by Lydia Linton Pontius (Oct. 2014)
Looking for a boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen that offers up to three bedrooms and amazing service? Acanto is a wonderful place to stay. Where do we begin? We drove up to the door and they unlocked the gate to our private and secure underground parking. The property is located between 5th and 1st Avenues on a charming side street that goes from 5th to the beach so it is very quiet. Directly across is one of the hottest new restaurants in Playa, Plank. Who could ask for more?
I've just started—there is much more that makes this place special. Our concierge/front desk person, Italia, met us downstairs and escorted us to our one-bedroom apartment for our two-night stay. Our check-in occurred in the comfort of the place we were staying, which sounds like a small detail but really added to the experience, especially after traveling all day. Check-in was done on her tablet using WiFi. The property is also ecological-minded and the only way the lights and air work is if your key is in the slot next to the front door.
The one bedroom is perfect for 2–4 people. The sofas in the living area make into very comfortable twin beds. There is a balcony seating area outside and a small courtyard with a hammock accessible from the master. The kitchen is fully equipped with all you will need and the dining table seats four comfortably. The bathroom is accessible with two doors from the master as well as the living area. There is also a safe in the master built-in closet for your safety.
The common areas have an outside patio area with a bar where breakfast is set out, with plenty of seating there and near the pool. The reception/front desk area is comfortable and opens up to the main street.
What really sets Acanto apart from the others is the rooftop. Some of the large suites have their own private Jacuzzi, grill and living space, but there are also additional ones that are available for the other guests to share.
We were lucky enough to arrive on Mexican Independence Day and, at Italia's suggestion, we watched the fireworks from the Jacuzzi that evening. It was a perfect way to end our first travel day.
The property is amazing—an oasis in a bustling city—but what really sets it apart, and what always is top on my list, is the staff. Acanto's staff, from the people we contacted to make the reservations, to the maids, bellman and especially Italia, were incredible. There is a fine line between professional and friendly, and pushy and too personal, and they understand this! Jamie and I both have experience as concierges at an Orient Express Property, and we both marveled at how this small hotel had achieved that level of excellence.
Good work, Acanto—we'll be back! By the way, I did return to the property later in my visit. I was dining across the street at Plank with a friend and wanted to show her the property. Italia remembered me by name, and was equally as gracious and helpful as she had been when I was a guest.
In addition to our review, I would like to mention that Acanto, located ˝ block from 5th Avenue and 1 block from the beach, has 21 condo hotel units, with wireless Internet, beach club access and discounts to the gym, spa and area restaurants. These condos are available to rent or to own. Another option would be to join the Acanto Vacation Club program.