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“Magical Esencia” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Esencia

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Hotel Esencia
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Carretera Tulum-Cancun KM 265, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
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Splurge on the House
Ranked #21 of 199 hotels in Playa del Carmen
Pennsylvania
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Magical Esencia”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

My wife and I just spent 5 days at Esencia, and what a magical place! . . . we loved it so much that we have already scheduled our next trip. We particularly loved the spa – truly amazing on several levels. . . and the private plunge pool at our exquisite jungle villa was divine. Special thanks to Alfonso, Fidel, Osvaldo, and Gabriel for their outstanding, friendly, and fun service - we look forward to seeing all of you again soon!

Room Tip: The spa treatments (with herbs grown on site) are worth every penny . . . Toni and Bertha are truly...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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350 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
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Rosieres, Belgium
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

it is avery charming, nice hotel at 20 kilometers of Playa del Carmen. The rooms are painted in white, very clean and the service is excellent. The food is very good unless the price can be a little expensive. You may have some surprise at the end as the bills are not signed and you receive everything at the check out. The put 15 percent tips on the bill and 25 percent for the room service if food is order in the rooms.

Room Tip: I really suggest to take the rooms in the main house if you want to see the ocean as the other rooms...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelesencia, Director General at Hotel Esencia, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Dear arnaudvdm,

Thank you for taking the time to comment and thank you for your visit. It is a pleasure to read you enjoyed your stay. I have noted your comment concerning your surprise on departure with the gratuities posted on your restaurant bills. We do leave a copy in the guest room of your account every two days for your review. Our apologies if this was overlooked.

We do look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

All the best and hasta pronto!

Philip VIDAL
Estate Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

Beautiful, serene, immaculate inside and out, and world-class service from a staff of at least 1 to 1. A true diamond in the rough. Super food, restful and secluded beach, outstanding spa, daily yoga with different instructors. And, we felt quite safe at all times. Warning: there is no internet site that does this place justice. You must see and experience it yourself to appreciate.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms. We reseverved three - my wife & I occupied La Rosa overlooking the ocea...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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hotelesencia, Director General at Hotel Esencia, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Bob D,

Thank you for your glowing description and comments. We are delighted to read that you had a grand experience at Esencia Estate! It was our pleasure and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

All the best and hasta pronto!

Philip VIDAL
Estate Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

Esencia was a great hotel and we had an amazing vacation. Having stayed in Playa del Carmen four times in the past my husband and I were looking to also spend some time in Tulum so the location was great. Esencia is about 15-20 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen and about 30 minutes from Tulum. Speaking from the viewpoint of someone who does not have children, I definitely recommend renting a car if you are going to be there for more than 2-3 days. Navigating the area is really straightforward (there is one main road) and it is nice to be able to leave the resort and spend some time in downtown Playa.

Back to the hotel, the main house (which has 3 or 4 rooms) and one of the other houses (that holds 1-2 rooms) sits adjacent to the beach and then the other rooms go back from there into the jungle. That being said, all of the rooms are a very short walk to the beach (unlike a lot of the hotels where you need a golf cart to get to the beach). Our room (Las Terraces) was in the main house. It was beautiful, spacious and had two beautiful terraces with bench seating and chairs. The terrace facing the ocean is about 400 sf so pretty large. If you enjoy nesting in your hotel room, this is the best room I have seen. Big closet with tons of shelving space throughout the room. The air conditioning worked amazingly well, especially compared with other places we have stayed in Central and South America. The shower was great, tons of hot water and good pressure. Unfortunately no tub but you can't have it all. When we got to the room the bed was covered in rose petals and we were given a bottle of wine, beautiful. The rooms also come with new snorkels as well as beach bags and white flip flops to use during your stay which were nice touches.

Each morning they brought us tea/coffee and bread. The bread was fantastic. I loved our view but for the very picky, I will note the view of the ocean is somewhat obstructed by palm trees. For us, that didn't matter. There are two restaurants, one for breakfast and lunch and one for dinner. Overall we thought the food was very good. Many of the dishes were excellent (Lime soup, the ceviches, and the Shrimp Tamarin) and some could use a little work (chicken caesar, chilaquiles) but everything was good. There are 2 pools, one is heated (also the children's pool) and the other is not. There were a decent amount of families staying at the hotel and they spent the majority of the time by the pool. My husband and I chose to lay out at the beach where you are given your own small cabana. The guy who sets up your cabana is great, really nice and attentive. The beach was relatively uncrowded as it really only serves 3 hotels, very peaceful. The dinner restaurant was in the jungle, very pretty.

