The Mexican state of Quintana Roo is not only home to some of the most popular vacation hotspots in the world (most notably Cancún), but also some of the most underrated boutique hotels in the industry. For travel aficionados, boutique hotels are less about the grandeur, and more about the personalized service and eccentric characteristics related to design, or location even. This past April I had the unique opportunity to stay at one of the most highly rated boutique hotels in Playa Del Carmen: La Pasion Hotel Boutique. I was completely blown away to say the least. The environment is very intimate, the hospitality is incredible, and as far as amenities is concerned, this place is an absolute steal compared to a frilly all-inclusive resort by the beach. If you want an affordable hotel experience that checks all of the right boxes, then ditch the traditional hotel chains and give this place a chance.
The location of the hotel may seem like it is out of the way from all the main attractions, but don’t be fooled. La Pasion Hotel is actually a couple of blocks away from the nightlife of Avenida 5 (5th Avenue) and it’s only a 6-minute walk away from the beach. The neighborhood is also perfectly safe because the hotel is on a quiet street facing the Municipal Square, where they seem to hold some interesting gatherings from time to time. As an added bonus, there are a few highly rated, yet lesser known, restaurants within walking distance, including a fantastic Spanish tapas restaurant that you can easily access if you walk left of the reception area. This is also the place where complimentary breakfast is served for hotel guests (see “service” for more information).
From the moment we checked in, we felt like this place could be a second home. The two gentlemen at the front desk immediately seated us, and even offered free wine and pastries (which are available at the front desk every day) while we waited to be checked in. They also walked us to our rooms while giving us an overview of all their services and amenities to take advantage of. What I really admire about the staff and management here is that they are extremely approachable people. They want to be able to make you feel at home, and there will always be someone at the front desk (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to assist you with whatever you need. We wasted no time asking them for the nearest ATMs and best restaurant recommendations. It also impressed me that they took the time to give us a list of ATMs to avoid, and which restaurants were their local favorites. According to some other reviewers, the only “letdown” we can expect from this hotel is the fact that breakfast is served a la carte rather than continental. This, of course, was not a big deal in the end, considering they had a handful of options to chose from, in addition to the complimentary fruits and pastries that are served. On another note, you also receive a keychain of their trademark heart (as seen on the featured image) and some coupons for your next stay.
In terms of aesthetics, the hotel goes above and beyond at maintaining a romantic atmosphere that surpasses all expectations. All of the furniture, books and decor that you see as you walk around make the place seem less like a hotel, and more like a little beach house. My only complaint is that their rooms, while spacious and clean, are not as cozy as the rest of the hotel, especially with old-fashioned air conditioning units and firm beds. On the other hand, a quiet private balcony and a nice bathrobe with slippers are tiny luxuries that are hard to come by at $80 per night. If that doesn’t win you over then you need to make your way over to the true heart of the hotel: a gorgeous courtyard with 2 swimming pools and 2 Jacuzzis. Surprisingly, this area was never noisy or packed with people, but that is to be expected when a majority of the guests are couples. A large group would feel too cramped here, I assume, since the area is not as wide or spread out as the online pictures lead to believe.
As previously mentioned, the hotel comes with just about the same, if not all, amenities as a typical chain hotel or luxe resort. Not only do they have free breakfast, but they also have free high-speed Internet and free parking, which is heaven-sent if you end up renting a car like we did. I also mentioned that there are 2 pools and 2 Jacuzzis on the main floor, but did I also talk about the other Jacuzzi and pool on the roof terrace? What about the bar and lounges? No, I’m not even kidding. Somehow all of that fits up there. Furthermore, room service is available for all guests and the tapas restaurant next door, El Tapas & Company, is highly rated by other travelers (myself included).
Quiet & accessible location
Easygoing & attentive staff
Free breakfast, parking, and high-speed Internet
Pools and Jacuzzis (plus a rooftop bar/lounge)
Spacious and tidy rooms
Ideal for couples
Old fashioned air conditioning units in every room
Not ideal for large groups