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“Best hotel in Tulum!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Zebra Hotel, Tulum

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La Zebra Hotel, Tulum
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   Km 8.2 Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen, Tulum 77780, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 79 Hotels in Tulum
Certificate of Excellence 2014
San Francisco, CA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Best hotel in Tulum!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2008

My boyfriend and I stayed for 4 nights during the last week of May and we had an excellent time. La Zebra is my favorite place to stay in Tulum and I'm only staying here from now on! I've been to Tulum before and have seen other hotels up and down the beach and La Zebra is by far the best if you want a small boutique hotel with luxury cabanas and the best beach. We had cabana no. 5 and it was perfect and very private and you still get an ocean view. They do a great job with cleaning service and I appreciated the fresh beach towels and water they left in the room every day after cleaning. We loved the bed and thought they were very comfortable so I didn't understand the complaints about the beds being too hard....those people must like sagging super plush beds that will ruin your back!

Tanya at reception was extremely helpful and even helped us call a particular cab driver every day to take us places. If you are in Tulum and want a reliable cab driver, Ignacio is your man! We met him the first day and he basically drove us around all day for a very affordable price, waiting for us at each destination. And we got his cell number and we kept arranging rides with him for everywhere, including Playa del Carmen. His cell is 984143-1412 and taxi number is 379. He's a nice, hard working guy trying to support his Mayan wife and son. Also, he lived in California for a while so speaks excellent english and he is always exactly on time when you arrange times to meet. Everyone at La Zebra was very kind to keep calling him for us and arranging rides with him.

For the majority of our stay, we hung out on the property and just lounged, read, swam and enjoyed the beach. This stretch is definitely the best beach in all of Tulum...the waves are less turbulent and it just isn't as crowded as further down towards Zamas. There are a fair number of people staying in other places who come to hang out so I can see that during high season, competition for lounges under umbrellas could get fierce. We didn't any have issues on that front but we were also waking up on the early side and grabbed our lounges first thing. We had friends staying at Zamas and Maya Tulum and the beach down there is a joke. It's rocky and smelly because of seaweed. The food at La Zebra was great...their breakfast menu is awesome and they have an imported Italian espresso maker and use good espresso. The lunch and dinner is the same menu so I found the lunch options extremely limited and just did breakfast and dinner there. We had dinner at Posada Margherita twice...they definitely have the best restaurant in Tulum and excellent food even in terms of San Francisco standards and the service was super friendly so I don't understand the complaints about the "Italian attitude" there either. Zamas restaurant is just average but it was lovely to right by the ocean. We ate at one of those $4 roast chicken places in town which is the best meal for value you'll get in Tulum and also at Don Cafeto for some authenticity.

If you are looking to get away from normal life and truly relax, this is your place! And don't forget to do the cenotes cause they are incredible!

  • Liked — Cabanas and overall atmosphere of the property.
  • Disliked — Not enough lounges with umbrellas.
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Dallas, Texas
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2008

My wife and I stayed in Cabana 2 (closest to the beach) and 4 (30 feet further back) in early May. We have stayed in 4-5 star boutiques all over the Caribbean and Mexico.

LaZ is wonderful for what it doesn't have!

There is no beach service, you have to get off of your comfy lounger, or giant beach pillow, and go to the beach bar. There is no fitness center, you have to walk the 5km of unbelievably white, soft sand or kayak or bodysurf in the twenty shades of blue surf to get exercise. If you want air conditioning, you are forced to rely on the cool ocean breeze.

Rooms: Traditional, but hip cabanas with very comfortable king beds and large showers. No sitting area, no room fridge and the mini-bar is replaced by a bottle of tequila and shot glasses. You have only what you need. Be prepared for the "minimal privacy" toliet that is so common in the caribbean.

Food: Beach bar is very convenient and can produce some excellent fare. Half of the time the food was average and half the time it was excellent - never bad. Service was decent, but for such a small place, it might be more personable. Everything at the bar is made with the freshest organic ingredients. We quickly learned that it is best to walk (or take a $5 cab) up and down the beach and just pop in and out of places to eat and drink.

Also, don't miss the salsa night if you are there on a Sunday!

