“Beautiful hotel on Tulum beach with idyllic sea views from each room; well-designed simplicity at its best”
There are 6 rooms in the main building and 3 suites in separate cabanas. They’re all thoroughly beach chic in style, their private balconies strung with hammocks just made for drinking Corona in.
Of the rooms, our favourite is the glorious room 3. It’s huge, with the best sea view and a large balcony with an enormous hammock plus a table and chairs. It has a romantic linen-curtained four-poster bed, polished plaster walls, a minimalist approach to furnishings (which means a lack of storage space - pack light!), a daybed, and a roomy bathroom with a shower. Room 6 is our second favourite, a mirror image of room 3 but with a slightly less amazing sea view.
Rooms 1 and 2 are on the ground floor; they have a four-poster bed and an additional single bed for kids. But with room 1 right next to the kitchen, unwelcome noise does travel, and you may hear people overhead. Rooms 4 and 5 are the smallest, with a smaller terrace and no daybed. They’re on the first floor above the bar (so you may hear music), but you get full-on sea views and high ceilings thanks to the Mayan-style pitched palapa roof.
The self-contained suites, built since our visit, are set in private gardens by the beach. They’re similar in style to the rooms, but offer a little more privacy and space. Each has a kingsize four-poster bed and 2 single beds (ideal for families), plus a shower bathroom and a sofa’d terrace facing the sea.
All rooms have mosquito-netted windows and floor fans (no ceiling fans), and you get a couple of free bottles of mineral water every day; guests staying in a suite will find additional treats in the form of fresh flowers, sweets and a bottle of Prosecco on arrival. But be aware of a few things: you can’t flush paper down the toilets, the showers take a while to warm up and aren't power showers, there's no air con, and the light is a bit dim for reading at night. You’re adjacent to the jungle, after all.
Estrellas' food is one of the big draws - the chef is the best in the area and the prices are so good that it makes eating out anywhere else seem foolish. His fantastic eye also means that his large dishes arrive looking as good as they taste. Hence the lovely restaurant is popular with outside guests too.
Breakfast is served from 8am, which has its pros and its cons. On the plus side, it's an extravagant feast of coffee, freshly squeezed OJ, beautifully presented platters of papaya, melon and pineapple, warm bread and croissants with jam, plus a cooked option for a little extra.
But if you wake up at 6am with the sunshine, as you might thanks to the sheer curtains, you'll have to wait for your wake-up coffee, or wander down the beach to an early rising café, as there are no help-yourself facilities. Service in general can be a bit off and on.
Lunch and dinner menus are broadly the same with delicious ceviche, the best guacamole this reviewer could find in Tulum, crunchy octopus and a signature paella dish. Better still, Paco makes great pina coladas and margharitas (you get a free one on arrival, for booking through i-escape). There isn't a more snacky option for lunch, which is a shame, but it's great in general and you'll be treated to extras, like amuses bouches, free of charge.
Should you want a change of scene, Estrellas is walking distance from plenty of other eateries, all serving similar menus at similar prices but nowhere near as well.
Estrellas is child-friendly (the owners have a young family) but there isn't much to speak of in the way of equipment bar baby cots and extra beds. Note that not many places in Tulum accept kids, so Estrellas is more geared up than most. Children under 3 stay for free.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The 3 suites have the most space for families, as each comes with a kingsize bed and 2 single beds. Rooms 1, 2, 3 and 6 have 1 extra bed. Those with young children may prefer a ground-floor room (1 and 2) because of the steps and the high terrace; sound carries though, so beware!
Older kids and teenagers will enjoy Tulum's watersports, investigating ruins and just about everything else on offer in the area.
The sea can be rough on this beach - it's not a gently shelving beach that suits toddlers or underconfident swimmers.