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Tulum Travel Guide

I had a strange experience in Tulum. Everyone and their mother had been raving about it for the last 2 years so I finally booked our spring trip to the notoriously eco-friendly Mexican vacation spot this year. It was definitely an experience but not my ideal tropical vacation.


I’m having a hard time putting into words what my problem was but I think it was just a bit too bohemian and trendy for my taste. Everything was wildly overpriced (as are most Caribbean islands/tropical beach locations), and it wasn’t quite as perfectly pristine as I like. I realize that sounds snobby but that is not how I mean it at all! I just prefer things a little cleaner and a little more manicured.


That being said, we had a lot of amazing experiences, so here are my tips if you’re headed to Tulum.


Tulum Sunset
To stay:
We stayed at the Jashita Hotel which was about 20 minutes from downtown Tulum. This was a blessing and a curse. It was great because it was calm and quiet and more serene than the downtown area but it cost $30 each way every time we went out to dinner or anywhere other than the hotel itself. That being said, the Jashita was great. Our room was beautiful yet simple with a balcony looking out over the water with a private plunge pool.
Tulum Pool


They had beautiful Etro soaps and provided free bottled water daily which is important for me! The restaurant in the hotel was great. Breakfast was included and it came with a spread of coffees, teas, juices, and anything off of the menu. We opted for huevos rancheros with avocado every morning. So. Good. And obviously the green juice had me at hello.


Jashita Hotel

I’ve heard amazing things about the Coqui Coqui and know a lot of people who have stayed there and loved it. If I ever went back, I’d stay here because it’s central to all of the restaurants and is absolutely gorgeous. We walked around the space to scope the joint and it had a wonderful energy about it.


To Eat:
If you like seafood, you should probably visit Tulum at some point in your life.


Hartwood definitely lives up to the hype. I wrote a full review on it here. If you go to Tulum and skip this restaurant, you’re very silly.
Hartwood Tulum


Chamico’s: My friend Shannon recently honeymooned in Tulum and recommended a restaurant up the beach from our hotel so we decided to check it out. Restaurant is a strong word. . . After a 30 minute walk in the sand (that walk in the hot sun is no joke, folks!) we stumbled upon some plastic tables and chairs in a forest of palm trees surrounded by hammocks. A young man walked up to us and asked us what we wanted to eat. “Menu?” we asked. “No tengo menu,” he replied. We said bring the best of what you have. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.


We ended up with fresh guacamole, shrimp quesadillas, a whole fried fish, and the most unreal yet simple ceviche that I’ve ever had in my entire life. When we were paying, we peeked inside the “kitchen” which was made up of two women cooking in what looked like a small house surrounded by chickens. It was so awesome. We ended up going back again and this time got the fresh lobster which rivaled anything I’ve had in Maine. I cannot recommend this place enough and have since found out that the New York Times agrees. No shirt, no shoes, no problem.


Posada Margherita kept coming up in conversations with everyone we met. We really didn’t want Italian food in Mexico but after we heard 10 times how great it was, we decided to make the venture to this quirky spot. It was SO worth it. The walkway up to the restaurant is lined with vignettes of vintage tables smothered in candles. It was like a nighttime Anthropologie shoot. After putting our names down, we sipped on sweating glasses of white wine at the bar and perused the shop (see more below on that!). The menu had 3 pastas, 3 fish dishes, and 3 shrimp dishes. We ordered the shrimp pasta and a simple vegetable pasta dish. Both were out of this world. The pasta is all homemade on-site and the fresh ingredients and herbs stood out in the most perfect and whimsical way. The place had a great ambiance with a cool breeze and was full of beautiful people.
Pineapple Dress


I had read a lot about Gitano and how great the drinks are. It did not disappoint. Their drink list was to die for and I especially fell in love with their oddly smokey margarita. It was delish. The space itself was super cool, all outside with chandeliers in the trees, a DJ (slash model) spinning music, and female guests in crop tops with their boyfriends in skinny jean cutoffs. Needless to say, Anel and I felt a bit out of place. The food was definitely good (Shrimp tacos were our favorite!) but overall the space was overwhelming and it had a strong gas smell from the generator that we were seated close to. If you go, I recommend asking to sit as far from it as possible. My suggestion is to go here for a drink (or 3) before or after dinner elsewhere.
Hot Pink Pineapples


