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4.5 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

My wife and I are very spoiled travelers. We both worked very hard through our careers with the singular goal (after seeing to our children's security) of traveling the world in some style, and making the most of every trip, whatever the purpose. After a stressful stretch at home - between life's vagaries, and high-quality problems like moving and renovating, a week on the beach beckoned. We didn't want to go across the world, and we wanted a great experience. We thought about returning to Parrot Cay, but we had just been to the Turks over the Holidays, and, honestly, while they deliver the goods, PC is just ridiculously overpriced. After all - it's the BEACH. So, my wife did the research, and came up with Tulum and Esencia. As she does more every year, she did the whole thing with the help of an agent, and all I had to do was pack a bag and show up. And boy, am I glad I did! Our plane was late, and it was Super Bowl Sunday. Incredibly, there was excellent 4G data service all the way down the Tulum highway, and I saw every play in HiDef right up to out perfectly-timed halftime arrival. The setup is a tad awkward. You pull in the gate, and drive a short distance to the greeting/reception area. After a very brief sign-in, you are taken about 2 minuted through the jungle to a roundabout. There, you dismount and walk through the property towards the beach, about 3-4 minutes. You will pass the different "jungle" accommodations, white casitas hidden amid the lush foliage. Past a small "cenote" - or limestone pond filled with crystal-clear water, teeming with goldfish, turtles and small guppy-like fish, you come to the beach-front casitas. There are two good-sized (about 30x70) swimming pools, both of them extremely warm, one with a shallow ledge through half go the pool, for kids. The main restaurant is a lovely terrace filled with whitewashed chairs and tables, with deep red hurricane lamps and flowers setting off the crisp lines, contrasting with navy blue cushions and a bright yellow lifeguard's chair. The colors are primary, vivid and rich, the pale white sand, dramatic surf that goes from khaki sand at the turbulent shore to pale aqua green, and then the deepest Caribbean blue, a perfectly-imagined vista of a understated oceanfront resort. Thatch-roofed cabanas lie low, shading rich mahogany or teak lounges covered with white terry cushions and beach towels whose broad campaign-striped yellow and white echo the lifeguard's chair. You sense that every detail has been carefully considered. The crimson red of the hurricane lamps and carnations that decorate the tables, and the navy blue of the cushions reappears in the long windsurfing boards printed with the hotel's name that lean against the small watersports hut, where snorkels, fins, a ball for volleyball or soccer, and other odds and ends are kept. Even the lifeguard's outfit is color-matched, his skin as richly browned as the burnished wood of the loungers. Esencia is that kind of place. If you pay attention, as the owners clearly have, you will see that the designers are people who have traveled themselves, as most everything you might find as a shortcoming in previous travels has been covered here. Plenty of outlets (US 110V) for your various chargers are everywhere in the Beach Suites. The lights are controlled by one switch, so you need not get up and down to control them, but the reading lamps are independent, so you can stay up a bit without bothering your mate. The wiFi is generally strong and fast. The bath towels are dense snowy cotton with thin pencil lines of that crimson red again, the kind of absorbent, heavy towels you keep trying to find on the internet, but never seem to quite get right. The bedlinens are also just right, tight 1200-odd weave Egyptian cotton, crisp yet smooth, cool to the touch. I went online to find them, and discovered that their manufacturer is the designer/decorator behind Esencia. What a job he did! The sole fault I would find is the absolute absence of drawers anywhere in the suite. This is a slight error - it is a necessity to have a place to stash your wires, papers, private things you might not want to lock up in the safe or keep in your suitcase (We like to unpack everything and store the suitcases.) The bedroom and bathroom each have independent split-unit a/c's which blow strong and cold down to 16C. There is a ceiling fan over the bed, as well. A 42 inch HD TV is mounted on the wall, with a reasonable, but not extensive, selection of satellite stations. There appeared to be a version of a streaming service as well, but I did not check it out, There is a large bluetooth speaker by the bed, and each room has an iPod nano loaded with a terrific playlist. The ports on the LG TV are left accessible, so I was able to connect my computer and play