A journey to the end of the world requires an overture. The trip here—way out on the edge of the Si’an Ka’an Biosphere Reserve near Tulum—offers a great one: A 35-minute ride in a six-seat outboard panga through shallow lagoons and mangrove-walled channels. The world is all sky, water, and streaks of land like lengthy mascara marks.
In Mayan, Si’an Ka’an means “origin of the sky.” This intricately woven marine tropical ecosystem (1.3 million acres and 75 miles of coastline) supports 300 bird species; big and little cats (jaguar, puma, ocelot); six species of sea turtle; manatees; and crocodiles (no swimming in the lagoons).
The hotel consists of a main house (five rooms) and five beachfront bungalows, all air-conditioned and with outdoor showers. The design theme is simplicity meets sophistication. There’s only one restaurant, with cuisine showcasing regional dishes that feature locally caught fish and produce from the property’s organic gardens. The small but robust spa runs a free muscular yoga program (beginner, power, Yin, restorative, Nidra). Go out on a bone-fishing or a bird-watching excursion and rent out the usual beach toys like kayaks and paddleboards.
But the allure is the solitude and the license to do nothing. Except for the real challenge abetted by Mukan: its powerful Internet connection. It’s why the rooms have a wide-screen TV. (Note that there’s no cell-phone coverage. That’s different tech.) It’s why you can run your company from here, which a number of very powerful business leaders have done. The resort is perfect for corporate buyouts and WFH escapes. “Guests love the idea of solitude,” says partner Nicolas Dominguez of resort developer Hamak Hotels. “But within 20 minutes they’re up at the desk asking for the password.” chablehotels.com —Gary Walther
Find the 40-room resort beneath the jungle canopy, 30 minutes from capital city Merida. Formerly a 17th-century sisal plantation, the site was aestheticized by developers to preserve the past and the hacienda was salvaged beautifully. Mexican designer Paulina Moran created the look with flashes of wit (yellow armchairs piped in blue) and tub chairs dancing effortlessly under beamed aristocratic ceilings. The great-lawn preface to the building is a crew cut.
Chablé bills itself as a wellness resort, and it has the spa to prove it. The building forms a melody of abstract concrete shapes that becomes a lullaby outdoors among pools and vegetation. Those deep-emerald tiles in the spa pool come from a petrified Amazon forest. Every guest gets a spa consultation for free.
The restaurant is an elegant glass box adorned with glass shelves displaying one of the largest collections of tequila bottles in the world. Consulting chef Jorge Vallejo is one of Mexico’s top toques, the seafood comes from nearby port town Progreso, and the chorizo is raised in a small town near Chichen Itza, which is famous for its pyramids and 2.5 hours by car. (The resort can organize the day trip.)
Guests retreat to private, glass-walled, cut-stone compounds that are buried in vegetation. Each has a plunge pool, outdoor sitting area, and a built-in sound system controlled from an iPad. (Rooms 30 to 38 are the most remote.) The interiors pair white with dark brown and terrazzo floors. Each accommodation has an indoor and an outdoor shower and floor-to-ceiling windows sheathed in deeply pleated, semi-transparent, white-linen curtains. chablehotels.com —G.W.
This 70-room sister to Chablé Yucatán reels guests in by their taste buds, specifically using traditional Yucatecan ingredients in contemporary dishes at Restaurant Bu’ul (dinner only). Think glazed escamoles or ant eggs, aka Mexican caviar, which are harvested from agave plants during the rainy season. Here they’re the crunch in a tartare of mamey, a local fruit that is smoky and sweet, crowned with a kale sprig that provides the perfect green note. The medley slides down your throat—and gives you a cocktail party anecdote that will keep for a decade. There’s also a P.S.: fish barbacoa in a grasshopper adobo. Trust us, just order it. If that doesn’t appeal, the casual poolside restaurant raises poolside Mexican to standout.
Completing the enclave is a sterling beach, an L-shaped resort pool with a 90-foot-long lap section, and a raw bar on the roof of Bu’ul, the perfect place to while away the late afternoon watching cruise ships head slowly toward Cancun (thank yourself that you’re here, not there), and await the sunset.
As at Chablé Yucatán, the bathrooms are standout: indoor and outdoor showers, double vanities, enough room to avoid talking to each other for two days. There are five villa layouts: the King and Double Villas, located on the second floor and boasting private plunge pools; the Serenity and Stand Along Villas, on the first floor; and the two-story Presidential Villas, which offer breathtaking views and ample space that includes a spacious living room, two rain showers, an oversize balcony, and private pools. chablehotels.com/maroma —G.W.