As the fleeting days of summer seamlessly slip away, sun-seekers cast into the doldrums can take solace in planning getaways to tropical climes, as fall’s crisp temperatures give way to winter’s icy clutches.
A prime destination for such an escape: La Valise Tulum, one of the Mayan Riviera’s most esteemed addresses. Tucked behind a picture-perfect profusion of swaying palms between Tulum’s pristine beachfront and ubiquitous tropical jungle, the 11-room property is more uber-luxe beachfront villa than boutique hotel—a defining theme of the exceptional guest experience.
The hotel’s airy common spaces bring this vibe to life, striking a particular note of refined casual-chic. The expansive lounge—filled with hand-carved furniture, plush oversize cushions, and distinctive objets in an array of sun-bleached colors and textures—flows into La Valise’s intimate, al fresco restaurant, a popular gathering spot from morning til night.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a lovelier perch than one of its beachfront tables, a peerless vantage point for jaw-dropping views of the crystalline Caribbean Sea. But be warned: a tasty lunch of impossibly fresh and simple dishes—like shrimp aguachile with fresh chili and creamy avocado, or tacos with tender local pork, bitter orange, and pickled red onions—can easily spill over into happy hour, when the late-afternoon sun begins to wane. The five-star margaritas, served by the charming and congenial staff, go down especially easy, as the sea breeze quietly rustles through the surrounding greenery.
As you’d expect in a spectacular vacation home away from home, La Valise’s eleven rooms vary in size and layout, but share an inspired, artfully restrained design scheme: think quietly exotic, with beachy hues, luxury linens, and curated crafts by local artisans. Singularly striking works include extraordinary benches and accent pieces—bedecked with jaguar heads, tropical birds, and monkeys, among other fanciful creatures—ingeniously woven by hand from river grass in the Mexican state of Michoacán. (Luckily, some are available for purchase in the addictive gift shop.)
Beachfront upper and lower rooms feature private terraces, an oversize shower and tub, and dazzling ocean views, while jungle rooms boast various amenities including treetop vistas, a private soaking pool, and easy access to the salt-water infinity pool. Predictably, the master suite trumps all: spanning 1,000 square feet, with a 23-foot palapa roof, its king-size bed rolls out onto the terrace for a singular slumber under an inky blanket of stars.
La Valise can happily arrange an array of excursions, including trips to local cenotes (sinkholes in Spanish)—limestone rocks that created caves and stalagmites over thousands of years—as well as outings to the nearby Tulum ruins and Chichen Itza, the Mayans’ most sacred city. Onsite experiences include a mezcal tasting—an enlightening and entertaining journey through the evolution of Mexico’s latest (and buzziest) entrée to the agave spirit market—and five-day workshops that encompass ceramic classes, sound healing, and Vinyasa yoga, among other cultural immersions.
La Valise Tulum is the jewel in the crown of the Namron Hospitality group, whose other properties in Tulum include the lovely Encantada (located just next door), as well as Nest and Radhoo, which artfully embody a younger, more casual aesthetic. Further afield, the three-suite La Valise Mexico City—the first hotel in Namron’s flagship franchise—is one of the toughest bookings to wrangle in town. In 2014, during a visit to Mexico City, Namron founder Yves Naman, a Belgian entrepreneur, fell in love with the colonial architecture of the Roma neighborhood, and in due course purchased a 1920-era French-style townhouse, with the intention of transforming it into the city’s chicest, most exclusive boutique hotel. These days, the Ferrari Formula 1 team books the entire property for the Mexico City F1 Grand Prix every year—a nod to the hotel’s enviable status in the country’s buzzing capital.
The La Valise brand is set to expand anew on September 1, with the debut of La Valise San Miguel de Allende, a six-suite oasis in the enchanting colonial city that’s both a celebrated international arts center and a sought-after destination for adventurous Americans. In keeping with the defining La Valise ethos of uniquely refined luxury with an inimitable sense of place, chances are it’s poised to make a seriously stylish splash all its own.