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Stunning white-sand beaches, the Caribbean waters in all shades of blue, lush foliage, and Mayan ruins – the Riviera Maya is one good-looking ride. Beginning just south of Cancun, Mexico, the region is one long strip of hedonism and decadence. So, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the world’s most gay friendly regions, with beach paradises like Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Akumal, and Puerto Morelos, among others. LGBT travelers looking for the perfect tropical beach experience can’t go wrong here; think secluded beaches, excellent diving spots, ancient ruins, and, of course, equally amazing hotels. Gay hotels in Riviera Maya, whether luxurious or budget or intimate, meld the region’s exotic landscape into their design and amenities. In the end, you’re left with stunning beach paradises with excellent amenities combined with exclusivity, seclusion, and serenity that you’ll find nowhere else.
So, where should you stay on this 130-km-long pleasure-seeking, indulgent paradise in the heart of Central America? If it’s wild partying you’re looking for, then head straight to boomtown and crown jewel Playa del Carmen. In fact, many LGBT travelers prefer the stunning Playa to tourist-filled Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. However, the fast-growing Tulum is not far behind, with a slew of luxury resorts and spectacular Mayan ruins perched high above its beach. Puerto Morelos and Akumal are equally epicurean and indulgent, and even less crowded.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Cancun in general, check out our 11 Best Hotels in Cancun and 11 Best Hotels in Cancun to Party. But for luxurious LGBT vacation in the Caribbean, then Riviera Maya is where you should be heading to. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Nothing says ‘beach’ more than soft white-sand, picket fences, and thatched palapas, just like Villa Pescadores in the heart of Tulum. One of the most laidback gay hotels in Riviera Maya, this beachside boutique resort is the perfect hideaway to escape with your partner. Here, it’s all about spectacular sunrises, watching fishermen and their boats, or listening to local bands playing djembes. What’s more, Tulum’s fabulous Mayan ruins are a mere 5-minute walk.
There’s barefoot ease to this place, which sits right on white sand leading leads to the pristine stretch of beach out front, complete with hammocks strung on palm trees. The service is as exceptional as the atmosphere, and the staff does everything from arranging tours to renting out bikes. There are even movies under the stars many nights, so bring a jumper and cozy up to your partner for an experience like no other. There’s even free Wi-Fi, something that you probably didn’t expect on a remote beach in Mexico. The restaurant serves excellent meals, complete with potent cocktails that make you want to drink all day long. The icing on the cake is that morning tea and coffee is served directly to your villa every day.
It’s the thatched palapas that are the standout here, akin to tiny bungalows with foliage and hammocks all around. On the inside, they’re real trippy with surreal murals of mythical sea creatures. Comfy beds ensconced in mosquito nets and modern bathrooms with walk-in showers large enough for two complete the place.
Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa
The gay friendly Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa is the exact opposite of Riviera Maya’s usual all-inclusive budget hotels. This incredibly tranquil tropical retreat sits in Punta Maroma, right between Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen. In fact, it’s sandwiched between the blinding white sands of Playa Maroma and the lush, green jungles. If you’re a nature-lover who wants to splurge, we’d recommend you head to this charming hacienda-style escape.
The boutique resort is unmistakably Mexican in character, right from the thatched-roof palapas to maracas (Latin American percussion instrument) in the bar. The whitewashed backdrop has interesting pops of color, like the rainbow-hued in-house parrot, which is one unusual symbol of pride! There are lots of things to enjoy on the property, beginning with not one, but three swimming pools. The lagoon-style one in the tree-line courtyard is the best of them all. Do book a couple’s massage at the Kinan spa, which is as relaxing as it is invigorating. Even though there’s a fitness center, we recommend that you indulge in the jungle walk or grab a complimentary bike and head off on your own. Dig into surf n’ turf and tequila tasting at the on-site restaurant and bar. The cherry on top is one of the best stretches of sand in the world right outside.
A goody bag of Mexican candies and a round of pineapple sorbets later, you walk down to your rooms shaded by sea-grape trees, hibiscus, and palms. Even the entry-level rooms feature balcony hammocks, king-sized beds, and bathrooms with sunken baths. If you’re on your honeymoon or want something special, go for the Oceanfront Suites. They have their own for-two-bath, plunge pools, direct beach access, and even their own spa palapas!
