For travelers wanting to steer clear of Mexico’s all-inclusive resort scene, Tulum is undoubtedly the place to be. The sleepy, boho-chic beach town is famous for its delicious food, eco-consciousness, and offbeat, beachfront boutique hotels. The small resorts that we love the most have fewer than 50 rooms — many fewer than 20 rooms — and epitomize the artsy, laid-back vibe that makes Tulum one of Mexico’s top travel destinations. These 18 intimate hideaways are the best boutique hotels in Tulum.
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 air-conditioning or TVs, but they do have fans and private furnished terraces.
Mi Amor is an intimate, upscale boutique resort on the beach that attracts a primary clientele of vacationing couples. The 17 rooms here have a chic, rustic vibe, and most come with either balconies or private plunge pools. There's also a beach-facing infinity pool as well as a spa and a well-received restaurant serving international cuisine, with a heavy emphasis on French- and Italian-inspired dishes. The hotel is also right on the beach, and while the rocky coastline is beautiful, it's less than ideal for those wanting to swim. Overall, Mi Amor is an excellent option for couples looking for something quiet and romantic, but the intimate vibe is less suited to families.
This nine-room, upper-middle-range boutique property with a rocky beach and elevated cliff views exudes a contemporary style and chic vibe. No children under 16 are allowed. It has a popular margarita happy hour and its restaurant serves a celebrity chef-curated Thai menu. Rooms are air-conditioned (not that common in Tulum's beach Hotel Zone), outfitted in East Asian or bohemian-chic decor, and have mini-fridges or minibars, stocked beach bags, and yoga mats. Master Suites have large porches, luxe Bulgari products, lounge space, and deep (and we mean deep) tubs. This 16-year-old property, which is a three-minute drive north of Tulum's Maya ruins, draws couples seeking a hip spot to sip mixologist cocktails, dip in a rocky lagoon pool, and lounge on the sundeck.
Located in the heart of Tulum's Hotel Zone, Le Zebra is mid-range boutique hotel that has quickly rebounded after an unfortunate fire destroyed some of the property in 2015. This cozy beachfront resort offers 15 suites, some with their own mini plunge pools and others with expansive balconies. All have epic views out over the Mexican Caribbean. Other features include a palapa-covered restaurant and bar featuring hand-painted tables, a small children’s playground, and plenty of beach space, but little else in terms of public spaces or extra features.
The mid-range El Pez is ideal for couples and small groups or families looking for a rustic and chill spot along the rocky Tulum coastline. All 19 rooms have cool tile or concrete floors, personal patio space, and come with free breakfast, 24-hour electricity and air-conditioning, organic toiletries, and great ocean views. Thanks to the hotel’s location -- in a semi-restricted area -- guests get a mix of coastline spots from a soft sand beach to elevated grassy banks to a rugged and rocky beachfront. Alas, the water here is choppy and not made for swimming. There’s also an excellent on-site restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a fantastic bar with tasty cocktails and healthy smoothies, and a small pool.
This 20-room, upper-middle-range hotel has rustic-luxe decor and a great beachfront location; the restaurant is a hangout for locals as well as guests. The intimate size allow for a true, personalized boutique experience. Many guests rave that the staff members treat them like family, and the hotel provides lots of thoughtful extras, including free hand-made cocktails upon arrival in the main lobby (along with coffee, espresso, or tea), and free breakfasts at the attached restaurant (also available for delivery to the rooms, main lobby, or beach beds). Features are impressive for a boutique, and include a meandering pool and outdoor whirlpool. Daily yoga classes, free tequila and wine tasting events, and free Wi-Fi add to the value, although year-round mosquitos can be an issue.
The Villa Pescadores Tulum consists of 18 bungalows that were once fishermen's huts. The beachfront location is near Tulum's Mayan ruins, and a 15-minute drive from downtown Tulum. There are several restaurants within an easy walk. The bungalows have a rustic-chic style with details including thatched roofs, wood floors, and private bathrooms. All have outdoor spaces with hammocks, and while there are not TVs, Wi-Fi is free and air-conditioning is available at night. The restaurant gets good reviews, and the beach bar also is popular.
The Ahau Hotel could best be described as eco-chic. An upper-middle-range, 26-room property that has hosted the likes of Richard Branson, the hotel blends handcrafted artwork and bohemian decorations with rustic architecture that used 100 percent locally sourced materials. The rooms have outdoor space and most have great ocean views, but the entry-level Bali Huts really are little more than huts with beds (and no AC). There are daily yoga classes, bike rentals, windsurfing classes, and two attached restaurants, plus pets can roam freely. Free Wi-Fi and parking add to the value, although year-round mosquitos and limited cellular reception are issues.
