- Style Less-is-more luxe
- Setting Tropical Caribbean seaside
The whims of a wealthy European royal created Esencia hotel, a boutique set on a secluded beautiful stretch of Mayan Riviera beach. What was built as a triple level casa for a duchess and her guests is now a blissful retreat with royal trim. Simple sophistication spoils travellers in the luxurious whitewashed Casa Grande, where the spa is sublime, the tequila cocktails are mixed with an expert touch and rooms have much-appreciated black-out curtains.
Need to know
- Rooms 29 in total, including 17 suites and two cottages.
- Rates Double rooms from $545.00, excluding tax at 24 per cent.
- More details Rates include breakfast.
- Facilities Organic spa with temazcal and phytotherapy treatments, Jacuzzis and steam rooms, gardens, DVD/CD library, free WiFi. In-rooms: Flatscreen TV, DVD/CD players, iPod dock, Ipod minis preloaded with music, minibar with complimentary water, soda, juice and beer, internet access, Molton Brown bath products.
- Poolside There are two swimming pools (one for families, one adults only) with sun loungers, plus a white-sand beach.
- Check–out Midday, but flexible, depending on room availability.
Children Welcome; the resort has multi-lingual nannies and babysitting can be arranged at $25 an hour. High chairs and cribs provided. An additional third bed costs $150 a night; $75 for under-12s.
- Also Pups under 10lbs are welcome, for US$75 a night. Food bowls and beds will be provided for diminutive doggies
In the know
- Our favourite rooms The Deluxe Ocean View suites have 360º views; watch the sun set from the terrace and enjoy sunrise from your giant bed. The private two-storey, two-bedroom cottages set in the gardens are enormous and wonderful for family holidays: they even have their own full-sized swimming pool, multimedia room, bar and chef. The Rosa suite in the Casa Grande was the master bedroom when the Duchess of Ferrari owned the property, so the entire hacienda can be viewed from its enormous terrace.
- Packing tips Bikinis are a must; a swimsuit is probably more practical if you want to try snorkelling or scuba diving. Bring some comfy shoes if you plan on following any of the nature, culture, biking or hiking trails.
Food and drink at Esencia
- Hotel restaurant Casual poolside café Sol y Arena serves breakfast, lunch and small plates throughout the day in a relaxed shaded pavilion. Start your day with filling chilaquiles, nibble on grilled fish tacos for lunch and pop by for ceviche after a day at the beach. Open for dinner, Sal y Fuego is set in an open-air palapa with views of the manicured gardens; the space deftly balances rustic beach chic (thatched roof and dark wooden floors) with the elegance of a fine-dining room (moody candlelight and white linen-dressed tables). The Meso-American menu is inspired by the tropical setting, with an emphasis on fresh local produce, herbs and vegetables grown in the estate’s gardens and seafood: be sure to try the lobster taquitos and traditional Yucatán roasted lime soup.
- Dress code Informal and relaxed; a little dressier in the evening, if you feel like it.
- Top table For lunch, go for a beachside table with a sea view; for dinner, one of the tables overlooking the cenote, an underground freshwater pool that's romantically illuminated by night.
- Last orders Sol y Arena serves breakfast from 7am to 10:30am; after 10:30am, drinks, lunch and smaller snacks are served until 5:30pm. Both the dining room and bar at Sal y Fuego are open from 6pm to 11pm.
- Room service Round the clock: hot food is available until 11pm; after the kitchen closes, cold snacks are still available.
- Hotel bar Sip drinks in the chill-out lounge in the main house, by the pool or on the beach up till 11pm. Try one of the killer tequila-based creations; we love the mezcal and pineapple-packed Esencia Carbeña. Rooms have minibars with complimentary beer, too.