Travel Inspiration

9 Best Hotels in Tulum and Cancun

Fora Shella Zelenz Travel Agent wears grey rimmed glasses and brown shirt with ocean in the background

Travel Advisor

Shella Zelenz

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Image courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba

Riviera Maya comprises a gorgeous stretch of coastline along Mexico’s Caribbean shores on the Yucatán Peninsula. Encompassing popular tourist destinations like Tulum, Isla Mujeres and Cancun, there are about as many hotels to choose from here as there are beaches to sunbathe. From sprawling all-inclusive resorts in Cancun’s hotel zone (like Moon Palace and Hyatt Ziva Cancun), to thatched-roof jungle lodges offering bespoke concierge service along Tulum’s beaches – there’s truly a hotel here for everyone. 

For parents traveling with little ones, Cancun’s luxury resorts offer a plethora of activities ranging from water sports to kids clubs. For honeymooners craving a romantic getaway, Tulum’s boutique hotels come with heated plunge pools, oceanfront views and fine-dining options. For those desperate to disconnect from their work emails, wellness sanctuaries near Chichén Itzá promise healing rituals inspired by ancient Mayan practices. Whether you’re looking to party at a beach club in a Cancun hotel, explore nearby Isla Mujeres or simply while away the hours in an infinity pool or beachfront cabana, these are the best hotels to check in to on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. 

Hotel Esencia

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Image courtesy of Hotel Esencia

Hotel Esencia was once the private vacation home of an Italian duchess who coveted a hideaway on one of the most beautiful beaches in Riviera Maya. I can’t blame this duchess for wanting a slice of paradise to herself; but today, her 50-acre estate has been transformed into the glorious Hotel Esencia, a stunning boutique hotel with access to a private beach, heated swimming pools and an organic spa. Unlike other resorts with over 500 rooms, Hotel Esencia has more of a boutique feel, with just 45 suites and three villas available for check-in. Notably, Hotel Esencia sits on Xpu-Ha Bay, where sea turtles come to nest every year. Imagine watching that from your private oceanfront terrace!

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

NIZUC Resort & Spa 

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Image courtesy of Nizuc Resort & Spa

Nizuc Resort & Spa is an award-winning luxury resort in Cancun found on the secluded Punta Nizuc. A mere 15-minutes drive from Cancun International Airport, this paradisical resort sits in Cancun’s hotel zone and is flanked by wild mangroves, verdant jungle and private beaches on all sides. With over 200 suites and villas scattered across the 29-acre property, nearly every room offers stellar ocean views. For foodies, this Cancun hotel has a whopping six on-site restaurants, each offering world-class cuisine (from Mexican to Asian to Mediterranean fare). If you want to indulge in some nightlife, a Havana-inspired cigar lounge and oceanfront bar serves up delectable cocktails throughout the day and evening. And for those traveling with little ones, Nizuc Resort & Spa is both a family-friendly and dog-friendly hotel. 

Fora Perks:

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Complimentary private airport transfer (minimum $100 value).

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Grand Velas Riviera Maya

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Image courtesy of Grand Velas

Grand Velas is a sprawling all-inclusive resort found on Mexico’s Caribbean coast with a unique twist. Here, guests can choose from one of 500+ suites categorized by three different ambiances: relaxation, romance or family-friendly. In the romantic rooms, couples will find private plunge pools, oceanfront terraces overlooking turquoise waters and ample privacy. In the relaxation suites — known as the Zen Grand Ambiance — rooms are tucked away in a jungle sanctuary away from the main resort, overlooking a Koi fish pond and sparkling swimming pool. Meanwhile, in the family-friendly rooms, kiddos can take advantage of the teen and kids club, bevy of water sports and swimming pools and all the perks that come with a beach resort. For families traveling with picky eaters, the on-site Italian restaurant cooks up family-style meals and hearty plates of pasta.

Fora Perks:

  • $50 daily spa credit per guest.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Chablé Maroma

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Image courtesy of Chablé Maroma

Chablé Maroma is a five-star resort that is often touted as one of the best hotels in the Riviera Maya region. Because it’s smaller than some of the other all-inclusive resorts on the coast, Chablé Maroma feels as though every room and experience is curated to meet each guest’s needs. Found in Playa del Carmen, this beachfront hotel is made extra special by the myriad experiences that pay homage to Mexico’s culture and Mayan heritage. For example, cooking classes connect guests to local grandmothers to try their hand at traditional Mexican fare, while excursions to nearby cenotes showcase the beauty of these natural wonders, considered sacred by the Mayans. Active day trips are available for those wanting to kayak or snorkel to nearby reefs, while a visit to the iconic Mayan ruins of Riviera Maya is a must for anyone visiting Mexico. 

