Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean side of Mexico has changed drastically in the past decade and a half. Although you still sometimes see clueless junior travel editors in New York who have never been there call it “a laid-back village” or “a magnet for Europeans,” it’s really a full-blown tourist city with all that this implies. It has grown from infant to giant in that short time and the choices for everything from where to drink to where to stay can be overwhelming.
It’s still great fun to stroll (or bar hop) down pedestrian-only Avenida 5 and if you’re staying near there instead of at a far-flung beach resort, you’ve got everything you need withing walking distance. If you’re at Acanto Boutique Hotel and Condominiums in Playa del Carmen, you can also spread out when you get back instead of being crammed into a normal hotel room.
Acanto is a collection of condos rather than floors with rows of identical rooms. The smallest studio units are still 535 square feet, with a kitchen so you don’t have to eat every meal out. Then there are units with one, two, and three bedrooms. The latter are bigger than many city apartments, at 1,320 square feet.
All units contain marble floors and bathrooms, large TVs, full kitchens, living-dining room, and a terrace or two. Wi-Fi, phone calls, daily maid service, and daily continental breakfast.
There are two public areas in the property outside the lobby. On the ground floor is an attractive swimming pool in the courtyard. On the top is a roof deck with views of the sea and a barbecue grill. The beach is just a few minutes’ stroll away, where it’s easy to rent a chair and umbrella with your beach club access and have people bring you drinks or food.
Up and down Avenida Quinta are interesting shops, cafes, restaurants, and tour companies. Playa del Carmen is conveniently located with direct comfortable buses to Cancun, Merida, Chichen Itza, and Tulum right from a station on the main avenue. There’s also a ferry crossing to Cozumel and good snorkeling and diving there and in both directions north and south. In other words, if you stay in PDC proper, you don’t have to be stuck at the resort and at the mercy of taxis with inflated prices.
And if you’re traveling with a family, Acanto gives you lots of space to spread out and a kitchen for catering to picky eaters.
See our full review of Acanto Boutique Hotel & Condominiums.