movies on to the screen with the HDMI cable I brought. It accepts component cables and fibre optic audio as well.I HATE hotels that over these ports or buy TVs without them. With the sound through the bluetooth speaker and the video direct to the screen, it was a good setup. As to those Ocean Suites there is a choice to be made. Each Ocean casita has four suites - the name is a bit deceiving, as they are not truly suites. Each is one large bedroom with a separate bath/closet chamber. When I think "suite" I imagine a bedroom and separate living room/parlor. We knew this coming in, but it is worth noting. The two roos - top and bottom that face the water are the "Ocean Suites." The question is whether you prefer a ground floor, with a large mahogany deck on which there is a wooden love seat and table, plus a small round table and two chairs for your morning coffee and small pastry basket. We started a bit of a trend by asking that two lounge chairs be put on our deck, so we could lie there in the sun when we did not want to take the twenty steps to the beach chairs under the cabanas. On the ground floor, you cn just step right out on to the sand, while upstairs you need to navigate an ell of about 20 steps. The tradeoff is upstairs has panoramic views and is open to the sun and sky, and the lounge chairs are standard. Perhaps more privacy for sunbathing - though the casitas are close together, and the windows of the next-door bedrooms look directly out at the neighboring deck. Also, there is no shade or umbrella on these decks, so you' best be a "full sun" flower. A hard choice between up or down! The food at Esencia is terrific! The menu at the beach restaurant is comprehensive, and features a kind of Peruvian/Asian fusion cuisine that is delightful. At lunch the first day, I asked for the Camarones Wrap, substituting grilled tuna for the shrimp, and it was a spectacular sandwich, filled with sophisticated spices and textures. Everything we had was at the very least good, and some dishes were truly excellent. Any reasonable special request was met with happy indulgence. We did not take i the Saturday night special meal at the garden restaurant because the evening was too still, and we were a bit toasted from the sun, but the menu looked completely and interesting. Service at Esencia is terrific. Everyone is friendly and helpful, and no one lingers with their hands twitching for a tip - 10% service is added to everything. We tried to add a bit when we could, as always, but it was clearly not expected. The room was made up mid morning and during dinner each night. Non-alcoholic drinks in the minibar are included. Prices at Esencia are reasonable for a 5-star resort. Our 7 days including 4 dinners and six lunches, added only $1300 to our room bill, which I consider pretty reasonable. We didn't do room service, or breakfast. We ventured to Tulum for dinner every other night - it is a bit of a drive (about 35-40 minutes) but the restaurants are well worth it (save Hartland, which was over-hyped, packed, and mediocre, priced like a Dubai clip joint.) We also hired a guide to take us to a few cenotes and the Biosphere. Quick tips: The Cenotes are a tradeoff between crowds and light. They are less crowded in the mornings, but sunlight does not reach them. Afternoons are better lit, but can get crowded. Gran Cenote is large, well kept and JAMMED with people, not worth visiting because of this. Who wants to swim in a small pond surrounded by 50 tourists? Aktun-Chen was the best of the experiences, with electric underwater lighting, and terrific guides. There were only a few other people there. It's quite a drive off the main road. Dos ojos was also nice, and is the spot for scuba, with an underwater tunnel connecting them. Be aware, the cenotes are smallish features, not nearly as large as they seem in the photos and brochures. A 20 minute swim is plenty, and the water is cool, not cold, and if you have a wetsuit shirt or a shortie, you'll likely be happier. Some f the cenotes rent them. The Biosphere is fun, but be prepared - you are dropped off the boat in to a canal, and you drift for 30 minutes using your life jacket to float, through tall grass and mangrove swamps. There is a strong current, and it is fun - if you know what you are doing. Our guide said nothing about it, except to jump in for a swim, and the current rapidly took us out of any chance of getting back. If another group hadn't come along after we grabbed some branches, we would have had no idea if we were safe or in trouble. Also, they say there are no crocs. That's funny. They clear the area of them, but this is prime croc habitat. It would be the end of the area's key tourist business if one got eaten, so I am sure they are diligent, but I wouldn't linger or rub myself down with chicken blood! (Don't you always do that?) All in all, we LOVED Esencia and Tulum, and will absolutely be back.

