Villa las Estrellas

Tulum, The Yucatan, Mexico Book from Book from £192 per night

Beautiful hotel on Tulum beach with idyllic sea views from each room; well-designed simplicity at its best
With white linen curtains blowing in the breeze, ginormous hammocks swaying on private terraces and blue, blue water just metres away, Villa las Estrellas is the epitome of barefoot chic. Set in the middle of Tulum's broad white-sand stretch, this romantic beach house couldn't be better placed for a relaxing holiday. And although the number of buzzy cabana hotels lining the beach increases every year, Tulum's vibe remains lovely and laid-back.

At Villa las Estrellas you'll find a fantastic restaurant and 9 stylish, minimalist rooms under traditional Mayan palapa roofs; there's also a pool and shaded lounging area hidden in the garden. It has the feel of a private home, with loads of space and beautiful furnishings throughout - four-poster beds, mosaicked tables, white-wood lanterns. As with everything, if you look a little closer it isn't perfect. Much of your stay here will depend on other guests - if they smoke or talk loudly or have heavy feet, you'll know about it. It's also devoid of mod cons (no phones, TV, limited WiFi), though that's half the point. But it's immaculately clean throughout and with celebrities booking it out for Christmas, we're clearly not the only ones with stars - estrellas - in our eyes.

Highs

  • Simple but stylish and beautifully designed. After researching all of Tulum's accommodation, we're happy to report that this is some of the very best
  • Amazing, uninterrupted sea views, and being able to walk straight out from the hotel onto that white-sand beach
  • The restaurant serves the best food in the area - delicious ceviche, guacamole and paella
  • There's no stress thanks to the thoughtful and attentive owners Simone and Thais, despite the language barrier (he's Italian, she's Brazilian)
  • Watching pelicans fly by in formation every morning

Lows

  • Rooms vary in size, and 4 and 5 are directly above the bar so you may hear the music (in room 5 in particular), but it winds down at 10pm
  • Be aware of a few things: you can't flush toilet paper down the loos and the showers take a while to warm up
  • Lighting in the bedrooms is a bit dim
  • By 4.30pm the sunshine dips behind the trees so you need something else to do
  • You have to wait until 8am for your first coffee of the day

Best time to go

Tulum is a year-round destination, although you might want to avoid hurricane season (they can hit any time from June to October). It's sunniest here in March and April; turtles come to lay eggs in July and August, which hatch in September.

Our top tips

  • Do some research online before you go if you're keen to join an organised tour round the Mayan ruins, or learn to dive before you head out here. The internet connection is slow in the hotel and they don't run any organised tours from the property yet
  • Swipe an eye mask from your airline on the way in - the sheer curtains make it hard to sleep once the sun's come up

Great for...

Beach
Family
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Beach Hotel
  • 9
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Deluxe Room

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Beach towels
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Mosquito panels on windows
  • Music player connected to the hotel's music system
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Do nothing. Just hang out in your hammock, make use of the comfy beach loungers, take a dip in the pool, and read a book. It's bliss
  • Go swimming in the sea. The waves are rolling rather than gently lapping, and there's a slight undertow, but confident swimmers will be fine
  • Arrange kitesurfing lessons at reception; the hotel runs a school from the beach, so it couldn't be easier!
  • Or ask about going horse riding on the Yaxmuul horse trail, where you'll find beautiful rock formations and natural pools
  • Head next door to Shambala Petit Hotel for a 90-minute morning or afternoon yoga class (donation required)
  • Walk to Ziggy's Bistro for happy-hour cocktails, which happily run all day long
  • Visit Tulum's famous pre-Columbian Mayan ruins, and take your costume for the lovely swimming spot in front of them
  • Swim in the cenotes. These natural freshwater pools have underwater caves and are great for snorkelling. There are a couple just off the shoreline
  • From Jan-March, you can whale watch near Holbox Island. And from July-September, turtles hatch on the beach outside the hotel

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Jazz
  • Kitesurfing
  • Language courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Turtle hatching
  • Well being
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

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.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

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!

Kids Activities nearby:

Older kids and teenagers will enjoy Tulum's watersports, investigating ruins and just about everything else on offer in the area.

Families Should Know:

The sea can be rough on this beach - it's not a gently shelving beach that suits toddlers or underconfident swimmers.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Rooms
10/10
Food
9/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
Overall

We stayed in room 3 as recommended in the details and definitely thought it was the best! It was a beautiful room and it was stunning to be woken up by the orange sun rising over the sea and shing into bed! Whilst several rooms have sea views, not all the beds faced the sea. My best memory is sitting up in bed watching the sun rise and hearing the waves! <br>The staff were very attentive, the breakfast was lovely, plenty of it and no stinginess over coffee refils as other reviews have mentioned. <br>The location is great for other restaurants, however, Tulum is an expensive place which is reflected in price of hotel. Very please we stayed at Estrellas rather than any others!

9/10, , January 2015

The staff were the most accommodating we have come across. We had room 5 which was beautiful. You could hear the music until around 10 because it was above the bar but that really wasn't a problem for us, the music selection was great. Plus you had the option to turn on speakers in your room to play it directly. We had a private balcony with a hammock (AMAZING), and the beach was private and well maintained, not to mention beautiful. The grilled lobster in particular at the restaurant was amazing. The only downside to the stay would be that because of the (very pretty) thatched roof we had a few mosquitos sneak in to the room, although to be fair it was September which happens to be mosquito season so this could have happened anywhere in Tulum. Overall an amazing place, we hope we can come again.

10/10, , September 2014

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Villa las Estrellas