Where to Stay in Tulum: Hotel Bardo

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Rachel Off Duty: The Interior Design of the Villas at Hotel Bardo, Tulum

What really stands out to me about Tulum is the architecture and design. Stunning bohemian decor, jungle-inspired textures, and exclusive beach bungalow layouts are all signature aspects of so many of the hotels here. It’s a bit over the top (in a good way), and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

In fact, if there was ever a destination that gives me the ultimate “please make my future home look like this” vibes, it’s Mexico. In fact, from the Airbnbs I stayed at in Merida and Tulum to the hotels in Valle de Guadalupe, I am consistently impressed by the beauty of the accommodations in this country!

So, suffice it to say I searched long and hard for the most beautiful place to stay in the area, and I came across Hotel Bardo Tulum, located in Tulum town. I was actually originally supposed to stay at Una Vida, Hotel Bardo’s more affordable – and equally gorgeous – sister property, but was “upgraded” to a villa at Hotel Bardo due to last-minute availability. The two hotels, which are actually next door to one another, are stunning, bohemian, modern, and enchanting. In fact, I could probably rattle off a dozen more adjectives to describe just how much I enjoyed this particular hotel, but I’ll let the rest of this review – and the photos – do the talking! 

Wondering where to stay in Tulum? Keep reading for everything you need to know about Hotel Bardo Tulum, my new favorite hotel in my ever-growing list of reasons why accommodations in Mexico are the best.

RELATED: The Ultimate One-Week Guide to Tulum, Mexico


Rachel Off Duty: The Entrance to the Villas in Hotel Bardo, Tulum

There are two main areas in Tulum – the beach zone (also known as Tulum beach, the hotel zone, or Tulum playa), and the town (also known as Tulum town or Tulum pueblo), which is about 20 – 45 minutes away, depending on traffic.

The beach or “hotel zone” is home to some of Tulum’s most famous hotels and resorts. If you’ve already started eyeing Tulum hotels on Pinterest or Instagram, you’ve probably seen many of these pop up. 

The hotels in Tulum’s hotel zone are stunning, and being able to wake up just steps from one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico is an undeniably worthwhile experience. However, the one drawback to staying on the beach is the price. Hotels, restaurants and pretty much everything in the hotel zone are quite expensive. Think LA or New York prices, and in some cases, even more. 

Tulum town, on the flip side, is a bit more local and relaxed than the hotel area. And, the cost of just about everything in Tulum town is half the price you can expect to pay near the beach.

I believe one of the best ways to experience the many facets of Tulum is to spend some time staying in both Tulum beach and Tulum town. This way, you can experience the famous beach area in all its extravagance, and get a more local and less-expensive taste of the area, too. 

You can find very affordable accommodations in Tulum town. But, if you are willing to splurge a bit on a beautiful place to stay, your money will go much further in town than it will on the beach, typically. 

Hotel Bardo, located in Tulum town just a 10 – 20 minute walk from the main shopping and dining area, is a prime example of this. For somewhere between $250 – $400 a night (depending on the season and how far in advance you book), you can have a private villa with your own personal plunge pool! 

The Hotel Bardo Tulum Property

Rachel Off Duty: The Pool at Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: Milum Restaurant at Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: Milum Restaurant at Hotel Bardo, Tulum

Hotel Bardo feels like a secluded, exclusive retreat, despite being just a short drive, walk, or bike ride from the center of town. With an emphasis on highlighting the Mayan jungle and unique design sensibilities of Tulum’s artisans, the lobby and common areas here are just exquisite. 

I hate myself for admitting this, but I probably said out loud about a dozen times while I was here, “this place is a WHOLE mood.” Because it WAS! 

The main common area here is the hotel’s giant pool – one of the biggest in Tulum. The pool feels more like a cenote than your typical lap pool, which seems to be the point, and helps add to the overall atmosphere. Surrounded by strategically placed greenery and trees, some of which predates the hotel’s construction and has been accommodated with decorative holes in the floor and ceilings to allow them to thrive, you feel nestled, almost enveloped by the jungle. 

