Hotel Encantada

Tulum, The Yucatan, Mexico Book from

Reviewed by Maia Tarrant
Intimate, rustic-chic hotel with a happy and tranquil vibe, right on Tulum’s perfect white-sand beach
High up in the palm trees, on the wooden deck of our airy Ocean View room, we lean back in our comfy deckchairs and let the intoxicating mix of a starlit sky, a balmy sea breeze, the crashing sound of waves and wicked margaritas lull us into deep relaxation mode. Does it get any better? Turns out it does, as we awake the next morning to blinding gorgeous vistas of intense turquoise waters, bright blue skies and a flock of pelicans greeting us in perfect V-formation.

Set in lush surroundings on magnificent Tulum beach, a stone’s throw from hip and hippie bars and boho boutiques, and a bike ride from the Tulum ruins, this laid-back cabana-style hotel with its 8 quiet rooms oozes serenity, warmth and authenticity. The small in-house restaurant pairs Yucatán flavours with super-fresh seafood and delicious salads, staff are lovely, and guests can be pampered with heavenly massages and body treatments in the open-air spa palapa. Ideal for a honeymoon or romantic holiday, especially because Encantada doesn't accept children under 12.

Highs

  • Having a peaceful slice of Tulum’s pristine beach on your doorstep
  • Beautiful, breezy and spacious rooms, with private decks and floor candles. We adored the light and airy treehouse feel of our room, Sol
  • Taking a leisurely bike ride along the quiet leafy road to Playa Azul for a couple of ice-cold beers
  • Falling asleep to the crashing sound of waves in ultra-comfy beds
  • Whimsical details such as coconut lights create a magical atmosphere at night

Lows

  • Prices don't include tax and there's a strict payment and cancellation policy
  • No air con or TVs in the rooms, but we didn’t miss either (you get a fan)
  • The continental breakfast included in the room rate is rather spartan, so you'll probably need to pay extra for eggs etc
  • No rooms have bathtubs; hardly a problem in the heat

Best time to go

November to April is best as it has the most sunshine - March and April are the driest months. Hurricane season is from June to October, and the wettest and hottest time of the year. The weather is unpredictable during this period, with short late-afternoon showers or entire days of prolonged rain. During May to October you can take day trips to Playa Xcacelito to see turtles laying their eggs, and grey whales spout offshore from January to March.

Our top tips

  • Unlike many hotels in Tulum, the rooms have hairdryer sockets so you may want to pack a hairdryer
  • Make sure you stock up on Deet - the mosquitos here mean business
  • Great for...

    Beach
    Eco
    Great Outdoors
    Honeymoon
    Spa
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 8
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • Over 12s only
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    • Bicycles Available
    Room:

    Rooms

    Breezy, spacious and open-plan, the 8 rooms are decorated in calm shades of cream, with rustic furniture and vivid accents of local handmade fabrics and artwork. Elevated kingsize beds are clad in light and soft linen and are super-comfy, while flowing mosquito nets and floor candles create a very romantic vibe. All rooms have private wraparound decks, sliding glass doors and hardwood floors.

    The 4 Beachfront rooms (Mar and Arena on the ground floor, Cielo and Estrella up above), sit directly on the sand dunes and have magnificent panoramic beach and sea views. Slightly set back are the 2 Garden View rooms (Flores and Tierra), and sitting in the treetops with beautiful glimpses of the ocean are the Ocean View rooms (Luna and Sol). The latter, Sol, was our favourite; a perfect mix of exotic treehouse feel, stunning ocean views and seclusion.

    All rooms are almost identical in layout, amenities and décor. The only differences are price according to setting, and that top-floor rooms have high Mayan thatched ceilings, giving them an even airier feel. Garden and Ocean View rooms have an additional rollaway bed for a 3rd adult or a child over 12.

    Bathrooms are colourful, with bright blue glass walk-in showers and mosaic-tiled sinks. We loved the large selection of natural soaps and lotions; the bamboo body wash smelt absolutely divine. Other nice touches include a handwoven beach bag, beach towels and a hairdryer socket (a rarity in Tulum).

    Features include:

    • Beach towels
    • Extra beds
    • Fan
    • Hairdryer socket
    • Handwoven beach bag
    • Internet access
    • Mosquito net
    • Safe box
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi

    Eating

    A continental breakfast is included in the room rate: warm banana and coconut bread, fruit platters, a variety of fresh juices, yoghurt, and the most delicious toasted granola we have ever had. It's served on beautiful handmade local crockery, creating an immediate happy mood. Smoothies, lattes and eggs (including huevos rancheros) can be ordered for an additional charge.

    The casual restaurant and bar is open throughout the day and serves fantastic dishes with regional flair, such as pollo con mole with aromatic Mayan chocolate and sesame seeds, and tequila-infused shrimp. On Friday nights there's a live musician, and the melancholic sounds of his acoustic Spanish guitar make dining under the starlit sky with your feet in the sand even more special.

    There are plenty of fabulous restaurants and cool bars just a short beach stroll or bike ride away from the hotel. We particularly liked the vintage-style Playa Azul for a simple meal of guacamole, tacos and margaritas; and the whimsical, upscale El Tabano, set in a jungle garden, for fresh lobster, truffle crêpes and fine Mexican wines. True foodies should head to sophisticated Cetli in Tulum proper, for an authentic Mexican feast with all the bells and whistles.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Organic produce
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Vegetarian menu
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Swim in the sea, walk along the pristine beach, hit the hammocks, read a book and try the margaritas
    • Take a private yoga lesson then enjoy a rosemary and eucalyptus massage in the spa
    • Cycle along the leafy Boca Paila road and check out the funky bars (Playa Azul, Casa Banana, Casa Jaguar) and boutiques - bikes are free for hotel guests to borrow
    • Watch pelicans dive-bomb into the ocean to catch their meals
    • Swim, snorkel and dive in one of the many nearby cenotes (deep, natural freshwater pools with underwater caves); Dos Ojos is our favourite
    • Star-gaze to the soundtrack of crashing waves
    • Tick the culture box with a visit to the nearby Tulum ruins, which can easily be covered in a 2-hour stroll, or go all out on a day-trip to Chichen Itza, one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico
    • Float downstream in a ponga boat within the pristine, protected biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an, a 1.5-million acre protected Unesco site
    • The hotel can arrange a host of other activities, from kite-surfing to deep-sea fishing to zip-lining through the jungle

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Kayaking
    • Kite-surfing
    • Kitesurfing
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Scuba diving
    • Scuba diving courses
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures
    • Well being
    • Wildlife
    • Yoga
    • Zip-lining

    Kids

    Children aged 12 and older are welcome and charged a supplement cost for an extra bed in their parents' room.

    Best for:

    Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Ocean View and Garden View rooms have a rollaway single bed.

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    9/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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