Papaya Playa Project
Eco-conscious LGBTQ travelers, take note – the Papaya Playa Project in the pristine beach town of Azulik is one of the best sustainable gay hotels in Riviera Maya. The resort sits on a deserted, utopian stretch of the Caribbean coastline, almost at the southern end of the Riviera Maya. Hippy-chic to the hilt, this stylish resort is all about Mayan and mezcal-infused luxury off Caribbean waters in every shade of turquoise imaginable.
The boutique resort is all about ‘barefoot luxury,’ which means raw textures and organic materials appear all throughout. The original huts are designed from wood, while the newer casitas are a mix of chukun-tree resin and concrete. The vibe is laidback ‘primitive sophistication;’ and you begin to appreciate the privilege of luxury in the middle of somewhere so rustic. So, there’s everything from yoga to water sports, as well as an extended spa fusing ancient Mayan therapies with modern treatments. The resort is most famous for its full-moon parties at the open-air nightclub, which attracts many LGBTQ locals and travelers from Playa, Tulum, and even Cancun. Take a break from socializing and sip on Mexican cocktails on the couches overlooking the beach.
If you’re on your honeymoon or looking for luxurious charm, then go for the newer casitas which have pools of their own. For a more rustic, Robinson Crusoe-esque experience, the original wood cabins are ideal. This is a place where there’s no free Wi-Fi, TVs, or hot tubs – it’s all au naturel.
Royal Hideaway Playacar
The adults-only Royal Hideaway Playacar features on almost all lists of the best gay friendly hotels in Riviera Maya. This fully-inclusive beachside resort in Playa del Carmen is very gay-popular due to its amazing offerings and central seaside location. Playa’s best attractions, including gay clubs like Club 69 and Coco Bongo in the city center is a 10-minute drive. One of the Riviera’s best-kept secrets, the Cenote Chaak Tun which are caverns with natural swimming holes, is just 20 minutes away.
This beachside paradise with verdant lawns looks out to the blues of Cozumel and the Caribbean Sea, making it a rather picturesque and idyllic tropical spot. The heart and soul of the hotel are the main poolside, complete with sun loungers and swaying palms. An impressive fitness center aside, the resort even has aqua aerobics, dance classes, and more. The spa is equally grand, with a litany of body treatments and massages. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to the all-inclusive food at three restaurants, which also serve a hearty spread for breakfast.
The rooms are peaceful and cool with high ceilings, paintings of tropical scenery, and pearly marble surfaces. All have private balconies, expansive bathrooms with bathtubs, and complimentary minibars.
Casa Malca is for those intrepid and daring LGBTQ travelers who want to get away from it all. A one-of-a-kind gay hotel in Riviera Maya, Casa Malca is supposedly drug baron Pablo Escobar’s former hideaway! Today, it’s a luxurious and chic beachfront boutique hideaway in the southernmost end of Tulum. Filled with intriguing artworks from the personal collection of its Colombian owner, this Caribbean getaway is as distinctive as it gets.
A wooden door with flowing white, sequinned drapes welcomes you, with wooden statues on either side. On the inside, the place is filled with eccentric design pieces like a Mickey Mouse-esque sculpture, a dentist’s chair in a hallway, and a restaurant filled with dolls. The pool is wonderfully laidback with Colombian-style hammocks around. Do check out the pool in the blue underground cavern too. Besides a restaurant, bar, and massage-by-request, there’s even a chilled-out rooftop that hosts amazing parties popular with gay tourists and locals.
Choose from one of the many huge, smart villas with one-way glass fronts. Comfy lounging areas, roomy bathrooms, and sun-kissed seafront locales on some are as gorgeous as it gets.
On the southern shores of the isolated Playa Kantenah in the heart of the Riviera Maya lies the gay friendly UNICO 20º87º, a hotel as unique as its name. This all-inclusive luxurious resort lies between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, with the ’20º 87º’ being its latitude and longitude coordinates. It boasts the best of everything – amenities, food, pampering, the works. With only the gorgeous sights as far as you can see, this is where you should be if you want to go all out and splurge on the most luxurious vacation of your life.
