Tulum was the stunning backdrop for our summer catalogue shoot – and we all fell in love with Mexico’s hippest boho beach town. The pace is set to laidback: spend your days exploring the town, or reading, doing yoga or, indeed, nothing on the beach of Instagram dreams. By night, drink cocktails at the beach bars and dance under the stars. This is what Paradise looks like. (Probably.)
The setting of Papaya Playa is jaw-droppingly gorgeous: rustic, simple but stylish casitas (each with their own plunge pool – heaven) and villas nestled amidst the jungle, right on a stretch of dazzlingly perfect white-sand beach. This is barefoot luxury with serious sustainability (zero emissions aim, solar energy, organic produce in the beach-side restaurant). Of such stuff are dream hotels made. (Enter our competition to win a five night stay here!)
How much do we love the story behind Hartwood? A couple from New York fell in love with a tree and built this rustic, off-grid, Caribbean jungle of a restaurant around it. The menu changes daily, depending upon what local produce lands in the kitchen, and all cooking is over an open fire. Open for dinner only, Wednesday to Sunday, booking opens a month in advance, walk-ins are welcome, but prepare to queue.
If your idea of a holiday involves reclining in the sun with a good book, then head to Playa Paraíso. This translates as ‘Paradise Beach’ – and it really is the beach of all your Bounty-fuelled fantasies.
Drinks in the jungle anyone? Head to Gitano, this beautiful open-air bar is your go-to for a mezcal-based cocktail. Make a beeline for one of the sofas or dance under the stars (there’s live music some nights, and a DJ takes over on Fridays, when this is the place to be). If all that drinking and dancing makes you feel peckish, the tapas menu is delicious.
La Troupe - Head here for pared-back home essentials (the cushions! The bedding! We want it all!) in a neutral palette.
Mixik - The interior is as bright as the red and pink exterior at this arty shop – the ideal spot to pick up a locally-crafted souvenir or curiosity.
La Llorona - Take a little bit of Tulum home with you thanks to traditional artisan textiles in trademark happy colours.
Mr Blackbird - The husband and wife team who own Mr Blackbird make everything in house – from macramé sandals to chunky, statement jewellery.
Swim in the crystal waters of the Grand Cenote – a series of caves connected by waterways.
Like the rest of Tulum, Arca is an Insta-dream, with its tropical garden-meets retro-Californian interiors: think shared, stripped-wood tables, tiled bar area, chilled-out vibe. The food is fresh from the land (and the sea).
There’s some kind of wellness magic afoot at Yaan Wellness spa – possibly courtesy of the nearby Mayan ruins; possibly down to the smoke trail of copal (a sacred resin. Yes, really) which greets you. Treatments merge spa sessions with ancient healing practices, in a rustic, calming setting.
You can’t visit Tulum without making a pilgrimage to the ruins. Get up early to beat the crowds at the Tulum Ruins, an 11th Century walled city on the beach. Then make the 28 mile journey to the ruins of Cobá, an ancient Mayan city still steeped in the jungle, where you can scale the sides of its remaining pyramid.
The cocktails are the star turn at Casa Jaguar, but the pretty setting (best characterised as ‘refined jungle’) is pretty impressive, as is the food cooked in a wood-fired oven. But it’s the expertly mixed cocktails, made with the freshest of local ingredients, which lure people back.
Tempted? We're giving away a five night stay at Papaya Playa Hotel, the gorgeous location of our summer photo shoot, along with flights and a £500 hush voucher - so you can experience our summer campaign in person, enter here!