As we speed across the lagoon, I can’t decide if I’m more in awe of the natural beauty around us, or the captain’s ability to navigate the network of canals, lined with twisting mangroves. There is scarcely another human in these parts, though we do catch sight of an osprey eagle. When we arrive, more than a little windswept, we are greeted with fresh guava juice. Our bags are swept away as we are invited to explore the grounds of Casa Chablé.
Situated between the lagoon and the open ocean on a stretch of untouched white sand beach, the new boutique hotel Casa Chablé offers the ultimate in tranquil luxury. Here, you find that every aspect has been carefully thought of to create the perfect stay for guests, while also protecting and celebrating its setting.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a 1.3-million-acre Unesco World Heritage Site on Mexico’s Yucatan coast, encompasses lush jungles, pristine wetlands and ancient ruins alongside the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Its Mayan name translates to “gateway to heaven”, and over the next few days, Casa Chablé works to show us just how true that name is.
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For how remote it feels, Casa Chablé is remarkably accessible: reached by a drive through the Sian Ka’an Reserve or, as the hotel recommends, by a 45-minute boat journey from Tulum’s hotel zone. Last week, manager Ronald Cruz tells us, Casa Chablé had their first guests arrive by helicopter, landing on the beach.
The hotel comprises just 10 residences – five rooms in the Casa Principal (main house), and five standalone bungalows. In style, award-winning Mexican interior designer Paulina Morán was inspired by the hotel’s natural surroundings, using wooden and wicker textures alongside local prints and patterns to connect the space to its cultural roots through color and shape.
The bungalows are scattered across the white sand beach, where their frond-topped roofs blend seamlessly into the palm trees surrounding them.
The three ocean-view bungalows, one master beachfront bungalow and one premium-oceanfront bungalow with a private garden have breathtaking views, moon showers, and terraces to enjoy the environment.
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Inside, every last detail is thought of, all the way down to the small lamp provided for night-time walks along the beach, so that the glorious map of stars above won’t be disturbed by light pollution.
Sustainability runs throughout the hotel’s ethos: the property is powered by renewable solar and wind energy and uses eco-sensitive filtration. Water is drawn from an on-site well and treated using reverse osmosis and biodigester technology to be repurposed for irrigation.
And one of the most special parts of the experience is that it will always stay this intimate, due to strict environmental regulations in Sian Ka’an that almost entirely limit new construction. This may be frustrating for some local hoteliers, but there is joy in knowing that the preservation of the Biosphere Reserve comes above all else, and that Casa Chablé will likely never be any bigger than this.
In the morning we are greeted by fresh pastries and coffee on our terrace, before heading over to the Ku’um for breakfast overlooking the beach.
Casa Chable’s dining offer is led by Jorge Vallejo, who has gained worldwide recognition for his award-winning Mexico City restaurant. Guintonil has been included on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2015 and brings his expertise and passion for cooking to the heart of K’uum.
The menu centers on regionally-inspired dishes that highlight the freshness of the ingredients. Fish and seafood, caught daily in the nearby village, are complemented by rich sauces, zingy salsas and an abundance of locally-sourced fruits and vegetables.
And the restaurant isn’t the only place you can enjoy the culinary delights that Casa Chablé has to offer. The staff can arrange breakfast on your balcony, or dinner on the beach or in a jungle clearing, for a romantic private meal.
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For the ultimate in relaxation and balance, Casa Chable offers a variety of spa treatments. The Massage Casa Lagoon Chablé combines ancient techniques and the use of universal energy to align the “chakras”. The Lolha-Water Flower Ritual celebrates nature and herbal remedies with a blend of flower petals and essential oils that nourish the skin, accompanied by a pure hydrating facial.
For those seeking to reconnect with nature, try the Reconnection with the Elements treatment. This sunset therapy in front of the sea offers profound benefits for the body, with a relaxing massage accompanied by the sound of ocean waves and the white sand of Sian Ka’an.
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For those looking for adventure, the hotel offers a vast array of activities from kayaking and paddle boarding to mezcal tasting and cooking classes. But the best activities undoubtedly come when you venture beyond the hotel grounds into the Biosphere Reserve.
The hotel has tour guides on retainer, so we take a boat trip out into the lagoon. We visit “bird island” where our captain Laura points out frigatebirds, their throats bright red for mating season, baby pelicans still learning to fly and pink spoonbills in the final days before they migrate back to Canada.
Laura’s expert eye tracks down a dolphin keen to impress us and a leaping ray. Then, braving the choppy waves of the open ocean, we see a stunning sea turtle, breaching the water’s surface just feet from our boat. We snorkel in the coral reef alongside day-trippers from Tulum and bathe in the warm, clear natural pools.
Mayan culture and ritual is embedded in the hotel. Cruz shows us the makeshift shrine where the staff leave offerings for the aluxo’ob, to appease the mischievous invisible creatures and bring good fortune for the hotel.
Before sunset, guests and staff join together for a Mayan ceremony, using incense and bells to give thanks for our natural surroundings.
It doesn’t feel gimmicky or tokenistic, far from it. As you look across the vast expanse of the lagoon and the blazing sun on the horizon, whatever you believe, it’s hard not to be overcome with gratitude for the natural forces that made this possible.
Casa Chable master beachfront bungalow from $2,189 per night. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 844 424 2253, casachable.chablehotels.com