via Melissa Gidney Daly of The Perfect Hideaway
My love affair with Mexico goes back to when I was 9. Although I may not remember all the details of this extended family trip, I do remember how it made me feel. As children, there was a profound sense of freedom and adventure in Mexico. The jungles were exotic, the food was spicy, the music was lively and soulful. We explored ancient ruins, we dove in turquoise waters searching for shells and fish, we ate shrimp as large as our hands and let the juices of frozen fruit paletas run down our chins. We loved this country deeply, and in turn, we were embraced by its beautiful people.
I’ve returned dozens of times over the years, continually seeking those areas not quite discovered so that I may experience a small piece of my beloved Mexico. I recently returned to the Yucatan Peninsula to visit some of my favorite areas near Tulum, a stretch of beach about 2 hours south of Playa Del Carmen with the whitest sand you ever saw. For obvious reasons, there has been a lot of development in recent years, but it still has a charm unique to the area with trendy boutiques, restaurants and bars tucked into the jungle while the beachfront hotels enjoy unobstructed views of the turquoise Caribbean waters. It’s a young vibe, and these days we seek the quieter spaces for our time away from our busy lives. The great thing is that all the properties we stayed at are close enough to pop in and enjoy the party vibe and retreat back to your sanctuary for quiet bliss - so here are our top 4 choices!
1 \\ COQUI COQUI COBA - Francesca Bonato and Nico Maleville have succeeded in creating and sharing a lifestyle of understated luxury - their perfumes have a cult following and everyone wants to stay at their uber stylish residences dotted throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. We were fortunate enough to experience two of their Residences, the single room retreat located above their perfumery in the the quaint colonial town of Valladolid, as well as the 4 room Coba residence that sits on the shores of a quiet lagoon amidst the dense Mayan jungle.
Located in the heart of the dense Yucatan jungle on the shore of a tranquil lagoon sits a special retreat with rough-hewn limestone exteriors that blend perfectly into the natural setting. An astute stone staircase runs up the front of each of the two towers, resembling the ancient design of the nearby Mayan temples. There are 4 rooms, including 2 larger King Palapa Suites that sit atop the tower, enjoying private terraces, an outdoor eating area, king size bed, a deep cement-cast tub and incredible views of the stunning lagoon. The guestrooms are minimal yet elegant, and feature natural materials and neutral tones, scattered with old maps, botanical drawings and archeological photos with a comfy hammock to complete the cool jungle vibe.
2 \\ COQUI COQUI VALLADOLID - With views of the tropical garden, the elevated terrace has a private plunge pool and lounge area, pleasantly cooled by the fragrant breezes. Over-sized double doors into a large white-washed room of tiled floors and stone walls, the impressive ceilings lined with exposed wooden beams and a crystal chandelier. Stately, dark furniture fills the space just enough, highlighting the tall king-size bed and clawfoot bathtub surrounded by large mirrors. The decor is minimal, yet refined with just the right amount of opulence. The feel is undeniably Coqui Coqui, that which exudes style with attention to the most important details, yet showcases its unique personality of the colonial Mexican city in which it resides. Nestled in the back garden is the luxurious spa, a true haven to enjoy massages and scrubs where they use natural, local ingredients and in-house fragrances.
3 \\ VILLA LA SEMILLA - Tucked behind layers of lush palms on a pristine beach in Soliman Bay is Villa La Semilla, a stunning new design villa with five luxurious suites to comfortably accommodate a group of friends or family. The villa, bright and airy with light interiors and simple, well-made furnishings, features a common kitchen, dining and living space that is perfect for long, convivial evenings —often centered around the outdoor wood-fire oven and grill. Some of the design elements such as the vintage furniture and handmade mosaic tile fused with organic elements resemble its stylish sister property, Hotel La Semilla, in Playa Del Carmen. However, unique to this villa is the large open floor plan that extends through living and dining spaces to the sprawling terrace and infinity pool all the way to the crystal blue waters of Soliman Bay. It must be experienced to truly be appreciated.
4 \\ HOTEL LA SEMILLA - Alexis Scharer and Angie Rodriguez, the lovely couple that owns both Villa La Semilla and Hotel La Semilla, created the properties with the specific intention of allowing their guests to take a break from the fast-paced world, encouraging the slow approach to life while reconnecting with the earth, each other and themselves. When they found the land for their first property, Hotel La Semilla in Playa Del Carmen, instead of developing the property into a large hotel, they kept it at 9 rooms and left a lush garden area for guests to relax and observe the quietness that surrounds. The rest of the property follows suit and is the perfect mix of a simple, refined design, and laid-back atmosphere. Paying homage to the local culture, they embraced a design reflective of Mexican heritage fused with organic forms; sourcing vintage furniture from Mexican haciendas and handmade mosaic tiles, paired with locally sourced stone and polished concrete. This elegant mix of mis-matched furniture, art, and antiques combined with earthly elements is inspired by the Rough Lux movement, that which embraces the imperfection created by the wear and tear of time. Together, these elements create a quality of timelessness and calmness, of authenticity and warmth.
*all images via The Perfect Hideaway