Papaya Playa Project, Tulum: A tropical hippy haven in Mexico’s Riviera Maya


So January is here, the weather is utterly miserable, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll be glued to Skyscanner or Kayak.com, pumped and ready to book your next adventure in the sunshine.

If what you’re looking for is a jungle-meets-beach hideaway that is quiet, yet buzzy at the same time, with breathtaking views and more piña colada’s than you can shake a palm tree at, look no further than the breathtaking Papaya Playa Project, situated in the heart of Tulum, in Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya.

The luxe eco hotel attracts a hip and laid-back crowd, looking to immerse themselves in the best of what Tulum has to offer – beautiful beaches, a closeness to nature, and a chance for total relaxation – yet at the same time, great music, food, drink, and dancing.

Here’s five reasons we love it so much:


  1. 1. The Design

The rooms – or rather, cabanas and casitas at Papaya Playa Project are completely unique and unlike anywhere else. The dome like studio space features thatched roofs, balconies with hammocks, reused wood, open waterfall showers and complementary honey-based toiletries. The space is beautifully minimal yet rustic, decorated in neutral, earthy tones, save the vibrant, locally hand-made throw on beds. Our top tip? Opt for a casita with a rooftop plunge pool; boasting views over the ocean to the front, and the jungle behind, it really is a breathtaking spot – particularly at sunset.


2. The Food

Even if you’re not a guest at PPP, we’d highly recommend dropping by for breakfast or lunch. For breakfast we enjoyed platefuls of the freshest fruit, with stacked pancakes and honey, while for lunch the burger and Cajun fries are to die for. Meanwhile, the evening menu serves up classic Mexican and Mayan dishes with a twist. The hotel also has a partnership with the Prana Be Well juice bar, so we opted for one of the many delicious juices on a daily basis – to compensate for all the tacos of course.


3. The Parties

Papaya Playa Project’s full moon parties are becoming legendary among the hip Tulum crowd. Despite there being lashings of rain in the midst of a tropical storm when we stayed, the party went on, with an eclectic music offering of dance beats and chill out tunes by an internationally-renowned DJ, which suitably revved up the crowd – there was even table dancing until the early hours.
Live music takes place every Friday and Saturday night so it’s #vibes no matter which weekend you go, but aim to stay during one of its full moon parties (monthly, on the Saturday closest to the lunar event), you won’t regret it.


4. Its Sustainable Philosophy

We love PPP’s core mission and values, which, in its own words, are to ‘promote a holistic and spiritual life, consciously responsible for nature and our own community’.
The project therefore aims to be as sustainable as possible across many key areas, including using solar energy, providing clean, sustainable water, using locally-sourced and Fairtrade materials for rooms, and undertaking responsible construction and recycling.


5. The Private Beach

The particular stretch of Tulum beach at the back of the hotel is private, for hotel guests only, and really is one of the most spectacular spots. The water is crystal clear, yet the most seductive shade of azure, while sands are golden and relaxed daybeds await you on the beach. Waiters will even bring your food and drinks to right where you lay. Pure bliss.


Papaya Playa Project is a member of Design Hotels who specialise in original, individual hotels with unique stories.

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