The story goes that over three decades ago, Rosa, the Italian Duchess of Ferrari was so bewitched by the sugar-white beach and turquoise waters of Xpu-Ha – a sandy Arcadia 50 miles south of Cancún – she bought a 12-acre piece of land that fronted the Caribbean and backed onto thick native jungle. Here, she built herself a sprawling holiday bolt-hole that she later turned into a hotel. Fresh from an 18-month renovation by its new owner Kevin Wendle, the spruced up Hotel Esencia is a world away from the nearby mega-resorts that crowd the Riviera Maya, but it stubbornly retains the escapist vibe that so enchanted Rosa. Working with in-house creative director C.S. Valentin (ex-Miu Miu and Olivier Theyskens) and architects Gabriel and Alfonso Nunez, Wendle has invested each of the Esencia’s 29 rooms and public spaces with a striking, mid-century quality that combines Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret furniture with custom hand-woven Mexican wool rugs, 1950s artwork with a Botero and Picasso thrown in casually. The room of choice is the Rosa Suite – the Duchess’s former bedroom opens onto an enormous terrace with ocean views and a private heated plunge pool. Meanwhile, the organic spa features Reiki and massages that involve restorative herbs and ingredients from the Caribbean and jungle.