two-bedroom, two-storey Pool Villa, which comes with several terraces (with plenty of hammocks), a media room and a full-size pool. Or take the chance to stay in one of the two duplex Penthouse Suites set in the treetops, where you'll have a private roof terrace with a plunge pool and champagne bar - the ultimate indulgence!

Or how about the Rooftop Wellness Suites, nestled in the jungle canopy, with their own fitness studios as well as a rooftop terrace with a plunge pool, an aromatherapy steam room and a solarium? And then there's the exclusive Presidential Bungalow, set on 30,000 square feet of prime beachfront.

Food & Drink

Food is a real highlight here, with rustic dishes expertly prepared using local ingredients and international flair, including produce grown in the hotel's gardens or by local farmers - take a Mexican cookery class to recreate local flavours back home. 

The Mistura restaurant offers Michelin-starred seafood and grill specialities from a Michelin-starred team, while you can also feast on prime meats at Beefbar in the gardens, or dine on fusion Peruvian/Japanese/Yucatan cuisine on the sand beneath a palapa at the Beach restaurant, while taking in the panoramic ocean views. Wash it all down with a tropical cocktail or two.


The fabulous Mayan-inspired spa offers extra-special treatments using organic indigenous fruit, plants and herbs, many of which are also grown in the hotel’s gardens, as well as ingredients from the Mayan jungles and the ocean. There's also complimentary yoga classes, a fitness room and a juice bar where freshly-pressed juices are made to order.

Hotel Esencia has not one but two swimming pools, as well as miles of powdery white sand and the sparkling Caribbean on your doorstep.

Activities at Hotel Esencia

Apart from lazy days on one of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches, the hotel offers yoga and meditation classes for those who want to unwind, as well as irresistible Mexican cookery classes that are perfect for foodies. You can also go horse riding or take in a round of golf.

As well as the atmospheric underground cenotes to explore and swim in, divers will find it hard to resist the second-longest reef in the world, which is tantalisingly close. In addition to the exotic fish, there is a reef sanctuary for sea turtles, who nest and lay their eggs on the beaches here each year. 

A lot of the area's main attractions aren't far away either, including the famous Mayan site of Tulum and the UNESCO-listed Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a labyrinth of lagoons, mangroves and wetlands that are home to hundreds of species of wildlife and birds.

Meanwhile, if you're after some nightlife, lively Playa del Carmen is just a 20-minute drive away and is ideally located for dropping into town for a night out or to eat in one of the many wonderful restaurants on the main strip. 

Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
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Best time to go

Hotel location

Hotel Esencia is approximately an hour's drive south of Cancun and its international airport. 

Stay at Hotel Esencia on these trips

More places to stay in Riviera Maya


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