Limited privacy in rooms; blinds do not fully cover windows
Room toilets have only bamboo partitions for privacy
No lights at night; one socket available for charging
Open-air room design can let in bugs, especially mosquitoes
Breakfast at on-site bar can be pricey
No tour desk, or water sports equipment rental services
Clothing-optional policy not for everyone
The mid-range Azulik Hotel & Spa, an adult-only, clothing-optional establishment on a short stretch of beach, merges traditional Maya architectural features, beautiful views, and close proximity to nature to create a rustic, off-the-grid, experience -- electricity and Wi-Fi are in short supply here. With its 10 villas with open-air baths and candlelit rooms that sleep only two, Azulik draws mostly couples, but solo travelers seeking to unplug, disconnect, shed their clothes, and embrace the outdoors could enjoy it here.
A romantic, ruggedly beautiful place where travelers can unplug, disrobe, and disconnect
Azulik's buildings -- a series of 10 separate villas situated between a rocky shoreline and the lush forest -- are constructed from natural materials found on the beach and surrounding forest, including palm fronds, bamboo, and wood. Thatch-roofed, palapa-style huts are elevated on stilts, offering views of the ocean or dense jungle. Porch rails are made from gnarly, carved wood, while palm fronds provide shade over porches and common areas. A winding, elevated bridge slashes through the jungle, offering guests the opportunity to not just view nature but to walk into its heart. The coastline is mostly rocky, and while lounge chairs and hammocks line the clothing-optional beach, sand space is limited. Generators provide the little electricity there is. Sockets are available for charging mobile devices, but nighttime lighting depends on candles. Azulik prides itself on being an open-minded, eco-friendly vacation spot, in a beautiful but rustic setting.
A 10-minute drive south of Tulum town, on a narrow beach road suitable for bike traffic
Azulik is about a 10-minute drive south of downtown Tulum, and is within a five- or 10-minute walk of shops and restaurants. The road, however, is narrow, with limited room for cars to maneuver around pedestrians, so some areas of the road do not favor pedestrian traffic. Azulik rents bikes, and bike paths are built into stretches of the main road, making biking potentially safer than walking. Tulum's Maya ruin site, which has a beautiful beach below, is less than a 10-minute drive north of the resort. Cancun International Airport is about a 90-minute drive.
Rough-hewn accommodations in line with Tulum's eco-conscious culture
Rooms are simple and designed to be open to nature. Privacy is not the primary priority at Azulik, as windows are large and covered only with slats of wood tied together with cording. While this lets in light, it's still possible to peer into individual villas, which might make some travelers uncomfortable. The open-air atmosphere can also mean more insects, so each bed is covered with mosquito netting. Villas are painted in bright primary colors and pastels. Walls contain colorful inlaid stones and bits of sea glass, and shiny hardwood floors extend throughout. Bathrooms have large, circular mosaic tile tubs in the traditional Maya style. They can comfortably fit two adults, and come with empty coconut shells to scoop up rinsing water. Doors open onto terraces, so guests can bathe in the open air with striking views of the ocean or jungle as backdrops. A full range of the resorts own brand of artisanal toiletries are provided, including shower gel and hair care products. Toilets are partitioned off from the rest of the villa by bamboo enclosures that are not unlike large bird cages. These enclosures provide only basic privacy, making these units most suitable for couples and solo travelers.
Minimalist offerings emphasize nature over creature comforts
Azulik focuses on providing a beautiful experience to those seeking to unplug and relax, rather than a bunch of creature comforts. The resort has opened a beachfront bar, where guests can purchase breakfast, drinks, and smoothies that rely on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, but menu selections can get pricey. The on-site Maya Spa goes beyond basic skin care and massages. For an extra fee, guests can take part in Maya healing rituals, such as Temazcal, a traditional detoxifying steam bath. Daily on-site yoga classes are offered, and private instruction can be arranged, for additional fees. The resort provides lounge chairs and hammocks on the beach, which guests can use for free. Guests need to arrange sightseeing tours and water sports activities themselves, as Azulik does not have a tour desk or water sports equipment rental available. And while there is free Wi-Fi, the signal is spotty.