Widely regarded as one of the coolest hotels in Tulum, Papaya Playa Project embodies the concept of a boho-style beach hangout, inviting its guests and visitors to reconnect with their inner free spirit.
Tapping into the growing popularity of Tulum as the coolest boho beach destination, Papaya Playa Project sprung up first as a pop-up hotel in 2011, to be later remodelled as a luxe playground for the creative crowds by the Design Hotels™ team. Today it is the destination of choice for the international globetrotting crowd.
Off the grid
As we discovered during our trip to Yucatan, Tulum is a place somewhat cut out from the rest of Mexico — if only because of the absence of the proper power grid. This makes it easy to disconnect from civilisation, and the Papaya Playa Project turns it into an advantage. It’s a Pre-modern living at its best.
The style of the one hundred cabanas and huts located on a stretch of jungle-fringed coastline places the hotel somewhere between a beachfront commune and a luxe boutique. The backpacker roots of the Papaya Playa Project are reflected in the entry-level Cabanas. They are closer to the roughing-it-up experience than the rest of the hotel. Many of them with bunk beds, they are set back from the beach, and services are kept to an absolute minimum.
The beachfront Casitas are much more about boutique hotel luxe vibe. They seduce with cute design, private plunge pools and terraces that offer dramatic views of the ocean. They are exactly what the jet setters of the world would expect.
But the real wow factor can be found in the newest Casas. They merge luxury with an easygoing beachfront chic. Casa Palapa has a two-bedroom suite and a double room, topped by a grand suite and comes with a lounge with a Jacuzzi, a vast sun terrace, a fully equipped kitchen, and a generous 20-person dining table. At the top of the accommodation options is the 250-square-meter Casa Madera, a real stunner described as a “the epitome of primitive sophistication”. It comes with a butler service.
We stayed in two different Casitas and were perfectly happy with the cosy set up that seemed to be tailored for us two. Especially as they were positioned only steps away from the beach, where we had our own gazebo, reserved for exclusive use.
Of course, we were just as keen to hang out at the Papaya Playa’s Restaurant and Beach Club. It’s the social heart of the Project, serving healthy food in a chillout ambience. Come evening — and especially certain nights of the month — and the club turns into the hottest go-to for partygoers. It’s great fun.
Often described as an authentic eco-friendly resort — as opposed to a more classical luxury — the Papaya meets high-end standards in many ways, but it is equally well placed to cater to a less demanding clientele.
And even if this place might not pamper your body as much as a five-star property would, you may discover it is well set up to purify the spirit.