Features Mann Overboard

Hotel Esencia

Photo courtesy of Hotel Esencia

Set on the unspoiled, ivory sands of the Riviera Maya, on what is widely considered the most beautiful stretch of beach on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Hotel Esencia continues to enhance its reputation as one of the chicest hotels in the world. Originally built as the private hideaway home of an Italian duchess under the ownership of American entrepreneur Kevin Wendle, the boutique resort has set its sights on redefining barefoot luxury with major additions due to unveil later this summer – from two new suite categories, bringing the hotel’s key count to 45 rooms and three villas, a brand-new tennis court, pavilion and other notable updates around the property.


Following the success of the new Rooftop Wellness Suites launched last year, Hotel Esencia has sought to improve the guest experience even further with the launch of its highly anticipated new suite categories, the Esencia Suite and Master Jungle Suite, this month. Featuring the white-washed, light and airy design, guests have come to know and love, both suite categories will elevate the overall experience by offering more space, similar to a luxurious apartment rather than a regular suite, along with incredible 360-degree views of the stunning Xpu Ha Beach (pronounced ‘shpooo-ha’) and the surrounding verdant Mexican jungle.


The Jewel in the Crown – The Esencia Suite

The Esencia Suite, spanning over 1,200 square feet indoors, in addition to over 1,400 square feet of private outdoor space, sets the standard of understated excellence as the hotel’s new “crown jewel,” located in the north wing of the original Main House building. A true expression of space and comfort, the Esencia Suite comes well-equipped for every modern traveler’s needs, befitted with its own private 860-square-foot private rooftop terrace, spacious master bedroom and domed living space, as well as a light-filled master bathroom with a double bathtub and steam shower – all with enchanting panoramic views of Xpu Ha. Other features include a generous outdoor dining area, perfect for quiet mornings with a sunrise view, the largest private plunge pool on property, a sizable den and seating area featuring windows on three sides overlooking the ocean – with a Peloton included, of course – as well as a second guest bathroom. Taking inspiration from Hotel Esencia’s Presidential Bungalow unveiled in 2020, the Esencia Suite can be tailored to fit larger groups and families with the option to convert the lower-level den into a guest bedroom.

Into the Jungle – Master Jungle Suites 

With over 1,000 square feet of indoor space coupled with over 500 square feet of private outdoor space, the Master Jungle Suites boast multiple indoor and outdoor seating areas with all-encompassing views of the surrounding luscious jungle, a grand master bedroom and spacious master bathroom with double bathtubs and optional steam shower to match. These suites can be customized to fit each party’s unique needs, with an extra independent room that can be transformed into an additional bedroom, living room or office space based on guest preference. Though just steps from the gorgeous Caribbean beachfront, Master Jungle Suites also provide guests with the option to relax poolside with a private extra-large plunge pool overlooking the lush jungle foliage.

Both suite categories, as with all of Hotel Esencia’s accommodations, feature all of the property’s elegant signature amenities, as well as large screen, Wi-Fi connected televisions, air conditioning, up-to-the-minute sound systems that connect to iPhones and other digital accessories. 


Debuted in September 2021, Hotel Esencia continues its journey as a fitness and wellness sanctuary with the arrival of its tennis court and pavilion, which will be U.S. Open quality and a short walk from all guest rooms.


More to see at Hotel Esencia includes the refurbished Villa Yum Ha, which has increased its room total to four bedrooms, and three additional Master Suites, debuted in October 2021.


Now Open – Taiyo 

Following the success of its major additions unveiled this year, including its three new suite categories and its brand-new tennis court and pavilion, Hotel Esencia is thrilled to announce the launch of Taiyo – setting the standard for elevated dining on this side of the Riviera Maya.


In collaboration with celebrated restaurateur Alvaro Pérez and sushi master Chef Masayuki Komatsu, Taiyo offers a traditional Japanese menu with a thoughtful, curated selection of delicious dishes all prepared to order. Using only the freshest ingredients: fish of the day, seasonal vegetables and authentic Japanese ingredients including nori, miso, mirin, soba and wasabi, among others. 


When Pérez met Komatsu – an engineer turned sushi chef – the pair decided to embark on opening authentic restaurants based around the ancient Japanese principles, omotenashi (meaning hospitality) and komakai (meaning attention to detail), combined with a refined curation of art – a natural fit for Hotel Esencia. Upon meeting the duo, entrepreneur and owner Kevin Wendle enlisted the team to create an elevated dining experience for guests and locals alike, centered around fresh ingredients and a chic, lively ambiance paired with an unparalleled view of the Caribbean Sea. 


Serving as a new poolside restaurant, Taiyo serves lunch and dinner with menu offerings to include a selection of bowls where guests can choose from a variety of raw fish, shellfish or vegetables served over a base of sushi rice, multigrain rice, cha soba noodles or mixed greens. The menu also features maki cut rolls, nigiri and sashimi by the piece, as well as temaki hand rolls. Signature dishes include the wabisabi bowl with cha soba and – as a nod to the property’s beloved fine-dining restaurant, Beefbar – a signature tempi, wagyu-toro. Guests can enjoy the entire menu selection as a refreshing treat whilst they relax poolside or head down to the beach with bento boxes, prepared as desired.


In keeping with traditional Japanese dining styles, Taiyo also offers an omakase experience at the bar with 12 seats per night (dinner service by reservation only). Following the Edomae sushi tradition created in Tokyo during the Edo Period, guests will leave themselves in the hands of sushi master Komatsu for a completely personalized meal, artistically designed and using the finest ingredients available. Changing with each occasion, no two patrons of Taiyo will experience the same composition of incredible ingredients and delicious flavors. The omakase set menu will include two appetizers, 12 nigiris, one temaki and one miso soup. 


This will be Hotel Esencia’s third unique restaurant, joining the Michelin star concept Beefbar, and celebrated Mexican seafood restaurant Mistura. The opening of Taiyo – in addition to the hotel’s extensive renovations and additions throughout the last year – serves as a continued promise to offer guests the widest range of elevated dining experiences possible, all without ever having to leave the comforts of the finest luxury boutique hotel on the Riviera Maya. 


Booking Info: Located just 50 minutes from Cancun and 30 minutes from Tulum, Hotel Esencia is full of character, charm and heritage. Rates in the new Esencia Suite will start at $3,200, and Master Jungle Suites will start at $2,400 + taxes & services per night, room only.