UNICO is high on service and style, with a dash of glamour thrown in for good measure. It gives you the biggest bang for your buck with private decks, secluded plunge pools, and a roster studded with exclusive activities. The public spaces radiate a refined and rustic vibe with Spanish-Colonial furnishings and vibrant Mexican art. Sun-kissed whitewashed walkways lead to what appear to be massive bi-level pools within pools. White loungers peppered on the black-tiled pool deck shines sexily in the Mexican sun. Even the Escencia Spa with its water circuit and the cold room is an experience. Five restaurants and two bars/lounges take care of everything you’ll ever want to dine and drink during your vacation. What’s more, the resort’s smartphone app lists everything from resort services to schedule to 24/7 butler services.
Rooms are rustic-modern, spacious, and feature all mod-cons for a luxurious stay, including lavish bathrooms. The digs are split between main-floor rooms and the ones above. The former feature semi-private swim-up pools, while the ones above have massive patio spa tubs.
Live Aqua Boutique Resort Playa del Carmen
The Live Aqua Boutique Resort is one of the best gay hotels in Riviera Maya’s Playa del Carmen. The all-inclusive resort is perfect if you’re want to stay in the heart of the gay action of Playa del Carmen and want convenience, comfort, and a social atmosphere. Moreover, it’s a mere two blocks from the Riviera Maya beaches.
With just 60 rooms, staying here is as intimate as it gets. Plus, its Mayan culture-inspired design is a welcome departure from all cookie-cutter resorts in town. Think Mexican fabrics and textiles and gorgeous wall murals combined with lush gardens and lashings of sunlight. The central, open-air atrium with a stunning reflection pool impresses you as soon as you enter. The rooftop pool deck is not just the hub, but also the most Instagrammable area, what with a whimsical retro Volkswagen bug studded with colorful seashells. Lounge in the infinity pool or lounge on the swinging chairs, cabanas, or sunbeds and watch views of the Riviera. Do head to the spa and try out their signature coffee scrub, which is sure to wash all your stresses. Three restaurants aside, you can also take rooftop tequila classes or chill out and meet someone new at the rooftop DJ night.
All modern rooms feature a slew of high-tech mod-cons, complete with free minibars, room service, and decadent rain showers in the bathrooms. If you want a splash, then the suites are spacious, and some even have patios and a hot tub.
Indulge in romance at the paradise that is La Valise, one of the most charming gay friendly hotels in Riviera Maya. This adults-only hotel sits in a stylishly-converted beach house amongst palm trees on Tulum beach. It faces a pristine stretch of sand, complete with cabanas, that was made for lounging. Moreover, it’s a mere 20-minute drive from the main town and the world-famous archaeological ruins at Tulum.
Innately Mayan touches like thatched roofs, wooden beams, and tzalam (local wood) decks sit pretty against a whitewashed, beachy layout. Lots of lush foliage complements the brilliant blue backdrop of the Caribbean sea. The gorgeous open-air lounge has nest chandeliers, glassware, and an elegant wooden dining table and throne-like chairs. This is where a delicious breakfast of tea, coffee, eggs Benedict, avocado toast, and Mexican specialties like chilaquiles is served. Lunch is usually served on the deck, while dinner is almost always on the beach, making for extremely romantic meals. After a couple’s massage in your room, borrow a bike and head off to explore the serene surroundings. The pool is perfect for cooling dips, complete with sun loungers beside.
Rooms ooze a cool, beachy feel, with wicker additions, plush beds, and mod-cons like coffee machines that only better your stay. The standout is the huge, open-fronted shower right within the room, which makes for an extremely sexy addition to your romantic stay.
The Reef 28
Who says luxury has to be expensive all the time? The Reef 28, one of the best gay hotels in Riviera Maya’s Playa del Carmen, is fabulously luxurious and amazingly wallet-friendly too. This boutique, all-inclusive, and adults-only hotel punches well above its weight with a prime central location and sleek modern living. What’s more, it sits one block away from the picturesque white sands of the beach.
South Beach and vibrant Mexico come together at this chic beach oasis, which boasts a relaxed vibe despite being in the thick of it all. The heart of all action is the rooftop pool area, complete with two whirlpools. It’s the perfect place to unwind as well as meet gorgeous fellow travelers. After a swim, a massage or body treatment at the OKOM spa sounds perfect. You can even enjoy a bite at the rooftop restaurant, Arriba, besides three others on-site. Breakfast in the light-filled atrium is a hearty affair with local specialties like chilaquiles, yogurt, fruit, cheeses, and even cook-to-order pancake and egg stations. If you’re a water baby, then you can head to the beach clubs nearby, albeit for a small fee.
