While we occasionally stay in hotels and resorts as part of our work with the Marginal Boundaries brand, our personal preference when it comes to the type of places we stay when it’s just the two of us on our own is generally some type of an apartment or condo rental. And while the type of accommodation is important to us, location is also key. However, one of the “must haves” for us is always Internet, because we work online. Thankfully, the Riviera Maya Suites in downtown Playa del Carmen hits all the right notes, especially when it comes to an uber-fast fiberoptic connection for those of us who need connectivity.
It’s an unassuming building tucked away in a quiet corner of downtown Playa del Carmen, just a few steps away from the 5th Avenue, and a few minutes away from the beach. There’s a parking garage below for those who bring their own vehicle, but it’s also just a short walking distance from the ADO bus stations of PDC, and there’s plenty of taxis available out on the 10th and beyond.
One of the first things you’ll notice upon arrival is that everything, from the entrance to the main lobby and the walkways up to the main residential units, and then beyond, is meant to blend in with the natural environment. The German owners have taken great care to landscape the property over the years, and it shows. The interior gardens offer a lush, tropical landscape with plenty of shade, especially on the back side of the property, through the primary building, all the way down by the small pool with its waterfall and associated Jacuzzi. You can lounge by the pool just as easily as you can stroll through the jungle down to one of the bungalows on the far end, the smaller of the offerings that they have available.
Up top, there’s even more space for lounging, though it’s not as shady as the areas down below. There’s beds on one side of the roof, and hammocks on the other, with panoramic views out over the Mexican Caribbean on the one side. Sunrises here are things of legend, and the sunrises over the city landscape and jungles stretched out into the heart of the Yucatan on the other side aren’t bad, either There’s also a charcoal grill tucked inside the stairwell that is available for public use, plus guests can request a grill for their own balconies as well.
Bear in mind that this is a self-service property, so don’t expect room service, and there’s no restaurants on-site. There are, however, a staff of maids and cleaners who help out, and the rooms are fully stocked with things like sheets and towels. There’s also a fully-stocked kitchen with all the cooking utensils and things you’ll need to make yourself right at home. And the folks at reception are always on hand to help you with whatever you need, and to guide you in terms of finding local eateries and the like. There’s also a list of take-out options if you just want to order in as opposed to cooking, and the 5th Avenue is just steps away for all your culinary requirements.
Note that the rooms at the main building have various sizes to choose from, great for families. Plus, each of the residential units comes with its own washer and dryer. The design changes as well, between upper and lower. The bungalows have a more rustic feel, with a thatched roof above, while the condo units are more modern, with traditional layouts and decor. You can get a feel for both types in the photos below; we stayed in one of the two-bedroom condo units up top during our stay, but we explored one of the bungalows as well for video and photos.
For our money, this is one of the only places in Playa del Carmen that we consider for long-term stays because of one simple fact: they have fiberoptic. Speeds are between 50 and 60 down, and 8 to 12 up, which is more than enough to handle any sort of streaming, uploading, conferences, or any other type of online work. Add to that the simple fact that all of the units have a washer and dryer, and you really don’t have to look anywhere else. Sure, we love Airbnb, but very few properties actually have a “real” Internet connection, so when it’s a working holiday, you really need look no further.
If there’s one complaint to be had, is that mosquitoes are a constant nuisance in the evening hours down in the gardens. It’s just the nature of the tropical environment; you’re in the jungle, baby! And it’s the same at every single property throughout the region, which is why we mention it, so that you don’t blame the owners. But apart from that, if you’re in town for a few days and need an apartment/condo to rent and you don’t mind fending for yourself as far as food is concerned, the Riviera Maya Suites is the only place you need to look to.