Tides Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Thirty deceptively earthy villas dot deep jungle trails along the beach at the Tides. The Viceroy Hotel Group (of the Avalon Beverly Hills, and Viceroy Palm Springs and Viceroy Santa Monica fame) took charge of the eco-friendly retreat in 2006 as the first phase of its Riviera Maya invasion (Next up: residences by powerhouse architect Ricardo Legorreta in the nearby Mayakoba development). Mayan carpenters constructed thatched villas with all the comforts of a rustic billionaire's cottage: bathrooms with marble showers and Molton Brown toiletries, canopied beds with 500 thread-count sheets, and outdoor living rooms with private plunge pools, hammocks, beach beds, and the occasional butterfly. The beach is narrow and long, and the spa heavily devoted to native traditions like temazcal (Mayan sweat lodge). Well-selected wines and high-end tequilas accompany Mediterranean-Mayan dishes at the on-site Azul restaurant—indulge in delicacies like the caviar-topped swordfish sashimi. For getting back to nature without skimping on frills, the Tides is ideal. But be forewarned that noise from nearby construction could cause trouble in paradise.
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