TED STAFFORD

Men’s Style Editor

- SHORT STORIES -


"Hotel Esencia, XPU-HÁ"

On XPU-HÁ, MEXICO

Where did you wear your OB shorts in Mexico the most?

Hotel Esencia, a paradise resort hotel between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.


What made it special?

The privacy and secluded calmness of the property. Once you’re there, you don’t want or need to leave. It’s perfect for lounging, chilling with a drink, reading a book or floating in the pool.


Who made it special?

Juan Carlos, the creative director of the hotel, who upon arrival guided us through the resort showing us all the special amenities which allowed us to jump right into the treats the property had to offer. He and the staff there made us feel like we were staying in a private villa with our Esencia family.

Any tips?

Bring your own SPF otherwise you could end up paying forty to sixty dollars for a bottle. At the end of the day, you’re paying a price to stay at this exclusive and beautiful place so I guess you shouldn’t expect bargains, but it’s hard for me to rationalise paying that kind of money for body lotion. If, like me, you can’t fly with it in your carry-on then ask the driver to stop at a pharmacy on the way to the property so you can pick up your essentials. I recommend using the hotel’s car service to pick you up at the airport; it’s very hectic and lots of people come at you when you arrive in the terminal. It’s best to feel safe in knowing the car and driver will get you to the resort without a glitch and he’ll stop for you as needed.


How did this holiday make you feel?

There is a feeling like stepping back in time and embarking on a journey when you arrive at the property. After check-in, you jump on a golf cart and are driven through a forest trail of trees to the hotel which is on the ocean. You feel a bit like you’re in an Agatha Christie film, ready for an adventure ahead.


Any secrets you can share?

If you stay, there is complimentary morning yoga every day in a thatched roof studio overlooking the ocean. I highly recommend getting up early—it’s at 8am—and taking full advantage of this perk. It’s an exuberating way to start the day ahead.



A more personal secret from your trip?

Head to the spa located in a giant palapa and take an evening dip in one of the private jacuzzies. It’s a little piece of quiet paradise, perfect before getting ready for a special dinner at the hotel that evening.


Where can we find the best views?

Walk out to the ocean and take advantage of the kitesurfing, snorkelling or paddleboard equipment that’s included in your stay. The views both under and above water are unbeatable in the secluded cove. Alternatively, lounge in one of the pisco bar hammocks and take in the turquoise beauty of the sea while sipping on a special mezcalita cocktail.


What did you read?

Promise Me, Dad: A Year Of Hope, Hardship and Purpose by Joe Biden and Second Acts by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine.


Any unforgettable meals there?

I love a fajita and they make an excellent one. They’ll customise it to your liking—I skip the onions myself.


What was your favourite beach or pool there?

The pool towards the left when looking out to the ocean is magnificently warm. Once you’re in, you won’t want to get out. It’s heavenly to lay out on the pool steps and sunbathe at the same time. From there, you just need to take about 20 steps to jump in the ocean.


Where’s next on your bucket list?

Four Seasons in Oahu Hawaii.


Ted’s Holiday Playlist

Kings of Leon
Roxy Music
Yacht Rock
80s New Wave

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