Playa del Carmen’s new hip hotel
While much the hotels in the Riviera Maya have a retro Mexican resort vibe, Thompson Playa del Carmen exudes this but with an overlay of midcentury-modern chic, from the rooms to the rooftop pool to the elevated cuisine.
Located in the heart of the lively La Quinta Avenida and just blocks from the Caribbean Sea, it's central to anyone wanting to experience the beach town while also wishing to bask in the luxury of a new, hip hotel.
The resort was created by the Mexican architecture firms AS Arquitectura, Seijo Peon and Niz + Chauvet. The design fuses midcentury Mexican accents with colorful geometric patterns, a trick that gives the space a 1950s beach vibe while also keeping it contemporary.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• The rooftop is the place to be. You will find two excellent dining options, Catch and Cinco, as well a long infinity pool stretching out between the eateries. Floating islands, plush lounge chairs and private cabanas help make the space comfortable, and you can order a tropical-themed drink from any perch.
• Style is really important to the Thompson brand, which highlights regional designs at its properties. This proves true with the Playa del Carmen hotel, which has intricate wooden accents; chic lighting fixtures mixed with antique looking lamps; and handcrafted Mexican tiles decking out the pool area, restaurants, bathrooms and lounge. It's a beautiful hodgepodge of art, traditional patterns and modern touches.
• The Beach House is a separate building about four blocks away on the ocean. Book a room here to get off the bustling avenue and ditch busy nightlife scene.
• Enjoy a variety of beach- and ocean-based activities, such as stand-up paddle boarding, sunset yoga and diving. All of this is easily bookable through the concierge and organized by the hotel.
What to Know
• At night, the restaurant Catch transitions from food to fun with live music, DJs and dancing. Festivities start about 10 p.m., and weekends are the busiest time.
• Because the luxury hotel is right off of La Quinta Avenida, the two-mile, pedestrian-only thoroughfare, you can easily wander in search of great tacos, margaritas, souvenirs, beach ware and other local goods. It is also positioned right in the Calle Corazon, a small mall that hosts many internationally favored shops.
• Once you take the hour-long ride from Cancun's airport to Playa del Carmen, it's really easy to get around. Plus, Thompson can secure you a car service for any place that's not walkable or quick to get to on one of the hotel's complimentary bikes.
• Definitely look into taking day trips to some of the historical areas, such as the famous Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza and Xel-Ha, a natural aquarium where you can swim and snorkel.
• With one step in the airy, light-colored rooms, there's no denying you are staying in a beach town. The colors run the gamut from taupe, to light sand, to cool blues and aquas.
• There are 92 rooms ranging from luxury king to panoramic junior suites to the Thompson Suite, which has a private outdoor tub and fire pit on the balcony.
• Even the smallest option, the Deluxe King, proves spacious.
• No matter which room you book, expect a terrace, rain shower heads in the bathroom, kimono-style robes, a wet bar with high-end liquors and mid-century-style furniture decking out the space.
• The interior of the Thompson Playa del Carmen was done by Niz + Chauvet, a notable and local architecture company.
• With two excellent restaurants located on the roof of the hotel, you won't have to travel far for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Both are helmed by executive chef Pedro Abascal and feature approachable, fresh Mexican fare.
• Catch, the concept brought over from New York City and Dubai, is the more upscale Mexican eatery, featuring spicy crab tossed with pasta, crispy whole grouper and toro tartare. Expect a pleasant sea breeze throughout the alfresco meal.
• Don't miss getting lunch at Cinco. Not only do you have the wonderful rooftop view, but there’s a fresh-tasting array of ceviche dishes and excellent tacos.
• The mezcal cocktails at Cinco will fire you up for a day of beach, shopping or lounging at the pool.
• You can order food from the kitchen while relaxing poolside, an excellent option especially if you book one of the cabanas.