Carretera Costera Tulum Ruinas—Punta Allen, Lote 47, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Positioned as an intimate "luxury all–inclusive" resort, Blue Tulum is by far the grandest place to stay in Tulum, though that’s not hard when most of its competitors are off the electric grid. At least four management changes in less than a decade have taken their toll on service, but the grand guest rooms and well-regarded spa help make up for it.
With just 72 suites, Eurostar Blue is much smaller than other all–inclusives; its style is also markedly different, with sleek, Asian–inspired touches and leather furniture. Suites are grouped in attractive white villas dotted around the property. The resort’s history has led to some schizophrenia, however: the toiletries say “Eurostar,” the robes say “Azul Blue,” and your bill says “Blue Tulum.”
Thankfully the well-maintained guest rooms have remained a delight throughout, with a giant whirlpool tub with built-in ice bucket for a bottle of bubbly, an outside sitting area, crisp air conditioning inside, and marble that extends from the room into the bath with separate rain shower and double vanity. All rooms have iPods docks, DVD players with large flat-screen TVs, minibars stocked with complimentary drinks, complimentary wireless Internet, and a menu of pillows to choose from.
Even leaving aside these amenities, the standard suites are generous, each with a sitting area and a capacious bathroom. The standard suite has a double whirlpool tub outside on a terrace, while the higher room categories bring the tub indoors and increase the square–footage accordingly; which layout you choose depends on how much privacy you'd like, although the terrace tubs are not exposed. The decor is stylish but not austere, done in warm neutrals with pretty touches like bamboo plants and a blue–glass skylight over the tub for upper-floor rooms. Master suites add more living and dining space, a kitchenette, and an ocean view. The 20 two-bedroom suites have two baths and two whirlpools while the Presidential Suite can open up to four bedrooms.
One potentially major drawback––especially considering its location on one of the most beautiful seafronts on Mexico's Caribbean coast––is that the resort has virtually no beach. Instead, rugged cliffs dotted with greenery drop into the blue sea (which also gives the "ocean view" suites a novel outlook). In the center of the property is a small, terraced plot of sand; you can enter the water from a short pier that juts out into the water. With a bit of notice, however, the hotel will shuttle you down the road to the best stretch of beach in the area, to their Playa Azul beach club. There you can enjoy lunch and a cooler of beer packed up by the resort.
Either way, the hotel’s setting is beautiful, even potentially refreshing for those who might find beaches monotonous. The large infinity pool, ringed with cushioned lounge chairs, has full bar and meal service. Unfortunately the service is erratic though and thirsty guests are better off at the swim-up bar.. Four whirlpools are situated off to the side.
The biggest change that has come out of multiple management changes seems to be a very confused kitchen. Orders arrive slowly, at different times for different diners in the party, and are often not quite the same as what is on the menu—even with simple Mexican dishes. An Italian restaurant and Japanese restaurant split by a partition get better reviews than the two all-day restaurants, but both were closed for a private party during my stay, leaving regular guests out of luck for both dining options and an evening bar.
The spa is more reliable with its multiple treatment rooms, couples rooms with a sea view, hydrotherapy room, and even a kids’ treatment room. There are additional charges for these services, but use of the excellent gym with new equipment is included in the rates. One level of the spa is wheelchair accessible, as are several of the guest suites. Overall this is an easy resort to navigate for those with limited mobility.
Thanks to its small scale, dramatic architecture, and more contemporary attitude (no co–ed water–polo matches here), Blue Tulum might win a few converts to the all–inclusive vacation. Just be prepared to get “on Mexican time” upon arrival.
Web Address: Blue Tulum
Total Number of Rooms: 72
Published rates: from $370 to $1,100 per person, all–inclusive.
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.