Location: This is what makes LaZ 5 star in my mind. Why spend 5 figures to visit Bora Bora or some remote resort off the coast of Africa or India to find 5 miles of unspoiled, powdery, white beach when it is in Tulum for less than a grand?

There is not a resort over 15 rooms or two stories on the entire stretch of beach. There are still camps where backpackers find rest under beach tents! You can walk into the crashing surf and find spots100 yards out where your head is above water. If you like to sea or surf kayak, you'll be in heaven and, if you can stay long enough, you can learn to kiteboard (wakeboarding by the power of the wind). You won't find a sandbag anywhere as Tulum's beaches were spared by the hurricanes that stole so much of Playa and Cancun's beaches.

Also, we were lucky enough to be at LaZ during "butterfly season". Every day from 10am-3pm, swarms of black and neon blue butterflies come out of the mangroves and flutter about the beach. It was absolutely surreal and we found ourselves laughing out loud at the beauty of the place several times.

This is one of the few places we will return to and will do soon as development seems to be on the way. The highway is being widened, a new road to the beach is finished and there are strong rumors of a golf course and condo development.

Go to LaZ and realize how wonderful it is to have nothing!

  • Liked — Beach
  • Disliked — Inconsistent food quality
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2008

Me & my boyfriend just got back from our first trip to Tulum! Definately one of the BEST trips ever. We live in NYC & its been a long, cold Winter so we wanted to go somewhere far away, warm, sunny, beachy & tropical to lay in the sun, sleep in a thatch-roofed cabana in the sand, eat chips & guac and sip on Margs & La Zebra offerred all of that & more in a more amazing setting than we could have hoped for.
La Zebra is the BEST spot on the beach. We spent hours walking up & down the beach checking out all the other cabana places & realized we totally scored with our pick. Zebra has, hands down, one of the best beach areas in Tulum-- long/wide sandy beach with plenty of lawn chairs, beach beds, & umbrellas. The water at their beach is clean & clear. Also, its much farther down from everything & is much less crowded & more secluded from the other cabana places.
The Tequila bar/restaurant was SO good & I'm a picky/fussy eater/drinker. The breakfast=AMAZING, the margs & liquados were SO fresh they squeeze the sugar cane right there at the bar- la zebra marg & pinapple chaya agua fresca were my favs. Dinner was SO good-- I reccommend the chicken mole!
Oh, and the cafe au lait in the morn' was off the hook, too!
Tania, our concierge, was SO nice- all the staff at the Tequila Bar were so friendly & accommodating.
Ok, so now for the cabanas- holy cow! SO BEAUTIFUL yet extremely rustic! I would reccommend splurging on Cabana #1 (where we stayed). Its actually got 2 beds, but its closest to the beach, gets an intense/cool breeze, beautful views, 2 ceiling fans, stucco inside really nice shower/bathroom with hot water.
They give you beach bags with towels & bottles of water, in fact-- there was always plenty of bottled water & 24 hopur electricity. Dont get me wrong-- this is definately NOT like a hotel. Its a cabana on the beach, but its so beautiful and unique!

We stayed at Zamas our last night in Tulum- which was fun & cute but it just wasnt the same-- zamas is not as clean & nice. The rooms are realy small & the cabanas are close together, but they're decorated funky & cute. The restaurant was pretty good (breakfast was the best, huevos rancheros/huevos mexicanas & a Melon agua fresca= our favs) but the margharitas on the rocks tasted like Turpentine so we opted for frozen margs with a Sol chaser & that did the trick.
They dont have electricity after 10 or 11pm & that's fun.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend La Zebra! ITs got the best Cabanas, THE BEST BEACH, and amazing bar restaurant right on the beach, & a friendly staff. Its a lil' more expensive than a lot of other places but not by much. Plus, the extra pesos for the better beach is definately worth it!

If its your first time in Tulum- I recommend doing what we did: stay at more than one place-- that way you get a feel for what's what & get to know Tulum a lil' better plus its adventurous!

