While we often opt for more secluded spots when visiting the Riviera Maya, sometimes the benefits of being closer to nightlife, shopping and dining proves a powerful draw. And Playa del Carmen, which has earned a reputation as the Miami Beach of Mexico, is where we set our sights. Thanks to a recent addition to the town’s best boutique hotel, the Thompson Playa del Carmen, there’s even more reason to visit and stay awhile. The Thompson Beach House is an oceanfront annex to the Main House, located just a few blocks away on one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in Mexico. Smaller and more intimate then the Main House, the Beach House has just 27 rooms and suites, all done in a cool mid-century contemporary style in neutral and earth tones with lots of natural wood and organic textiles.
Guests at the Beach House enjoy the mini-resort’s luxe amenities including an exclusive pool with terraced sunbeds at one end leading down to the beach, posh private cabanas and the C Grill – an oceanfront restaurant offering wood fire grilled seafood, fresh ceviche and inspired twists on traditional Mexican favorites, along with poolside cocktails at an outdoor bar. They also have access to the offerings of the Main House located on the famed La Quinta Agenda, Playa’s two-mile, pedestrian-only shopping and dining district, and Calle 12, which boasts the trendiest bars and nightclubs in Riviera Maya as well as world-class shopping.
The most impressive feature of the 92-room Main House, known for its vibrant nightlife, impeccable location and luxury accommodations, is a 30,000-square-foot rooftop complex complete with an infinity pool, panoramic ocean views, luxury cabanas and two restaurants including NYC’s famed culinary concept CATCH. Featuring dramatic 360-degree views of the Riviera Maya, from sea to city’s edge, CATCH offers globally influenced, locally sourced cuisine served in the seafood restaurant’s signature shareable style, with a bustling open kitchen and sushi bar. The menu is divided into Raw, Rolled, Cold and Hot sections as well as larger format entrees and simply grilled selections sourced from local farms and fishermen.
Classic CATCH dishes include salmon belly carpaccio, bourbon-miso black cod lettuce wraps, Cantonese lobster and crispy whole red snapper for two. Cocktails include the Catch me! with gin, passionfruit, lemon grass, rosemary and lime; the Seedless Suzy with Absolut Elyx, watermelon juice, lime and basil; and La Cura with white mezcal, jasmine green tea, pineapple, lime and ginger. Brunch is just as happening a scene with pool parties, a DJ, waffle towers, cinnamon roll pancakes as well as a Bloody Mary bar and made-to-order Aperol Spritzers and Micheladas. If you’re feeling guilty afterwards you can always burn it off in the fitness center.
There are also a wide variety of spa services available including Swedish massage, deep tissue therapy, sports massage, reflexology and more. You can choose the setting, opting for the comfort of your suite, a private poolside cabana or the chilled-out atmosphere of the Beach House. In addition, the Thompson Playa del Carmen offers several amenities to guests including daily sunrise yoga, mezcal tastings, bicycle rentals and a variety of destination experiences including cenote snorkeling, visiting a monkey sanctuary, a day trip to Tulum and more via its partnership with adventure company Living Dreams. No wonder the property has garnered numerous accolades including being named one of the “2018 Best Hotels in Playa del Carmen” by U.S. News and World Report; one of the “Best Resorts in Eastern Mexico” with one of “The Best Hotel Breakfasts in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler; and one of readers’ “Favorite Caribbean Resorts” by USA Today.
Thompson Hotels is a member of the Two Roads Hospitality portfolio, the international hotel management group led by hospitality icon John Pritzker. The company’s aim is to “seek out one-of-a-kind, unique properties and reshape them into timeless destinations to create the kind of distinct experiences that can transform your day, your trip, or even your life.” In addition to the Playa del Carmen properties the portfolio now includes the Thompson Chicago; Gild Hall and The Beekman in New York City; the Thompson Nashville; the Thompson Seattle; the Thompson Toronto; and The Cape in Cabo San Lucas, all among the coolest places to stay in each destination.