The 120 suites are divided into Junior and Master suites. While the Junior Suites are more cozy and intimate, the latter even have sea-view balconies and whirlpool tubs right in the room. So, if you want to indulge in romance, then the Master Suites are perfect. Also, bathrooms are equally lovely, with large walk-in showers for sexy times.
Casa Pueblo Tulum
If you’re an LGBTQ culture buff looking to explore Tulum, then stay at the fabulous yet budget-friendly Casa Pueblo Tulum. This cool home-away-from-home lies smack dab in the heart of downtown Tulum, with its fabulous nightlife right out the front door. In fact, the fabulous gay bar of Fruity Cocktail bar lies right down the street around three blocks away. Moreover, the Playa Paraiso beach and the Mayan ruins at Zona Arqueológica de Tulum are both a 10-minute drive.
The sophisticated and cool digs lie in a sleek, hacienda-style structure, with rooms set around a sun-kissed, black-and-white-tiled central atrium courtyard. An airy, open-plan lobby sprinkled with open-air seating area, reflection pool, and potted plants are very Instagram-friendly. The rectangular lap pool in a cozy, foliage-shrouded courtyard makes for an equally pretty picture, complete with umbrellas and wooden sun loungers. It’s the perfect place to chill out after a crazed day in Tulum. Fitness freaks can head to the yoga studio and gym nearby, which have a tie-up with the hotel. The highlight of the hotel is the in-house restaurant, which overlooks the garden and pool areas and is the perfect place for meals. It serves a particularly amazing à la carte breakfast, right from acai bowls with fruit to avocado on toast to egg dishes with smoked salmon. P.S.: Do try the hash browns – they’re heavenly,
Above all, the best part about the place is the service, complete with a WhatsApp room service option. You can choose from 16 rooms, each of which is marvelously minimalist. Plush beds, free Wi-Fi, and modern bathrooms aside, it’s the thoughtful touches like floor-to-ceiling windows, natural toiletries, and handcrafted sconces that delight you.
Thompson Playa del Carmen
Indulge in a world of exciting possibilities at the Thompson Playa del Carmen, one of the best gay hotels in Riviera Maya. The hotel lies in the heart of Playa del Carmen town, right in the middle of its fabulous gay nightlife. After a night of exciting revelries, Thompson makes for the perfect place to chill and enjoy the laidback vibe of Riviera Maya during the day.
The hotel is spread across two structures, the main of which is right in the middle of the Playa craze. The other Beach House structure is a mere five-minute walk, right on the beachfront. However, if you’re a party monster, then it’s the main building you want. It features everything from zany white-and-black marble tiling and bohemian artwork to mid-century-modern furnishings. There’s even an Instagram-worthy collection of Panama hats in the lobby. A daily lifestyle fee of 36 USD includes unlimited calls, gym access, rental bikes, tequila tasting, rooftop yoga daily, Frida Kahlo museum tickets, and even a complimentary facial! The rooftop pool, plus restaurant/bar, is the hotel’s hub, with cabanas and stunning views. On Saturdays, there’s a huge brunch rooftop pool party, where everyone lands up. What’s more, it’s also a prime playground to meet gorgeous gay people.
Rooms are split into two categories, Deluxe and Luxury, plus three suites. If you can, then upgrade to the luxury ones which have sleek bathrooms, seating areas, and even a balcony. What’s more, the minibar plus bottled water is complimentary.
Get Some Culture in Riviera Maya:
- Playa Pride: The week-long Playa Pride includes everything from readings and brunches to drag shows and a Bear Pool Party. The main Pride parade takes place in the heart of town and ends with one huge and rollicking party!
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Riviera Maya:
- Club 69: This is the most well-known gay dance club in the Riviera Maya. Sitting right in the heart of Playa del Carmen, this is one hot gay men magnet.
- Coco Bongo: A Las Vegas-style show and nightclub is a great place for LGBTQ locals and travelers to mingle.
- Fruity Cocktail Bar: This is Tulum’s first and only queer bar.
Best Gay Saunas in Riviera Maya:
- X-Mahan Nah: This hot, steamy gay sauna in Playa del Carmen features a darkroom, hot tub, steam bath, dry sauna, and more.