Sahara Cafe is the Italian-owned restaurant in the Jashita Hotel. It was AMAZING for breakfast (best Huevos Rancheros I’ve ever eaten!), pretty great for lunch (shrimp tacos yet again were the winners), and had the best margaritas we had on the whole trip. They were perfectly salty and just a little bit sweet. Perfection, seriously. The dinner menu looked a little weird at first but the fish was incredibly fresh and everything we ate was excellent. We especially enjoyed the tuna carpaccio. On top of all that, the space is stunning and the most perfectly manicured restaurant we visited on the trip.


Jashita Restaurant


To Pamper:
I had an incredible massage and overall experience at Yaan Wellness. The first day and a half of our trip was frustrating and underwhelming to the point where I thought about hopping on a plane elsewhere. After this massage, everything changed. I walked in and found my tribe. They staff talked about the energy of the space, gave me tea made from the rooftop garden’s lemongrass, and showed me around the most stunning grounds full of hot tubs with chandeliers and signs that said “smile”. I got a 60 minute deep tissue massage, during which my therapist stood on my back and did some energy healing. She truly saved the trip for me!
Yaan Wellness Tulum


To Shop:
Most of the shopping was touristy and cheesy but I found a few spots that I loved.


Josa Tulum carries beautiful flowy pieces that have a Calypso St. Barth’s feel but with a (slightly) cheaper price tag. I ended up buying a striped maxi dress/cover up and, after Instagramming it, the Josa crew sent over a bag of beautiful pieces to my hotel which was the nicest gesture and made me love them even more!
Pineapple Maxi Dress


The boutique at Posada Margherita was awesome. They carried everything from Catbird rings to natural sunburn salve to beautiful scarves to silk dresses. I could have bought everything in the entire little shop. It’s not cheap so be prepared to just browse or splurge.




Like my pineapple dress in these photos? My friend Alex, the founder and designer of Persifor, is giving you guys 20% off of everything on her site with the code SPRINGBREAK. Happy shopping!


CM 6


This weekend was so blissful. It was the first weekend in a month where I wasn’t traveling. I decided to take it easy for the first time like ever and actually relax with my husband. I even slept for 13 hours on Saturday night! I never do that. At 11:30 on Sunday Anel was like ok you actually have to get up now. It was unreal and so needed.


That being said, of course I made sure to be productive because I’m me and relaxing without doing any work for 2 full days in a row is not something that makes me happy. We spent 3 hours spring cleaning the whole house on Saturday morning, and I dropped off 5 garbage bags full of clothes and linens to Goodwill yesterday which is one of my favorite feelings in the whole world. I also baked Paleo peanut butter cookies (recipe coming later this week) and finally wrote my Tulum travel guide (posting tomorrow!).


I lived in this Club Monaco neutral sweater which might be the best clothing purchase I’ve made in 2015. It is such a great and flattering fit and goes with everything. I am probably wearing it too often (last seen here), but I don’t mind. It’s a great winter to spring transition piece.


CM 10

CM 2

CM 1

CM 4

CM 9

Photos by Christine Sargologos.




By the pool


As promised, I am giving you a full on review of Hartwood Restaurant, the best, most blogged about restaurant in Tulum. We took these photos before dinner last Friday and I wore this outfit to the restaurant. I was by far the most over-dressed person there. Oops! But at least I got a chance to wear these fabulous turquoise tassel earrings and the chicest maxi dress.


To get a “reservation” at Hartwood, you have to show up at 4pm and give a woman your name. . . which she doesn’t write down, natch. The lady in front of me in line was wearing a bikini with no shoes and the guy behind me had the longest dreads I’ve ever seen. So hip. I fit right in. There are two sittings at 6 and 8pm so if you want to eat at 7, no bueno. I went at 4pm and then spent a few hours at a nearby spa until the first sitting at 6pm. Talk about best night of the trip!


