A two hour drive past the mega resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, you will find one of the trendiest towns in Mexico. Nicknamed the "Williamsburg of Mexico", Tulum is truly a hipster mecca. The town of Tulum permeates a anarauper chill, relaxing boho chic vibe that appeals to modern urbanites. Bike riding hipsters can be seen at one of the many boutique hotels along Quintana Roo 15, a small road that runs alongside the ocean. Here you will find bungalows nestled on small cliffs where you can hang out on your private patio, lounging on Mayan diamond weave hammocks overlooking the ocean. Many cabanas and bungalows dot the area, and although the mosquito nets, treehouse style architecture and lack of walls look romantic, I was there on a photoshoot so I wanted an air conditioned room to get out of the heat, cool off when needed and keep my photo gear protected. I chose to stay at the Sanará Tulum Hotel. The open air reception area of Sanará Tulum greeted me on my arrival and I could feel the stress and tension of my travels melting away the minute I arrived.
Hotel owners Daniella Hunter and Charlie Gay, two British social entrepreneurs, built Sanará with a healing space in mind. The hotel's name, Sanará, is Spanish for "you will heal" and it could not have been a more appropriate name for this property.
From the start, Hunter and Gay were very environmentally conscious. Unlike so many other hotels along the road, the owners wanted minimal displacement of the natural landscape. Firstly, they left the natural sand dune beachfront intact. Although a couple trees had to be relocated within the property, the trees were not "landscaped" away and were left as they were found in nature.
The energy of Sanará reflects this thoughtfulness of being in tune with nature. In fact, all of the rooms, the villa and structures in Sanará are elevated to allow sand access for nesting turtles. This ties in with the whole concept of the hotel; it is all about giving you space to breathe, relax and heal.
Fellow hotel guest, Hollywood star and Valentino fragrance campaign star Eric Balfour said, "I love the fact that they don't have any TVs or phones in the room. I can honestly unplug and truly relax." If you need anything, you whatsapp the front desk and within minutes you are well taken care of. You are left alone to do what you like but you never feel that you are without great hotel service.
Minimal luxury is a theme you find throughout the property. The rooms have concrete floors, bare white walls decorated with handmade dreamcatchers, tiles from the local town of Merida, and ladder-shaped towel racks made from natural driftwood. Some of the first floor rooms have private open air gardens with clawfoot tubs and hammocks. Large sliding glass doors open to the gardens or the front veranda to blur the lines between outside and inside. Most rooms sleep up to three people, but the Sanará villa can accommodate a group or family of eight to ten people.
You will not need to wear shoes, as the hotel is on the sand. The one thing that is definitely different, is that Sanará used all of their most expensive beachfront real estate for everyone to enjoy. Instead of all the other hotels who put their priciest rooms facing the ocean, Sanará decided to make theirs ocean front public space. Their prime real estate is not exclusive rooms, but a beautiful yoga center facing the ocean. With classes several times a day, even non-hotel guests are allowed to join classes. I am not a die-hard yoga person but even I enjoyed waking up to watch the sunrise, opening the walls of the yoga center, stretching and doing some basic calisthenics as the ocean breeze blew through my hair. Magical is a good word to describe how I felt using that yoga center.
Right across from the yoga center in another oceanfront view that was turned into a public area: their restaurant, The Real Coconut. The menu designed by owner Daniella is energy boosting, body nourishing goodness. All dishes are dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free and they use only coconut oil to cook. Although there were many vegetarian options they also had many options with proteins. As the owner Daniella said, "Every dish is designed to nourish and support both the body and soul down to the cellular level without dismissing the importance of flavor."
Staying at the Sanará Hotel, I really felt my body, mind, and spirit healing, and I found myself not reaching for a tequila charged margarita but a healing green juice or scrumptious choco nutty smoothie. I had the option to have meals in the restaurant or served to me while I sat on my own private bed on the sandy white beach.
If you still need more to heal and relax, you can also head over to the wellness center. The building is in the middle of the property. Resident healers and visiting healers bring different practices from tuning forks, reflexology, crystal healing, aromatherapy, craniosacral therapy or a local specialty of that area of the world, a Mayan abdominal massage. After your treatment be sure to go to the beautiful roof deck on top of the wellness center for some lounging and more ocean views.
The Sanará Tulum Hotel is truly a place to breath, relax and heal.
Photos and article by Becky Yee