Paradise on the Mexican Caribbean coast, Playa del Carmen has long had tourists flocking to its crystalline waters and sandy shores to enjoy a week of luxury, relaxation, or partying in the excellent night clubs that line La Quinta. But where should you stay? Here’s our list of the top ten cultural hotels in pretty Playa, from those with rooftop pools to budget options.
This optimally located boutique hotel is perfectly positioned in between the beach and the buzzing Quinta Avenida that dominates the Playa del Carmen nightlife scene, making it an excellent option for both party lovers and families, and ensuring you’re perfectly positioned to enjoy all the culture Playa del Carmen has to offer. Inspired by Thai interior design, La Divina by Aldea Thai teams this sleek and classy finish with a relaxed Mexican Caribbean atmosphere for which the Riviera Maya is famed. The devil is in the detail, and beaded cushions, bamboo and ornate light fittings make this hotel feel truly luxurious.
An artsy upmarket option for the youthful couples and cosmopolitan souls holidaying in Playa del Carmen, Deseo Hotel & Lounge also has a central location, right on La Quinta. While it has a reputation for being a hub of party animals, not least due to the rooftop terrace which converts into a sleek cocktail bar at night popular for its on trend electronic music, the architectural prowess of Deseo is also plain to see. Frequently described as hip and chic, this design hotel is dominated by minimalist, white interiors with flowing curtains and laid-back hammocks softening the overall aesthetic. Clean and contemporary, Deseo has only fifteen rooms to choose from.
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Another excellently situated option, Magic Blue Boutique Hotel boasts a rather more rustic vibe than Deseo and La Divina. Think stereotypical Mexican paradise: lush, swaying palm trees, palapa sunshades and hammocks strung up between tree trunks. However this deceptively casual air doesn’t wholly reflect the contemporary design touches that permeate the interior of this boutique gem in the center of Playa del Carmen. Stay in clean and comfortable rooms but still feel in touch with the outdoorsy, jungle vibe of Magic Blue, as vibrant greenery is a feature both in and out. Magic Blue also plays host to two classy beach clubs, including the sumptuous Indigo Beach which has an excellent breakfast buffet.
Hotel La Semilla is owned by a well-traveled pair, something which is reflected in the global flavor that features strongly throughout this small but incredibly quirky hotel. Mexican nods are everywhere however, through both flea market furniture finds and vintage artisan products. Set against a backdrop of classic white, this mismatched but still incredibly well put together set up guarantees Hotel La Semilla a place on our list. With a homey and cozy vibe that distinguishes it from the abundance of hotel options in Playa, La Semilla is a perfect choice for those looking for laid-back vacationing. Hang out in the Cocina Loft restaurant, enjoy breakfast and chat with the owners, or soak up the sun in the quaint garden area.
Mexican charm pervades Hotel Lunata, which is ideally located in downtown Playa del Carmen, on La Quinta but in a more tranquil area. The interior is basic, all tiled walls and vibrant colors, but nothing too ostentatious or overwhelming. With Hotel Lunata, you’re paying as much for the calm location and the attentive service as you are for the simple but functional amenities. Mexican influence is everywhere in this ten-room hotel, from the typically star shaped light fittings to the high arches and the quaint garden, which has several balcony rooms overlooking it. Overall, Hotel Lunata is colorful and overflowing with true Mexican charm, which can be hard to come by in the popular beach resort of Playa del Carmen.
Barrio Latino Hotel | Courtesy of Barrio Latino Hotel
Hotel Posada Mariposa is a recently remodeled, conveniently located four-star boutique hotel, and is perfect for those looking for a comfortable and relaxing retreat in Playa del Carmen, be they couples or families (although the latter may want to request rooms away from the noise of La Quinta). The staff are courteous and command excellent English, making the stay smooth and confusion-free for all involved. This is a mid-range option price-wise, yet the clean and modern rooms look like they should cost more, given the attention to detail and spaciousness of them. Neither fussy nor basic, Posada Mariposa is a solid mid-range option in pricey Playa.
You’d never guess this was a budget hotel just by looking at it. Barrio Latino offers exceptionally clean, well-kept, and comfortable surroundings for low prices, making it a no-brainer recommendation, particularly for travelers. It’s regularly featured in travel guides, and it’s easy to see why due to its great location, welcoming service and rustic décor in the on-the-smaller side rooms. And what better way to experience the culture of a place than by saving money on your accommodation that can then be spent making memories? Plus, there are some authentic tacos and Mexican dining options all around the Barrio Latino Hotel, so you can immerse yourself in all Playa del Carmen has to offer without breaking the bank.
Smooth lines | courtesy of Acanto Hotel and Suites
Featured in a Guardian article about the best budget accommodations, Paamul is just that – depending on the room you opt for – but it is also a culturally interesting spot given its on-the-beach location and the abundance of interaction with local wildlife, and we’re not just talking about mosquitoes. Located in a private bay, Paamul offers cheaper rooms in the basic wood cabañas or slightly more expensive options in the small hotel block, but all have private facilities. However we primarily recommend Paamul due to its proximity to the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline on the Riviera Maya, perfect for the explorer within, and the chance to observe marine turtles laying their eggs at night. The diving is also excellent.
Quiet and peaceful, this boutique hotel is the perfect place for those looking to relax and pamper themselves, as it has a gorgeous rooftop pool with spectacular ocean views, along with a relaxing spa and access to the gorgeous Indigo Beach Club. You can dine with the sand between your toes and soak up the relaxed Mexican Caribbean vibe, before returning to the spacious and simple bedrooms, which are based around a neutral cream and brown color palette, with vibrant orange accents. Smooth, glossy wood furniture is heavily featured too, only enhancing the quality vibe of Acanto Hotel and Suites.
A Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence winner for five years running, Hotel Cielo is a lower priced option that doesn’t skimp on quality. A short distance from the ADO bus terminal, this mid-range hotel is a comfortable option in the center of Playa del Carmen. Their stunning tiled rooftop, overflowing with plants and architectural quirks, is a huge selling point and offers spectacular views over the sea. Hotel Cielo also maintains a certain level of Mexican charm, with wrought iron railings and tiled floors, yet also manages to inject contemporary touches into the quaint bedrooms. Leafy, light and airy, Hotel Cielo also has an on-site restaurant, Carboncitos.