Every night, just moments before sunset, hotel staff will make their rounds through the pool and common areas, lighting dozens of candles and lanterns by hand. One by one, candles cast a warm, inviting orange glow over the space as night falls, which is a nice touch, considering there’s still a lot to do here after dark. 

Play a round of pool in the lounge area, stargaze in a hammock or around the fire, grab a drink at the Kinky Room Bar (the sangria here is to die for), or enjoy dinner at Milum. If you’re not up for dining in the restaurant, you can always get it delivered to your villa via a quick text over WhatsApp.

Rachel Off Duty: The Cauliflower Al Pastor Tacos at Milum in Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: Breakfast Room Service from Milum at Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: The Yoga Shala at Hotel Bardo, Tulum

For those looking to connect with the more spiritual or wellness aspects of Tulum, Bardo also offers sound healing, donation-based yoga classes, massages, and onsite temazcal ceremonies.

Rachel Off Duty: A Woman Exploring Una Vida Hotel in Tulum, Mexico
Rachel Off Duty: The Pool at Una Vida Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: The Pool at Una Vida Tulum

Una Vida, Bardo’s sister property, actually sits next door. Guests of either hotel can enjoy the full property’s amenities. This means you get to lounge around in not just one, but two beautifully designed pools, each with its own unique vibe. 

The Villas

Rachel Off Duty: The Interior Design of the Villas at Hotel Bardo, Tulum

All of Bardo’s villas have essentially the same layout: a private entrance to a private plunge pool that doubles as the walkway leading into your suite. Surrounding the villa, you have your own personal outdoor space, with the pool, a hammock, a dining table, and a garden for you to enjoy. 

Rachel Off Duty: The Interior Design of the Villas at Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: The Interior Design of the Villas at Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: The Interior Design of the Villas at Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: A Woman in a Robe at the Villas in Hotel Bardo

Inside the 645-square-foot villa, you’ll find a split-level loft-style living space, complete with a living room, bedroom, closet, bathroom, and open-air shower (my favorite part!). The villas are beautifully decorated like the lobby, showcasing jungle textures and locally produced pieces to bring the best of Tulum indoors. 

There’s WiFi in each villa, though the hotel politely challenges guests to disconnect and enjoy. From a remote work perspective, I actually found the WiFi here to be really good when I needed to check emails or get some tasks out of the way in between dips in the pool.

Tips to Know Before You Go

Rachel Off Duty: A Woman Enjoying Wine in the Plunge Pool at Hotel Bardo, Tulum
Rachel Off Duty: The Private Plunge Pools at Hotel Bardo, Tulum

1. TRANSPORTATION: There is free onsite parking at Bardo, so if you rent a car (which I highly recommend for exploring Tulum), you’ll have no problems bringing it here. A car is by far the best and easiest way to get around Tulum if you want to visit cenotes, see Mayan ruins, and take day trips. However, you can also easily rent a bike from Bardo if you just want to cruise around Tulum town or head to the beach! 

If you need to take a taxi, the hotel front desk will be able to help you hail one. 

2. WHERE TO EAT: In addition to the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Milum, you can also visit Una Vida’s restaurant next door, Ananda. 

Off the hotel property, you’ll find it’s just a short walk (no more than 20-30 minutes) to most of the dining options in Tulum town. Some great choices nearby include Palma Central (an open-air food market with lots of food trucks to try, just a 9-minute walk from Bardo), El Camello Jr (10-minute walk), Burrito Amor (15-minute walk), Bonita Tulum’s Burger Bar (25-minute walk), or Taqueria Honorio (30-minute walk). 


  1. Try the hotel’s yoga, temazcal, massage, or sound healing sessions
  2. Visit some cenotes in the area, like Calavera, Gran Cenote, or Zacil-Ha 
  3. Take a day trip to the Coba or Chichen-Itza Ruins 
  4. Spend the day at the beach, which is just 20 – 45 minutes away from Bardo by bike
  5. Visit the Kaan Luum Lagoon to swim, paddleboard, or climb up to the viewing platform to see the massive ‘sinkhole’ cenote in the middle of the lagoon! 

