Papaya Playa Project (aka PPP) is a 100 room boutique hotel located right on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. Owned by Design Hotels, the hotel was constructed with the intention that its guests experience being a part of nature – and they definitely did that. Walking to the cabanas felt like walking through the jungle and on the first night, we could hear the waves of the ocean crashing from our bedroom. There were 4 of us on the trip and we arrived on different days, so the first night we had separate Maya Ocean View Cabana and the second night, we all stayed in a Casita with Private Pool.
On the website, the pictures are amazing and don’t get me wrong, because I got some good shots, too. But the hotel itself wasn’t really what I was expecting. Everything is outdoors, like the check-in desk, restaurant, and juice bar – even the public bathrooms were semi-open. I absolutely, LOVED the casita, but I don’t think that I would stay in the cabana again. When we checked-in they gave all of us these brown bead bracelets, which were literally the bane of our existence. I kept thinking it fell off my wrist and I lost it when we were out and about, but these bracelets were kind of a big deal at the hotel. There was even one point when we were trying to go back to our room and the workers said to themselves, “Oh, they have the bracelets they can go.”
As far as dining options, they had a restaurant/bar and juice bar near the lobby. We ate at the hotel restaurant one night and I had the bone marrow tacos. They were really good, but really fatty. Their michealdas were good and spicy, though! Overall, their menu seemed kind of overpriced to me but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re staying at a hotel.
There was AC in both rooms, but for some reason, the cabana just wasn’t as comfortable. In the cabana, there’s a mosquito net around the bed and the bathroom didn’t really feel that clean to me. There were a few steps that led up to the bathroom, an open shower, and concrete floors. The shower head in the cabana leaked a lot, so the shower was always wet. The view from the front door was so pretty, although I am a bit biased because I am all about the ocean.
The casita was to die for – it was huge and roomy and had a rooftop pool with a 180 degree view of the ocean! There was a waterfall shower head with a huge open shower area. The 4 of us fit in the room comfortably – there was a giant king sized bed with what I think was a full sized mattress at the bottom – but be warned, the person limit is 3 and we had an extra $84 charge for having that 4th person! We were pretty upset about that because the front desk guy knew there were 4 of us and didn’t mention anything about the charge when we checked in.
The best part of the cabana – the rooftop views!
We paid $282.02 for one night in the Cabana room and $402.15 ($317.71 + $84.44 for the extra person) for the casita – my cut was roughly $240 for the weekend. I thought the rooms were pretty pricey but I have no clue if it was peak season when we went or not (it was Thanksgiving weekend). The cost of the casita made sense to me, but I personally felt like the cabana was a little overpriced. Looking around, it was kind of average priced for the area but I think we could’ve stayed at a nicer place on the first night. The accommodations are so much nicer in the casita, which was to be expected, but the stark contrast was kind of surprising to all of us. There was a mini fridge and snacks in the casita, whereas there were only a couple of bottles of water and some matches in the cabana.
Apparently it’s the party spot to be on Saturday nights – they have a big open dining area right outside the lobby in front of the beach where they hold monthly full moon parties and there’s a DJ in house every weekend. We stopped by to check out the party the Saturday night we were there, but it definitely wasn’t our cup of tea. The DJ played trance all night (I’m an EDM fan, but it literally sounded like the same song all night) and we could hear it bumping from the casita all through the night.
We spent our last morning lounging around the rooftop pool and in true girl fashion, we got a ton of shots for the ‘gram. I think we all kind of regret not spending more time up there.
Overall, it was an amazing experience, but if we had to do it all again at PPP, I’d chose to book the casita the whole time.