It’s back to (admittedly, luxe) basics at Encantada Tulum, where life’s simple pleasures – morning bird song, say, as you tuck into breakfast on a private terrace – are placed front and centre. In rooms, every element has been lovingly crafted by local artisans – thatched palapa roofs, driftwood accents, rattan furniture and hand-woven macrame imbue each space with a soulful sense of place. This intimate, earthy stay draws a peace-seeking crowd looking to tune in and drop out and, as luck would have it, there are several opportunities to do so.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £350.50 ($444), including tax at 21 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $20.00 per room per night prior to arrival and an additional local city tax of $3.20 per room per night on check-out.
Rates include a Mexican-Mayan breakfast to be taken at the restaurant or from the comfort of your room.
Those with artistic ambitions should book onto the five-day culture lab which includes ceramic classes, life drawing, painting sessions and photo workshops led by local creatives.
At the hotel
Private beach, spa room, bar, two restaurants. In rooms: Crochet beach bag with towels, air-conditioning, purified water, furnished terrace with hammock, hotel’s own reef-friendly bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Spread across four independent towers, all eight rooms are alike, each signposted by Mayan names at the entrance and kitted out with a rustic hanging bed, earthy rattan furniture, driftwood details, decorative macrame wall hangings and an open shower lit by frosted glass tiles. We’re particularly fond of the upper rooms – especially the front two, Cielo and Estrella – which have beautiful thatched palapa roofs, wrap-around terraces and elevated ocean views.
There’s no pool at the hotel, but don’t let that stop you from making a splash – guests are welcome to use that of its neighbouring sister Radhoo (the biggest in Tulum, that is), and with a private beach just a mango’s throw away from your room, you’ve got nature’s very own natatorium on your doorstep.
Wellness is serious business at Encantada, where you’ll find a holistic approach to healing with an index of Mayan-inspired shamanic rituals that sit beside more orthodox treatments. And while there is a dedicated spa room, treatments can take place just about anywhere. Choose from the energising deep tissue massage, collagen-boosting bee venom masks or go all-in with a two-hour mud ceremony. Yogis can align their chakras every which way (Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Pranayama – you name it) or find their zen through meditative breathwork classes.
Come armed with your best swimsuits, beachy reads and a whole lot of energy to channel through your sundeck Vinyasa.
Unfortunately, this hotel is not suitable for guests with accessibility needs.
Leave the little ones with the grandparents – this peaceful stay is over-18s only.
Taking as its name the Spanish word for ‘charmed’, Encantada is committed to keeping things that way with a range of sustainability initiatives designed to preserve and protect the land for future generations. All power is solar generated, and water is purified on site. In the kitchen, you’ll find fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, sustainable cooking methods and a zero-waste approach to leftovers whereby food is composted and any packaging recycled. The hotel has cleverly devised their own brand of sea-life and reef-friendly sunscreen and mosquito repellents to best protect guests as well as the environment.
Grab a table on the beach for a soundtrack of lapping waves and a visual feast of Caribbean blue.
Tarzan and Jane go glam.
There are two. Take breakfast and lunch at Encantada’s main restaurant, where pitched Mexican palapa, low-hanging ceiling fans and a rustic splay of wooden tables extends onto a palm-flanked terrace with organic, driftwood seating. Though if you’d rather dine from your beach chair, or upon your private terrace, that’s fine too. Chef Luis Aguilar has created a menu of Mexican fusion dishes which includes light bites like Yucatan ceviche and shrimp aguachile alongside heartier fare such as chicken breast piccata with lemon, capers and white wine capellini. For dinner, head to Nü, where a modern take on Caribbean cuisine is dished out in a romantic, jungle setting. The menu is a tad more selective to accommodate their focus on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and sustainable cooking methods (each dish is prepared by slow-burning fire), but every option is artfully considered. Choose from Caribbean fermented cabbage with Cuban mojo macadamia nut cream, stuffed xcatic black bean chilli with grilled boudin blanc or wood grilled Campeche prawns bathed in Tajin bearnaise.
