A stylish and spiritual stay in Tulum, Hotel Bardo shows guests the quieter side of Mexico’s party-loving coastline with meditation, Mayan traditions and mezcal on tap. The jungle-shrouded, polished-concrete villas all have a plunge pool and garden, with a calm communal pool for mindful swims and sunlounger reflecting, and a fire-pit for sundowners and stargazing after dark. At the spa, regular massages are swapped out for sound baths, celebrations of sunset and traditional Mayan rituals led by a shaman, including one that mimics Mother Earth’s womb. It even smells good, thanks to the bespoke scent created to make everything (even) better.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of white wine from Mexico and some truffles
Double rooms from £277.32 (MXN6,834), including tax at 16 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of MXN28.37 per room per night prior to arrival and an additional room tax of 3% per booking on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast.
The wellbeing doesn’t stop at spiritual cleansing and Mayan meditations: the hotel helps a local charity for street children by hosting events and raising money for their accommodation and food.
At the hotel
Yoga shala, fire-pit, boutique, free WiFi throughout, bicycles to borrow. In rooms: air-conditioning, free bottled water and Nespresso coffee machine.
Our favourite rooms
The villas are all crafted from the same polished concrete, with an outdoor shower, plunge pool, hammock and garden. To really feel like you’re in the jungle (and not one that’s this close to civilisation in the form of refined restaurants and well-dressed nightlife), book a villa away from the main pool.
The leafy main pool is serene and speaker-free. Guests from the Una Vida resort next-door can book sunloungers for the day, but no children are allowed.
One of the villas houses a spa, where things get a little more interesting than your average massage: treatments include sound baths and shaman-led Mayan ceremonies.
A void for your newfound inner peace to ease into. Your own personal shaman, optional.
The jungle-lined pathways and grounds are not easily accessible for wheelchair users.
To preserve the Mayan mysticism, the hotel is adults-only.
The three tables nearest to the fire-pit at Milum are the cosiest – but for the clearest stargazing potential, ask to sit at the spot next to the Agave living room.
Take me to church.
Milum may as well be a shrine and one we’d gladly worship at the altar of: candles, candelabras, feather-like foliage, carved faces – and votive pineapples. The menu highlights Yucatán produce, with breakfasts of avocado on toast in its birthplace, grilled lobster for lunch and snapper and mash for dinner. Guests can also head over to Ananda at Una Vida for a slightly less religious experience (and casual pastas and paninis).
Despite the name, the most risqué the Kinky Room bar gets is with its cocktails, the stories behind which the mixologists will just love to tell you about if you pull up a pew.
The restaurant is open all day between 7.30am and 11pm. The bar serves drinks until 11pm.
Whatever’s on offer in the restaurant can be delivered to your villa between 7.30am and 10pm. Drinks can be dialled in until 11pm.
The hotel is in Tulum, next-door to the Una Vida resort and close to the Yucatán coast.
Cozumel airport is technically closest, but the journey south to the hotel includes a ferry – Cancun’s international hub is your best bet, an hour and 45 minutes away by car. Transfers can be arranged on request.
There’s plenty to keep you entertained within Bardo’s boundaries (not least sound baths and sunset celebrations), but if you have brought your own wheels, the property has a private car park.
Worth getting out of bed for
For yoga at a more-reasonable-than-usual hour, head to the hotel’s shala at 9am every day; and continue on your journey to inner peace by calling in at the temazcal hothouse, the daily celebrations of sunset and the regular sound baths. For catered craft shopping, head to the village of Macario Gómez, around 20 minutes away from Tulum, where you can pick up both colourful textiles and typical regional food; or keep the quest for wellness going with a trip to Mystika Museum, an ‘immersive mystical experience’ with hallucinatory whales, butterflies and (to keep it authentic) Mayan ruins.
In downtown Tulum, La Barracuda is the ultimate ceviche spot, and cosy, intimate Tú masters both mixology and Mexican food. More edible art forms (including ones graced by grasshoppers) await at Macario. And if you’ve OD’d on guacamole, try Moro by Habitas, where the sax-musician chef’s Spanish-meets-Moorish menu will help you change it up.
For cocktails with an easy conscience, turn up thirsty at Nana Rooftop where forlorn fruit peel makes a star turn in most beverages and there’s a menu of mezcal from all over the country. Swap Mexico for Morocco at Saikuk, or swim/dance/party at Muyal’s DJ-enhanced cenote.
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 this adults-only hotel in Mexico and unpacked their mezcal and mariachi hats, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Bardo in Tulum…
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be inside Mother Earth’s womb, you’ve come to the right place – at Hotel Bardo in Tulum all you have to do is sign up for a ‘temazcal’ and experience the purification of Pachamama’s uterus. The name translates as ‘house of heat’ (think of it as a particularly intense sauna) and guests can’t get enough of this Mayan tradition, where a shaman takes you to temperature extremes in order to find healing and forgiveness through burnt wood and sweat. Then there’s the sound baths, the daily yoga in the shala, the Day of the Dead altar for hotel staff’s lost loved ones and the nightly celebrations of sunset, where guests are invited to set an intention and listen to it with a candle for 15 minutes before dusk. It’s the ideal antidote to lively Tulum, from which guests retreat for sundowners and stargazing by the fire-pit come nightfall. We feel better just thinking about it.