Surrounded by thick, almost primitive jungle tumbling into one of the most beautiful stretches of Riviera Maya sand, Hotel Esencia was originally built as a private hideaway for an Italian Duchess. Today, the main house still stands at the heart of the 50-acre estate, linking to 40 guest suites and three villas along a series of winding stone paths. Rooms strung along the beach or nestled in the jungle come with dazzling whitewashed interiors, punctuated by dark wood furnishings and vibrant splashes of colour. It is ideal for families; two-bedroom cottages come with a private swimming pool and chef service, and there is a dedicated children's pool so couples can enjoy the resort in peace.
Days are spent snorkelling or kayaking through the turquoise water, enjoying treatments in the jungle spa, with its thatched palapa roof overlooking the estate's very own cenote. The pristine sands of Xpu-Ha Cove, where sea turtles come to lay their eggs, is right on the doorstep - staff will alert you if they are about to hatch. The strategic positioning of the resort far enough away from some of the area's bigger, brasher hotels gives it a real sense of exclusivity and romance.
Wherever possible, ingredients served at the resort are locally grown and sourced. The internationally acclaimed, Michelin-starred chain BeefBar recently set up shop here, serving cuts of Wagyu and Japanese Kobe beef from an open kitchen. Barefoot Mistura, set right on the beach, offers an exciting fusion of Peruvian, Japanese and Yucatan flavours, including just-caught seafood. Laidback Café Esencia is open all day, serving salads, sandwiches and tacos, and sundowners are served at the breezy Beach Bar.
Spa & wellness enthusiasts
THINGS TO DO AT THE HOTEL:
Begin the day with an energising yoga class
Take a refreshing morning dip in the pool
Absorb the sunshine, lapping waves and white sands of the private beach
Sample a treatment inspired by the Mayan earth and Caribbean waters in the spa
Head to the tennis pavilion for a game on the US Open-standard courts
Sample some of the world’s best cuts at the Michelin-starred BeefBar Restaurant
Kiteboard, paddleboard or snorkel on the beach’s turquoise waters
THINGS TO DO NEARBY:
Visit the Mayan Ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza
Go diving on the world’s second largest coral reef or in a magical freshwater cenote
Play a round of golf on the 27-hole course surrounded by Yucatan jungle
Discover the stunning bohemian beaches of Tulum
Snorkel in a nearby hidden lagoon home to manatees
The idea for Red Savannah was always based on a clear market need. A small team of the most experienced travel designers, supported by the latest technology and delivered with the lightest touch. In short, a travel company redefined for the 21st century.