With hotels it’s always the little things the make them either amazing or abominable. When I first arrived at El Pez on a sweltering afternoon, I was welcomed by the managers, Michael and Julia, who and handed me two things right away: a cold wet hand towel to wipe my face and an even colder Margarita on the house. I knew then I was in good hands.
Set on the beach road portion of Tulum El Pez makes a Corona commercial look like a life sentence in a Foxconn iPhone factory. Fronted by its well-kept white sand beach, the ocean and rock outcroppings, it offers a view worthy of a travel poster for Paradise. The resort itself is a short walk to superb restaurants along the beach road, like El Tabano and Posada Margherita, or a short cab jaunt to others a bit further down the road, such as Casa Jaguar. If you're willing to rent a bike, you can pedal to the spectacular seaside ruins in the Tulum archaeological zone, just a few miles north of El Pez. .
The hotel offers two types of accommodations - regular rooms and six two-story cabanas (with one party per each story). I took a 2nd story cabana, done in a mix of unrefined woods and festival colors that I like to call "elegant rustic." The room was outfitted with two ceiling fans (which are barely needed- the ocean breezes cool the rooms like someone's waving a giant palm frond over you all day long), a large balcony with a sunbed, and gossamer mosquito netting around the king-size bed. The bathroom was spacious with a large shower stall, an abundance of bath and hand towels, and plenty of counter space for all your toiletries. There was a sizable closet for clothes as well as additional space to hang more clothing near the bed. To safeguard your valuables, there was also an easy-to-use security safe. The daily maid service was excellent, keeping the room as clean as it was beautiful.
While the natural illumination at resorts is usually of a quality Impressionists would have killed for, the artificial version is often a little less impressive. Here, the lighting was especially good in the bathroom, something other resorts falter at. The hot water was abundant, and the water pressure itself was strong, two qualities that typically come up short in seaside accommodations' plumbing. The abundance of electrical outlets near the bed and the additional daybed were extremely useful when you have, like I do, a laptop and phone to keep plugged in. While I was told before I arrived that the wi-fi signal would be weak in the room, it was strong for my first 7 days there, then inconsistent the last 3, However, the signal in the dining area was always strong and made for easy online access .
There were never fewer than 3 bottled waters in my room, and the staff was always happy to grab you another any time you wanted one. Another pleasant touch was the teal-colored basket of beach towels.
Each morning started off with a picnic basket left at your door. Inside was a thermos of fresh-brewed coffee I sipped on the balcony, watching the sun rise over the Caribbean, the surf break on the beach, and the fish dive bomb into the sea for their breakfast.
When I eventually worked up the ambition, I went down to the dining room/commons area for the breakfast that's included with the room. The morning meal included coconut granola, yogurt, fresh fruit (e.g., cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, papaya, mango, etc), and juices made from those fresh fruits on the spot. Omelets are also available, with basically any kind you want, from veggie to ham and cheese to bacon or any other permutation of eggs that strikes you. The nighttime dinner menu was mostly salads, steaks, chicken, and seafood, all of which were of a uniform high quality. (On a scale of 1-10, the guacamole and pico de gallo ranked an 11.) The bartenders whipped up their their libations with skill and panache, but especially excelled at their signature drink, the "coco-lito," a mojito made with coconut water.
The restaurant/commons itself was more like a quirky lounge, a wide open space with eclectic furniture: distressed tables (my favorite was one with a ebony-purple etching of a crow that looked straight out of Carlos Castaneda and Don Juan) and chairs, couches, divans, and a cabinet full of books and board games. The space was delightful for early morning views of the ocean or late evening vistas of the emerging stars.
More picturesque than practical, the beach immediately in front of El Pez is a little too rocky for swimming. But all that's required for a dip is to walk about 100 yards south to a miles-long, sensuous strip of white sand and turquoise water that will dazzle you. If the ocean's a bit choppy, you can always use the resort's private pool.
Should you want to dive, snorkel, kayak, bike, tour ruins, or swim with whale sharks, Michael and Julia will help you arrange any kind of excursion you like. Their helpfulness is part of what make El Pez an oasis that leaves you as refreshed as a spa, and feeling as new as tomorrow.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Pez evokes the feeling of a private villa on the beach, with all the amenities of a small boutique hotel. Featuring six Luxury Cabanas, four Sea Front King Rooms and Two Sea View King Rooms, suitable for solo travelers, couples and families, El Pez is situated at picturesque Turtle Cove, where the Mayan fisherman and pelicans create a visually stunning seascape from the hotel balconies and around the hotel grounds. The setting is both intimate and romantic and a stunning backdrop for weddings, family gatherings & romantic getaways. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- El Pez At Turtle Cove Hotel Tulum
- Pez Ocean Palace Tulum