  • Liked — the beach, the cabanas, & the restaurant
  • Disliked — i had to leave
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Issaquah
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2008

We stayed at La Zebra for four nights in late April and were very pleased with our experience. We've already recommended this hotel to friends, so overall I would give it a thumbs-up, but here are a few of the pros and (very minor) cons:

Pros:
The location is perfect: a clean, postcard-worthy beach and just the right amount of isolation.
The cabanas are playfully decorated and strike a good balance between being rustic and stylish. We felt like we were in a chic version of Gilligan's Island :)
The restaurant is fantastic -- probably the best I experienced while in Mexico. We had a ceviche appetizer on the first night which was out of this world. One morning I had a goat cheese and herb omelette which was to die for. We tried a lot of different restaurants during our trip, but wish we had dined at La Zebra more frequently. (warning: it is not overpriced, but certainly not cheap!)
We visited Mezzanine and Zamas while in Tulum, two of the other hotels we had considered staying at before choosing La Zebra. While both had good restaurants, we were happy with our choice of staying at La Zebra. For my taste, Zamas seemed to lack privacy -- stay here if you are a very social beach bum who likes live music every night. Mezzanine was very polished, and would probably be a good choice for someone who's hip and likes a good bar scene. The beach didn't appear to be as nice as at La Zebra though.
Cons:
As other reviewers have noted, service is an area for improvement. I found the service to be sufficient, but if you are a true stickler for great service, you might find yourself annoyed at La Zebra. For example, we were only given one tiny piece of soap during our 4 night stay, and didn't get a replacement even after we were down to a tiny sliver of soap (this is after tipping). Also, upon checkout, the lady at the front desk took our key, said thanks, and that was it. No "Did you enjoy your stay?" or "We hope you come back again." There wasn't any outrageous service problem, just little things that brought service down to more of a three-star level.
If you are deciding between a cabana hotel and an American-style resort hotel, you should know that cabanas can have their drawbacks: you are on a septic tank, so plumbing can be kind of iffy; you may encounter a few bugs. But, being within a few steps of the sea and sleeping to the sound of crashing waves makes it 100% worth it in my opinion.
Overall, La Zebra provided us with an unforgettable vacation at a very good price.

  • Liked — Being on a beautiful, secluded beach
  • Disliked — Service could be a bit better
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Studio City, CA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2008

The room: My boyfriend and I stayed in cabana #3 for 6 nights the last week of April and it was wonderful! We were greeted with a couple drinks upon our arrival and there was a welcome bottle of tequila in our room. The cabana is a bit small, but there is a place to hang your clothes with about 6 hangers and shelves on the other side of the bed with a safe. They give you a couple water bottles everyday and clean the cabana well. You cannot throw the toilet paper in the toilet anywhere in the area due to small piping. The bed was comfortable and has mosquito netting to keep the bugs out. We did see a large cockroach and huge flying grasshopper type bug in our room, but as long as that mosquito netting was around me, I felt protected in bed. It seemed cabanas 1,2, and 3 had older sliding glass doors which had gaps on the bottom for bugs to get in easier. I wasn't bothered by it though because based on other reviews I expected some bugs.
The beach was perfect. Nice chairs for you to lay out on with thick cushions. Nice and quiet. The water was calm and a nice temp. Don't miss out on the Kayaks! It was so nice to paddle out!
The restaurant: They use fresh fruit in their drinks, which made them really good. The food was just OK. We really liked Zamas restaurant just down the street, which we ate at like 4 times. They have live music. Our favorite night at La Zebra was Salsa Sunday. The band was awesome! They had professional salsa dancers teaching lessons before the night started.
DO NOT MISS Snorkeling at Grand Cenote! It was really cool seeing underwater stalagmites.
Overall this place really made me feel relaxed and immediately slowed down my fast paced life and made me feel at peace.

  • Liked — The beach steps from our cabana, cozy, relaxing, private cabana. Salsa Night! friendly front desk staff.
  • Disliked — the food at the restaurant a lttle pricey for what you get (only ate there twice), go to Zamas they are better.
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Tx
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2008

My wife and I stayed with friends at La Zebra last week. Relative to other cabana-type lodging, La Zebra seems to be on the high end - both price and accomodations. Here are some of the highlights/lowlights:

The grounds - beautiful beach location and interesting sculptures place around, but there was a lot of small litter (e.g. bits of plastic) in the sand and it would have been nice to have some tamped down walkways.

