Tulum may be the perfect Riviera Maya getaway. And Jashita may be the perfect boutique hotel in Tulum.
TULUM, Mexico – It's another cold February in New York, and I wish I were at Jashita in Tulum.
I discovered it last year, and I was swept off my feet. The white sand, the crystal clear waters. The chic yet understated luxury. The serene location on Soliman Bay, just far enough from the main Tulum Beach scene. The perfectly appointed rooms overlooking a sea so blue it felt surreal.
I fell for the local yet exotic charms and the down-home values that inform everything at Jashita. The owners, the Marchiorello family, are originally from outside Venice, Italy. Enrico, a real estate developer, was inspired to build a hotel after spending many family vacations on Soliman Bay. (Some people have all the brains.) His wife Monica did the interior design. His son Tommaso, the manager, spends the most time with guests, taking them snorkeling, diving, and fishing. He lives on the property full-time with his family — his wife and three gorgeous children. (Like I said, some people...)
Everything, from the hotel design to the menu at their Sahara Café, is rooted in family bonds, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. That includes the mysterious name, pronounced "ya-shee-ta," which combines the name of the Enrico's daughter, Jasmine, and her favorite doll, Shita.
The decor is chic and minimalist: white linen, limestone, touches of red. The daily schedule was as active or as lazy as we wanted it to be. When we wanted active, we explored the bay, snorkeled the reefs, dove into nearby cenotes (fresh water caves unique to the Yucatan), visited Mayan ruins, dropped into a yoga class, went running on the beach. When we wanted lazy, we cozied into chaise lounges and dozed in the outdoor living room beneath the palapas. Come nightfall, the lush gardens and the perfect pool were illuminated beautifully. It took the whole indoor-outdoor thing to a new level of magical.
As for the food, it's exactly what I want to eat. I could live on grilled fish, Mediterranean-style anything, simple pastas, delicious Mexican specialties, and ah-may-zing flan. I was lucky enough to enjoy the spoils of Enrico's personal fishing expedition one night. Fantastic.
I rested, I replenished, I explored, I loved. What more can I ask for? I can't wait to go back.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Rates: Low season: $140-$780/night. High season: $190-$1050/night. Three-night minumum; breakfast included.
Drive: Rental car companies at the airport include Hertz, Thrify, Budget, and Dollar. You'll want to rent a car to get to Tulum (about an hour and a half south) and to get around. Alternately, you can rent bikes in town or hire taxis.