Papaya Playa Project
Km 4.5 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Check availability as rates may vary for dates. Best rate guaranteed.
We know the pictures tell most of the story, but it’s worth stating right up front that Papaya Playa Project isn’t just another slightly rustic, reasonably green Tulum boutique hotel. In fact, by some travelers’ standards, it’s hardly a boutique hotel at all — and in no way should it be taken to be anything even close to a luxury hotel.
A stretch of wild, jungle-fringed coastline is the setting for 99 cabanas, huts and shacks left behind by a trio of now-abandoned hotel projects. Here the vibe is much more “beachfront commune” than “design boutique” — which makes the fact that it’s the Design Hotels group that’s behind it all the more remarkable.
The idea is to properly decompress, and get as close to the original, pre-tourism Tulum as possible. In fact it’s just about as close as you can get to pre-modern living in a hotel — certainly a hotel that has both Tablet and Design Hotels associated with it. Entry-level cabanas, many of them with bunk beds, are set back from the beach, and services are kept to an absolute minimum — they share a bathhouse, for example, with outdoor (though private) shower stalls.
Even the casitas, with their king and queen beds, have electricity only for lighting; if you’re chained to your electronics, you’ll be spending a lot of time at reception, with its charging stations and wi-fi network. Obviously “chained to your electronics” is not the vibe they’re going for here. And for guests who’ve found the Papaya Playa Project a bit spartan, the 11 new casitas push just a little bit further into proper hotel territory — more space, more comfort, still no electronics.
Papaya Playa’s Restaurant and Beach Club is the social heart of the project, serving local cuisine with musical accompaniment. There’s a spa as well, staffed by a resident shaman, and it’s the site of the regular morning yoga class. And from here you’re just as close to the surf, the snorkeling, the cenotes, the ocean fishing, the deep-sea diving, even the Mayan ruins, as any of the guests of Tulum’s more luxurious hotels are. This place might not pamper your body in the way a five-star would, but we’d put good odds on it being far better for the soul.
Please note: Papaya Playa Project hosts a monthly Full Moon party — which, needless to say, takes place on the night of the full moon. Noise from the party can be heard in the rooms until late into the night. Guests looking for a quiet night’s rest, or those traveling with kids, should choose other dates or alternate accommodations. To find out if your stay coincides with the full moon, please email CustomerService@TabletHotels.com.
How to get there: Papaya Playa is located 75 miles from Cancun Airport (CUN). The drive takes about an hour and 40 minutes.
- 85 Rooms
- Style: Traditional Elegance
- Atmosphere: Lively
- 14 Guest Reviews
- Papaya Playa Project
- Km 4.5 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila
- Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Hotel amenities and services
- 100% non-smoking hotel
- 24 hour medical assistance
- Babysitting (on request)
- Bicycle rentals nearby
- Free parking
- Free wi-fi
- Luggage storage
- Multi-lingual staff
- No pets allowed
- Shopping area nearby
- Spa treatments (on request)