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Hotel Highlights

  • Vibrant poolside night scene
  • Central location amid the town’s bars and boutiques
  • Some of the best cocktails in Playa del Carmen


Surrounded by pulsing Playa del Carmen, Deseo hotel is a sleek boutique with minimal décor and a party scene that rivals South Beach. The pool is perfect for lazy sunbathing by day, but at night this all-white property turns up the volume, attracting a trendy crowd. Vibrant nightlife is the main appeal; rooms are relaxed and comfortable too.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Deseo with us:

A bottle of wine and, if you stay three nights, a fourth night half-price (excludes Friday and Saturday)


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Deseo hotel - Riviera Maya - Mexico

Need To Know


15, including three suites.


1pm, although later check-out may be available on request.


Double rooms from $140.00, excluding tax at 19 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast.


Although Deseo’s not on the beach, you can sun yourself on the Caribbean sands with free access to a nearby beach club.

At the hotel

Library, massage room, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: sound system, minibar, Kiehl’s toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

The five balcony rooms each have hammocks for lounging in while you soak up the inimitable Playa atmosphere, and rooms 7 and 15 boast the best views of the town. Suites have big bath tubs and day-beds by the window, but whichever room you choose, bear in mind they’re all situated around the bar and the sound of midnight oil-burners does permeate.


The hotel’s pool area doubles as a club lounge at night, with huge sky-blue day-beds to sprawl on and billowy cotton canopies offering respite from the relentless sun.

Packing tips

If you’re not a diehard partygoer, earplugs are essential – although the Deseo DJ’s decks die down at 1am, the club nearby keeps kicking until dawn. You’ll find a beach bag, sarong, sunhat and flip-flops in your room – all available to buy.


Pets stay free, but there’s no specific canine catering.


Deseo is definitely for grown-ups: no under-18s allowed.

Food & Drink

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Deseo hotel - Riviera Maya - Mexico

Hotel Restaurant

There’s no restaurant, but you’ll find a self-service breakfast bar beside the pool, offering fruit, yoghurt and cereals. The bar itself serves a selection of Modern tapas until the early hours. Talking of tapas, the Glass Bar, on Calle 12 in Playa del Carmen (+52 984 803 1676) is a glamorous spot for people watching, with its floor-to-ceiling windows. The Italian dishes (past treats include scallops in parma ham crust and lentils, and cocoa-stuffed ravioli with sausage and black truffle) and tapas are as seductive as the wine selection.

Hotel Bar

Deseo’s pool-deck bar is by day the perfect place to nurse a hangover, and by night the perfect place to ensure you get one. Attracting a young and energetic crowd of Playa party animals, it mixes fantastic cocktails and hip dance tunes.

Last orders

Tapas is available until 1am, when the bar closes.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Bronzed bikini-chic.

Top table

Grab a day-bed by the pool and enjoy a lingering, loungey breakfast.

Local Guide

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Deseo hotel - Riviera Maya - Mexico
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

The award-winning and lively Yaxche Maya Cuisine Restaurant ( in Playa del Carmen serves Yucatecan and Mayan-inspired dishes with a Euro twist (it's pronounced 'Jag-shey'). Try regional specialities such as Tsotolbichay (Mayan tamale). The newly opened That’s Amore is a casual Roman-style pizzeria, with outdoor tables and great people-watching potential, at 5ta Avenida, between Calles 28 and 30. Linger over a bottle of wine at the romantic and homely La Route des Vins, a popular French bistro at 5ta Avenida (+52 222 296 4978). The food is magnificent – mussels from Mexico’s west coast served with bacon and sour cream, crispy house crêpes and fresh salads such as trout, pear, lettuce and blue cheese.

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Playa’s party central


12 Avenida y Calle, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, q. roo Mexico, 77710


Cancun International Airport is a 45-minute drive from the hotel. From here, you'll be able to fly to cities all over the US, with onward connections to the UK. It's also served by some charter flights from the UK. Taxis to the hotel cost around US$65.


Taxis are inexpensive, but it’s worth renting a car if you want to explore further afield – there are desks at Cancun airport. The hotel is situated in Playa del Carmen, which is linked to Cancun and other towns along the Riviera Maya by Highway 307.


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Deseo hotel - Riviera Maya - Mexico

Anonymous review

by Bridget Gleeson , Try-anything travel writer

Heaven knows I'm not the kind of girl who turns down a free mojito, but as we're en route to the terrace bar at Deseo, I do just that. Mr Smith and I have just enjoyed an alfresco dinner for two and as we are strolling along Playa del Carmen's lively promenade, a fashionably dressed young woman stops us. ‘I'd like to invite both of you for drinks – on me,’ she says, smiling and …
Read more


Anonymous review by Bridget Gleeson, Try-anything travel writer

Heaven knows I'm not the kind of girl who turns down a free mojito, but as we're en route to the terrace bar at Deseo, I do just that. Mr Smith and I have just enjoyed an alfresco dinner for two and as we are strolling along Playa del Carmen's lively promenade, a fashionably dressed young woman stops us. ‘I'd like to invite both of you for drinks – on me,’ she says, smiling and gesturing towards the cocktail bar at a boutique hotel two doors down.

