Xpu-Ha is a serious contender for the prettiest beach on the Mayan Riviera, where sparkling sapphire waters lap bridal-white sands. Swim out in a matter of minutes and the waters reveal the world’s second-largest, and lesser-known, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, where rainbow-coloured fish flick between blue staghorn coral. Turn around and at the shoreline sits Hotel Esencia, framed by palm trees and azure sky. The exclusive 40-room hotel is only 50 minutes from Cancun’s touristy beaches, but it feels a world away.
You’ll fall in love a thousand times a day; with ceviche eaten under a beachfront palapa, with spa goddess Lupita, who uses Mayan lotions to tease out shoulder knots, and with glossy white bedrooms filled with postbox-red cushions, mid-century art and a soundtrack of rolling waves.
Holiday in Hotel Esencia, RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO Photo Gallery
It’s not all seclusion, though. Indiana Jones tendencies can be indulged with a trip to Coba to see shrouded-in-jungle pyramid Nohoch Mul, or to swim in tranquil cenotes (underground pools). Before bed, clamber to the top deck of Esencia’s wooden bar to gaze at the moonlight shimmering across the inky sea. THE LUXE TOUCH Originally an Italian duchess’ hideaway, Esencia feels more like a glorious home than a resort. While you won’t find scattered rose petals or heart shaped towels here, it’s heaven for bohemian couples who revel in natural beauty.
GO Turquoise (turquoise holidays.co.uk) offers seven nights in a Jungle Room from £2,999 per person, B&B, including flights and private transfers.
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