The Top Hotels in Cancun and Riviera Maya

Cancun and the Riviera Maya have white-sand beaches, Mayan ruins, and outdoor recreation galore. Luckily, this area on the Caribbean coast is also home to some of Mexico’s best hotels, from luxurious resorts to laidback, bohemian retreats.

Highlights
Carretera Cancún-Tulum KM 51, Punta Maroma, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Just 25 minutes from Cancún’s international airport is Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, surrounded by 200 acres of preserved jungle. Guests here still enjoy direct access to the Caribbean Sea and its powdery, white-sand beach, as well as to a wide variety of physical fitness and wellness activities and services. Rooms are generous in size and are filled with sunlight, let in through large windows. Tile floors and design accents—throw pillows and furniture, for instance—have an earthy color palette. Many rooms feature indigenous artwork and handmade furniture. Though it might be tempting to stay within the confines of the resort, the area is home to a number of worthwhile attractions, including the Maya site of Tulum and a biosphere reserve; the concierge can provide information about both, as well as tips for guided excursions and reputable outfitters.
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
As is the case with many hotels in the Tulum section of Riviera Maya, Casa de las Olas shies away from the “luxe” label, preferring to promote itself as a simple, eco-friendly retreat where intimate spaces and five-star service are more important than linen thread counts and extra amenities. Bright white walls, mosquito nets, private balconies, and canopy beds are what guests can expect in their rooms. This doesn’t mean that Casa de las Olas is skimpy in any way. The staff are known for their thoughtful attention to guests, and the small size of the hotel—just five suites—ensures they are never overwhelmed by guests’ requests or needs. Plus, each room has views of the Caribbean Sea, and the hotel’s private beach is never more than a few steps away.
México 307, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Secluded and service-oriented are the adjectives that best describe Rosewood Mayakoba, a resort in Playa del Carmen that opened in 2008. At 1,600 acres, the resort is expansive, offering plenty of room for guests to feel that they have their own space. Rooms, too, are spacious and have either tile or wooden floors, comfortable beds and chairs, and a layout and design that draws guests to outside spaces such as patios and balconies. The sense of privacy is reinforced by special en suite features, including private plunge pools, garden showers, and sundecks. Service, which includes butler, concierge, and valet support, is first-class. Staff can facilitate or organize a wide range of experiences, both on the hotel property and in the surrounding area. These range from horseback riding on the beach and ocean kayaking to private dining and aerial tours of the Mayan site Chichén Itzá.
Hotels
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Once the vacation home of the Italian Duchess Rosa de Ferrari, this exceptional estate was converted into a hotel in 2005. 2014 marked the arrival of a new owner and a new era for the property. Today, Hotel Esencia is an elegant small resort on one of the prettiest beaches on the Mayan Riviera. Surrounded by 50 acres of lush jungle and manicured, palm-fringed grounds, Esencia pairs the amenties and comforts of a larger hotel with the attentive care typical of a boutique property or B&B. Amenities include two swimming pools, a spa, and two restaurants. In the spacious rooms, lots of details stand out: iPod surround systems, well-stocked minifridges, 600-thread-count sheets, and walk-in closets.
Blvd. Kukulcan Mz 59 Lote 1-03 Km 21.26, Punta Nizuc, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, QROO, Mexico
The 29-acre Nizuc Resort & Spa excels in size, service, and amenities. The soothing design scheme blends calming neutrals and natural materials, which recur across multiple interior elements, including lamps, furniture, and tile flooring. Spacious, sun-filled rooms feature terraces and tropical gardens, and the private villas include infinity pools . Staff lead many activities to keep visitors as busy as they want to be; a typical day at the resort might include learning how to roll cigars, participating in a session of paddleboard yoga, or simply trying to choose a favorite between the two pools.
Km 4.5, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Zona Costera Tulum, 77780 Mexico, Q.R., Mexico
Papaya Playa Project, in keeping with its natural surroundings, is low-key and laid-back. Opened in 2011, the hotel’s founders conceived of the property as a place where “like-minded creatives” could slow down and connect with one another. To foster such connection, staff encourages visitors to unplug, and while both charging stations and Wi-Fi are available in the lobby, the temptation to go device-free is strong. Papaya Playa Project’s founders are also committed to the larger community; to this end, they created an initiative known as “United for Tulum” to encourage slow and thoughtful development in the area. Guests’ basic needs are met, without extra frills. Rooms are simple in design and decoration, featuring high, thatched-roof ceilings, mosquito-netted beds, and colorful Mexican blankets.
Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km.10, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Be Tulum describes itself as a resort, but with 64 rooms and a no-child-under-12 policy, the property feels considerably more intimate than its name and marketing might suggest. The hotel enjoys beachfront status, with powdered-sugar sand inviting guests to do little more than lounge around all day. For those wanting a bit more activity, bikes can be borrowed from the front desk and used to cycle out to the Maya site of Tulum. The spacious rooms—all suites and all at least 500 square feet in size—most of which have either a Jacuzzi or their own pool, as well as polished wood floors and rough, white stone walls.
Boca de paila Km 5.5, 77766 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Rustic luxury is the vibe at Amansala, where all accommodations are cabana-style. How rustic? Well, lights go out at 11 each night, after which time candles provide illumination. Ocean breezes do the work that is relegated to air-conditioners at less eco-conscious hotels. Rooms are decorated with locally sourced materials, including driftwood and stones. Candles and incense are in-room amenities. The idea, says owner Melissa Perlman, is for guests to feel that they’re staying at a friend’s home rather than an anonymous hotel where they’re just a room number. The hotel also hosts yoga retreats several times throughout the year, as well as detox cleanse packages and “Bikini Bootcamp” intensives for guests who want to get in shape.
Hotels
Calle 38 norte Mz 4 Lote 3, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
“We hope you adapt to our bohemian philosophy,” say the staff at Hotel La Semilla, by way of explanation when guests ask why rooms have no televisions (there is, however, Wi-Fi and AC). With distressed walls and furniture, the hotel has a shabby chic feel (or, as they describe it, “rough luxe”), and owners Alexis and Angie treat all guests as friends. Part of the room rate is earmarked as a donation to the Friends of Sian Ka’an, a conservation group dedicated to the preservation of the nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
1ra Avenida, esquina Calle 26, Colonia Centro, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo 77710
The Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen, a luxurious beach paradise on the Riviera Maya, is among the area’s newest resorts. Set on Mamitas Beach, just one block from the popular Quinta Ave., the resort houses 314 rooms and suites - some of them “swim-up” rooms with direct access to a pool. Rooms feature high-speed internet, Wi-Fi, HD TV, lap-top safe, coffee-maker, mini-bar and more luxe amenities. Sweeping views of the Caribbean and a world-class spa offering a host of soothing signature treatments pave the way for tranquility in this chic bohemian enclave. Ocean-front infinity pools, a collection of restaurants and bars dishing up Mexican and Caribbean cuisine, as well as fresh seafood and steak, promise R&R along with tasty treats. Camp Hyatt provides entertainment for kids and teens - assuring the perfect escape for the whole family.
Carretera Fed, Av. Boca Paila km 9.5, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Why we love it: A city slicker–approved beach retreat with a vibrant art collection