The beach - Beautiful with nice launch chairs and umbrellas. They provided a few water toys (kayak and boogie boards). When there is not much surf, you can actually do some snorkeling about 50 feet off shore. No coral, but enough of a rocky bottom to hold a few fish.

The cabanas - We stayed in #3. Everything was fine. Nice view of the ocean and good breeze to keep us cool. Nice king size bed with netting and fan. No problems with water or electricity.

The restaraunt - As well documented, the food is good, but you have to ask for service.

The staff - We found them very accomodating. For instance, they provided a cooler and ice upon our asking. Unprompted, they provided a bag with fresh beach towels and water each day.

  • Liked — Beach and ocean view
  • Disliked — A bit pricy
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2008

We stayed at La Zebra for a week, from April 20-27th for our honeymoon. First let me say that Tulum is THE perfect honeymoon spot, because there are not a lot of big hotels, the beach is beautiful and often empty on many parts,
and the town of Tulum itself was very friendly and welcoming.

When we got to La Zebra we love the look of the cabanas, the restaurant, and the vegetation of the beach front property.
The place had a vision for themselves as far as style, and it seemed to be working. We walked up and down the beach, and this was to us, the best stretch of beach. Other people seemed to realize this too, because many people came to La Zebra just for the day to use the beach there and sometimes this got to be a bit too much. We realized rather quickly that you had to get up very early to secure chairs even if you stayed there, because they filled up fast.


Upon check we had to wait quite awhile to get to our room (although it was check in time) because of other customers being handled (also did not seem to be going well), which was fine, but the wait did seem to go on and on. We waited right there at the restaurant and were greeting by a very nice waitress named Patricia who gave us complimentary greeting drinks.

Our first four days were spent in Cabana 4. We LOVED cabana 4, it was tucked lower in the ground than the rest, which felt private. You still had a semi-sea view, were steps from the beach, and the water pressure was great.
You have to know Tulum and what to expect as this was a luxury cabana and luxury can be described as hot water, and two fans, (oh and internet access)
and for us that was perfect. You do NOT even need ac in Tulum in April as there is a constant breeze in Tulum and it was even cool at night. We saw NO bugs in this cabana, maybe one or two small ones, and absolutely no mosquitos.

Our last three days were spent in Cabana 2. The plus side was a direct ocean view from your bed. You could sit on your front porch and stare directly at the ocean.
However, this cabana was a lot less private as all the people and the beach were RIGHT there. You trade some privacy for ocean front. Also the water pressure was much less in this cabana and there was a hot water issue, but it only lasted for one evening, no big deal. This cabana was also more noisy as the restaurant is a popular place on the beach and music most nights went to 10 pm or after. Oh and we saw our first giant bug (cockroach) but this was to be expected, we were in palapa huts, and luckily only saw one.

People in other reviews were right about the restaurant. We only ate dinner there once, but we ate breakfast there every day
and lots of lunch snacks, which were pretty good.
Om right down the beach was yummy, Mezzanine again good but overrated, and we became townies and found many restaurants we liked in the pueblo.

Overall the staff was friendly,
Several of the waiters, and Tanya at the front desk were very nice and helpful. However, perhaps because it was our honeymoon
we expected a bit more service in some way.

We would definitely go back to Tulum, and one of our favorite moments was seeing a Red Mayan full moon rise. Tulum is definitely a romantic, special place, that I would highly recommend as a place to visit.

  • Liked — the beach
  • Disliked — food at dinner
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Zebra Hotel, Tulum

Address: Km 8.2 Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen, Tulum 77780, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Tulum
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Tulum
#6 Family Hotel in Tulum
#9 Romantic Hotel in Tulum
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Tulum
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — La Zebra Hotel, Tulum 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated directly on the beach in a historic former coconut plantation, the family-run La Zebra offers a vibrant and rustic destination among Tulum hotels, where authentic Mexican culture and cuisine infuse every facet of your stay. Escape to an intimate Tulum Mexico hotel best described as stylish and jungle-chic, with thatched roofs and colorful hammocks, coco palms swaying in the breeze, and warm Caribbean waters lapping at the shore just a few sandy steps away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Zebra Hotel, Tulum Hotel Tulum
La Zebra Beach Cabanas Hotel
La Zebra Beach Cabanas Resort
La Zebra Tulum

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