Hotel Esencia — Xpu Há, Mexico

Bedroom of the Hotel Esencia in Mexico with a white bed, wooden furniture and shutters at the windows
(Image credit: TBC)

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.

Swimming pool at the Hotel Esencia in Mexico with sunbeds overlooking the ocean

(Image credit: TBC)

Verandah of a bedrroma t the Hotel Esencia in Mexico, next to the swimming pool

(Image credit: TBC)

Swimming pool at the Hotel Esencia in Mexico overlooking the ocean

(Image credit: TBC)


Carretera Cancún – Tulum km 265
Playa Xpu-Ha
Quintana Roo 77750 


Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.