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Hotel Maria del Mar Tulum Review: Luxury for the Instagram Generation!

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Hotel Maria del Mar Tulum review

A review of the gorgeous Hotel Maria del Mar in Tulum, Mexico – a boutique, adults-only hotel on the beachfront!

Hotel Maria del Mar was the reason I went back to Tulum. When I saw it the week before, a drop-dead gorgeous hotel at the edge of a rocky little cove, it was love at first site. We had to come back, we had to stay here. And so we did.

Maria del Mar is marketed towards a “trending generation”. And it’s true that every vista and every interior space seems to have been specifically designed with Instagram in mind.

It was impossible for me not to fall in love with the simple colour scheme of muted natural tones, trimmed out in my favourite shade of turquoise, or with that perfect little pool, surrounded by jungle greens and lazy hammocks. It looked like a hotel straight out of a movie set in a romantic boutique hotel – something too good to be true.

Hotel Maria del Mar Tulum Review

A touch of Yucatecan History

I wrote this post from Isla Holbox. A sleepy Caribbean island on the cusp of modernity, riding the new waves of tourism into a flurry of development. All over the island, new concrete buildings are going up. And as they go up, the old wooden fishermen’s homes are torn down.

When Maria del Mar’s owner discovered this, he bought up the wood from these old properties and re-purposed it in the hotel. The simple installations of patchworked boards lend new life to old wood, and at the same time, breathe a sense of the Yucatan’s history into this contemporary hotel.

Hotel Maria del Mar Tulum review
Balcony of the ground luxury suite.

And while everything about this stylish, Instagram-ready hotel might seem ulta-modern and chic, local history and architecture form a huge part of the design. Especially in the soft, natural colour of the smooth stucco walls, achieved using the ancient Mayan technique known as Chukum. Created from the resin of the chukum tree, this is a natural, creamed-butter colour finish which lends a real local flavour to the hotel’s interior.

Maria del Mar is iconically Tulum

For me, Maria del Mar was Tulum. It was contemporary and stylish, but also fiercely local and beautifully historic. That peaceful little town of hippies and yoga retreats, trendy bars and ancient Mayan ruins, meditation and boutique artisan stores.

Where a unique balance between nature, history, and trendy modernity has been struck. And at the heart of it was Maria del Mar, somehow striking that same, delicate balance. This is truly one of the best beach hotels in Tulum!

Hotel Maria del Mar Tulum review

Ground Luxury Suite at the Maria del Mar Hotel Tulum

In our room, everything was soft, muted, natural, with smooth stone floors and natural details. Bamboo wood light fittings, driftwood towel hangers, and the lacquered wooden installations of Holboxeño wood create a tentative sense of being in tune with nature. Everything appeared to have been locally sourced, from the building materials to the organic and eco-friendly bath products. We had a Ground Luxury Suite, with a secluded terrace just steps from the small, bright turquoise pool, and more space than we knew what to do with.

Outside it was green and leafy, with the turquoise trim that made me fall instantly and irrevocably in love with Maria del Mar the first time I clapped eyes on it.

Maria del Mar’s Private Beach and Pool

The hotel shares a small private beach with one other small resort, cut off from their neighbours by tumbling rock piles. Some of the best Tulum beach clubs are nearby.

At the top sits a wooden deck overlooking the ocean, with hammocks, beds, and Acapulco chairs tucked into different layers or hidden behind trees. Privacy is front and centre at this adults-only hotel, where there are just eighteen rooms (of which four are penthouse suites).

Hotel Maria del Mar Tulum review

Having never stayed at an adults-only hotel before, and coming in from the road, it was easy to fall in love with the solitude, with the sensation that we had the entire place to ourselves. I never shared the pool! There was no shortage of sunbeds and hammocks.

Instead of feeling sandwiched into a row of toasting tourists, all facing the pool, I found an almost limitless number of hidden spaces to relax in. For two nights, we lived in the blissful, suspended reality of tourists completely cut off from it all, a clever illusion given Tulum’s crowded seafront and the hotel’s proximity to a lively strip of bars and restaurants.

I went back to Tulum, because I wanted to experience the city from a hotel like Maria del Mar, which I’d seen on my first trip there. And I was lucky enough to experience Hotel Maria del Mar itself. It was the perfect base from which to experience Tulum.


Our stay at Maria del Mar was provided on a complimentary basis. As always, all words and opinions are entirely my own. 

6 thoughts on “Hotel Maria del Mar Tulum Review: Luxury for the Instagram Generation!”

  1. I’ve booked a honeymoon stay for my daughter and new son-in-law. I keep hearing about a travel band and that the area is unsafe. What is your opinion?

    1. Hi Sue! Thanks for the question. I don’t know about a travel ban but I can tell you that in my experience, Tulum was very safe (Jan/Feb this year). There are problems with crime throughout Mexico so you have to be on your guard, but not so much that you have to avoid the area completely. I have to be on my guard when I visit London, too ;)

      I normally trust the UK government travel advice site for the best advise. It’s always up to date, unbiased, and straightforward:

      Here’s what they say about the area Tulum is in:

      “Main tourist destinations
      The Mexican government makes efforts to protect major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta and these areas haven’t seen the levels of drug-related violence and crime experienced elsewhere. However, there were shooting incidents at a nightclub in Playa del Carmen on 16 January 2017; at the state prosecutor’s office in downtown Cancun on 17 January 2017; and 2 shootings in downtown Cancun on 14 March 2017. There was also a shooting on Palmilla Beach in Los Cabos on 6 August 2017. There is currently an increased police presence in the Cancun area, including in the hotel zone. If you’re visiting any of these areas, you should follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator.”

      I don’t want to put you off, but it’s good to be aware of the facts. Most of the problems are between local criminal groups and tourist areas are generally well protected with increased police presence. My opinion is that it’s still fine to visit the tourist areas of Mexico (in fact I’m going back myself next month), but it’s important to be careful and not take any silly risks like wandering into quiet, unlie streets at night (again, something I wouldn’t do in most towns/countries, not just Mexico).

      “Over 513,800 British nationals visited Mexico in 2016. Most visits are trouble-free.” (also from the UK gov website)

      Hope that helps :)

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