Ready to pack your bags? Book your stay at the Hotel Bardo Tulum here.

Book Activities In or Near This Hotel Here:

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Where to Stay in Tulum, Mexico: The Hotel Bardo – Rachel Off Duty
Where to Stay in Tulum, Mexico: The Hotel Bardo – Rachel Off Duty

Hey there! I’m Rachel, a travel writer and a full-time advertising / marketing expert. In 2019, I traveled more than 25 times while working 9 to 5, and since then I’ve committed myself to living a more adventurous life, even if it means bringing my laptop along for the ride.

Are you hungry to travel more, but overwhelmed with how to juggle work and play? You’ve come to the right place!

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8 Responses

  1. Most of the hotels in Tulum look like they cater to couples, only having King sized beds. Whats the best place for 2 traveling friends that want 2 double beds?

    1. Not sure, as I haven’t stayed in a hotel in Tulum with that configuration yet. I believe you can filter for 2 beds / 2 bedrooms in your search on sites like Booking.com and Airbnb! I agree it’s a bit of a couples-focused destination, but I’m sure there are options!

  2. Did you feel safe when in Tulum? We just booked at this hotel as well as another hotel nearby, but then reading about a lot violence and robberies lately, now second guessing this trip. What were you thoughts on safety when there?

    1. There’s always a layer of safety concern whenever I come to Mexico. But, I generally felt very safe in Tulum. Just keep an eye on your belongings, sign up for STEP (if you’re a US citizen, or the equivalent if you’re not), and exercise the same precautions you would anywhere and you should have a great time!

  3. Hi Rachel,

    First of all, I wanted to say thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful blog posts. They have become an integral part of my travel research for years. I would never have had an unexpectedly delightful day in Jerome, AZ or on of my favorite afternoons rum tasting in Kauai without your suggestions (among many others). I am planning a trip to Mexico this spring and would very much appreciate your input. I’m planning to stay in Tulum for about a week and was planning on spending 1/2 the time near Tulum town and half on the beach. which location would you recommend splurging for a better hotel? Also, would you recommend Cozumel over Playa del Carmen? I’m thinking of ending the trip at an all inclusive and am curious about the pros and cons of the larger beach areas. Thanks again for all the time and effort you put into this blog. It’s an amazing resource for travelers, and has become one of my most trusted travel resources!

    1. This comment made my day!! Thanks so much for the amazing feedback! I’m so glad the recommendations are helpful. It’s always so fun to hear where other travelers end up as a result of arriving on my site.

      Tulum beach will be a splurge no matter what, so I think to get the most bang for your buck you can splurge in Tulum town for an objectively nicer hotel stay. But I stayed in both places and they’re both fun! If you want to be right on the beach and don’t mind the price, Tulum beach is where it’s at. Otherwise, Tulum town really isn’t too far away and you’ll have a more local feel, plus quicker access to cenotes and road trips around Quintana Roo.

      I can’t speak to all inclusives in this part of Mexico but if that’s what you’re after then I think Playa del Carmen will be a better bet! You could potentially do a day trip to Cozumel so you can experience that as well.

      Safe travels!!

  4. Hi Rachel,
    I am planning a trip to Tulum in March and am using many of your suggestions. I have rooms booked at both Bardo and Una Vida, and am wondering what the primary differences are and if you think it’s worth the upgrade to stay at Bardo. I booked one of the Tropical King rooms with plunge pool at Una Vida, but Bardo is still ~$800 more. Do you think it’s worth that amount? Thank you so much for your great blog. Whenever I’m traveling I check to see if you have a post about where I’m going!

    1. Hello! I absolutely LOVED my stay at Bardo. I found it worth the money, and it’s such a beautiful place. But, as Bardo and Una Vida are sister properties (and you have access to both pool areas when staying at the hotel), I think you’ll be fine if you want to save a bit of money by sticking with Una Vida. Hope that helps!

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