Airbnb has reached the dizzying heights that major hotel chains could only dream of reaching. The days of reading stories of people booking stays then being scammed or turning up to places worse than drug dens seem to be a thing of the distant past.
Airbnb has gotten so big in fact, that developers are now building hotel-sized complexes specifically for the owners to list the apartments. This is the case with Tuk and it’s a great example of how to do things right.
Situated a good 2-hour drive south of Cancun airport is where you’ll find Tulum. If you aren’t a fan of brash Americans like Chad Hogan (Kevin Bridges sketch) then you’ll certainly want to skip Cancun and head straight down there.
Uber is a very dicey thing on the Yucatan Peninsula, with drivers often getting attacked by taxi drivers. As such you won’t be able to get one from the airport itself. A taxi from the airport will run you at least £130 each way. If you wanted to save some money or were travelling alone there’s a shuttle bus, that’ll cost about £40 each way. You could also just take a normal bus, there will be no aircon and it’ll take a good 4+ hours but you’ll only pay about £5. Personally, I got an uber from the centre of Cancun for £60.
The best advice I can give though is to book a rental car. Fuel is ridiculously cheap out there and when you finally get to Tulum you’ll be driving a lot of places. The beaches are a 2-minute drive, Ancient Aztec ruins are a 5-minute drive, Cenotes are a 10-minute drive. If you’re to walk it would take you a good 20 times longer and there’s no Uber in Tulum.
Starting with the bedroom and as you can see it’s a decent size. It becomes a good bit bigger should you forgo the air conditioning and slide open the full-width floor to ceiling glass balcony doors. The polished concrete walls and ceiling are an impressive finish but it has to be said, after a few days they do start to feel like a prison cell. In somewhat of a strange fashion there’s a ceiling-mounted fan and though it may have a slightly negative effect on the aesthetics, the practical benefit far outweighs it.
Staying on the decor front, I like it. The natural wood and minimalism complement what would otherwise be a concrete box. For storage, there’s a built-in wardrobe and unlike most hotels that have strange coat hangers or permanently fixed ones, you can actually remove these. There are also bedside tables with big draws on either side of the bed.
If you find yourself with a pretty decent hangover and aren’t keen on nursing it by the pool you’re in with a bit of luck. The 4K TV is more than large enough for the room and chances are a previous guest will still be logged in to streaming services so there’s plenty of content to binge on.
What seems to be a common trend throughout the apartment is poor placement of power sockets and confusing switches.
The bathroom is a nice size though it is more of a shower room given that a bath is nowhere to be found. That and the fact the shower cubicle is huge and takes up a good chunk of the room. The only reason I can think of is that when you finished showering, you’re still in a warm environment to get dry in. This hypothesis is thrown out the window when you have to open the door to get your towel as there’s nowhere to hang it in the cubicle.
Perhaps for the cubicle to make sense, the showerhead is huge, nope. Just a 30cm circle head which takes a minute or so to get up to temperature and when it does there’s plenty of power.
Toiletries are provided which is a bit of a shock considering it’s an Airbnb. They are their own label stuff so don’t be expecting Bvlgari or even Tresemme.
Some people will think it’s crazy to fly 11+ hours to then cook your own food. That train of thought is compounded even more so when you’re just south of what has to be the All-Inclusive capital of the world, Cancun. Cards on the table, we did look at going all-inclusive but that was quickly disregarded. Didn’t want to be in Cancun (I don’t think there are any all inclusive resorts in Tulum) coupled with wanting to eat proper Mexican food.
As good as Mexican food is, I still want to make food every now and again and having a kitchen, especially one as well equipped as this was a nice treat when you’re used to hotel rooms. A steam oven, induction hob and all the utensils meant cooking was a breeze. When you’re all done, just chuck all the dirty items in the dishwasher.
Once you’ve whipped up a storm or have a mean takeaway delivered you can dine in somewhat comfort. The island diner is massive as are the tops of the stools on which you sit, after a while though they do become uncomfortable.
As simple as it gets for the living room, large open plan with a big sofa, coffee table and TV. Not sure what you want me to say? The sofa isn’t the comfiest, probably due to the fact it’s a sofa bed so it’s about 6 miles deep and the cushion rather thin. For some strange reason, the TV in the bedroom is much larger than that in the living room, despite being further away. It is on a bracket though which is handy should you want to watch it whilst cooking or having breakfast at the island. The large mirror is very handy as you’re about to leave the apartment.
Plenty quick enough for most things.
That would be the restaurant and not an actual giraffe in Tulum…
The restaurant is physically split into 2, inside and out. Inside continues the trend of the apartments with the polished concrete walls, warm lighting and some foliage.
Outside adds to that some bamboo and rustic seating. Outside seems to be the popular choice. Come 11am there are plenty of people dining whilst they execute trades on their tablets or check in with clients on their laptops. Consider it to be a very cosmopolitan environment with people from all corners of the globe eating whilst working.
Serving everything from breakfast at 08:00 through to evening meals up to 23:00, being Tulum everything plated up is aesthetically pleasing because Instagram exists. It isn’t just pleasing to the eye, The local Mexican cuisine that is served up is 👌
As I alluded to earlier Tulum is well spread out and unless you have a moped, the next best option is a bicycle. You can hire a bicycle for about £10 a day, not exactly cheap when you see what you’re renting. Off-road tyres, loose bars, etc. Still, it makes it a fun experience.
If you want something that requires a little less effort and even more of an “experience” you can rent a scooter for roughly £60 a day. If you’ve ridden in Bali, you’ll be at home, if not… well a steep curve to be had.
With the complex not being the largest, it was interesting to see a full size* singles tennis court on site. The asterisk being the court is full size but the sidelines are hemmed in by the surrounding fence.
Unfortunately, due to the tap water not being drinkable, there are no water fountains around which would have been nice given how warm it gets.
Oh, there’s a gym on site too, aptly named TukFit. It’s fully kitted out with everything from CrossFit equipment, to powerlifting to Yoga. Something for everyone all in a perfectly air-conditioned environment.
The Rooftop Pool
What better place to have a pool in a hot country than on the rooftop. The pool is only accessible to guests and is simple with no need for a special key or anything, just take the lift to the top floor of your building. Keen for taking midnight dips under the stars, you can with seemingly no hours of restriction just note that the pool isn’t heated should you be one of those people.
If taking a dip isn’t for you there are 3 (larger than Super King) cabanas and 8 sun loungers you can comfortably sunbathe with a book in 1 hand and a cocktail in the other. It can get busy up there so manage your expectations accordingly. If you’re an early bird that perhaps partakes in a little bit of toga, the sunrises are unreal!
In thinking about how I was going to wrap this piece up I thought “Would I go back?”. The initial answer was no, we paid £100 a night which isn’t a lot of money for an apartment of that standard but for that part of the world it is. After a little digging on Booking. com I’ve found a larger 2 bedroom apartment in the same complex for £70 a night for that price I can certainly recommend a stay there. The pool’s great, the apartments great and yeah the beach is a bit of a trek but get a moped and you’ll be reet.