Some additional notes, the concierge's office provides you with games and DVDs which came in handy. Also there is yoga (at no cost) and a tea time each day. These were small pieces that made the vacation that much better.

I have only two points of constructive criticism: (1) the service in the restaurant was frequently very slow and often your food would come out slightly differently than what you ordered. For example, eggs usually took 35 minutes from ordering and your request for egg whites would be overlooked. It was never a huge inconvenience and everyone was very accommodating but it was definitely a consistent pattern. (2) the spa is beautiful but the area for pedicures needs some work. The chairs are slightly uncomfortable (think bar stools with a back) and your feet are placed in a very shallow dish of water so only your soles are submerged. The setup just feels a little thrown together for such a beautiful spa.

Overall it was a great experience and we were very sad to leave. We hope to return soon!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelesencia, Director General at Hotel Esencia, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Vanessam714,

Many thanks for your detailed review and your comments. We are pleased you enjoyed the comforts of your room and amenities and services. I have taken note of the two points you made and we are following up on them.

We look forward to welcoming you and your husband back again soon to Esencia Estate. If we can be of any assistance with arrangements, please do let us know.

All the best and hasta pronto!

Philip VIDAL
Estate Manager
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Oakland, CA
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

I see so many great reviews of Esencia and the hotel rarely receives average ones but Im sorry to say, 3.5/5 is probably all I can give. I would not say that it is a 5 star resort though. Thats not to say parts werent excellent. Highlights....

Service - 4.75 to 5. Exceptionally cordial, friendly, attentive. Definitely showcases what was best about our stay - the people. Every aspect from ALL the servers at both restaurants to pool to palapas. Simon and Alfonso (sorry, might be Alfredo too); Filipe I think as well. I know Im leaving people out but this is what makes your stay. Housekeeping, concierge, check in as well.

Food - 4.25 to 4.5. Absolutely NOT resort food. Being from California dining options are immense and we are often dissapointed at resorts. Not the case at Esencia. I ate dinner 8 nights and not a single repeated special was offered! The lunch menu is even better than the dinner. Ceviche and seafood were always super fresh and over the top. Plenty of traditional dishes that Ive never tried and was very pleased with. The only knock is the slight Americanization of some parts of the menu (but I understand). With the variety of options on the Yucatan, this should be a no-brainer. And the plaintains, though traditional and local, especially in the desserts always seemed tough like undercooked potato. All in all, kudos to the chef(s). The food was excellente.

Beach - 3.5. Although quite nice right in front of the resort, its a disaster the rest of the way. Too much washed up garbage on the beach just 200 yards away, and all along it. Abandonded resorts at each end of the beach; one very close. There are plenty of much nicer spots in Mexico. Could also be more consistent with bringing around a mid-day refresher/snack than doing it every other day

Room - 2.5 to 3. Too many small problems in too average of a room to give it more than this.
- fridge made a buzzing sound that escalated. Had to unplug it so it would stop waking me up all the time. Had it "fixed". Still did it
- the personal plunge pool malfunctioned - it worked our first two nights. Then we just thought when we asked to have it turned on, it was just taking a while and ignored it for two days. Actually, it wasnt working after the first two days but we just didnt realize it. Then two more days of it not working. At which point the stay was over.
- a nice touch to have a DVD to watch movies but you need o turn the volume all the way up to hear it - and all that you can hear is background noise and interference which makes it impossible to watch
-our personal safe malfuncioned twice and locked us out of it. Once 20 minutes before we were leaving
-fruit is left in the room at turn-down - a peach that I cut into that was rotten and a pear with blemishes all over it. And apples. Its Mexico, not Washington state. I dont want what I can get at home. And the quality is not acceptable
-a rainstorm one night and when I went to the toilet in the morning there was water all over our bathroom. I just used towels to soak it up myself because I was tired of calling concierge to have things taken care of

When you are in such a small resort, your room is important because there is little else to do here. So these problems definitely detracted from our stay. Its an escape that you cant really escape from either. You cant walk anywhere except down the beach during the day or the 100 yards within the resort itself. Relaxation is probably what most people would come here for. And a resort that allows infants and toddlers, that feeling is completely neutralized. Im sorry but if you are this small and there's no way of having some seclusion, there's little reason the resort shouldnt be adults only. Its only 29 rooms. If relaxation is the "Essence" of what you stand for, you've missed the mark. I was far from at ease a lot of my stay here. For as many times as I needed to pick up the phone to have something taken care of, you would think that something would be suggested by management as a token for our troubles on our "Relaxing" vacation......

