If you’re thinking of heading to Playa del Carmen, it’s likely due to its gorgeous beaches. Though the waters aren’t as pristine as those in Cancun, the city is more laid-back and doesn’t see the crowds Cancun does. Plus, it has excellent shopping, dining, and nightlife for when you’ve had enough sun and surf for the day. For vacationers that want direct beach access and ocean-view rooms, we rounded up the best beachfront hotels to make your planning easier. Take a look at the best beach hotels in Playa del Carmen and start packing your sunblock!
The Grand Velas -- set on over 80 acres of mangroves that meet a postcard-perfect beach of white sand and turquoise waters-- is one of Riviera Maya’s most sophisticated properties. It features 491 top-notch suites spread out in three different buildings (two family-friendly, one adults-only), all with their own stunning pool complexes, gyms, and restaurants. The property is so huge guests will need to take a three-minute shuttle ride from the farthest building to the beach, but the hotel’s spotless service, outstanding food, luxurious spa, and wonderful amenities make it a great pick for discerning (and well-heeled) travelers.
The Royal Hideaway is a member of exclusive hospitality consortium Leading Hotels of the World, and as such is one of the most luxurious properties in the area. It features upscale rooms with high-end amenities, a full-service spa with great treatments, several pools, and the best food around. The beautiful grounds, overall sophisticated vibe, adults-only policy, and beautiful beachfront location a short drive from shopping on Playa’s Fifth Avenue make it one of the most attractive options for couples in Playacar.
Rosewood Mayakoba is a gorgeous, peaceful retreat within the resort community of Playa Del Carmen, set on a mile-long stretch of beach. Though it features an extensive children's program, the resort largely attracts couples with its serene atmosphere, upscale restaurants, and spa. The 128 suites feature attractive contemporary decor -- picture clean lines, white walls, and rich woods -- as well as high-tech amenities and private outdoor plunge pools. They have an open-air vibe, with many floor-to-ceiling windows, and the overwater lagoon suites have swim-up access. Plus, suites include freebies such as Wi-Fi, fresh fruit, and bottled water. Seaweed debris along the beach keeps the Rosewood from being flawless (although they diligently attempt to keep it clean by sending staffers to rake it away), but otherwise this hotel is top-notch -- for guests willing to pay top dollar.
The former estate of an Italian duchess, the ultra-luxurious Esencia oozes Mediterranean elegance and style. With just 29 rooms spread over 50 acres, the property feels intimate and exclusive, and shows a thorough attention to detail in everything from the services to the decor. Upscale, contemporary rooms are housed in two-story buildings set amid lush tropical grounds, and feature lots of high-end amenities, including pre-loaded iPods, Molton Brown toiletries, and in some, even private plunge pools. The gorgeous spa, excellent restaurant, and relaxing pools with ocean views are highlights.
Located on the Riviera Maya, south of Cancun, the 412-room Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun is a romantic, adults-only all-inclusive resort, set on a private white-sand beach lined with sunbeds, cabanas, and palapas. In addition to the buffet, a wide range of high-quality dining options are available, including Japanese teppanyaki, French cuisine, a wine cellar with over 200 different vintages, and, for an extra charge, romantic dinners for two on the beach. A stunning destination-style spa offers couples' treatments in private outdoor cabanas on the beach. Rooms are large and tasteful, with four-poster canopy beds, separate sitting areas, and private balconies; ground floor rooms are swim-up suites.
The Viceroy Riviera Maya is a seriously upscale resort nestled in a lush rainforest setting 15 minutes' drive from the Playa del Carmen town center. Chic, rustic villas are awash with deluxe touches, and private patios feature heated plunge pools and alfresco "moon showers." Although rocky in places, the beach has white-powder sand and turquoise waters; it makes an attractive backdrop to the serene pool area and sea-facing restaurants. While families with kids should look elsewhere (children under 14 are not allowed) couples looking for a secluded, romantic retreat -- who aren't afraid of splashing the cash -- will be sure to find it here.
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya by BlueBay is an excellent option for couples looking for a more intimate and luxurious all-inclusive option outside of the hustle of Cancun. The four-and-a-half pearl property is spread out over gorgeous grounds that are partially manicured and artistic and partially jungle-like and wild so the overall ambiance is natural and feels almost isolated. No kids allowed means the two swimming pools, sandy beach, and plethora of restaurants are generally quiet and relaxing. Adult-friendly facilities include a sleek spa (free access to use the steam room and pool), cigar lounge, and one of the best equippedgyms in Mexico. Suites and casitas come standard with private outdoor bathtubs and minibars stocked with free drinks.
Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Esmeralda is one of the best family-friendly, all-inclusive resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula. This luxury property is located directly on the Caribbean and includes access to a white sand beach. The swimming pool, with a pirate ship playground and a swim-up bar, makes it a popular spot among families and partiers. Even the most affordable rooms here include marble floors and sensory soaking tubs. Upgrading often means swim-up pools and/or kitchenettes.Restaurant and bar options include everything from a show cooking buffet, to Argentinian-style steaks, to burritos, to sushi. Vacationers that go all-out for the Family Concierge level rooms get access to private pools, a tricked out club lounge, and expedited service -- but those who don't book it have reported feeling like second-class citizens.
The 310-room, luxury, all-inclusive Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso is a Las Vegas-style, adult-only resort on the Riviera Maya. The resort is part of the five-hotel Iberostar complex, and guests at this hotel may use the amenities at all five properties, some of which are family-friendly. The high-end experience starts with champagne upon arrival, and continues with premium liquor, fine dining, a full-service spa, and several pools, including one dedicated to tranquil relaxation. The opulent decor incorporates marble and mosaic floors, glass chandeliers, modern artwork, and artisan-crafted furnishings. The lush, landscaped grounds complete the picture. Rooms are large and upscale, with jetted tubs, glass shower stalls, and personalized minibars.
This upscale 65-room boutique between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos has a beautiful setting on a white-sand beach, amid a jungle preserve. Contemporary rooms are equipped with original artwork, furniture from the hotel’s own workshops,king beds and either a terrace or a balcony. The great amenities on offer, including three pools, upscale dining, a wonderful spa, and a gorgeous beach, make this a solid pick, but prices are quite steep; other luxury resorts in the area may offer better value.
The luxurious, all-inclusive Palace Resorts’ Playacar Palace is located directly on the beach in the Playacar resort community, next to the Cozumel Island ferry and a short walk to Quinta Avida in downtown Playa del Carmen. Most of the 208 stylishly decorated rooms have balconies offering stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. All come with bathrobes and slippers, a whirlpool, free Wi-Fi, and in-room wine and a liquor dispenser filled with quality brands. The property itself is beautifully grand, yet has a nice intimate feel to it -- especially with the staff that is known for treating guests like family. In addition to beach fun, there’s also an abundance of other on-site activities: table tennis, aqua aerobics, access to a neighboring 18-hole golf course, water polo, karaoke, and live shows nightly.
Located in central Playa del Carmen, the 57-apartment El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condos Hotel is really two adjacent luxury properties in one, sharing facilities and amenities. Two blocks from shopping mecca Fifth Avenue, El Taj is rightly considered one of the area’s best hotels, with a private beach and beach club, a spa, a large, modern gym, and several excellent restaurants, as well as gorgeous rooms, all with private balconies and full kitchens, and some with rooftop decks and private hot tubs. It's worth being aware, however, that many of the hotel's facilities (like the restaurants and gym) are a few minutes away from the hotel.