The Highlights:
- The secret indoor pool up a staircase from the main pool area
- Fresh-baked breads by pastry chef Simone Colla served daily in the Filosofía restaurant
- An entryway featuring a rare sculpture by KAWS and vintage armchairs hung like swings from the ceiling

The Review:
The people watching is just as entertaining as the artwork at Casa Malca, a mansion once maintained by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar but now owned by New York gallerist and art collector Leo Malca. Set on a Caribbean-facing swath of sand next to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve—and just a short bike ride from Tulum’s beachfront boutiques and restaurants—the hotel features 71 rooms, complete with polished concrete floors, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, and bold artwork from Malca’s personal collection. A black-and-white print inspired by Keith Haring covers the lobby bar, while antique baby dolls adorn the walls in one of the hotel’s three restaurants. The pool and beach areas are more sedate, with cerulean daybeds and colorful hammocks studded like jewels among the leafy palms.
KM 4.5, Av. Boca Paila, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Why we love it: A tented resort that’s both bohemian and ultra-sophisticated

The Highlights:
- The option to contact the front desk and concierge via WhatsApp
- Complimentary bicycles for cruising around town
- Alfresco showers—and toilets

The Review:
If you’re looking to experience Tulum’s bohemian spirit without sacrificing top-notch service and all-out luxury, Habitas is your place. Here, 32 safari-inspired tents are spacious and stylishly outfitted with king-size beds, New Age wall hangings, antique kilim rugs, and private patios, plus air-conditioning and Wi-Fi—not that you’ll need it. Guests at Habitas spend most of their time in the glass-framed lobby that doubles as a lounge (with fringed hammocks and floor pillows for low-key gatherings) or the yoga terrace and spa (which offers traditional honey facials, clay body masks, and more). The wellness theme continues in the restaurant, an open-air pavilion that serves up healthy fare like hoja santa shrimp and chermoula-baked eggplant. Wash it all down with craft cocktails made with locally sourced ingredients or, for the especially nutrition-obsessed, fresh-pressed juices at the beachfront infinity pool.
Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km 9.5, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Why we love it: An intimate retreat with an attentive staff that guarantees fuss-free tranquility

The Highlights:
- Personalized attention from a small, dedicated staff
- Guestrooms filled with Mexican antiques
- The all-day, oceanfront restaurant that serves local cuisine

