Best Places to Stay in Playa Del Carmen: Mexico Travel Guide

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Playa Del Carmen, one of the most vibrant, up and coming cities in Mexico, you might find yourself spoilt for choice when choosing where you want to stay. Accommodation ranges from the luxury boutiques – and by luxury we mean luxury – to modern, all-inclusive resorts. Yes, it’s safe to say the city has it all, and all of them claim to be the best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen. So, how on earth do you narrow it down?

When booking a trip to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, you know that you’re guaranteed sun, sand, and sea, for sure – particularly in Playa Del Carmen. This popular vacation spot has everything from white sand beaches, to incredible restaurants, and some of the most spectacular reefs and wildlife you’ll ever see. Not to mention the amount of accommodation on offer, which makes choosing the best hotel a tough task. Are you a rooftop pool person? Or a blue-lagoon, nature lover? Is an all-inclusive bar at the top of your list, or do you want calm and relaxation?

Well, that’s where we come in. We’re going to show you the 9 best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen. If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, we’ll show you everything from luxury boutique hotels to the best family-friendly inclusive resort!

Ready to get planning your next holiday? Well, let’s dive right in!

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Best places to stay Playa Del Carmen
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The 9 Best Places to Stay in Playa Del Carmen Mexico

We’ve chosen these 9 places to stay in Playa Del Carmen to give you the best in accommodation no matter your budget. We’ll also give you some tips on when is best to visit this popular Mexican city. Plus, the best way to stay safe when traveling!

Playacar Palace Hotel

This upscale, all-inclusive hotel is set right in the heart of Playa Del Carmen, with beautiful views overlooking the harbor. It has a vibe that invites everyone from families to groups of friends but don’t worry, this isn’t a rowdy place. This hotel markets itself at those who want an easy, laid back holiday, with a tad of luxury on the side.

The exclusive neighborhood Playacar Palace is set in gives this all-inclusive accommodation a quiet and secluded feel. Added to that is the private beach that belongs to the hotel. Lucky guests get the opportunity to stroll straight from breakfast onto the white sandy shores of the Mexican coast.

Rooms at this all-inclusive resort vary from deluxe family rooms with kingsize beds and ocean views to a walk-out suite with beachfront decking. Each of the 201 rooms available at the Playacar is modern and stylishly decorated, with high-quality linen and cotton towels. Plus, regardless of which room you opt for, you will be able to enjoy an indoor whirlpool bathtub, access to free Wi-Fi, coffee-maker, and top-shelf liquor cabinet. All that, plus a number of other amenities to make your stay as comfortable and convenient as possible.

The main features of the hotel itself include a large outdoor pool with views overlooking the ocean. Perfect for those envy-inducing Instagram shots we all love so much! Plus, a dedicated section for children if you’re traveling with the family. The poolside bar also means you’ve got easy access to cocktails on those hot summer afternoons. There are also three restaurants serving Italian and Asian food, and of course, the obligatory all-inclusive buffet.

Are you looking for a little luxury pampering during your Playa Del Carmen vacation? Well, the Playacar Palace will take care of that. The hotel includes the ‘Awe Spa’, which offers pretty much every treatment you could wish for. Yes, we’re talking aromatherapy, body wraps, plunge pools, and even herbal steam rooms (yes please!)

Of course, this hotel is also in easy reach of Cancun and offers tours to Tulum and Coba for those that want to explore further.

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Resort pool overlooking ocean best places to stay playa del carmen
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Mahekal Beach Resort

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Playa Del Carmen that is a little closer to nature, the Mahekal Beach Resort might be just the ticket.

This beach resort is geared at those looking for upper mid-range accommodation. It certainly has a rustic, boho-chic vibe to it which adds to its charm. By boho, we mean mostly thatched-roof huts, ocean-front views, and the sound of the waves as you drift off to sleep.

