Roam+Board :: Papaya Playa Project

Papaya Playa Project

[trip style = sun + beach + glamping]  

What
Ever since the Papaya Playa Project {PPP}a joint venture between Design Hotels and the developergraced the palm tree-kissed shores of Tulum in December 2011 as a pop-up with a long-term plan, Mr. Trip Styler and I have been plotting our visit. 

As glamping-obsessed travelers, we couldn't ignore the eco-retreat's raw beauty and thatched-roof bones. Plus, the lure of living like beach bohemians sans hairdryers, plush hotel slippers, or do-not-disturb signs in bungalows built from local materials was all-too-alluring from our city-slicker standpoint. 

Stretching over a 900 meter ribbon of private oceanfront just a few kilometers North of Tulum's never-ending beach, PPP's 80 roomssome casitas, some full-featured casasdot the seafront edge of the multi-acre property.

Each hut's combo of no-frills furniture, billowing mosquito nets, basket lights and custom-designed textiles is enough to make you love your abode, and yet the lure of the legendary setting is a call outward to the hotel's hubits waves, restaurant, bar, beach club, and amphitheatre which hosts visiting musicians and DJs. 

We spent most of our days at the beach under our four-post palapa atop a teal beach mattress propped up by a handmade headboard (pictured below). Sometimes at the end of a beach day, you want to wash off the salt and sand and call it a day. At PPP, I never had that inkling, instead, I stayed planted in my palapa until sundown. It's that kinda place. 

Trip Styler approved. 

Where
Tulum, Mexico, about 1 hour and 40 minutes by car from the Cancun {CUN} Airport. 

When
Mexico's Caribbean Coast is postcard-perf most of the year. The only time its endless summer is ever-so-slightly threatened is between June and November during Hurricane season. Note: August and September are the worst-offending months, yet even during this sometimes-tumultuous period, the weather is still beautiful *most* of the time.
Kudos: I visited at the beginning of hurricane season and during check-in I was asked my blood type in case of emergency.  

Who/Why
You value design, minimalism and an away-from-it-all setting (and mentality) that calls for nothing more than bare feet, a bathing suit and a beer. 

Cost
Rates start at $105/night and include bottled water, palm frond-covered beach palapas, beach towels and parking. Complimentary WiFi is available in public areas, though it runs off a satellite, so the signal can be on-again, off-again. Kids welcome. Ladies, BYO hairdryer (or embrace beach waves).

Trip Styler Tips:
- Tulum's sand-meets-jungle whereabouts give way to a breezy beach life and a still jungle life. The absence of wind in the woods means mosquitos and noseeums come out to play, so bring repellant for off-beach explorations.
 
- Once monthly the hotel hosts full moon parties, which pump tunes until 4am. I was there during one of these par-tays, and while the beats were partially carried away in the wind, I still heard the music {even with earplugs}.
- Double-check your bill at check-outa good practice no matter where you stay. Mine had a bunch of charges from other units, which needed correction. 
- There are a lot of old reviews about the hotel, which is in a constant state of growth. Note: all rooms have bathrooms. Some base "cabana" rooms do not have plugs for electronics
which can be charged at reception. The hotel is working diligently to get outlets in every room.
- Book a room with AC as temperatures reach 40+ degrees Celsius in some seasons, and mosquitoes loom at night. 
- There is a kiteboarding school onsite. When the wind fades in the summer months, the ocean repertoire transitions to surfing. Private private surf lesson with rental from $45/hour. Kiteboarding lesson with gear from $80/hour. 
- Bikes are an excellent way to explore the mostly-flat area. They can be rented for $8/day a few hundred meters South from PPP.

Photos

 The 900m beach with its handmade beach palapas

The 900m beach with its handmade beach palapas

 Selfie in front of the sign (because I matched my bike and my bike matched the sign)

Selfie in front of the sign (because I matched my bike and my bike matched the sign)

 Lobby

Lobby

 A map of the property painted on the wall of the lobby 

A map of the property painted on the wall of the lobby 

 Walking the grounds  

Walking the grounds  

 Beachfront Casita

Beachfront Casita

 Our New Casita 

Our New Casita 

 View from our bed to the sea a few steps below

View from our bed to the sea a few steps below

 Inside our New Casita 

Inside our New Casita 

 Note the open shower and the beachy towel rack in the background

Note the open shower and the beachy towel rack in the background

 Where we ate breakfast every day

Where we ate breakfast every day

 One course of our breakfast 

One course of our breakfast 

 The resort's wind-swept look 

The resort's wind-swept look 

 Entrance to the beach from the main restaurant/bar hub

Entrance to the beach from the main restaurant/bar hub

 Mr. Trip Styler post-surf

Mr. Trip Styler post-surf

 He rented his board from the on-site kite/surf school: Sian Kite

He rented his board from the on-site kite/surf school: Sian Kite

 The endless summer beach

The endless summer beach