"Travel like a star; Feel right at home."
Last month, my husband and I had the pleasure of celebrating our tenth anniversary with five nights at The Tides. We have traveled all over the world and have never seen or experienced a place like this. The Tides has a magical atmosphere that feels dreamy, serene, and extremely upscale. We did not have to choose between the beach and the jungle; at The Tides we enjoyed both! The stunning entrance and common areas of the property open onto a beautiful beach dotted with personal cabanas and hammock beds. The walk to our villa on the meandering path through the jungle was a joy every time we took it!
Our room was lovely, homey, and very comfortable. We loved having our own patio, hammock, heated pool and dining area. From the exquisite homemade natural soaps to the earthy copal incense, The Tides does not miss a detail and made us feel right at home. We did not experience bug problems (other than some ants the first couple of days), but we did see an impressive array of wildlife (mostly birds and geckos) around our patio area!
The restaurant was gourmet and everything we had there was wonderful. We usually enjoy a more down-home and local flair when it comes to our food though, so we made trips into town often for cheaper and more varied Yucatan meals. It was nice to mix it up. That said, the kitchen was always willing to fix us something that wasn't on the menu. Ask for shrimp quesadillas- you won't be disappointed! The cocktails were excellent- I am addicted to the chayitos (mojitos made with chaya instead of mint)!
The star of The Tides is its spa! The steam rooms and the spa itself are natural and comfortable, and the spa staff is friendly, helpful, and very professional. I experienced three massages while there: the couples blessing massage (not on the website), the Riviera massage, and a relaxation massage. I HIGHLY recommend the couple's blessing massage (I believe it is called Xaman-Ek), which is performed in a lovely outdoor gazebo and followed by a soak in steaming herb baths carved from tree trunks. After the blessing, you are left alone to soak in your personal tubs, and enjoy champagne and chocolate covered strawberries while basking in the glow of it all! I could have chosen this treatment every day! The price is very reasonable, and it is more than worth every penny.
The only exception was the pedicure, which was very disappointing (both in execution and in atmosphere). I realize that this is not a nail place (they don't even have a manicure on the menu), but I had specifically waited to get my pedicure here after seeing it online. It was given in a small, bland room with no plants, candles, incense or windows (nor magazines, music, feet jacuzzi), and there was absolutely no foot or leg massage involved, even though the total time is 45 minutes. They only had about eight paint colors to choose from, and the paint I chose seemed old and did not go on well. I did let them know about my disappointment in the pedicure, and although they did not offer to remove it from our bill, they more than made up for it by offering my husband and I a 30-minute relaxation massage. We were satisfied, and the massages were outstanding. Still, skip the pedi and get your usual place to do it for half the price before you leave for Mexico!
The service at The Tides is exceptional, and we felt very well attended to. The service personnel stay connected with each other via walkie-talkie, and we joked that every time we did anything, the nearest employee would report it to the rest of the staff so that everyone knew where we were at all times. At one point, we thought maybe they had the monkeys working for them, too. This felt a little strange, but we realized it was so that we would not be bothered with cleaning service or anything else. These folks take their jobs very seriously, and are beyond apologetic if anything goes wrong. Our concierge, Oscar, was incredibly helpful and intuitive. On several occasions he made recommendations that were exactly what we were looking for.
I absolutely recommend The Tides if you are looking for something very unique. The rooms will make you feel very at home, while the front of the property (beach/pool/restaurant) will make you feel like a celebrity living la dolce vita (the good life!). But even if the good life gets to be a bit too much for you at times, the fun, eclectic town of Playa del Carmen is just a 10-15 minute drive away, and makes for a great day or night outing.
Skillette from Austin, TX