Located in the southern end of the Hotel Zone, Cabanas Tulum is an upper-middle-range property with tons of extras making it feel like a steal. The 16 spacious, hip rooms have air-conditioning, safes, attractive open-plan bathrooms, and furnished terraces, but no TVs. Extras include personal yoga mats, outdoor clothes lines, and beach bags. A quiet on-site beach with powdery white sand has loungers and a swing set. Guests can also make use of the small pool, yoga classes, and bike rentals. Or they can head to the off-site restaurant, bar, and beach club where a free breakfast is served.
Comparatively budget-friendly for the Tulum Hotel Zone, the two-and-a-half pearl, eco-friendly Nueva Vida de Ramiro has 33 rustic rooms and studios set within a natural setting along a long stretch of beach. This family-owned, mostly solar-powered property has been around for two decades, and set the tone for the glut of properties that followed. It has an Argentine restaurant with craft bar, and 24-hour electricity and hot water; some rooms come with air-conditioning, but the hours for it are limited. Slightly bare bones but with a small business center, rental bikes, and a free breakfast, Nueva Vida de Ramiro is one of the better bargains in the area ("bargain" is a relative term here). It has an on-site conservation program, and during turtle season, guests have a good chance of seeing some hatchlings.
Located at the end of a residential road, the eco-friendly, mid-range Posada Yum Kin is ideal for those looking for a break from Tulum's growing tourist center. The hotel's 12 clean, casita-style rooms have free (if temperamental) Wi-Fi, kitchens, garden views, and Mexican tiles galore. Though you won’t find televisions or telephones, there are exotic garden grounds, a small pool, tiny restaurant, and upper-level sundeck and massage areas. Note that the hotel’s locals-only location comes with a hot and sweaty 20-minute walk to Tulum’s main road, so you may want to take advantage of the rental bikes.
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 super-chic, adult-only luxury property, Be Tulum has an excellent location in the middle of the Hotel Zone. A design-conscious, BoHo-chic look is present throughout the grounds and in the 20 guest rooms, outfitted with plunge pools or hot tubs, indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks, and modern comforts like air-conditioning and 24-hour electricity (not a given in this area). There’s also an attractive beach club, a small infinity pool, a large restaurant with raw bar and grill, two bars with mezcal selection, and a fashionable spa compound across the street. But the design here can feel divorced from its Mexican surroundings.
Suenos Tulum is a deceptively large mid-range property where roaming around barefoot through the soft-sand garden grounds is the norm. This is an ultra-laid-back spot at the southern end of Tulum's Hotel Zone with 13 clean and breezy beachside bungalows and one chic upper-level penthouse with 360-degree rooftop views. The solar-powered hotel’s eco-friendly practices mean, with the exception of the Temple Suite, no electricity during the day and no air-conditioning or electrical outlets in the bungalows (there’s a charging station in the lobby), although all rooms have free Wi-Fi. There are a small pool, casual restaurant and bar, tons of hammocks, and a beach area with stretched tarps and loungers.
The 12-unit Villas Geminis Boutique Condo Hotel is a three-pearl option in downtown Tulum. It's within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and bars, and the beach is a five-minute drive away. Guests without cars can use the hotel's bicycles for free to get to the beach and other attractions. Rooms are attractive, homey, and decorated in tribute to various famous artists. They feature air-conditioning and flat-screen TVs, and some have full kitchens. All have a balcony or terrace with a hammock or lounge chair. The pool and gardens are lovely, and breakfast is free.
Rosa del Viento is a mid-range boutique set in the south end of the Hotel Zone of Tulum. The 45 simple, air-conditioned rooms have sleek decor mixing modern elements with rustic touches (such as wood-beamed ceilings); some have coastal views. Features include an on-site restaurant with free breakfast and a huge barbecue grill out front that the hotel fires up on the weekends, and while there's no pool, the hotel does have direct beach access.
Zamas is a largely unplugged three-pearl hotel with generator-operated power, set on the beach on the northern edge of Tulum's Hotel Zone. It has an on-site dive shop and offers fast access to shopping, dining, and local culture -- but there's no pool here. Eighteen simple, but clean, rooms have thatch roofs and balconies with hammocks and sunset views. Wi-Fi reception is limited to common areas, and there are no televisions, air-conditioning, or phones in the rooms. The restaurant, Que Fresco, is a highlight, for creative Mexican and American dishes.
The Diamante K is a boutique hotel right on Tulum's stunning white-sand shore, offering tons of rustic-chic charm in a value-hotel package. The views of the turquoise sea are breathtaking from the private-feeling lagoon-like beach, and there's excellent Mexican food at the hotel's boho open-air restaurant. Each of the 29 cabins is quaint and mostly stylish, with natural wood details, polished concrete or stone floors with pebble inlays, and breezy fabrics creating light and bright spaces. However, frills are few: There's no air-conditioning or in-room Wi-Fi, and some cabins share bathrooms. For those looking to escape it all and unplug, the Diamante K is hard to beat.