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A luxurious stay at the Duchess' beach house, Esencia Estate, Riviera Maya

Beach and pool, Esencia Estate, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Beach and pool, Esencia Estate, Riviera Maya, Mexico
© John Lamkin

Esencia Estate resort and spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico


story and photos by John Lamkin

Beach at Esencia Estate
© John Lamkin

It was rainy and and a blanket of mist covered everything as we turned into the unpretentious entrance to Esencia Estate. Driving through natural jungle vegetation we arrived at a guard station and were escorted to what appeared to be a Mayan hut complete with an authentic-looking altar adding even more intrigue to the place. A valet took our car and luggage and we were taken by golf cart to register in the comfortable living room of the main house, a Spanish hacienda style structure, the former beach estate of Italian Duchess Rosa d'Ferrari.

This exclusive, 50-acre estate is located along a stretch of Mexico's best white-sand beach, in the Riviera Maya just 20 minutes north of Tulum and, although somewhat isolated feeling, it is close to all the area's attraction's including many Mayan archeological sites and all the Caribbean Ocean has to offer.

Our garden suite was simple luxury, you might say Zen, with all the conveniences you would expect of a posh accommodation. In the front there was a covered terrace with table and chairs—where we would end up taking out morning coffee and sweet rolls. A back door led out to our private plunge pool tucked into the lush tropical vegetation.

The rain having subsided, still with the provided umbrellas in hand—just in case, we found our way to the dining palapa (thatched-roof building) and enjoyed a gourmet meal with an upscale take on Mexican cuisine.

In the morning coffee and and pan dulce (sweet bread and rolls) were delivered to our terrace as promised. We were joined by several bold intensely-blue plumaged birds who were apparently part of everyone's a. m. coffee and bravely jumped in to help themselves.

Later we took our breakfast at one of the two pools near the beach where two chefs prepared the meals outside. I had an excellent huevos rancheros (traditional Mexican egg dish). Then some beach time (we decided to pass on the early morning yoga class) and later exploring the grounds and checking out the Maya themed Spa that was very complete in its choice of therapies. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to enjoy the Spa activities before we left.

Esencia Estate is well worth the visit for its luxurious exclusivity and as just a great place to chill.

Getting there:

Most major airlines fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN) and Riviera Maya is easily accessible from CUN by land transport.

For more information:

Mexico Tourism

Riviera Maya

Adventure in Quintana Roo

Mexican Caribbean

Where to stay in luxury:

Esencia Estate

John Lamkin is a born-again travel journalist and photographer based in Taos, New Mexico and in Mexico. He writes (and photographs) about travel, food, wine, luxury, budget, gear, tech. and more. He is Global Membership Chair of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. He travels the world in search of something new in culture, cuisine and drink. Look for John Lamkin's new BOOK: OUR INTERWOVEN LIVES WITH THE ZAPOTEC WEAVERS: An Odyssey of the Heart by Examiner's Susanna Starr with Photographs by John Lamkin

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