Xcaret's newest hotel improves on perfection

When I stayed at Hotel Xcaret Mexico back in 2017, I did not think that there was much to be improved upon. It was a perfect resort experience — luxury rooms, the highest-level cuisine I’ve ever had at an all-inclusive, a gorgeous spa and a laundry list of inclusions. After staying at the new Hotel Xcaret Arte, however, I realized how my previous experience could have been better — make it adults-only.

I’m kidding. Kind of. I really do like kids, just not at my resort. So, when Hotel Xcaret Arte opened as a luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive, I knew that it was going to be absolutely flawless. Upon experiencing it firsthand back in November, this I can confirm. 

Fans of the original Hotel Xcaret Mexico will find that the quality level remains just as high at the new resort. Located across from the original, Hotel Xcaret Arte is a mirror image. It features five dedicated “casas,” each one devoted to a medium of Mexican art, from painting to music to design. All the rooms at Hotel Xcaret Arte are considered suites, starting at 645 square feet.

I checked into an Ocean Front suite at Casa de los Artistas. This particular casa has swim-up suites that flow into its own private pool, plus the casa has an exclusive rooftop pool with a separate bar area. All suites, no matter the casa, have a furnished balcony with a hammock.

True, like Hotel Xcaret Mexico, Arte has 900 rooms, which in theory sounds overwhelming. But the way the resort is laid out, and with so many private spaces within the individual casas, it never felt like it was close to crowded. That’s part of what Hotel Xcaret Arte does so well. It offers so many different areas in which to play, that one never feels overburdened.

The heartbeat of activity is the main infinity pool, which extends from Cayuco restaurant. Cayuco is an all-day dining, buffet-style restaurant, though these days, due to Covid protocols, guests do not serve themselves at any of the buffets. You’ll also find the main swim-up bar in this part of the resort, too. The pool is lined with daybeds and chaise lounges, and it was always easy to find a place to sprawl for the day.

Down from the main infinity pool is the small beach area. You may find other beaches in Playa del Carmen that you prefer, as this one is a bit rocky. Guests who love to be at the beach may find that this one does not live up to the standards of, let’s say, Playacar or Mayakoba. Still, the views of the Caribbean Sea are unobstructed. It’s the pool experience that you come to Hotel Xcaret Arte for.

What this resort does better than almost any other all-inclusive resort I’ve experienced is match expectations of quality. This extends from the smallest furnishing details (all of which were crafted locally in Mexico) to the service to the food. The food, in particular, is outstanding. From the build-your-own ceviche bar at Cayuco to the tasting menu at China Poblano to the sprawling San Juan Mercado all-day venue, the food at Hotel Xcaret Arte is on par with many luxury EP resorts. The street food-style cuisine at San Juan Mercado can hold its own in any Mexican kitchen, as well. In fact, you’ll see that the tortillas, quesadillas, sopes, etc. are handmade right in front of you. A long line to check into the restaurant? Sip authentic Mexican hot chocolate while you wait. Hotel Xcaret Mexico is just a short walk away, too, and guests at Arte have full access to the restaurants at the sister property.

The only restaurant not included in the all-inclusive plan at Hotel Xcaret Arte is Xaak, which serves a decadent tasting menu with a wine-pairing option. I can confirm that this experience was fantastic.

Another reason to book clients at Hotel Xcaret Arte (and Xcaret Hotels in general) are the inclusions. Everything — everything — except the spa is included. This means roundtrip transportation from the airport, all food and beverage, the on-site experiences like pottery making and painting and, of course, unlimited access to all of Grupo Xcaret’s theme parks. 

While the spa is not included, it is absolutely worth the extra splurge. Built with the Yucatan cenotes in mind, the entire spa is centered around water. A river (on which you can kayak or stand-up paddleboard) runs through the entire resort. A quieter stretch of river flows through the spa. The treatment cabins are built out of dimly lit caves, with illuminated passageways winding from the cabins to the hydrotherapy facilities. Hot and cold plunge pools are tucked into discrete corners with rounded ceilings above them, giving the illusion you have disappeared underground into a secret world of wellness.

Hotel Xcaret Arte is next level, and I do not say that lightly. If all-inclusive resorts seem to blur together these days, even the most jaded resort maven will find something to impress at Arte. 

Rates at Hotel Xcaret Arte start at $637 per night, double.

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