Playa del Carmen best hotels for gay travellers

Miles of sugar-fine white sand beaches backed by verdant jungle. Idyllic palm-fringed infinity pools overlooking the glistening turquoise sea. A veritable treasure trove of marine life amongst excellent coral reefs. Playa del Carmen might be growing, but this gem of a locale in the Riviera Maya still offers up plenty of natural wonders to explore. The only question that begs asking is: which dreamy Playa del Carmen hotel is right for me? From intimate boutiques to healthy hideaways to grand all-inclusives with nifty butler service and private pools, you can’t go wrong with this list of the best places to stay in Playa del Carmen.

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Playa del Carmen | Photo: Jorge Fernandez Salas

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Lush jungle surroundings and blissful white sand views are the hallmarks of this upscale boutique resort, perfect for a romantic getaway with your special someone

1. Hotel La Semilla

For laidback luxury, it doesn’t get better than Hotel La Semilla. With its whitewashed walls and vintage finds hand-picked from Mexican flea markets, this charming boutique hotel feels rustic yet glamorous in all the right ways. Each of the nine rooms is unique, but we’re partial to Suite Eight with its ocean-window terrace and swoon-worthy outdoor shower. There are ample nooks for cosying up with a book in the pretty back gardens, as well as an ocean-view rooftop ideal for sipping a sundowner. Included with your stay is a decadent breakfast; expect an extensive organic spread that includes freshly baked bread, pastries, and plenty of local fruits. You’ll find La Semilla tucked away on Calle 38, a trendy street chockablock with farm-to-table restaurants, posh boutiques, and leafy patios. There’s no pool at the hotel, but a prime position just two blocks from a tranquil public beach means you won’t want for a spot to take refreshing afternoon dips. Ask the staff for a beach kit complete with towels, umbrellas, and coolers if you’re making a day of the sand and sea.

Photo: Tim Mossholder

Photo: Joao Marinho

2. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa

Lush jungle surroundings and blissful white sand views are the hallmarks of this upscale boutique resort, perfect for a romantic getaway with your special someone. Just how perfect, you ask? Let’s start with its remarkable location on Maroma Beach—regularly dubbed one of the most beautiful in the world. Then there’s the seamless combination of next-level luxury with traditional Mexican decor; think hand-painted tiles, thatch-roof palapas, and scenic pathways abounding in vibrant, tropical plants. On the accommodation front, spacious rooms with sunken baths and swaying hammocks are as inviting as can be. Three outdoor pools, a full-service spa, mouthwatering dining options, and an ocean observation tower round out the resort’s amenities.

3. Chablé Maroma

There are plenty of lavish hotels in Playa del Carmen, but Chablé Maroma sets itself apart with next-level attention to detail that somehow feels as effortless as swaying in a hammock to the balmy sea breeze. From its ideal position on dazzling Maroma Beach, subtle yet impressive decor allows the magnificent beauty of the hotel’s natural setting to take centre stage. Rope chandeliers, palm weavings from local artisans, and hand-carved stone sinks feel decidedly local, while calming aquamarines and warm wood floors promote total relaxation. When you’re not whiling away an afternoon on a sun lounger at the chic infinity pool, head to the spa for Mayan-inspired treatments or even a Temazcal ceremony led by a local shaman. Feeling reclusive? Each casita comes equipped with a private pool, spacious palm-fringed deck, and indoor-outdoor showers.

Photo: Laura Shannonhouse

4. Rosewood Mayakoba

From its beautiful beachfront and lagoon-side locale inside the Mayakoba complex—a group of luxury hotels and a golf course—it’s easy to see why Rosewood Mayakoba has earned a reputation as one of the best hotels in the Playa del Carmen area. The sweeping property boasts 129 suites, all bathed in natural light and appointed with oversized soaking tubs, private loungers, and a booze-filled fridge. Well-manicured gardens dotted with lanterns deliver countless spots for quiet seclusion, making it all too easy to forget you’re sharing this patch of paradise with anyone else. Hop in an electric boat for a tour of the surrounding lagoon and canals, or opt to take a kayak, paddleboard, or hobby cat out on the sea. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to work up an appetite. There’s plenty to chow down on here, from the Tulum-style food truck to the ritzy Agave Azul restaurant to the lakeside breakfast buffet. Should you desire anything else, your Butler (they service every room) can likely oblige.

5. Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Also in the Mayakoba area is the Banyan Tree, an elegant beachfront hotel that pays homage to the hotel brand’s Asian origins. Think: a grand pagoda-style entrance, ornate wooden furniture, and even traditional Thai greetings from staff members. While the zen atmosphere might not be what you’d initially expect when escaping to Mexico’s Riviera Maya, there’s no denying the allure of the place—or the winning mix of Asian design with a passion for Mexican culture. Don’t miss the spa here, which specializes in time-honoured healing traditions; the Rainforest Indulgence is a true tonic for the soul. Villas are incredibly private, each with a pool, and a few are multi-bedroom should you be travelling with friends or family in tow.

Photo: Leosprspctive

Photo: Jonathan Petit

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Travelers seeking to soothe the mind and senses while reconnecting to self will have a hard time finding a more fitting retreat than The House of AïA

6. Palmaïa, The House of AïA

Travellers seeking to soothe the mind and senses while reconnecting to self will have a hard time finding a more fitting retreat than The House of AïA. Sandwiched between abundant jungle and the tranquil Caribbean Sea, this all-inclusive is all about ultimate wellness—going far beyond your typical detox. Cacao ceremonies, sound therapies, and yoga classes are par for the course. There are four on-site restaurants and a trendy food truck offering plant-based menus revolving around local, organic ingredients and cooked up by Michelin-trained chefs. When you’re not partaking in a guided meditation session or a traditional Temazcal ceremony, the infinity pools and secluded white sand beaches do the trick to keep your carefree state of mind dialled in.

Photo: Palmaïa, The House of AïA

7. Mahekal Beach Resort

Amid the liveliness of Playa del Carmen’s beachfront, Mahekal occupies 18 acres of enticing greenery just steps from the Caribbean Sea. Thrumming Fifth Avenue is minutes away, home to gay Playa del Carmen’s touristy yet undeniably fun restaurants, shops, and nightlife. And while the best of the city is at your fingertips, you’d never know it inside this charming hideaway, with its soothing Ceiba trees, thatched-roof palapas, and chirping green parrots. There are four swimming pools, but the infinity pool overlooking the white sand beach is magnetic.

8. Fairmont Mayakoba

No list of Playa del Carmen beach hotels would be complete without the Fairmont Mayakoba, the largest and oldest resort in the Mayakoba complex. The palatial property extends over 45 acres and boasts some 400 suites. Golf carts are readily available to shuttle you from the beach to the lagoon to the restaurants or spa. The Beachfront Casitas are well worth the splurge for the private rooftop pool and butler service, though all rooms are cosy and of the sort, it’s challenging to leave.

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Photo: Palmaïa - The House of AïA

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