La Valise: Is This Tulum’s Dreamiest Hotel?
A tropical paradise overlooking the crystalline Caribbean sea
By | 1 month ago
Ellie Smith ventures to Mexico‘s stylish Tulum beach town, where the stunning La Valise Tulum awaits.
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La Valise Tulum: Hotel Review
Thirty years ago, Tulum was a sleepy town popular with backpackers, with just a few cheap hotels scattered along its beach. How things have changed since then. It’s now one of the most popular tourist destinations on Mexico’s Riviera Maya coastline, with glamorous types flocking there from all over the world to soak up its distinct boho-chic vibe, Ibiza-style beach clubs and upmarket hotels. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and prices are undeniably high – but near the end of the main coastal road sits a little gem which is near-impossible not to fall in love with.
We’re talking about La Valise Tulum, a boutique hotel nestled between the white sand beach and luscious Yucatan jungle – part of the Namron Hospitality group, which has a collection of hotels in the area. Just under two hours drive from Cancun airport, it’s located on the quieter part of Tulum Beach, offering a peaceful retreat from the bustling town where hammocks sway in the sea breeze and guests spend the entirety of their stay barefoot.
La Valise is a picture-perfect example of Tulum’s signature look, characterised by traditional palapa thatched roofs and exposed beams. The property is split into two wings, one directly on the beach, another within the jungle (these are just seconds away from one another) – each with 11 rooms. Beachfront rooms either look out onto the hotel’s garden or the sea itself, while jungle rooms are embedded within the greenery, a couple with views of the cenote-style pool below. All are beautifully designed and have an earthy, beachy feel, but with their own perks – some have their own plunge pool, for instance, while others have a private terrace.
We stayed in an upper garden suite: an idyllic space with a balcony, a king bed surrounded in white drapes, a huge stone bath and an outdoor shower. In-keeping with the rest of the hotel, the design features neutral colours and whitewashed walls, decked out with rattan, wicker baskets and straw rugs, with Mexican artworks adding a bit of quirk.
The indoor/outdoor vibe extends throughout the hotel – particularly so in the extra special master suites, which feature beds that roll out onto a private terrace, meaning you can snooze under the stars (or sunbathe in bed). The sprawling 1,000 sqft Beachfront Master Suite, with its ocean views and seven-metre thatched roof, is undoubtedly one of the best rooms in Tulum.
It’s easy to slip into the easy-breezy pace of Tulum life here. Set up camp on one of the dreamy sunbeds on the hotel’s private stretch of beach beneath the palm trees, or chill by the jungle-side pool, which is embedded within the greenery. Need a break from the sun? No problem: shaded hammocks and daybeds are dotted all over the place, and there’s a lovely common space decked out with hand-carved furniture.
Continue the zen vibes at the hotel’s spa, a small but perfectly formed space offering Mayan-inspired treatments with natural oils – which you can also arrange to have in your room. While this is about the extent of La Valise’s facilities, the hotel has a number of sister properties which guests can visit. Pop to Radhoo for a yoga class, for instance, or enjoy a guided meditation at NEST.
There’s plenty to explore nearby too. La Valise provides bikes, making it easy to explore the local beach town, with its boutique shops, cocktail bars, restaurants and wellness studios. Just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, you’ll find Cenote Encantado, a large natural pool surrounded by mangroves, which is surprisingly quiet – we were lucky enough to enjoy a solo swim there. A little further away, you’ll find more well-known cenotes, such as Casa Cenote, famed for its snake-like shape and crystal clear waters.
The Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve is also close, home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. And, of course, you have the famous Tulum ruins, one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico, sitting high on the seaside cliffs.
While La Valise is all about the chill factor, if you’re keen for a party, Tulum is renowned for its nightlife too, with endless stylish bars and clubs lining its streets – though be aware some are very pricey. For a more low-key cocktail night, look out for El Aperitivo hour at NÜ Tulum, the hotel’s open-air sister restaurant and bar where La Valise guests can enjoy complimentary drinks.
Breakfast is served on a deck overlooking the beach, and features fresh juices, smoothie bowls, avo-on-toast and huevos rancheros. And while there’s no dedicated restaurant, you can enjoy dishes from NÜ in various spots around the hotel, with a menu including ceviches, salads, tacos and sandwiches. There are some excellent cocktails on offer too – a passion fruit margarita with your toes in the sand is a must – alongside select wines and local beers.
For dinner, wander across the road to NÜ for fresh, colourful Mexican/Caribbean cuisine. Head chef Luis Aguilar and his team cook up nutritious dishes made with organic produce from a nearby regenerative farm called Mestiza de Indias, which recovers endemic species to the region such as winged beans, African cucumbers and piña de miel (honey pineapple). A regularly changing menu features small plates like sweet potato with wild ginger and peanuts, wood-grilled prawns, chorizo spiced cauliflower and local fish with shaved roots.
THE FINAL WORD
Tulum is a treasure trove of biodiversity, but has been criticised for its over-development. Places like La Valise, however, seem to exist in harmony with the natural environment. The hotel is eco-conscious: there’s a zero single-use plastic policy, reef-safe sunscreen is provided, and minimal outdoor night lighting ensures a naturally-flowing turtle ecosystem. Overall, its natural beauty, paired with a quiet and positive atmosphere, works to remind guests of the importance of protecting our beloved planet.