Calle 12 between 5th Ave. and 10th Ave., Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
Located on the famous pedestrian-only shopping and restaurant street of Playa del Carmen's Avenida Quinta (Fifth Avenue), but with a separate building on the beach, this stylish new entry from Thompson Hotels really does provide the best of both worlds.
Busy Playa del Carmen is the center of Mexico's famous Mayan Riviera, where the Thompson line of luxury hotels has opened their latest. It's an amphitheater-shaped building with upscale shops below, a five-star hotel on above. It joins the other prestigious hotels in the Thompson group that include locations in London, Toronto, Chicago, Miami Beach, Los Cabos, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Nashville.
Thompson Playa is very young, hip, luxurious, and beautiful, which is obvious as soon as you enter the small lobby from a side street off Playa's well-known pedestrian walk, Avenida Quinta. The decor is modern mid-20th century cool by the renowned Mexico City designers Niz + Chauvet. With a hint of nostalgia, where else would you find a valet in your room? Thompson also offers lobby sitting spaces, tastefully decorated and conveniently located on each floor—beautiful and intimate spaces to visit with friends. There is a small, but complete, gym in house. If you are driving, parking is not available on the premises, but the concierge can arrange valet service to and from a nearby parking lot.
The retro-modern guest rooms at Thompson are spacious, ample and comfortable with full amenities. The bed and living room areas are very chic. Included in the spacious suites are a dressing room, two closets, and a beautifully designed bathroom. The balcony, with its view of the street, is a perfect perch for people-watching on the Avenida Quinta. From the rooftop, you can observe the tranquil, multi-hued Caribbean with boats sailing by. The rooftop is, indeed, the outstanding feature of the hotel and a desirable destination for guests.
Thompson takes full advantage of the rooftop space with its two restaurants: one for breakfast and lunch, plus the world-class CATCH restaurant for dinner. After a huge success in New York and Dubai, CATCH is now opened in Playa del Carmen with West Hollywood, California scheduled to open next. It occupies a large section of the rooftop for its fine seafood dining. The placement of tables and seating invites groups and casual visiting. In addition to the outstanding seafood, with its emphasis on freshness, is careful and attentive personal service, making each guest feel special. In between the two restaurants are spacious pools. One is a gigantic infinity pool where a variety of nooks include massage and spa services; exercise and workout accommodations; and intimate lounging with cool, tropical drinks.
At night, a light show with the lit pool, lights of the Avenue below, and upbeat music create a party atmosphere. Thompson refers to the rooftop as a E0,000 square foot playground. ENone of this excitement impacts the ability to have an enjoyable sleep on the super comfortable beds, especially after daytime activities which include exploring both Playa and Riviera Maya with all of their enticements.
Day trips include the famed cenotes of the area or the outstanding archaeological sites of the ancient Maya. You can enjoy various walks in both directions along the lively streets since Avenida Quinta is packed with cafés, bars, and retail outlets. The shops are plentiful, from small souvenirs to fashion luxury. Activities are readily available day and night. There are enough eateries, from tacos to uber-gourmet, that you could dine for weeks without repetition.
A block from the hotel is one of the country's most beautiful white sand beaches. Walk two blocks more, and you are at Thompson's new luxury resort, Beach House (directly on the beach), where all Thompson guests are welcome to use the facilities. The location is beautifully decorated, and accommodations offer the same spacious feeling of luxury in a boutique setting.
This lovely beachfront hotel provides bar and restaurant service on the deck, as well as lounges on the magnificent white-sand shore of the colorful Caribbean. The Beach House's informal restaurant is a perfect place to enjoy breakfast before a morning swim or lunch while enjoying the Playa sun. The Beach House suites are as luxurious as the main Thompson hotel with the staff as friendly and attentive. Only here you can get a direct view of the Caribbean Sea.
Playa del Carmen is now a tourist mecca. Thompson has successfully entered on this scene with its own unique approach to architectural design and a little something extra to offer in the way of contemporary luxury—in a place where most of the luxe options have been well outside of town.
Web Address: ThompsonHotels Playa
Total Number of Rooms: 92 in the main building, 27 in the Beach House.
Published rates:$229 to $1,200
Review and photos by John Lamkin.