This was our third time back to Hotel Esencia since the property was taken over by it's new owner. Each visit (at approx 1 year intervals) has been better and better. This is VERY difficult to accomplish in this area, as properties tend to start going "downhill" after initial investment in the property. Whomever these owners are, they obviously take HUGE pride of ownership and are making substantial improvements all the time. The new "Beach Suites" added this last Fall are nothing short of spectacular. And the all new Restaurant, "Mistura" will blow your mind. There is no better or more beautiful stretch of beach anywhere in this area, and the hotel crew keep it pristine daily!! Yes, on the "more expensive" side of cost, but life is short and EVERYONE should experience Esencia at least ONCE.. The most incredible aspect of this Hotel is the low density. After a "day trip" to one of the near-by All Inclusive Resorts, we dashed back to our ultimate paradise at Hotel Esencia. Treat yourself, spoil yourself, experience THE most idyllic get-a-way and head for Xpu-Ha Beach. You will cherish the memory forever. We will be baaaack and can't wait!!

Room was comfortable, well appointed, close to the sea. Service was exemplarym- nothing was too much trouble for the serving staff or the beach/pool staff. Setting is gorgeous. Relaxing, good food, good pools, lovely beach.

Hotel Esencia is the gem of the Mayan Riviera. I know the area like the palm of my hand, having spent many winters there. Hotel Esencia captured all the comforts possible without compromising the natural simplicity of this exotic coast - an almost impossible balance to strike. The beach is a dream, like an island without tourists. We felt comfortable and chic with sand covered feet at lunch and at dinner in the new Peruvian restaurant. The hotel attracts wonderful people, you will leave with many a new friend. Our stay was full of special details, from sandals waiting for us in our room (a must which I forgot to get before the trip) to the ultimate playlist curated by Michel Gaubert - it was the soundtrack to our trip, and we are still listening to it now. I could go on and on... I only have one reproach: the lovely Picasso jug in the hotel shop wasn't for sale ;) Thank you for a truly wonderful stay.

My wife and I stayed at the Hotel Esencia last week. Last 5 beach trips were: Petit St. Vincent, Grace Bay, Antiqua, Belmond Maroma, Caneel Bay. You can go read a few hundred reviews or just take my word, save the time, and book the Esencia. The food is spectacular, beach is beautiful and the service word class. The hotel was suppose to be full when we checked in and we felt like we had it to ourselves. I really like having a beach in which you don't have a large resort near by. I enjoy going to new places but can tell you with certainty we will be back. While the Mexican food is great try the dumplings for dinner.

Esencia is everything the reviews say - laid back, beautiful, an oasis of calm. If this is what you are looking for, Esencia can’t be beat - our suite was pristine and perfect - hammock, outdoor shower, the occasional peacock wandering by and a luxurious yet understated decor

Beautiful location, wonderful rooms, terrific staff, great food and drinks. The sea looks like a giant swimming pool and the sand is sparkling white to match the whitewash of the low-rise buildings. The kitchen are dab hands with fresh seafood and produce, and the margaritas were top notch, if a tad expensive for Mexico (my only quibble, and I had to think hard to find a quibble). We didn’t think anything could top the Belmond Maroma hotel, but this did. A big thank you to Kevin and all of the staff.

