Full disclosure: This stay was comped, however, there was no arrangement that I write this blog post about this stay, this hotel or anything related – I am writing more to journal what I found to be a delightful experience.
In many parts of the world International Worker’s Day is observed on May 1st. Mexico is one of those places and so we decided to take the day off in observation of the holiday. We have been going pretty much full-speed for the past six months. Sure, we’ve had a trip here or a trip there, but those trips have all been something akin to what you might refer to as working holidays. We haven’t really just consciously decided to do nothing for an entire day – all of that changed on the first of May.
When the idea of doing nothing for this day first came up we really didn’t have any plans of where to do nothing. Ultimately we decided to unplug at La Zebra Tulum. I haven’t got enough superlatives to describe how this is the idyllic place to do nothing. I think the best way to sum it up would be with a Corona commercial:
Really, it’s exactly like that.
Unfortunately I haven’t got much to say about the room – we didn’t spend much time there. It was spacious, clean, comfortable and came with a complimentary bottle of tequila.
There are some small touches in the room that are in keeping with what you might expect from a hotel of this caliber. A personal welcome note that provided a brief overview of the important things about the hotel such as where to find coffee early in the morning. I did notice the selection of bath/hygiene products – all organic and quite stylishly presented.
The property embodies everything you would expect from a boutique hotel. The motif isn’t immediately obvious to me, perhaps that’s more due to my lack of an eye for design than anything else – suffice to say that there’s a mix of a maritime theme combined with something more mexi-caribbean, which given the locale fits perfectly. Regardless of my lack of ability to understand the connection, it is abundantly obvious that a lot of thought has been put in to the details and functionality of the decor.
Somehow or another the property feels simultaneously very large and very intimate. The small touches are really what stand out in my mind. Little things that might be considered silly in any other context. Things like coconut shaped lights in the coconut trees and little nooks where you might find a rowboat converted into a swing or a couch. You can also take time to enjoy the uniquely painted table tops and regionally appropriate art that can be found throughout (hint: look up when inside the restaurant)
Food & Drink
I usually try to refrain from pretending to be a foodie. I’m more of an “eat to live” kind of guy more so than I am “live to eat” so I don’t think I can provide a very robust narrative surrounding the food at La Zebra. I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ate during our little vacation and I was especially fond of the cochinita pibil which is a regional favorite consisting of slow cooked pork (traditionally cooked in a pit) with various accoutrements.
Again there were some small touches that really stick out in my mind. Hand-blown glass is quite common in Mexico – your grandmother may very well have a set of glasses of the Mexican hand-blown variety with the blue rims. I really loved the glassware used at La Zebra which are hand-blown but not like what you typically find in the local tourist shops. It’s a small detail but it does a lot to really cement the uniqueness of this place in my mind. On our second night we did opt to have desert with our meal. Our server suggested we try the churros which saved me the arduous task of deciding on what to have for desert. We were very delighted with this choice. The churros ended up being a bit of a footnote to a much larger and exceptionally whimsical dish. This particular desert appears to want to help you relive your favorite childhood memories of the local county fair – bright pink cotton candy, chocolate, pie, cream and churros. I’m very grateful that I had someone to share this with.
I don’t want to stray too far from the point here, but I feel the need to wrap a little bit of context around what I’m about to say. Since I first really started traveling, I’ve stayed in almost every class of accommodation that exists – from sleeping in ditches on the side of the road to a weekend getaway at the St. Regis on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi and everything in between including $2/night bunks in dorm rooms in the dingiest hostels on earth. In my experience the service staff at any establishment can make or break one’s experience – but it’s not an easy balance to achieve. The service at La Zebra is top notch. They will ensure you are able to spend your time with them completely stress free. All of the staff members are friendly, helpful, attentive and FUN without being over-bearing or creating a clinical atmosphere. The staff at La Zebra bring all of the smaller details together; something like the conductor of an orchestra bringing all the pieces together at the perfect time as they work towards the crescendo.
What I’m trying to say here is that if ever you need the perfect place to go and truly relax, I mean really, genuinely, truly relax there is absolutely no better place to do it. That perfect vacation depicted in “having a great time, wish you were here” types of postcards – La Zebra is the type of place where those moments happen. It’s the perfect place for that to happen because it’s on the perfect beach, great attention to detail is given to every aspect of the hotel to make it less a hotel and more an experience. I hope you are as fortunate as I and get to visit it one day.