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We are parents, too. We think traveling well and traveling with children shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. We have limited vacation time, and we’re not spending our few days of freedom in lousy hotels eating bad food. We know the world is full of wonderful resorts, cool urban escapes and far-flung lodges that can make our time with our kids count. We want it all, and we don’t think it should be so hard to find. So we’re going to share it with you.


Postcard from the edge: Hotel Esencia, Riviera Maya

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Dispatches from around the world

Postcard from the edge: Hotel Esencia, Riviera Maya

Henley Vazquez

Mary Firestone, founder of Wild Precious Life with her sister Lucy, recently visited Mexico's Hotel Esencia. Here, she shares her impressions of this boho-cool resort near Tulum, and why she'll be going back (it's not just the rockstar hanging out by the pool). Be sure to check dates for the next Wild Precious Life retreat, the Firestone sisters' woman-focused wellness getaways that are equal parts green juice and wine, energy healing and mama bonding. 

Our 2015 got off on the right foot in the white sand beach at the relaxed yet luscious Hotel Esencia.  This elegant property is tucked into the Mayan jungle bordering a stunning beach about 30 minutes north of Tulum and one hour south of Cancun.  We stayed for three nights after our five action packed days in Tulum, and it was the perfect place to unwind and recharge before re-entering "real" life.

Under new ownership, the Hotel has gone through a spruce up. The rooms are fresh and inspiring with private balconies, terraces, and/or plunge pools. Most rooms, and the two villas, are scattered throughout the extensive property, nestled in the jungle. Our two-bedroom villa was perfect for families and also had a media room with a glass door that closes where we put the crib, but you’ll want some garbage bags and duct tape to block out the door for optimal baby sleep. The rooms have a mini fridge stocked with complimentary beverages, and the hotel will supply organic milk for baby upon your request.  We also experienced some of the awesome wildlife of the jungle—iguanas, racoon, coatis, all kinds of birds were visitors to the villa. Although the villa is a spacious and lovely option for families, it is also expensive.  If you have smaller children who are still sleeping in cribs (provided by the hotel), several of the rooms have huge bathrooms with walk-in closets and doors that close so you could set up a crib there.

A short walk along a path takes you to the incredible spa, which is one of the most dramatic and lovely we have ever seen. Guests can pop in for a jacuzzi and a steam without a spa appointment, although we did experience the Stress Relief massage therapy supplemented with an ancient Mayan recipe of rosemary, mint, cloves and pepper applied in warm bundles which left us completely revitalized and at peace.

Continue past the spa, and you'll find one of the two restaurants, where we had an elegant dinner overlooking an expansive lawn illuminated with torches. There is a well equipped fitness center as well.  The Main building is truly out of a movie.  With some of the best rooms/suites on the property, it also houses a chic living room where complimentary tea and cookies are served each afternoon.  An open air yoga pavilion sits just in front and we thought the complimentary morning yoga was some of the best resort yoga we have partaken in.

Two magnificent pools (one is for adults only) and well as another restaurant where we enjoyed breakfast and dinner sit right on the stunning beach. The beach is well appointed with palapas and chairs that are immediately set up and arranged by the friendliest staff, who are there when you need something (like fish tacos for lunch, a glass of rose, a margarita) yet are incredibly unobtrusive. It was easy to order room service for our son in the evenings, and the hotel arranged for a lovely babysitter for our dinners out and an afternoon to ourselves. The lovely guys down at the beach also volunteered and brought us a big bucket full of sand toys!

This is indeed a very family friendly place where you can actually have a VACATION on your trip.  Yet, it is refined and lovely as well.  One of the biggest rock stars in the world was also staying while we were there!  So Hotel Esencia caters to travelers with a range of needs and interests.

It truly is a special place and we can't wait to return.