Hotel Esencia is one of our favorite hotels in the world. A chic, luxurious oasis on a white sand beach beside a turquoise sea. Exquisitely appointed, tastefully decorated, spotlessly clean, Esencia is pure perfection. As wonderful for a romantic get away as it is for a family vacation, Esencia manages to get it all right.The rooms are so beautiful you (almost) can't leave them, until you step onto what is maybe one of the most incredible beaches anywhere on Earth!

We are a family of 5 with older children aged 14-23. The Hotel Esencia was an amazing getaway this holiday season. The staff was extremely attentive and made us feel extremely at home as did owner Kevin Wendel, whose consistent presence added to the feeing of being home away from home. The beach and pools were uncrowded and we did not have to get up early to reserve seats - A huge stress relief to know that the beach attendants were prepared for us every morning. Loved the coffee and morning snacks delivered to our bungalow every morning in an unobtrusive way. Also loved that we could stay in the same villa with our children even though they were downstairs. I was worried that our jungle villa would be too far away from the beach but the walk to and fro wasn’t quite pleasant. Especially the smell of jasmine. There is certainly plenty to do around Playa del Carmen and Tulum but we only ventured out a few times for activities and meals because the kids wanted to hang out at the beach. Still, there were young families there as well and they seemed incredibly entertained. Finally, we all enjoyed the spa. We rarely consider going to the same place twice, but this hotel makes the very short list of places to which we would return.

This is an absolutely unbelievable place. The hotel itself is beautiful - very clean and modern aesthetic. The rooms are spacious, functional, and have wonderful amenities - not to mention the fact that every room is nestled in lush foliage for maximum privacy. The beachfront is the most gorgeous, quiet, and relaxing place I've ever been, with private cabanas (complete with service bells!), and dedicated staff ready-and-waiting to set up reclining beach chairs with clean towels, side tables, and large canvas umbrellas at any minute. As one of only two hotels on the beach, there is very little foot traffic meaning that each guest gets an unobstructed and uncluttered view of the ocean all day. The staff are absolutely wonderful - they are warm, friendly, and provided impeccable service our entire stay. Last but certainly not least, the food is to die for. Every ingredient is locally-sourced, fresh, and made to order. All three restaurant menus offer a diversity of delicious options, and truth be told they were some of the best meals I've ever eaten! Thank you to the entire Hotel Esencia team for making our honeymoon so comfortable and memorable. We were so lucky to have spent a few days with you in paradise, and look forward to returning again soon!

Carretera Cancún-Tulum Km. 265 Xpu-Ha QROO

Hotel highlights

  • Close to Xpu-ha Beach
  • Free WiFi and wired Internet in rooms and public areas
  • Free valet and self parking
  • Onsite dining

Esencia places you within a mile (2 km) of Xpu-ha Beach and Bel Air Animal Park. This 39-room, 4.5-star resort has a full-service spa along with an outdoor pool and free in-room WiFi. It's on the beach and also near Cenote Cristalino and Chikinha Cenote.


Enjoy the garden views at Garden Restaurant, one of 2 onsite restaurants. Savor a meal from the comfort of your room with room service, or make new friends over drinks at the bar/lounge.


All 39 air-conditioned rooms feature iPod docks, refrigerators, and minibars. Guests can expect 20-inch LCD TVs with cable channels and DVD players, along with free WiFi and wired Internet. Beds are dressed in Egyptian cotton sheets and down comforters, and bathrooms offer hair dryers and designer toiletries. Free bottled water and phones are also standard.

Property features

At Esencia, guests enjoy a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, and a children's pool. Free valet and self parking are available—or if you're not driving, take the airport shuttle (available on request). The front desk has multilingual staff on hand 24/7 to help with dry cleaning/laundry, tours or tickets, and luggage storage. Other amenities at this beach resort include a steam room, free WiFi in public areas, and a meeting room.

Room options

Suite, Garden Area

King 1 | Queen 2 | Sleeps 3

Suite, 1 King Bed

King 1 | Sleeps 3

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

92% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 295 reviews