Travel Guide: Tulum, Mexico

With so many accommodation choices in Tulum, the process of finding the perfect place to kick up our feet, celebrate an anniversary and reboot for a few days was a task I dragged my feet on - enjoying every single minute. Tulum is to New York what Bali is to Australia - a destination that is not to far and will always always deliver. Here are my tried and tested spots to eat, spa and stay.

Steph x

Where to stay?

As per usual I put my trust in Mr & Mrs Smith to lead me in the right direction of a boutique property that would meet all my expectations. I was searching for a stylish stay that promised luxury, beachfront, bohemian in aesthetic with a sprinkle of wellness. All we wanted from this holiday was a spot in the sun to spend our days by the waters edge with our holiday reading, intermittently napping, chatting and cooling off in the ocean. 

Nomade Tulum is situated on a idealistic patch of sand curated so thoughtfully, each detail deserves your attention and admiration. This eco-friendly sustainable resort is gorgeous with varied accommodations ranging from luxury tents to two-story villas and a fusion of luxury and casual. 

If you have been following our movements you already know Kaz and I are both forever in search of the finer details when traveling. Turn-down service, pristine lush gardens and sandy pathways set the scene of somewhere you will splurge to stay, yet Nomade Tulum is relaxed enough that you still can mosey up to breakfast barefoot and you won’t be the only one. 

Every space is littered with gypsy treasures that look well loved and thoroughly weathered. Floor cushions and low sunken seating are scattered around clusters of Moroccan tray tables in the main dining room with what looks likes 100 vintage rugs. Daily yoga takes place in the open air Yoga Shala as part of your wellness activities and as the sun sets, the sandy pathways are guided by candlelight.

Where to eat?

The Real Coconut was suggested by a friend of my husband’s, I’ve never met her but it turns out she has great taste and we might just be kindred foodie spirits (Thanks Genna). The Real Coconut is dedicated to all that is conscious living and follows a foundational health & wellness philosophy that plants are paramount to optimum wellbeing. As soon as we walked in I knew I was loving everything about this healthy eatery with its modern design, open kitchen and ocean outlook. I’m hoping to get back to Tulum one more time this year and will be booking a table here so many times it will be embarrassing.
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Hartwood has a big reputation in New York and worldwide as Rene Redzepi’s favorite dinning experience in Mexico. Every New Yorker who speaks of the magic of Tulum will mention this restaurant, thus making it virtually impossible to get a table. The menu changes daily based on the land and sea and what is harvested each day. Throughout the week, the kitchen team travels 4 hours to the Yucatan produce markets and local farms collecting ingredients creating tastes of a community that has existed for centuries. 

If you haven’t been savvy enough to book your reservation 30 days to the day in advance you end up wrapping up your afternoon early to make the pilgrimage to be first in line for the 5.30pm open sitting. The sun was high in the sky at 4:30pm in the afternoon and we are dressed for dinner making sure there is no way we were missing out on what would be the best meal of our trip.

An open kitchen with open flames looks out onto this restaurant so you’re torn between watching the chefs in the kitchen and the streams of disappointed people coming up to the host asking for a table - well into dinner service. 

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Arca located just moments away from Hartwood is our other favorite restaurant and much easier to make a reservation. This was our second time dining here and with all the tables outside, the candles and trees make this eatery moody and romantic.

“From fire to table” is what defines ARCA.

The menu is micro-seasonal and is a current representation of the flora and fauna, in tune with the Yukatan roots and traditions. Open-fire cooking dominates their menu which is composed of small plates all to be shared, a way of eating that is inherent in Mexican culture. ARCA also has the best Instagram feed we have ever seen check it our HERE for moody foodie inspiration.

Where to spa?

Yäan Wellness Spa is sandwiched between the Nomade and Be Tulum. This spa is a healing sanctuary offering pre-hispanic indigenous treatments, energy healing modalities, herbal bath rituals, body treatments, cleanses and detox programs and enlivening spa rituals designed to cleanse body and spirit.

What I loved about this spa is they have a rooftop garden where they grow sacred herbs and medicinal plants used in their treatments and teas. Originally I hadn’t planned on going for a treatment, telling myself maybe it was a little expensive and I didn’t need it. I thought, I’ll just pop into the lobby for a peek, take a couple of pictures and move on with my day. Learning about the treatments and herbs they grow on site creating their oils and remedies I was instantly convinced that this is an experience that I could not miss out on.