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“Esencia...simply incredible” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Esencia

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Hotel Esencia
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Carretera Tulum-Cancun KM 265, Xpu-Ha 77710, Mexico   |  
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Wednesday's FREE in May*
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Xpu-Ha
Certificate of Excellence 2014
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Esencia...simply incredible”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2007

we stayed there for 5 nights and it was fabulous from start to finish. We booked airport trasnsport with them and it was well worth it. Instead of a little tiny subcompact, which is pretty much all you see at the airport, Esencia sent a new black Lincoln Navigator. This was the first signal that this place was going to be a little different. Upon arrival they greet you in a "mud hut" and then put you on a "rickshaw" and pedal you 3-4 minutes through the jungle to the resort. Our room was garden view and you felt like you were living in the jungle among the tree tops. All the units are tucked off the pathway that cuts through the resort and are very private. The rooms are beautiful...huge room and huge bathroom. I would call them elagantly simple. Huge pocket doors throughout the room, a giant shower, plasma tv that we only used once...the bed has this 600 thread Egyptian cotton sheets that are incredible and the AC works great. A few people on the TripAdvisor reviews mentioned bugs in their room but we saw none of that. On those same posts they also complained about service but for the time we were their the service was nothing but exceptional. The people who stayed at a different resort but attended the wedding were in awe of the resort and the service they were getting. Both the rehersal dinner and the wedding were there so they got to see to nights and to a person all had wished they had stayed at Esencia. The beach service for drinks and lunch was also really good. Lunch is expensive but well worth it. It is true the cheeseburger is $20 but for another $5 you can get lobster, scallops and other incredible dishes. We went expecting a high level of service and a beautiful resort....what we got exceeded even our highest expectations. You have picked one special place for your vacation....I am only hiting on a few things without even touching on many of the other small things that made this such a great trip. You'll see for yourself when you get there.!!! Have a great time!!
We also did go to Playa...it was $16 taxi ride each way which the resort arranged for us. Very safe in Palya, great shops and great restaurants. The group from the wedding went in two nights and we loved it. It was worth the trip and the food was excellent. I don't remember the names of the palces we ate at but there are a ton of choices...enjoy!

  • Liked — Service, grounds, cleanliness, just about everything
  • Disliked — had to leave
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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415 reviews from our community

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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
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3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2007

My wife and I spent 5 days at the Hotel Esencia as an anniversary gift to ourselves. We had a wonderful time. The grounds at the hotel are beautiful as is the beach. We stayed in the "Minta" garden suite which is about 50 yards from the main building. We thought the suite was great. Breakfast served on the deck in the morning, a fridge stocked w/ water and beer each day. The room had a really comfortable bed, a sound system hooked to your own personal ipod, a flat screen TV and a large, well-appointed bathroom. There was also a plunge pool off the side of the suite that was also very nice. Other reviewers have mentioned bugs in their rooms but we didn't experience that at all.

The people that work at the resort are very nice everywhere on the resort and they try very hard to please. They do make mistakes, however, and the service is not the same as in the States. Double check on all spa appointments, taxi pick up times, etc. The service on the beach is fantastic. The restaurant is solid, not great. The wine list is fine but most of the selections are not available. The restaurant is also quite expensive and its the only one on the property. Its worth the $34 round trip taxi fare to go to Playa del Carmen one night just to mix it up.

Hotel Esencia is a great place to go if you are really just looking to relax (we were). There is no nightlife there. The hotel is also very expensive but all the upscale boutique resorts in that area are the same way. We really enjoyed our stay.

  • Liked — The cleanliness of the room
  • Disliked — The fact that there is no bar or club.
  • Stayed January 2007, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2007

Room: We booked an ocean front room (Arbor) in the main house. Upon checking in, I looked out the doors, across the lawn, through some bushes, over the pool, through another set of bushes, and was able to glimpse the ocean - looking to the right of the outdoor massage station directly in front of our room. This to me, is not ocean view - the most important aspect of booking our room. In addition, the view from the bay window (along the side) looked out upon bushes and a chain-link fence that was attempting to cover the vacant lot next door.The rest of our room was large with a simple elegance. Bathroom was fine, nothing fancy, but the amenities were poor. Our room included a flat screen t.v. but we never turned it on and an IPOD stereo set up. Our patio was very spacious with a chase, built-in sofa, table and chairs, and hammock. Coffee was provided every morning on our patio without disturbing us.

Grounds: The grounds were extremely well kept and beautiful but the size of the property is not as described. There is a small hotel directly abutting the west side and an empty lot with a lot of local foot traffic within 10 feet of the other side of the main house where our room was. Away from the beach is a lush and well-laid out garden setting.

Beach: Beautiful! The beach is kept clean and there is a very gradual slope into the water. Seaweed in spots but not intrusive to swimming. The lounge chairs are comfy and secluded in cabana style structures to allow for a little privacy. The best beach service we have ever received! Staff set up the chairs of our choice and made regular rounds to check on us, offering buckets of ice with water and iced towels for freshening. Towels were plentiful and a staff person was always standing on call for anything one might need. The lack of any form of toys was the only drawback. Kayaks, kick boards, windsurfing boards, all enjoyed by the other resorts, were not available. If there was a beach activity person we never encountered him. We did see some people snorkeling but it did not appear to be the best place for it. Foot traffic was not as imposing as one might expect from the larger resorts, even though the beach is only about 1 mile long. We did not see a single cruise ship nor do they dock in the vicinity. Nothing ruins an ocean view like one of those monstrosities!

