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Esencia

265 Crta. Tulum-Cancún
Playa del Carmen , Quintana Roo , Mexico http://www.hotelesencia.com/
52-984-873-4835

Less like a hotel than the beach retreat of a fabulously wealthy friend with impeccable taste, this former vacation home of an Italian duchess has been transformed into 29 suites scattered over 50 acres and administered by an uncannily prescient staff. The original villa, a multilevel Mediterranean classic, houses an airy gold-hued salon, modern kitchen, and dining room for cooking classes. Its nine rooms face the sea, while those in newer buildings have private pools. Punctuated by scarlet coverlets, the snow-white spaces include 12-foot ceilings and plunge pools on large terraces. For the best dinner on this stretch of coast, Sal y Fuego serves organic twists on Yucatecan and Mexican classics; at the 2,500-square-foot Maya-themed Aroma Spa, the focus is also on using organic materials.

Insider Tip: Whisk your coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, and pastries inside soon after they materialize outside your door around 8 a.m.—otherwise the birds will get there first.

Room to Book: La Torre, or The Tower, which has a 360-degree view through hardwood-frame picture windows; at night, the third-floor suite can be turned into a private screening room, complete with surround sound and a widescreen, high-definition LCD display.

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