Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A romantic retreat set amid lush tropical grounds and overlooking the ocean
Tucked away in the jungle outside Sayulita, the Playa Escondida offers a level of seclusion and privacy not seen in many other hotels in the area. (Only the nearby Haramara Retreat offers a similar setting.) The grounds here are kept mostly wild, with huge palm and banana trees covering large areas of the property, and the few structures that make up the hotel have been built using natural, local materials to help preserve the ecosystem around them.
While some rooms have kitchens and pull-out couches, this is not a place for kids. Everything here is quiet, relaxing and romantic, from the infinity-edge pool, to the whirlpool hidden away behind plants and rocks, to the beautiful elevated spa huts overlooking the ocean. Children, however, are welcome during certain holiday periods.
The grounds remain mostly dark at night, so the hotel provides flashlights to move around. The hotel is set amid the jungle in an oceanfront location, and the nighttime sounds are one of the most remarkable things about this hotel: The only sounds that can be heard are those made by night animals and the ocean. Some guests say it took them a couple of nights to get used to hearing the loud roar of the waves outside their window, but it's all part of the experience.
On a private beach outside quaint Sayulita
Playa Escondida is located on a secluded spot outside Sayulita, on a hillside overlooking the ocean. A narrow dirt road leads to a gated entrance (shared with some private estates and Haramara Retreat), where a security guard takes note of the driver’s name before waiving the vehicle in. This area is not developed and there’s not much within walking distance, but a short drive gets guests to Sayulita, where they can find stores, restaurants, and bars. This part of the coast is rugged and practically untouched, so the resort feels remote and quiet.
Sayulita is a small, quaint seaside town located in the northern area of Riviera Nayarit. It’s lively yet laid-back, and mostly known among surfers for the gentle waves that are perfect for beginners. There are dozens of small restaurants serving tacos and Mexican bites, as well as cafes, surf shops, bars, and cool boutiques. Sayulita is not glamorous or sleek, but it has managed to keep its local flavor -- its cobblestone streets are lined with local businesses -- and has a decidedly small-town feel.
Beautiful, unique rooms with canopied beds and rustic-chic decor
The rooms are housed in standalone huts amid lush tropical grounds. There are no TVs or cell phone service, and only a few offer Wi-Fi. While some guests might miss these technologies, this, far from showing a lack of attention to detail, is part of the unplugged experience.
All rooms are open, meaning they don’t have window panes or screens, but canopied beds have gauze mosquito nets that help keep bugs at bay. It’s normal to see a small gecko crawling on the wall at night, but they’re harmless and add to the out-in-the-wild charm. Bathrooms, however, might be an issue to some, as most are either open or closed off only by a thing gauze curtain.
Some rooms have been built around trees, rocks and other geographical features, so no two rooms are the same in either shape or in amenities. While some are housed in thatched huts, others seem to have been carved out directly from the rock on the hillside and have a cave-like feel to them. The Bird Canyon units are about a mile from the beach and quite a walk from the common areas, but a golf cart is provided.
A beautiful chlorine-free infinity-edge pool with ocean views
The pool, while not huge, is big and deep enough to swim a few laps. It has an infinity edge overlooking the beach and a small waterfall with natural saline water at an average temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. The water has been kept chlorine-free to preserve the surrounding ecosystem as well as the guests’ skin.
The pool’s location might not be the most ideal to some guests, as it is located right by the restaurant and offers little privacy, but it is quiet, relaxing and has wonderful ocean views. This is also one of the prime spots for watching the sunset. There is a small whirlpool for two, also with an infinity edge. It is tucked away behind plants and rocks, but it offers great ocean views and stays open through the night, so guests can enjoy a romantic, relaxing moment with their significant other under the stars.
A beautiful stretch of sand in a secluded spot far from pushy vendors
The hotel offers access to a private stretch of sand with padded loungers, straw umbrellas, and a small bar. It is big enough for guests to relax without feeling they’re too close to the next guest, and waters are usually calm enough for a swim. However, waves can get a little rough, and staying close to the sand is always advisable.
A small spa with two elevated massage huts and salon services
The spa is small but serene and appealing. It is housed in a tall palapa with billowy gauze curtains, a couple of statues of Buddhas, and relaxing water features.
Two tasty restaurants serving healthy international cuisine, plus an on-site bakery
The hotels’ two restaurants serve the same menu, the only difference between them being the setting. While the terrace is casual, with a lounge-y vibe and a bar with low music, the poolside restaurant feels more intimate and romantic. Both serve up a healthy menu with a variety of dishes, including fish, meat, pasta and vegetables.
Yoga classes, free purified drinking water, and rental bikes
This secluded, romantic retreat is tucked away in a beachfront spot in the jungle outside Sayulita. It offers 25 beautiful rooms housed in standalone huts built using natural local materials and offering ocean or jungle views, rustic-chic decor, terraces, and no window panes. The idea is to deliver an unplugged, in-touch-with-nature vacation, so rooms have no TVs, while cell phone and Internet service are limited to some common areas. The beautiful infinity pool, gorgeous massage huts, tasty restaurants, and private sandy beach are all highlights. Just note that Bird Canyon rooms, while as gorgeous as the other accommodations, are far from the main facilities (a golf cart is provided). The vibe is definitely adult-oriented, and kids are only allowed during certain holiday periods.