Right on Xpu-ha beach, the best stretch of white sands on this part of the Caribbean coast, Esencia is one of those hotels that is spoken about in hushed tones by those in the know, none of who want to let this secret get out. But those who do make it here discover a small, natural beauty of place set on a palm-swaying estate on the edge of the tumbling sea. There are hammocks to laze in, and a dimly lit spa where lotions and potions made from garden herbs are crushed into poultices to smooth out knots. For snorkeling among rainbow-colored fish, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a five-minute hop on the hotel’s catamaran. There are ceviches and tiraditos to try at Mistura, a restaurant with views of the moon-dappled sea, and a wooden beach bar that does the best Margaritas in Mexico. And then there are the rooms. The interiors of the house, originally built as a hideaway for an Italian duchess, have splashes of fifties art and huge bedrooms with generous terraces. There are brand-new Jungle Rooms with plunge pools and beach suites that are a study in white. All in all, it is perfect. By Mary Lussiana
The Hôtel Manoir Victoria has a long history, dating back to the 1830s. Despite its age, the hotel has been recently renovated, and the exterior now hides an updated and contemporary interior, with sleek and modern décor. Rooms are spacious. As there are stairs leading up to the lobby, the staff is willing to help with luggage. The newly opened restaurant, Chez Boulay, comes highly recommended with its Nordic-inspired cuisine. Not only is there a spa, specializing in massage therapy, but a sauna is available as well.