Noise: Beyond the empty lot must be a gigantic hotel. Throughout the day from our patio we were subjected to voices coming over a bull horn or a selection of bad music. One can also actually hear road noise from the patio and the occasional siren. This particular room is a short distance from the reception area and the stucco lends to magnified acoustics.

Bugs: I have traveled the tropics extensively and am well aware that with it comes bugs. BUT, after having my suitcase open for a few hours I found it to be completely infested with these small insects. Throughout the week there were swarms of them throughout the room. A nice fruit basket was awaiting us upon our arrival, but by morning it was so covered with ants that the fruit was no longer identifiable. Of course the ants continued in a long line from the door, to the fruit, and continued their march throughout the room. I had our room fumigated 3 times and finally gave up. I took to spraying them with the insecticide provided for personal use just to keep them under control.

Staff: The general staff was extremely friendly, efficient, and quick to meet our needs. The management staff was a complete disaster. Upon arrival, I informed them (not one of the management staff ever offered their names, whereas the general staff did) that we wanted a room with an ocean view as we had booked. She said she would look into what was available and get back to us. We also wanted to know if we could have a coffee maker for our room. 8pm we checked back about the room, unwilling to unpack in case we were able to move. Another person was on duty and we were told that we would be informed first thing in the morning. The coffee maker was a mystery but He would look in to it. 9am no news so I went to the office to find that He (different He) was just looking into it. Request for coffee maker made again. 12pm checked back to find completely different staff and made requests again. 3pm (still haven't unpacked) the manager (another one) will get back to us. FINALLY at 8pm we meet with the manager (yet another one!) to be told that there is a wedding party and it would be too inconvenient to switch (even though they had not arrived yet) and they had no coffee maker but would send a pot of coffee to our room 3 times a day but that never happened. I also just wanted to know if the gym at the Copa was available to us for a fee. It took days to get the answer: yes, for $45 per person. I have never seen such a management team! No communication and always changing. Very frustrating! Even a negative response to our requests would have been preferable to leaving us hanging.

(To their credit, on the third day they did provide us with a water pot with a heating element so that we were able to make our own coffee. I also requested non-fat milk for the fridg. in our room and that was provided quickly and at no extra charge.)

Water: This is one of the few places that provides its guests with plenty of water without an extra charge! It may sound trivial, but in a hot climate and being ones that do not drink alcohol or soda, this was a very nice amenity that can often times add up $$$ quickly. The refrigerator was also stocked daily instead of the arrival beverages that are never replaced without a fee at other resorts.

Food and Restaurant: We are not big eaters so this is not a priority for us. The food was extremely well presented if a little bland or too salty. The breakfast was very nice! We don't normally eat breakfast but throughly enjoyed it every day. The french toast is a must-have! The menu did not change during our 5 nights but a special was offered each evening that did vary. We did not each lunch. Service for dinner was exceptional. The dress code is not noted in the website and upon arrival we were informed it is "casual chic". I did not bring appropriate attire as I was told that is was casual before arriving. (I live in Oregon - we take "casual" seriously.) Though I felt under dressed there were those more so than I. The evenings in January were far chillier than expected so a shawl or sweater is a must have. I only brought an REI jacket and felt quite silly.

Room service: Hmmm. Yes, room service is available 24 hours a day if you don't mind paying $5 PLUS 20% of the bill Plus the gratuity of 15% added to every meal beyond the cost of the food. Pastry bites are provided every morning delivered to the room. Literally three bites for two along with coffee - a little skimpy and you must eat it right away or it becomes ant-infested quite quickly. Tea is a formal affair at 5pm. 3pm would be more appropriate but cookies are included with a nice selection of tea.

Spa: I only had one service, an aloe massage. 50 minutes for $110 and it was well done in a lovely setting. (This is more reasonable than many places I have visited.) One could also have the massage in-room for a minimal $5(?) fee. Fruit and flowered water (surprisingly yummy) were offered afterward. Staff was very friendly and accommodating.

The lack of physical activity options is maddening for the person who needs daily exercise. They do offer yoga and tai chi every morning at 9am. I was impressed with the level of skill and the setting was lovely. Usually only one or two people other than myself. I dislike using gyms and would prefer outdoor exercise but because there are no water sports or bikes (no room to ride anyway) a gym would have been a huge benefit.

A little sundry shop would be a nice addition for postcards or gift items. The rooms lack the typical postcards and resort info that provides one with an introduction and some familiarity with what is around and available. I would have liked to have learned the story behind the Duchess who previously owned the house and its history.

The drive from Cancun airport to the resort took 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Overall, the resort needs some fine tuning and additional activities. If going for the beach, make sure you are really getting an ocean view room, but one can't help but be pleased with the beach itself.

(Sorry this is so long but I had a request for as many details as possible!)

  • Liked — Beach
  • Disliked — Management staff and the room we were given.
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Esencia

Address: Carretera Tulum-Cancun KM 265, Xpu-Ha 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Xpu-Ha
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Xpu-Ha
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Esencia 4.5*
Number of rooms: 29
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, Mexico - Xpu-Ha

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