Room Tip: Buy the Meal plans. Its well worth the $$
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelesencia, Director General at Hotel Esencia, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Dear habsno1,

I thank you for taking the time to share your feedback regarding your recent stay at Esencia Estate. Kindly know that your comments and each of the unfortunate events you point out have been shared and reviewed with the staff and we will be reinforcing our efforts to avoid them reoccurring. The mechanical and technical issues have been addressed.

Please accept my apologies for theses inconveniences you had during your stay. It's a shame to know that we did not meet your expectations.

On the other hand thank you for recognizing the work of the Concierge, Housekeeping, Restaurant staff and chef(s) that you highlight and which I have passed on to them. As a team we will be working on consistency.

We do look forward to the opportunity of welcoming you back in the near future and making amends. Do let us know, we will be happy to assist with arrangements.

I remain at your disposal for any additional comments.

All the best,

Philip VIDAL
Estate Manager
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New York
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

We traveled to Esencia for a three-day escape. We arrived late at night to a beautiful ocean view room with a complimentary bottle of wine and cheese plate, a very nice touch since the restaurant was closed for the evening. Unfortunately, our room had a plumbing problem the first night, and we awoke at 7 am to the sounds of a chainsaw being used just outside our room (on the next property). Really disappointing! But what could have been a bad experience for us was handled beautifully by the staff. They were very responsive to our concerns and relocated us to another ocean view room away from the property perimeter, which was equally lovely and very quiet.

Resort services: the restaurant staff was attentive and knowledgeable, and they even gave us some of their delicious habanero sauce to take home. Try the ceviche at lunch - it is excellent. The spa was beautiful and the massage I had - four elements, I think - was super relaxing. My partner did yoga in the morning and really enjoyed the class in the outdoor pavilion. The costs of meals and spa services are similar to NYC prices, so don't expect a bargain, but you'll get good value.

The beach is lovely - very white sand and calm aqua water, and the water temperature was perfect for me (I like it on the warm side). The cabanas are a great way to escape the midday sun while soaking in the beach atmosphere.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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hotelesencia, Director General at Hotel Esencia, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Dear NTTraveler75,

Thank you for your wonderful comments about your recent stay with us, especially the food and service that you received from our staff. I trust the Habanero sauce made it back safely! I am glad the issue with your room was resolved satisfactorily immediately. Unfortunate it should have occurred.

It is gratifying that you and your partner enjoyed your visit. This is motivating and we do hope we will have the pleasure to welcome you back sometime not too far away.

All the best and hasta pronto!

Philip VIDAL
Estate Manager
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Bern, Switzerland
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

We made our first trip to Mexico this November and we couldn't find a better Place!
We know many 5 star resorts all over the World, but the Esencia is one of the best!
The Hotel esencia is the perfect hideaway to stay. Great Hotel, very clean, attentive Staff, many small things that counts. Great food and a perfect spa!
Thank you so much to all of you, for making our stay so unforgettable.
We can recommend you in every way and will come back to you for sure!

Room Tip: The rosa suite with the huge terrace and plounge pool is great
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelesencia, Director General at Hotel Esencia, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Dear Sandro L,

Thank you for commenting on your recent visit. We are truly honoured that you decided on Esencia Estate to be your “home away from home” for your first visit to Mexico and that you place us amongst the best. It is great to know that we made your stay unforgettable – this is most rewarding. Thank you.

We continually strive to ensure that all our guests enjoy the best and most exceptional personal service possible. Thank you for your recommendations and we look forward to welcoming you back soon. I or any of the staff will be delighted to assist with arrangements for your next visit.

All the best and Hasta Pronto!!

Philip VIDAL
Estate Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Esencia

Address: Carretera Tulum-Cancun KM 265, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#18 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#19 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Esencia 4.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Esencia is a 50-acre private estate, with an awe-inspiring beachfront, two swimming pools, day spa, two restaurants, and an indulgent atmosphere fitting of royalty. In fact, the property and many of the buildings once served as the exclusive beach-side retreat of an Italian duchess. Though friendly, warm and generous, the duchess demands the very best and Esencia still benefits from her superior taste, her impeccable style and her zest for life. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Esencia Playa Del Carmen
Esencia Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Hotel Esencia Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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