As we’ve said, rooms at the Mahekal Beach Resort range from the classic haciendas with decking and hammocks to the more sturdy casitas. Opting for the hacienda will have you equipped with a minibar, air-con, and wi-fi. More than your basic amenities. Having said that, the casitas will see you right with a private plunge pool and ocean views. The only downside to these quaint thatched-roof properties is that they aren’t particularly sound-proof. So, if you’re closer to the beach bars it might not be the most peaceful accommodation around.

Feeling more adventurous? Well, the Mahekal Beach Resort also offers treehouse accommodation so you can fully immerse yourself in nature. And for those with a bigger budget, penthouses, suites, and entire beach houses are available to book too.

In terms of facilities, the Mahekal Resort isn’t short of them. There are numerous hot-tubs, four pools – one of which is an infinity pool, table tennis, and pool tables. Add to that, three restaurants and three bars, all with stunning views. You might find yourself not wanting to come home!

If you’re traveling with family, this might not be the most ideal place to stay in Playa Del Carmen. Whilst children are welcome at this resort and certainly catered for, the atmosphere seems aimed at couples and groups of friends, with plenty of bars and easy access to city nightlife.

It’s also worth noting that all bookings are subject to an additional resort fee.

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Beach hut with lanterns
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Fairmont Mayakoba

This luxury resort certainly aims at those with a high-end budget. Yet it still caters to those looking for an all-inclusive, albeit more expensive, experience.

Fairmont Mayakoba prides itself on the grounds in which it is set. The resort is nestled among lush green jungle, that leads you right out to the ocean. Yes, you might need to do a slight bit of trekking to reach the sea, but you are fully immersed in the wildlife and nature that is present in the Mexican city. In fact, the resort offers jungle trails to follow, and routes along the canals to encourage guests to truly experience the surroundings. It is, perhaps, what makes this one of the best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen. It certainly encourages you to make the most of the jungle, but make sure you take your insect repellant!

Of course, if you’re not into nature so much, the beautiful white sand beach will be enough to draw you to this accommodation. Not only that, but the resort itself offers five pools, including one with a waterslide and even a whirlpool if you’re holidaying with the kids.

Other facilities that standout at Fairmont Mayakoba is the three high-class restaurants, celebrity chef, craft beer tasting, and even insect gastronomy. Yes, seriously. If you’re a foodie, this might just be your dream resort in Playa Del Carman. Those that are looking forward to a drink on their vacation, will be pleased to know that there are four bars available onsite – including a tequila bar!

Rooms at the Fairmont Mayakoba range from the more basic Fairmont Room, right up to the Deluxe Casita. All come with an incredible view, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and simple, but clean-cut decor.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico

This upmarket, all-inclusive hotel is a popular choice of accommodation in the Riviera Maya area. But that is only one of many reasons it has made it on to our list of best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen!

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Despite the sheer size of the 900 room(!) Hotel Xcaret, it is actually a very peaceful, and spacious place to stay. Yes, there can be queues and crowds when it comes to checking in and out, but other than that you might be surprised at how relaxed the atmosphere is.

Aimed at both families and couples alike, the rooms in this eco-friendly, sustainable hotel are decorated with a local feel. Each room provides guests with Nespresso machines, robes, jetted bathtubs, and an outdoor terrace with a hammock.

Families staying at this hotel will be pleased to know that there is a kids club, family club, nightly entertainment, and numerous pools with waterslides, and play areas. There is also kayaking on the nearby river and plenty of places to explore to keep the children entertained. For couples wanting to relax, there is free organised yoga and meditation, a cave-themed luxury spa, and a breathtaking beach right out the front.

Yoga on the beach
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If you’re wondering what the all-inclusive features of the Hotel Xcaret Mexico are like, you certainly won’t be disappointed. The hotel boasts 10 restaurants, with Mexican, Asian, and buffet options, not to mention a Michelin star restaurant (at an additional cost of course).

Included in the price of your stay is free access to Xcaret, Xel-Ha, and Xplor parks. These are water and adventure parks which offer tonnes of activities suitable for all the family.

