Boho boutique stay Mukan Luxury Resort has the Tulum appeal – gorgeous water, white sand beaches and swaying palm trees – but with an endlessly inviting island-castaway twist and none of the typical tourist-crowding. This all-suite, nine-room stay is on a secluded spit of sand in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve and has an eco-conscious ethic; here you’ll find no traffic, just thatched-roof, white-walled villas, a few serenely relaxed neighbours, a dainty oceanfront spa, creative locally-inspired cuisine and arguably the best cocktails on the coast.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of sparkling wine, a fruit bowl, and late check-out and early check-in (subject to availability)
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £623.59 ($785), including tax at 19 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 10% per room per night on check-out.
Rates don't usually include American breakfast.
A romantic beachside dinner for two can be arranged on request.
At the hotel
Private beach and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: smart TV, Bose wireless portable mini-speaker, air-conditioning and minibar.
Our favourite rooms
You can’t go wrong with any of the nine suites at Mukan, but for a little extra privacy (in the form of a garden with its own tiny plunge pool), we’d go for bungalow Nojol.
The two pools are perfect for quick dips; you can swim leisurely lengths in the one by the main villa, and there’s a little plunge pool with ocean views on the roof.
Oceanfront Hunabku Spa incorporates local ingredients into many of its treatments; choose from natural body treatments, facials, and classic massages, then unwind in the outdoor plunge pool afterwards. Book treatments at least two days in advance.
Bring your mosquito repellent of choice to ward off pesky local residents, who tend to congregate around sunset.
The hotel may not be suited to guests with mobility issues, due to its uneven surfaces and stairs.
Kids of all ages are welcome, but there's nothing for children at this grown-up oceanfront escape, apart from the beach.
Very: eight solar panels and a wind turbine provide most of the energy, water is filtered from a natural, freshwater underground cistern, and biodigesters and plumbing-recovery systems clean and recycle water before returning it back into the ecosystem. Indigenous building materials were used in construction; furniture was made by regional artisans. There’s a chef’s nursery for growing vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices; all other ingredients are supplied by local fishermen and farmers.
Remember mosquito repellant, and request a table on the outdoor deck for dinner to watch the sun set over the water; listen to the crashing waves and wildlife as night sets in.
Mrs Smiths will feel relaxed in long dresses and pretty sandals; Mr Smiths can stick to casual, beachy attire too.
Ko’oben – which means ‘kitchen’ in Mayan –restaurant occupies its own simply decorated thatched bungalow, set among the palms just back from the beach. A sea-facing deck offers the best tables; the remainder are indoors, with plenty of windows. Chef Jesus Guzman puts his own stamp on Mexican food and local flavours, but you’ll find plenty of international options on the menu too, and nearly everything can be customised. Daily American-style breakfast includes fresh fruit, yoghurt, granola, eggs, toast and all-you-can-drink juices and coffee.
You’ll find the thatched-roof ‘cigar bar’ between the main villa and the beach; it stocks a range of speciality spirits, as well as imported cigars. Let the expert bartender, lured away from Mexico City, concoct you an innovative cocktail; past creations have included mezcal-laced spirulina smoothies, and twists on classic refreshers.
Feast on American-style breakfast from 7am to 11.30am, order lunch from noon to 5.30pm, and enjoy leisurely dinners from 6pm to 11pm. The cigar bar is open from 10am to 6pm.
Order meals to your suite from 7am to 11pm; there’s also an in-room stock of premium snacks, dark chocolate bars, veggie chips, granola bars, soft drinks, liquor, and free bottled water for when out-of-hours hunger strikes.
Mukan Luxury Resort is on an isolated spit of sand, with the ocean on one side and the lagoon of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve on the other.
Fly into Cancún International Airport, which is about a three-hour drive from the hotel. Take your pick of airlines that fly direct from the US and UK. Round-trip airport transfers for two are US$580, including taxes, or free for guests who choose the all-inclusive package. Call our Smith24 team of travel experts to book your flights and transfers.
Our Smith24 team can arrange a pair of wheels for you to pick up at Cancún International Airport. Take Highway 307 south to Tulum; once there follow signs for Boca Paila and keep left at the Y-intersection with a police casita to the left. AContinue for another 13 kilometres to Ultimo Maya campsite, where you'll meet up with Bambi Tours, who'll show you to the boat and take you to Mukan Luxury Resort. The hotel has free parking.
If you really like to make an entrance, a helicopter service is available on request.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is in a prime position for all manner of watersports; just ask staff to arrange kayaking, snorkelling and paddle boarding. Explore the local area behind the wheels of a rented SUV, or arrange a more eco-friendly boat tour of surrounding Sian Ka’an biosphere: the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean, home to manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, big cats (including jaguars and ocelots) and hundreds of bird species. Tours can include bird and manatee watching; alternatively, take a tour of Punta Allen to see dolphins in the wild. The hotel can also arrange a tour of Tulum Archeological site for holidaying history buffs.
Take advantage of all-inclusive meal packages at this refreshingly isolated beachfront hideaway; if you want to eat elsewhere, it’ll require a boat ride to Tulum.
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 secluded hotel on the east side of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and unpacked their sandy togs and saltwater-stained books, a full account of their eco-friendly beachside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from Mukan Luxury Resort in Tulum…
The boat ride to our secluded stay in the Sian Ka’an reserve is, perhaps, a bit bumpy, but mercifully devoid of Tulum traffic. We arrive with the smell of sea air in our lungs and are greeted with views of thatched-roof, white-walled villas – one to call our own – and blissful quiet.
Days at this eco-friendly stay are all about creative, locally-inspired cuisine, hours idled away on the white sandy beach, and nights spent listening to the surf with a drink in hand. We might just find time to arrange an oceanfront spa treatment too…