by Lydia Linton Pontius (Nov. 2014)
There are so many things I love about this property—first and foremost, the beach. It is the widest section of Tulum beach, I never tire of the view and it's my favorite beach to take long walks on. The morning sun comes straight up from the horizon and you have miles of gorgeous, white sand. With palm trees lining the beach and soft waves rolling in, what could be more like heaven?
Tulum beach has managed to transform itself from a hippie, Bohemian world to elegant spa retreats without losing its charm and seduction. You won't see high-rise hotels or large all-inclusive resorts here. What you will see is a number of funky places mixed in with quaint and elegant spas. Come for a week or come for a day, but make Tulum a part of your next trip.
Cabañas Tulum is one of the perfect examples of the transformation I described. Once a colorful, funky, family-friendly property with large beachfront rooms in the front and partial-view accommodations in the back, it was the perfect spot for a family vacation.
If this is not your first visit to Cabañas Tulum, you will have the same reaction I had the moment you step into the reception area. WOW, has this changed! But I am happy to say that what has remained the same is the pleasant and warm welcoming you will receive. It is still the perfect spot for everyone, but now with a cleaner, more elegant, but still very comfortable look and feel. With the most gorgeous beach in the world as your backdrop, there is little need for fancy colors and busy artwork. Cabañas Tulum gets that and with its natural colors and gorgeous woods, it lets nature take center stage and it is simply the beautiful, subtle accent. (See before and after photos below.)
The rooms are large and each one has a patio or balcony. Several adjoining ones connect, which is perfect for families. The one thing you will really ahhh about is the update of the bathrooms. My travel companion, Jamie, says she is still daydreaming about the bathroom! It is huge, with a gorgeous use of space and natural woods. The shower is so large that it needs no curtain, and they thought of every detail right down to the clothesline.
Each balcony or patio comes with chairs, table and hammock. It is the perfect spot for reading a book or enjoying a cocktail. By the way, each guest is still greeted with a welcome drink. Ours was an amazing non-alcoholic mojito which, of course, tempted us to go to Happy Hour at Ziggy's for the real deal.
New to the property is its pool with a lovely wooden deck and seating around it. With again, the best beach steps away, there is very little need for the pool but, as we found, it is so nice to have that refreshing option after a walk on the beach.
The rooms and the staff are not the only pluses to this property. The always-popular Ziggy's Beach Club is 100 meters away from the hotel. It is affiliated with Cabañas Tulum, but is managed separately and is open to the public. It is one of my favorite bars to sit at, swing and check my Internet. There is WiFi at the beach bar and at the reception area but not in the rooms … by design. They want you to set yourself free and relax. It is there if you need it, but you are encouraged to connect instead to nature. We liked this. You don't realize how hard it is to let go of the world when WiFi is always there. Thus, one of my favorite photos is the one Jamie took of me "working" at Ziggy's Beach Bar.
Many nights of the week Ziggy's has specials and events. The night we were there, they were doing a seafood grill. The night before was Tequila Tasting, which I have had the pleasure of enjoying in past visits. No matter what night you are there will be enjoyable.
We chose to have a light dinner with some of the appetizers, including my all-time favorite, tuna nachos, and return to the room to enjoy a bottle of wine we had gotten as a gift from Acanto. This is another example of how wonderful the staff is. Somehow they managed to get to our room before we did and had the wine cooler, glasses and bottle opener waiting on the patio.
I know I have mentioned this before: Jamie and I both were concierges at an Orient Express Hotel, on the Club Level, and we know what is required to impress high-end travelers and celebrity guests. Cabañas Tulum and most of the places we stayed have this level of service and it comes so naturally to the staff we encountered. It is not snobbish or fake; they are genuinely pleasant and want to please, and make you as comfortable as possible. I think it's because of the pride they take in their piece of paradise, and they never seem to take it for granted that they live in a special part of the world.
The next morning we woke to another glorious sunrise over the horizon of the Caribbean Sea. To start our day off right, we headed down to Ziggy's Beach Club for breakfast. This is another plus—you get the most wonderful breakfast included with your stay. We chose the huevos motuleños, which is a typical Maya breakfast that basically has everything in it. And since we were in paradise and this morning we were not in a hurry to get anywhere, we started our morning with a Bloody Mary! Full and mellow, we headed back to the beach beds and both took naps!
A dip in the ocean, a dip in the pool, a shower, and we were sadly ready to leave this amazing property. We hope they keep making renovations so we can keep returning to give you the updates!
Before and After photos of Cabañas Tulum