Smitten Spotlight

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Hotel Esencia

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Property: Hotel Esencia

Country: Mexico

Region: Riviera Maya, halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen in Xpu-ha

Time difference: GMT -5 hours

Property size: 38 airy suites and villas on a private 50-acre estate

Best time to travel: The Riviera Maya enjoys warm temperatures and sunshine year-round, with the thermometer often rising above 90 degrees during the summer and rain showers increasing from August through October.

Flight time: Minneapolis to Cancún is a 3.5-hour flight nonstop.

Why I’m smitten: No matter what, there is often one amenity that ranks most important on honeymooners’ wish-lists. It might be a perfect pool, an award-winning spa, or one of the most stunning beaches that exist. In the latter case, Hotel Esencia reigns queen as a top honeymoon hideaway. Originally built as a private mansion for an Italian duchess, this true boutique property sits on a mile-long white sand beach, hugged by cerulean water on one side and lush gardens on the other.

While a smaller property and situated away from the hustle and bustle of larger resorts that line the Yucatan Peninsula, Hotel Esencia is located near a host of activities. The Mayan Ruins of Tulum, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sian Ka’an, the underground Rio Secreto, and much more are all easily accessible from the property, meaning that couples who want to venture from the idyllic Hotel Esencia have no shortage of options.

Travel tip: Spoil yourself with your hubby or wife at Hotel Esencia’s spa, which was the first organic spa in Mexico. Using ingredients from the Caribbean, Mayan jungles, and gardens, the spa combines modern techniques and ancient customs for maximum rejuvenation and relaxation. As an added bonus, the spa overlooks the property’s cenote—a natural pool, or “sacred well,” that Mayans believed were portals for speaking with the gods.

(Photos courtesy of Hotel Esencia)