Travel to the Riviera Maya region of Mexico doesn’t have to be expensive. Over the past six years I have visited Playa del Carmen about a dozen times, each time finding accommodations in the town itself, close to 5th Avenue. I am not a lover of all-inclusive resorts but prefer to spend my time as close to the culture I’m visiting as possible. I want to meet the people, eat local food and get a sense of where I am. There are so many places to stay in Playa, I would probably need to write an entire book to include every little hotel, but here is a review of the four places I’ve stayed at over the past six years, as well as an extra, little more expensive one. Please note all of these accommodations are basic (excluding the last one) and all opinions are mine!
This was the very first hotel I stayed at in Mexico. Conveniently located on 5th Avenue, the centre of it all. My room included a little kitchen and seating area and I stayed here two or three times.
What I liked: The Mexican décor and general ambiance of this little hotel. When I visit Mexico, I want to see, touch, taste Mexico. Each room featured a brightly painted feature wall and Mexican décor in the rooms and little courtyard. I also liked the separate seating area in my room and small plunge pool carved out of rock in the courtyard. It was refreshing to jump into that little pool after a hot day at the beach.
What I didn’t like: The stone stairs were a pain to climb with luggage when I had room located on the second floor. Also, the pool became an issue when I brought my 9 year old and needed more of a proper swimming pool. Other than that, I really had no complaints about Hotel Copa.
What I paid per night: 500 pesos (approximately $Cdn50). This was several years ago, so for current prices you may want to check out their website (click on the hotel name above).
Would I stay there again? Probably not. I liked it at the time, but there are so many other hotels to choose from!
I made the switch from Hotel Copa when I brought my 9 year old one year and needed a hotel with a swimming pool. Hotel Maya Azul was located right across 5th Avenue from Hotel Copa.
What I liked: I liked that Hotel Azul had a pool in the middle of a big, shady courtyard. We typically would spend half of our day at the beach and half at the hotel pool. It was a very hot June when we were there and the shade and pool were much appreciated.
What I didn’t like: The bed was a little too hard (I like a firm mattress but this was beyond firm) and the florescent lighting in the room just didn’t add anything to the ambiance of the room. I like a room that “feels” good to be in it.
What I paid per night: 500 pesos (approximately $Cdn50). Again, this was a few years ago so prices may have changed. I unfortunately didn’t capture any good photos of this property so for photos and current prices, click here.
Would I stay there again? No. It was functional but I just didn’t love it.
This has typically been my go-to hotel, I have stayed here many times. It is located less than a block from the beach, on Calle 6.
What I liked: I liked the look and feel of this little hotel, the friendly and helpful staff, the continental breakfast that’s included in the room rate, and the hotel’s proximity to the beach. I liked being able to skip down to the beach at any time, especially first thing in the morning. I also liked the pool after a day at the beach.
What I didn’t like: Although I like being near the beach, this hotel is also located near a very busy part of 5th Avenue. I prefer the end of Playa del Carmen that is furthest from the bus station and a little less busy. I also don’t like that their website now requires “flash” to view, as it makes booking difficult.
What I paid per night: Prices have ranged because I have stayed here several times and at different times throughout the year, but I would say an average has been about C$65/night. The rate includes a continental breakfast and beach towels if you need them. If you book, request a room that does not face 5th Avenue if you prefer a quiet room at night.
Would I stay there again? Most definitely. It actually feels a little bit like home to me now.
After staying at Labnah Hotel several times, I wanted a change. I chose The Bric Hotel, mainly because it was located at the north end of town and because this hotel too included breakfast with the room rate.
What I liked: I liked the location and the friendly and helpful staff. There had been a mix-up with our reservation but the staff were so nice and did the best they could to accommodate us. I also liked the pretty grounds and having use of a pool.
What I didn’t like: The hot breakfast didn’t appeal to me and I missed having the beach and ocean outside my door. We also had noisy neighbours, but that wasn’t the hotel’s fault, just the luck of the draw.
What I paid: US$80/night including breakfast. For current pricing, check here.
Would I stay there again? Probably not. I enjoyed my stay, but I also want to enjoy my breakfast and I just didn’t here.
I would like to mention one more hotel – I didn’t stay here myself but a close friend did, and I have been to the rooftop patio for an after-dinner drink on a few occasions. This is not a budget hotel, but if you have a little more to spend and want to spoil yourself with a little luxury, this newish hotel would be a good choice. This hotel is centrally located on Calle 8, between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue and it’s beautiful. For current rates and information, check here. Would I stay here? Yes. I imagine staying here with a group of friends and enjoying the rooftop pool and bar every night.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy reading A Weekend in Playa!