The only downside to Hotel Xcaret is that some areas are off-limits to certain guests. This includes some of the restaurants, which can only be booked for an additional fee. Some restaurants are also adults-only, however, with the number of eateries available in the hotel, you still won’t be short of options for the children.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Banyan Tree Mayakoba is perhaps one of the most luxurious resorts on our list of best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen, and for good reason.

The resort, a beautifully designed, natural piece of architecture, is found in a secluded area, right along a sprawling white-sand beach. If that isn’t enough, the Banyan Tree resort is surrounded by lush lagoons and towering mangroves that add to the feeling of living in luxury whilst encapsulated by Mexicos nature and wildlife.

The villas are also jaw-droppingly appealing, and range from two-person villas with private pool, to beach-front suites, to the beautiful large family residences with views of the surrounding greenery. Each accommodation, regardless of the capacity, comes with a private pool. Plus, rainfall showers, luxury outdoor bathtubs, smart TV, and insect repellant (you are in the jungle, after all).

Banyan Tree Mayakoba isn’t all-inclusive, and as you can imagine from its luxury hotel status, aims itself at those with a high-end budget. But, the resort certainly does its best to make it worthwhile.

Facilities here include several public pools, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and yoga classes. So, if you’re tired of lounging on the beach there is plenty to keep you entertained. The resort also offers tours of the mangroves, and is children-friendly, with a daily kids club held on-site.

If you decide to stay at the Banyan Tree resort, you can expect incredible food at each of the resorts (numerous) restaurants. Or, if you don’t fancy going out, have gourmet food delivered straight to your villa. It’s worth mentioning here that the food is notoriously expensive at this resort. Perhaps one thing to consider if you are traveling with a big family. On the other hand, if you fancy learning a little something in the kitchen, there are cooking classes available on site! These are a popular choice with guests staying at the hotel and have received great reviews.

White sand beach Mexico best places to stay Playa Del Carmen
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If you’re not one for activities on your holidays, then you might enjoy visiting the award-winning luxury spa. Treatments include massage, body scrubs, ice fountains, facials, and even thermal cabins you can visit if you want to embark on a full wellness journey.

The downside to this resort? Probably the mosquitoes, but it seems like a very small price to pay for the luxurious experience of staying at one of Playa Del Carmen’s top resorts. Plus, don’t forget the insect repellant is free!

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Belmond Maroma Resort

Another of the top luxury resorts in the Riviera Maya, the Belmond Maroma Resort is slightly further out. Situated roughly half-way between Playa Del Carmen and Cancun, it is found in a secluded coconut grove and hidden within the Mexican jungle. Perhaps not being directly in Playa Del Carmen is a downside for some. But others prefer the location as it is closer to Cancun airport, which can be a benefit when it comes to booking transfers.

Whilst this resort isn’t all-inclusive, which can increase the cost of your holiday, it does include a free breakfast. Guests of this luxury resort leave rave reviews of the breakfast, particularly the quesadillas that are fresh and made-to-order every morning. To be honest, we were sold at the sound of the quesadilla. But wait until you hear about the rest of the hotel!

Yes, the Belmond Maroma Resort is another accommodation with idyllic grounds. In particular, the white-sanded, crystal-blue water Caribbean beach that the hotel overlooks. But, if you’re not a beach person, the hotel offers three pools, all lined with palm trees and one exclusively for adults. Fancy a drink by the pool? Choose from the two bars, both of which have an exclusive tequila menu and mezze plates.

Tequila cocktail with lime
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Each of the 63 rooms in this resort is beautifully decorated, with traditional Mayan decor and artwork. Whether you go for a deluxe room or a swish beachfront casa, you’ll be blown away by the simple, clean, luxurious feel of the facilities. Plus, all rooms provide guests fresh morning coffee, kaftans, and ocean or garden views. If you have a higher budget for your accommodation, some of the more expensive suites come with private plunge pools and outdoor bathtubs. An additional slice of luxury that we certainly wouldn’t turn down! It is worth mentioning that none of the rooms come with a TV. A purposeful choice by the designers to increase the feeling of relaxation and seclusion.