I must have seemed startled. Mr Smith looks at my face and laughs at my expression. Well, I suppose I was wondering about this pretty girl's motives. Politely declining the invitation, he explains that the woman is just a hotel promoter, and that she's trying to populate her bar with a certain kind of clientele. This happens all the time in Latin American cities apparently. He's the tall, dark and debonair type, so even though I've never heard of such a thing, I'm sure it does happen all the time – to him.

As we ascend the white stone staircase, sultry house music and low laughter drift on the breeze. By the time we reach the top, we're standing in the centre of the kind of party we all dream of getting an invite to – effortlessly cool, relaxed but stylish – it's the kind of shindig that young urbanites fruitlessly pursue on Saturday nights as they duck into and out of lacklustre bars and clubs.

'Deseo' means 'desire' in Spanish, and it seems fitting: the spacious terrace is seductively low-lit in shades of blue, and dotted with day beds shaded by fluttering white canopies. At the open-air bar, good-looking young bartenders squeeze lemons and shake martinis; behind them, a DJ chooses the next record and a silent black-and-white film is projected on a huge, empty wall. The crowd consists  of bohemian art-world types and hipsters in horn-rimmed glasses dipping their feet in the swimming pool or getting cosy with their cocktails – and their significant others – under canopies.

That's the one uniting factor at Deseo: everybody is one half of a couple. As we choose a bed for this Mr & Mrs Smith, I notice one guest ordering a bottle of chilled champagne with fresh strawberries – and a pair of champagne flutes – to take back to his room. A little on the corny side, yes, but who wouldn't feel romantic here? It's not just the stars – it's the scene, the music, the night air, and that smug feeling that you've been invited to the right party for once in your life.

The pitch-perfect atmosphere is doubly impressive when we consider how many appealing bars are located within a three-block radius of Deseo – and when we remember the woman on the street who was so eager to have us come into her hotel for drinks on the house. Deseo is the place where everyone wants to be – they don't need to lure passers-by with free cocktails. We know that the beautiful people lounging on the terrace here weren't recruited as we recognise most of them as fellow hotel guests whom we shared coffee and pastries with earlier that day.

In the wee hours of the morning, we retreat to our corner suite. The space is sleek and sparely furnished, with an abundance of smooth white marble, a gigantic white bed, a glass-encased shower stocked with Kiehl's products, and a private balcony where a white hammock rocks in the breeze. Our white boudoir is also two floors above one of the busiest intersections in Playa. Stepping into it, we can hear the shrill voices of tourists partying in the street below through the open balcony doors.

Amazingly, and to our great relief, we hear nothing – not a peep – when we slide the doors closed. It turns out that the hotel has just installed double-paned glass to soundproof the guest rooms from street noise. Which isn't to say that the fine folk at Deseo don't appreciate a good party – if you press a button beside the bed, the DJ's set from the terrace bar pumps through your own private sound system. But they also seem to value, as we do, the ability to say farewell to the fun when you're tired from too much sun and snorkelling.

By the time we wake the next morning, breakfast is already waiting for us down on the terrace. Of course, this isn't your average spread of croissants and jam – nothing so ordinary at Deseo. Instead, breakfast is laid out to make guests feel like they're visiting the chic beach house of friends: the crockery is vintage and the cutlery is mismatched, the coffee is brewing, and there are baskets of fresh bread for toasting and several retro refrigerators are stocked with yogurt and granola.

There’s nothing as conventional as sitting at tables either: Mr Smith and I are invited to on the white-and-blue daybeds with our breakfast trays. We check others out, they check us out. They've got 60s-style sunglasses and iPhones, we're dressed all in white and have a smart digital SLR. It feels like a silent competition. Who is the most chic, most nonchalant couple at Deseo? At that very moment Mr Smith yells across the terrace to me: ‘Hey! Take a picture of me in front of the pool!’ And – just like that – we lose the contest. At least we have the photos to prove we looked pretty darned cool.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Deseo from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…


Stayed on

We loved

The staff was great and very helpful. I liked the ambiance and hotel's looks. The pool overlooking the main street was nice as well as the bar. The music was perfect, with amazing DJs playing every night. Gerardo was amazing.

Don’t expect

Adding an elevator would be good; the stairs are very steep.

Rating: 9/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The attention to detail make this place a true boutique hotel. I liked the great pool, helpful staff and lovely room.

Rating: 8/10 stars