No air-conditioning (in 4 out of 8 rooms) or TVs in rooms
Restaurant is slightly pricey
Children under 12 are not permitted (pro for some)
This small, service-oriented beachfront boutique has a quiet spot on the southern end of the Hotel Zone that remains in walking distance to restaurants, bars, and shops. The mid-range Encantada is strongly focused on preserving and sharing local culture: Its restaurant serves authentic regional dishes; its bar pours local craft brews and liquors and hosts local music nights; and the property uses regional artisanal goods throughout. The eight spacious, eco-friendly guest rooms have no TVs, and only half have air-conditioning, but they do have fans and private furnished terraces. Travelers looking for eco-friendly lodging could compare amenities and rates with Casa de las Olas.
A small rustic boutique that's big on service and sharing authentic local goods
One of the first hotels open in the now-bustling south end of the Hotel Zone, Encantada was built in 2012 by a San Franciscan couple with a true love for the area. Some resorts are divorced from their surroundings, but Encantada's owners are dedicated to preserving and sharing Tulum's local culture through its native Yucatan cuisine, alcohol selection, and small on-site shop with local goods.
A paved parking lot leads to the front desk, an open-air palapa with a rustic desk made from logs. From there, a winding wooden path leads past a little waterfall feature toward the white-washed, thatch-roof guest rooms. Vegetation is lush and natural throughout the property. The vibe is unpretentious, relaxed, and slightly social in the public areas with guests, mostly couples in their 30s to 50s, exchanging hellos and vacation tips. Staff members are well-known for being genuine and doing whatever they can to make sure guests have the best experience possible. Encantada's growing popularity and number of repeat guests seems to be a testament to their stable and steady service.
On the southern end of the beachfront Hotel Zone, walking and biking distance to restaurants, bars, and shops
Located toward the last third of the Hotel Zone's southern strip, Encantada is just beyond a pocket of hustle and bustle, giving guests a quieter streetside spot and less stragglers along the beach. For anyone that wants to explore, the hotel is easy walking and biking distance to popular shops, restaurants, and bars and around a 15-minute cab ride to the center of Tulum town. The thick jungled Sian Ka'an Bioreserve is a 25-minute walk or three-minute car ride down from the hotel. Nearby day-trip activities include snorkeling and diving in cenotes or swimming with turtles in Akumal, both about 30-minutes away by car; or hitting the climbable ruins of Coba, about an hour away. Adventure parks like Xplor and Xcaret are located roughly 45-minutes north off the main highway, just before the club-bumping, tourist-heavy beach city of Playa del Carmen. Cancun Airport is around 90 minutes by car.
Large, palapa-style rooms with chic canopy beds, fans, and private patios
All eight of Encantada's spacious rooms have exactly the same design, decor, and layout -- the only difference is the views: ocean view or garden view. Entrances are comprised of three large, floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to allow the natural sea breeze to cool the room. While there is no air-conditioning in half of the units, each one has multiple fans that keep most guests happy. Center-stage is a king-size canopy bed draped in mosquito netting. Through clever design, the bed appears to be hanging from its rope canopy. It's topped with crisp white bedding and a colorful, embroidered bed runner. A built-in shelf behind the bed holds portable fans, a lighter for the room's candles, and a flashlight. Underneath, rests a hidden rollaway bed. Stylish, upscale BoHo furniture and decor are placed sparingly around the room which has rustic white-washed walls, exposed wood beams, natural wood plank floors, and slat-wood window shutters. Bathrooms have generously sized vanity sinks with blue-glass pebble-accents in the sink basin, a water jug with drinking water (refilled daily or on request), and organic honey-based toiletries -- shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and lotion -- in biodegradable pouches. Doorless walk-in showers have blue mosaic tiling and a glass-block wall letting in natural light. At the front of each unit there's a roomy private terrace overlooking the garden or the beach with artisanal wooden furniture. Amenities also include 24-hour electricity, free Wi-Fi, safes, and beach totes stocked with towels, but no TVs. All rooms are cleaned with eco-friendly agents, and they also get a UV treatment that helps eradicate any traces of bacteria, mold, or fungus.
Small but adequate beach with soft white sand and plenty of cushioned loungers
Encantada's beach area is small, but sufficient enough for its small number of guests. You can reach the beach by walking toward the mangroves at the back of the hotel, past the outdoor shower, and down a few wooden steps. While all beaches in Tulum are public, there seems to be less traffic and stragglers behind Encantada's beach area. Unfortunately, there seems to be only seven shady, thatch-roofed palapa umbrellas on the sand -- oddly leaving one of the eight guest rooms out to dry (in the hot sun) if there's a full house. Luckily, there are enough high-quality, thick-cushioned loungers to account for two people per room. There's also a private dining table for two nestled in the mangroves that's available, on-request, for romantic dinners.
Restaurant and bar with local specialties, massage palapa, and free loaner bikes
The restaurant's native chef specializes in authentic, local (and healthy) dishes from the Yucatan. Delicious (and stateside-priced) dishes include well-marked vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options and feature items like tacos with homemade corn tortillas, fresh salads, ceviche, and cochinta pibil. A free breakfast is served in the restaurant and includes egg dishes, yogurt and granola, fresh breads, fruit, and coffee or tea. The bar selection also tries to stay local and showcases hyper-local craft beer as well as a local tequila and mezcal selection. There’s a daily two-for-one happy hour so you can squeeze in a few cocktails between the beach and dinner. Three nights a week, the small bar and restaurant hosts live music ranging from jazz to Latin beats to acoustic guitar performances. There's also a tiny private-massage palapa, free loaner beach bikes, a small boutique, parking spots, and free Wi-Fi throughout.