In fact, it is this feeling of isolation and exclusivity that appeals to the many couples that stay at the resort. And, although families are more than welcome, the resort does have a particularly romantic atmosphere. Perhaps it is the spa, which contains hot-tubs, traditional Mexican healing treatments, and couples massage to boot.

Rosewood Mayakoba

Continuing with the luxury resort theme, Rosewood Mayakoba is up there with Banyan Tree Mayakoba when it comes to cost. But, if you’re looking to splash out on your Mexican vacation, the Rosewood is certainly one of the best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen – and for good reason too.

Located on a mile-long stretch of a tropical beach, the Rosewood Mayakoba offers a serene and peaceful place to spend your holiday. Aimed at both families and couples, although frequented mainly by the latter, the facilities at this resort really do cater for everyone.

With a children’s club and babysitting service, parents and children can both relax knowing that their needs are catered for. Particularly when it comes to swimming, with six stunning pools to choose from (although two are adult-only). On top of that, there is a wide-range of water sports to choose from. This includes popular sports kayaking and, of course, surfing. Snorkeling is also a must-try activity due to the incredible coral reefs found in the Caribbean. And that’s not to mention the marine life you can see!

If you want to work on your health and wellbeing, there is full access to a fitness center. This includes the help of a personal trainer if you want to fork out a little extra. You can follow your morning workout with a visit to the luxury spa, where you can enjoy a massage, facial, or experience a healing session with a Mayan Shaman.

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Luxury tropical spa best places to stay playa del carmen
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The accommodation at Rosewood Mayakoba resort doesn’t disappoint either. Depending on your budget, you can choose from one of their 129 suites, with enormous bathrooms and private plunge pools. Feeling fancy? Well, make the most of the butler and concierge service and feel like royalty during your stay.

With six restaurants and a range of cuisines, the food has received mixed reviews at this resort. For some, it is exceptional, but other guests feel the food is overpriced – perhaps something to consider before booking.

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Riviera Maya Suites

Located in downtown Playa Del Carmen, a short walk from Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), Riviera Maya Suites is a mid-range, family-run accommodation that is certainly worth a visit.

This is one of the more basic accommodations on our list. However, this is certainly one of the best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen for value for money. Rooms at the Riviera Maya consist of two or three-bedroom, cosy apartments. These range from your simple deluxe, to the more luxurious penthouse. All of which have private kitchen, bathrooms, and if requested, access to washer and dryers. Perfect if you are traveling on a budget. Or, with a big family and want to avoid eating out every day.

The surrounding areas include lush green gardens and access to the pool and a hot tub. You also have access to free garage parking, although this is limited and on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The downsides to Riviera Maya Suites is that there is no onsite restaurant. Of course, with the apartments coming equipped with a private kitchen you can easily cook at home. Alternatively, you can explore and access local restaurants out in Playa Del Carmen as you’re already located downtown.

Unlike some of the other hotels on this list, you have no direct access to a beach – but don’t let this put you off! The nearest beach is a mere five minutes walk away. This saves you a considerable amount of money in comparison to the rates of beachfront resorts.

Mexico beach with water sports equipment
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Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

One of the best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen when it comes to all-inclusive, we couldn’t leave out the Grand Velas Riviera. Perfect if you want the ease of all-inclusive, without sacrificing the finer touches of travel.

With a huge 491 suites that cover over 80 acres of mangrove land, this resort really lives up to its name. The Grand Velas Riviera resort is situated on a one-thousand foot, white sand beach. You certainly won’t be fighting for space on this holiday. In fact, the resort is so big that there is a shuttle to take guests down to the beach!

Aimed at families and couples, this resort has three buildings. One of which is adults-only, which ensures those looking for peace and privacy are catered for too. Each building has its own modern pool complex, complete with a gym and stunning, private plunge pool. Each room provides guests with a marble bathroom, rain shower, and 42-inch flatscreen TV. Plus, if you’re willing to pay out a little more, you can request a room with a terrace and ocean view – total luxury!