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Belmond Maroma  

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Image courtesy of Belmond Maroma

While the Belmond Maroma is temporarily closed due to renovations, it still earns a place on this list for its incomparable beauty. This five-star luxury resort sits in the heart of Riviera Maya, offering the ideal Mexican getaway. Everything about this beachfront haven is dreamy, from its thatched roofs to the white-sand beach to the private balconies. Found between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, don’t let the word “resort” fool you. The Belmond Maroma offers more of a boutique hotel experience, with only 63 rooms decked out in Indigenous Mexican art and terracotta details. This hotel is where you can truly disconnect, as exemplified by the lack of televisions in the rooms. Rather than sit in bed (watching the latest slew of scary headlines on CNN International), the Belmond Maroma encourages guests to unwind and live in the moment. Whether that means spending the day at the spa, soaking in a plunge pool, having a beach day or raiding the minibar — it’s completely up to you. 

Fora Perks:

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Complimentary 50 minute massage for two.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Etéreo, Auberge Resorts Collection

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Image courtesy of Etéreo, Auberge Resort Collection

As part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, Etéreo is one of the newest luxury hotels to hit Riviera Maya’s coast. The name Etéreo translates to ‘ethereal,’ which perfectly describes this luxury hotel, that prides itself on offering guests a way to disconnect from stress and reconnect to nature. Inspired by ancient Mayan philosophies, the hotel’s ethos focuses on providing travelers with world-class cuisine, jaw-dropping ocean views and meaningful encounters with nature and local culture. Suites here feature expansive views of the Caribbean sea, private balconies and terraces, hot tubs, plunge pools and even butler service. Beyond the rooms and beachfront views, what makes Etéreo one of the best hotels is its exceptional experiences carefully curated to honor Mexico’s vibrant heritage. Expect everything from day trips to nearby Tulum and Mesoamerican storytelling sessions, to gratitude ceremonies dedicated to the cenotes and spiritual rituals focused on healing. Other activities on offer include family snorkeling trips, kids clubs activities and even a golf course. 

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • $35 daily breakfast credit.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Unico 20°87°

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Image courtesy of Unico 20°87°

Celebrating Mexico’s history, the all-inclusive Unico embraces the spirit of Riviera Maya by including natural and handmade textiles and works from local artists woven throughout its rooms and suites. Like the other luxury hotels that have earned a spot on this list, Unico has an array of experiences focusing on exploring Tulum and other nearby destinations, such as Isla Mujeres. The Tulum day trip takes guests to the famed archeological zone, where they can visit iconic ruins like Chichen Itza. Meanwhile, the Isla Mujeres day trip departs on a catamaran to the idyllic island, serving cocktails and refreshments as you sail over crystal clear turquoise waters towards a beach club on Playa Mujeres. 

Palmaïa, The House of AïA

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Image courtesy of Palmaïa, The House of AïA

A veritable wellness sanctuary, Palmaïa is the equivalent of stumbling across El Dorado in the middle of the jungle. Far from other beachfront all-inclusive resorts, Palmaïa is tucked away amidst verdant foliage, offering a level of seclusion not often found at other sprawling luxury resorts. Palmaïa’s Eco Spa offers everything from massages and spa treatments to healing ceremonies, and specialized retreats focused on improving the mind, body and soul. Beyond seclusion and wellness, Palmaïa prides itself on being dedicated to ethical and sustainable practices. Its suites, for example, are guaranteed cruelty-free, devoid of animal-made or animal-tested products such as leather or feather-filled bedding. Unsurprisingly, the gourmet restaurants mirror this commitment by serving vegan and plant-based dishes that are so delicious, they’ll inspire you to ditch meat altogether. Sure, if you’re looking to party, a hotel like the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun might be a better fit, but if you’re angling for true relaxation and self-care, Palmaïa is for you. 

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Rosewood Mayakoba

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Image courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba

At the Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, it’s impossible to get a bad room. This beachfront resort prides itself on being suite-only, which means every guest room is a luxurious suite offering a choice of lagoon or ocean views. Expect minimalist decor with natural stone and wood elements shining through, and notable amenities including heated plunge pools, private balconies and outdoor rain showers. For golf lovers, the golf course at Rosewood Mayakoba is about as beautiful as it gets. Picture an 18-hole golf course set in a lush tropical setting with Caribbean sea views. This golf course is so beautiful that in 2017, it became the only golf course in Mexico to host a PGA Tour event. Golf not your thing? Don’t worry, this resort has everything you’ll want, from a spa and swimming pools to a fitness center and eight different restaurants and cocktail bars on-site. If you’re looking for something different but in the same area, check out the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, which combines Asian-inspired influences with a Mexican flair for an East-meets-West stay.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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