At 6, we were ushered right in when I mentioned my name (is this magic?) to a table that we shared with another couple. The menu is written on a chalkboard and consists of 6 apps, 6 mains, and 3 sides. The waiter came and sat at our table to translate it into English and tell us his favorite dishes. We started with a grapefruit mint mojito and a cucumber basil gimlet type of drink with Mezcal (pictured below).


For apps, we ordered the freshest ceviche that was garnished with stunning edible flowers and a tomato salad that would be hard to beat. We got two different kinds of fish for our main course (no idea what they were) that were so incredibly fresh and perfectly seasoned that our jaws dropped. Seriously some of the best fish I’ve ever eaten which is saying a lot. By the time our food came, Anel was over taking photos (understandably) so I only caught our cocktails but just trust me that every dish was styled to perfection. It was like Pinterest on a plate.


For dessert, Anel had a scoop each of white cheese and sweet corn ice cream. They sound gross but were so incredibly delicious, I can’t even explain it. I had another cocktail obviously. This time it was bourbon with fresh ginger, club soda, and lemon. Like a jack and ginger but fresher and better.


Overall I give Hartwood an A+. The atmosphere was super cool and relaxed and it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.


Some things to note:
- You have to pay in cash so bring a lot. The place ain’t cheap.
- There are a lot of mosquitos and they burn some herb that is super smokey to help the situation. You can see it in some of the pictures below.


Have you been to Hartwood? I’d love to hear about your experience! Enjoy the photos below of the restaurant and my look for the evening.



Pool Side

Fresh Cocktails

Resort Chic

Hartwood 4

Jack Rogers Lauren sandals

Hartwood 2

Sail to Sable maxi dress

Hartwood Menu

Vineyard Vines beach bag

Photos by Anel Dzafic.


Side Table


The guest room was the last space of our new home that I haven’t completely finished until now. Our whole apartment felt pulled together except for this one room so PB Teen and I teamed up yet again to perfect the space. I’m so happy with how it turned out!


The design ties in nicely with our living room and bedroom but has a personality of it’s own.


I wanted to keep it really classic and symmetrical to make guests (mainly my sister on Sunday nights) feel welcome but not overwhelmed. I started by upgrading our night stands. There were so many ways to style the open bottom of these tables but I knew right away that I wanted to strategically stuff them full of books. It makes the room look less staged and feel more homey. I opted for pages out so that the colors wouldn’t be too overwhelming.


The bedding is not too girly or masculine. The very simple grey duvet cover could be almost too simple on its own, but when paired with patterned navy sheets, it’s the perfect amount of funky and classic.


3 guest room decorating tips:


1. Think about their needs in advanced. I keep tissues (in these preppy tissue box covers of course) and bottles of water on the night stands so guests don’t have to ask where to find them. I placed a small gold tray on one nightstand for wedding rings and jewelry.


2. Leave space for your guests to put their things so they don’t feel like they have to live out of a suit case. I put my lucite desk and navy bow chair in the room as a place where I can work but also so people can use it as a vanity when visiting.


3. Make it comfortable but not overly styled. You want guests to feel like they can move around comfortably without “messing everything up”.


Scroll down for links to all products in this post and let me know what you think!


Gray and Navy Bedding

Night Stands

Side Table Essentials

Guest Room Design

Preppy Night Stand

PB Teen

Rainbow Book Stand

Lucite Desk

Books in Night Stand

Navy and Green

Bed Side Table

Shop this post:
Tissue box covers: Design Darling
Ginger jar matches: Design Darling
Rug: Old PB Teen but similar here
Chevron mirror: West Elm
Lamps: PB Teen
Night Stands: PB Teen
Candles: Dyptique
Gold tray: PB Teen
Lucite desk: CB2
Navy chair: Society Social
Duvet cover: c/o PB Teen
Sheets: c/o PB Teen
Throw pillows: c/o PB Teen
Topiaries: Overstock