Kids will be well entertained with a daily kids club and activities. Plus there is also a club aimed at teenage children too. Not only that, but you can access free watersports through the hotel. So, the whole family can make most of being beachfront every day!

When it comes to food, you won’t be short of options at the Grand Velas Riviera. It will come as no surprise to learn that this vast resort has eight restaurants available on site. All of which serve exception buffet-style food, and some a la carte too.

If you’re looking to make the most out of your relaxing trip to Mexico, a visit to the holistic spa is a must. With a full menu of holistic treatments including healing hydrotherapy, Aloe massage and wrap, and the incredible sounding Organic Kaab Honey experience.

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Best places to stay Playa Del Carmen
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Is it safe to stay in Playa del Carmen?

Since the Coronavirus Pandemic began at the beginning of 2020, questions surrounding travel safety have a totally different meaning. However, in general (the pandemic aside here), it is considered safe to stay in Playa Del Carmen. The vast majority of tourists visit Playa Del Carmen absolutely trouble-free, however, as with all tourist hotspots you do need to watch out for pickpockets. This form of robbery usually targets tourists and happens in crowded markets, bars, and beaches. So, keep your belongings close, just to be on the safe side!

You also need to watch out for inflated prices. Again, this is not unique to Playa Del Carmen. However, when it comes to paying for tours or taxis, make sure you shop around. Prices that tourists pay are often inflated slightly. But you can still take precautions so you don’t end up getting ripped off! Tips for this include choosing taxis with a running meter and choose items already priced where possible.

In terms of Covid-19, the Government is currently advising against all travel to Mexico, among many other countries. Hopefully, these restrictions will lift as we move into next year. But if you’re looking to book a vacation it is always best to check the Government travel advice first.

What is the best month to go to Playa del Carmen?

The best months to go to Playa Del Carmen are between October to March. This is when the temperatures are warm – between 27 and 31 degrees Celcius, and when the hurricane season is over. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can visit Playa Del Carmen in March or April. This is when the temperatures are slightly lower and the beaches are much less crowded.

The downside to visiting between October and March is the high number of tourists. Playa Del Carmen is popular with cruise ships. So, the influx of liners docking in the city does hike up the prices. You will also need to book much further in advance if you want the full choice of the best hotels!

Luxury beach bar best places to stay Playa Del Carmen
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The months of March and April, as mentioned earlier, are much quieter. It is around this time that you get the best bargains on accommodation, flights, and local tours. The temperatures are also more bearable, as the country begins to cool as the wet season rolls in. It is worth noting that Easter week and the Mexican Spring Equinox can get busy as locals embark on vacations across the country!

Of course, the best thing about choosing Playa Del Carmen for a vacation is that the weather is always likely to be warm. So, if you go off-season, you’re still going to get the good weather! If you’re not a fan of the humidity, then avoid June, July, and August. This is when the humidity is at its highest.

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When it comes to the best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen, there are some excellent contenders. However, for us, it has to be the Banyan Tree Mayakoba. With its traditional style decor, beachfront villas, and secluded, natural location, it encapsulates the true beauty of Mexico and its wildlife.

Sea turtle swimming in ocean
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Of course, if you’re traveling on a budget, or with the whole family, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba might not be up your street. In which case, the Grand Velas Riviera is definitely number one. With a combination of family-friendly fun and luxurious finer touches, this resort has everything for the whole family. A hotel that caters to children, and leaves parents feeling pampered and relaxed is a winner in our eyes!

However, no matter your budget or your traveling style, whether you like rustic, luxury, or high-end accommodation, it’s safe to say this vibrant city has it all!

Which do you think looks like the best place to stay in Playa Del Carmen? Have you been to the city before? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share if you enjoyed our article!

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James Ardimento has spent the last 12 years journeying around the globe ! With its precious experiences and tips he gained around Asia, South America, Europe and the US he is a precious asset for this blog and for its readers