The hotel’s bar services both the beach club area and terrace, serving local craft beers, wine of every kind and a host of fresh juices and non-alcoholic options. Cocktails? I hear you say. Alongside your bloody mary’s and piña coladas, you’ll be treated to no less than five varieties of the classic margarita as well as a line-up of signature concoctions. Try the experimental Arsena (vodka, campari, falernum, grapefruit, lemon and ginger beer) or get fruity with a Balam (mezcal espadin, passion fruit, pineapple, huana and lemon). For mezcal militants, don’t miss the tasting sessions at Nü, where you’ll be let into the secrets of the sacred agave.
At Encantada breakfast is served from 8am to 10pm and you can grab lunch right through to 10pm. Dinner at Nü runs from 6pm to 11pm, and the bar pours it’s last margarita at 10pm.
Order anything from the Encantada menu straight to your room between 8am and 10pm daily.
Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km 8.7, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera
Sandwiched between the beach and the jungle, Encantada Tulum is perched on the bone-white sands of the Yucatán Peninsula, just a 20-minute drive from Tulum town centre.
Cancun International Airport is two hours and 40 minutes away by car. The hotel can arrange transfers via luxury SUV for $180 one way or $350 round trip.
There’s free parking on-site for those looking to indulge in a spot of coastal cruising.
Worth getting out of bed for
If by miracle you manage to tear yourself away from the silky sands of Encantada’s private beach, you’ll find yourself well placed for all manner of natural and cultural thrills. Art buffs should make a beeline for Casa Malca – Pablo Escobar’s former mansion – which now houses the private collection of gallerist Lio Malca. Here, you’ll find works from some of the twentieth century’s most revered artists and designers from Jean-Michel Basquit to George Kondo and Keith Haring. A twenty-minute drive along the coast, you’ll discover the ruins of a 13th-century Mayan settlement built to face the rising sun. Now draped in exotic flora, these captivating clifftop temples gaze over the Caribbean sea and offer visitors a fascinating glimpse of this ancient civilization. The Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve is hit with nature lovers, a Unesco site of mangroves and marshes, tropical forests and some rather lovely locals – keep your eyes peeled for giant sea turtles, dolphins, exotic birds and the occasional big cat.
A five-minute walk away from the hotel you’ll find Tulum’s first and only shared dining restaurant, Ocumare, where fresh ingredients plucked straight from the kitchen’s garden are fashioned into dishes deeply rooted in Mexican culture. Start with the fish with guajillo, lead with the tongue in green sauce, and finish with chocolate with a traditional champurrado. A little further down the coast you’ll find Arca, a minimalist micro-seasonal spot encased by thick jungle greens. Watch the team prepare a line up of plates – like sea urchin ceviche, mandarin aguachile, red cabbage kimchi and cucumber – while you whet your appetite with one of their signature mezcal cocktails.
For a smashing avo on toast, rainbow acai bowls, tropical fruit smoothies and vegan takes on the classic charcuterie board Botanica Cafe in central Tulum has you covered. It may not look like much from the outside, so you’ll want to head right through to the back where the cafe opens up into a lush, palm-shaded garden.
After-hours activities come in many forms here in trendy Tulum. Wallflowers are best served by Nanà rooftop bar, a laid-back treehouse joint where the shaking and stirring of experimental cocktails is carried out to a soundtrack of vibey deep house beats. If you’re in the market for something a little spicier, Gitano is the spot; come 11pm Friday, DJ’s descend upon the bar’s jungle-cum-dancefloor for mezcal-fuelled dancing and romancing way into the wee hours.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from their beachside cabana and unpacked their small-batch mezcal and toe-in-sand snaps, a full account of their boho break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Encantada in Tulum…
Tulum has long captured the imaginations of those predisposed toward all things mystical, and at Encantada, it’s plain to see why. There’s an enchanting lightness to be found along these pristine Yucatan shores, where the jungle leads straight to the beach, copal curls on the back of the ocean breeze and enduring ancestral wisdom nurtures a deep connection to the land. With just eight rooms set upon a private beach, guests of this tucked-away corner of Tulum can experience the region’s coastal comforts and customs far away from the maddening crowds. Get in touch with ancient spirits with a candle-lit cacao ceremony (or just your spirit lizard from your sun-baked beach cabana), downward dog right into dusk with a yoga session or inhale-exhale your way to inner peace. And, by the time you’re done, you’ll have more than enough karma in the bank to start exploring other divine territory – mainly, the menacingly moreish margarita menu.