The Review:
With just 12 guest rooms and a staff that’s smaller than a football team, NEST is more private home than resort. Owned by former music industry executive James Chippendale, the intimate property features simple, subdued rooms, individually appointed with antique and artisan furnishings sourced from San Miguel de Allende and throughout the Yucatán, as well as king-size beds, locally made bath products, and handcrafted French doors that fling open to welcome warm ocean breezes. Start your day with a probiotic smoothie and huevos rancheros at the beachside restaurant, then secure your spot on a palm-fringed daybed overlooking the powdery shoreline and azure waves. Your biggest decision may well be whether to watch the sun dip below the horizon from your plush perch or head back for complimentary happy hour at the bar.
Carr. Cancún - Tulum KM 10, Tulum Beach, 77880 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Why we love it: A beachfront getaway with low-key vibes and high-design interiors

The Highlights:
- A cash-free policy that makes trips to the ATM virtually unnecessary
- The open-air La Popular restaurant and its chipotle-pineapple margaritas
- Regular talks and workshops led by local practitioners

The Review:
Tulum has gone from backpacker’s paradise to jetsetter’s getaway in just a few decades, but some of that gypsy spirit endures at Nômade. The beachfront property comprises 35 palapa-style casitas and tented suites, each featuring hippie macramé hangings, antique rugs, cozy beanbag chairs, and woven hammocks. Moroccan tray tables, lanterns, and poufs dominate the public spaces, which include a thatched yoga shala, a Bedouin-inspired meditation tent, and Macondo restaurant, where you can catch a live DJ set after sampling vegan fare and Yucatán specialties sourced from local fishermen (the chili stuffed with soft shell crab is a standout). Dinners are served at a communal table carved from a single tree trunk, offering equal amounts of physical and spiritual nourishment.
Km 8.1, Carr. Tulum - Cancún, Tulum Beach, BOCA PLAYA, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Why we love it: A wellness-focused stay where relaxation comes first

The Highlights:
- A staff nutritionist who can create customized menus before your arrival
- Suites with outdoor clawfoot tubs for alfresco bathing
- Yoga mats available in every room

The Review:
If you’re dreaming of making your wellness fantasies a reality, Sanará checks all the boxes. In addition to minimalist white interiors that encourage meditation—or, at the very least, tranquility—the boutique resort offers daily morning and evening yoga sessions, vegan meals made with locally sourced produce, and organic bath products crafted on site. Even the mosquito spray is biodegradable (but don’t worry, the 17 guest rooms have air conditioning). Though there’s no pool on the grounds, the resort is steps from a white-sand beach kissed by lapping waves and dotted with shady loungers. If you’re in need of even deeper relaxation, Sanará’s five serene treatment rooms set the tone for crystal healing, Mayan-inspired remedies, and bio-magnetic therapy, as well as soothing facials and massages.
Paseo Kuka, Por Robalo, Isla Holbox, 77310 Isla Holbox, Q.R., Mexico
Why we love it: A family-run hotel with eye-catching design and sustainable architecture

The Highlights:
- Rustic wooden cabanas surrounded by water
- Private plunge pools in each room
- Tasty local food, including breakfast, snacks, and dinner upon request

The Review:
Holbox is becoming more and more popular, thanks to its chill vibe, powdery beaches, and relative privacy compared to Tulum. Among the island’s best places to stay is this family-run retreat, just a few blocks from the shore. Here, the unique geometric design features 12 whitewashed, thatch-roofed cabanas surrounding a flooded central deck-cum-pool. Each room opens directly onto a private plunge pool that connects to the main one, creating the feeling of an overwater bungalow.

Guest room interiors are carved from sustainable cedar wood, lending a rustic air that melds perfectly with Holbox’s laid-back, eco-conscious atmosphere. There’s not much in the way of furniture beyond a few shelves and a bed clad in organic sheets, but that helps keep the focus on the fragrant cedar. Daily breakfast is included as are afternoon snacks. With advance notice, the chef will also cook you an authentic Mexican dinner using local ingredients. If you’re in need of a tipple, a tower adjacent to the lobby area has a bar with well-made cocktails and stunning ocean views. Just don’t expect fast Wi-Fi or much in the way of amenities—here, it’s all about island time.
Av. Tulum 106, Tulum Centro, Centro, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Why we love it: A design-forward oasis for creative nomads

The Highlights:
- The bright and airy inner courtyard with a massive chaca tree
- Regular programming like live music and wellness workshops
- No single-use plastics in sight

The Review:
From Tulum tastemaker Derek Klein (of Gitano fame) comes this minimalist tropical hotel on the edge of the ever-expanding city. Imagined as a hub for creative types, Casa Pueblo hosts wellness workshops, live music, readings, and other community events, but also boasts amenities like a saltwater pool, rooftop bar, and in-house restaurant situated in an airy central courtyard. Yucatan textiles and handmade pottery can be found in various nooks and seating areas.

The hotel’s 16 spare rooms face into the courtyard and feature clean white-plaster walls, hand-sculpted bedside sconces, carved wooden furniture, and slatted wooden shutters covering floor-to-ceiling windows. Luuna memory foam mattresses wear Parachute linens and bathrooms showcase custom-made concrete sinks and open rain showers. Purified water in glass carafes and full-size organic Loredana bath products mean no single-use plastics, helping the hotel remain 99 percent plastic-free.
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