Review: Hotel Esencia

It's been an incredible year of travel already at Paper Plane and following Peru in March, I took a holiday with my partner to stay at Hotel Esencia in Mexico.

It was so special that it got its own post…


OK, so what makes Hotel Esencia so special?

The "feeling" (can i say that?). Everything, and I mean everything, has been considered, which is not surprising when learning that it was originally built as the private home of an Italian duchess. Private home turned hotel, "Esencia is a place where the traditions of the past come together with a cosmopolitan sense of how to live well today".

What kind of room is best?

This is your personal preference as all the rooms could be seen as the best. If being tucked away in privacy is your ideal, go for a Jungle Suite with Plunge Pool. Whereas, if sea views and the sound of crashing waves are more your thing, the Ocean or Beach Suites are the ones for you.

How long could you spend there?

A hard one to answer. For me, a week is ideal. I'll break it down into the 2 things I get asked about the most:

No.1 - Restaurants: there are 3. Beefbar, Mistura and Cafe Esencia. The likelihood of having dinner at Beefbar at least twice is pretty high and I also loved the laid-back, relaxed food of Cafe Esencia so that's easily 5 nights of staying "in-house". Tulum isn't far which I'd recommend for an evening or two (Hartwood is a must) and there's also other hotel restaurants just north of Esencia that are worth checking out.

No.2 - Activities: there are plenty. Visit the Mayan Ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza, Rio Secreto, Sian Ka'an. Get active with diving, snorkelling, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, kiteboarding and SUP. Can eating burritos on the beach count as an activity too?

What's included?

The prices are room only, however there's a meal package available including 3-course à la carte meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) & soft drinks for US$175 per person per day.

Is it good for families?

Yes. During our trip, there was a mixture of families and couples. There are separate pools for adults and kids (saying this, most adults are in the gorgeous beach huts instead!). There's no kids club but activities, particularly watersports available. Nannies and babysitters can be arranged and kids meals are available.

Is there a spa?

Oh, yes there is! Go try it and see for yourself...

When is the best time to go?

Officially, the "on" season is November - April. July & August are still popular times to visit during the holidays. Sept/Oct tend to be the wettest.

Where is the hotel exactly?

Hotel Esencia is located 50 minutes south of Cancún and 30 minutes north of Tulum by car.

And finally, how to book?

Call, email, whatsapp me! When booking with Paper Plane, you'll also receive an added extra of a 30-minute massage treatment for two.

Top tips

- leave your flip flops at home, you'll find a pair of Havaianas in your room.

- prebook the BeefBar restaurant.

- it's informal and relaxed. Bring something a little dressier for the evenings if you wish, but you won't feel out of place in casual-wear.

- there will be a beach bag waiting in your room too, so no need to pack one, throw in that extra swimsuit instead!


Using my experience and knowledge, I'm here to understand your personal travel requirements and help you find and book the perfect trip, no matter where in the world.


As payment is received directly from hotels and partners, there's no fee to book and you'll be guaranteed never to pay over the published price (in fact, you'll often pay less!).


I have relationships with selected trusted partners ensuring you peace of mind and ATOL protection on your trip. Also, be secure in the knowledge that I only ever recommend and book hotels that we've visited or have a personal relationship with.


Think of me as your travel PA. As well as flights, hotels and transfers, I'll assist with those extra touches; restaurant bookings, experiences and special requests - dine underwater? sleep in a treehouse? - I've got you covered.