Mexico’s Fonotur government agency is legendary in the tourism industry. When it decides to turn an isolated stretch of beach into a row of tourism factories, look out! Their record includes Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Ixtapa, and Nuevo Vallarta—for a start. On deck right now is Playa Mujeres, the area north of Cancun and confusingly named considering there’s an island—Isla Mujeres—a triathalon swim away.

Which brings us to La Amada, the first luxury hotel to open in this area that will probably soon be filled with cookie-cutter condos and all-inclusive beach hotels. Get there now while the getting is good and you’ll have the beach all to yourself. La Amada didn’t take their pioneer position as an excuse to slack off, however.

La Amada isn’t groundbreaking in its style, but it feels modern without being forced. It smartly incorporates most of the hallmarks of luxury resorts established in the last decade or so. This covers smaller details, such as multiple shower heads and quality street-brand amenities (L’Occitane de Provence, in this case), as well as structural ones: there are separate blocks of two-story family suites with plunge pools, and of course there’s a grand spa. (And fortunately, it skips some of the sillier fads, such as aggressive aromatherapy in public spaces.)

For now though, or correspondent says, it’s the stretch of sand that almost feels decadent after the erosion problems and crowds that a visit to Cancun entails. The isolation could get old after a while, especially considering the lack of other dining options nearby, but for a real getaway near a major international airport, this is hard to beat—especially considering the reasonable rates.

See our full review of La Amada in Playa Mujeres.