Expect the unexpected at Habitas – Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico

The well-hidden entrance
Right THERE!
Habitas is an original concept for a beach-side hotel in Tulum, Mexico.

If you go, expect the unexpected and leave your preconceived ideas at home. This is the new luxury experience.


Getting There.

Another mysterious gate along the narrow road that leads through the jungle to the ocean – who knows what lies behind?

The GPS announced: “You have arrived at your destination.”

That meant I had found Habitas. 

True to type, there was no number on the gate or sign that read: HABITAS – all I could see was a gate so well-camouflaged that it blended with the vegetation.

…and come right in

 The  Reception  Area.

The Reception Area, a short walk from the gate, was a large tent like structure, with a grass roof.

Arriving at the entrance, I could see it was well furnished with handwoven rugs scattered on the floor, and a few people inside sitting around a desk.

After a brief introduction, explaining that I have a blog and would like to feature Habitas, they called for someone to show me around.

How to explain Habitas.

Habitas is the first hotel representing a new lifestyle brand. It is called a “Home” not a hotel. Looking around, it was not like any hotel I have ever seen.

It was a group of buildings, some like glorified tents, arranged in the jungle each with a view of the ocean and its own private beach. Their emphasis is on wellness, food and music, and it is for the exclusive use of the Habitas Community. The location is  “jungley” and remote. The following quote sums it up:

“Habitas creates spaces in inspiring destinations with the aim of developing deeper human connections through experience and culture.” 

The way Habitas is designed encourages people to meet and interact in an informal way. People want to connect and engage with one another, meet new friends and surround themselves with inspiring people. If this sounds a little unusual to you, remember this is Tulum and it is different!  There is a growing luxury market worldwide and people are looking for a unique and new experience from their vacation and the members of Habitas are finding it here.

Habitas, Mexico
Social architecture

How did Habitas evolve?

Habitas started as a pop-up music event organized by Eduardo Castillo, a Venezuelan who was living in NYC and Kfir Levy, an Israeli, living in Los Angeles.

Mutual friends who knew both men encouraged them to meet and when they did, it was the meeting of two kindred spirits. Both loved music and they began to organize three-day music retreats under the name of Habitas. Word was getting out and Habitas was attracting more and more people to their three day pop up musical retreats. They were developing a fan base attracted to the music and the experience.

With a growing fan base, the pair was joined by a third partner, an international serial entrepreneur: Oliver Ripley. with the Ocean Group. They are also associated with the music event, “Burning Man,” that takes place every year in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.  He had been developing businesses across the world in different genres with offices in NYC, London, Singapore, Luxembourg and Moscow and recognized an opportunity for this unique concept.

The next idea that came to the partners was to try a pop-up hotel with accommodations reserved exclusively for their members of the Habitas Community.

They had a friend in Tulum who owned a hotel and they took over the entire hotel for three months offering accommodation exclusively to their members. The pop-up Hotel was a great success, and this was the impetus for Habitas to develop their own property in Tulum.

By this time, Tulum was becoming a recognized center for Wellness.  Securing a one-acre site in the jungle with its own private beach, they planned something very original. Making as little impact as possible on the natural footprint, the development was carefully planned and thought out.

Maximizing the outdoors, the style of architecture is Robinson Cruso-ish, incorporating the beautiful vegetation and the outdoors, The style is called “Social Architecture” and this is not your usual beach hotel.

The Plan.

If the architecture is Robinson Caruso-ish, the interiors with their many scattered handwoven rugs and handmade furniture created from indigenous woods by local artisans, resonates Morocco.

The minimum footprint Clubhouse

The Property.

Central to the design the only “real” building is the three-story Club House, built of glass and steel, with huge windows to interact with the outdoors. There are the characteristic handwoven rugs on the floor and hanging hammocks, as well as double width chaise longs for relaxation. It has long communal tables and different seating areas decorated with colorful pillows.

Moro, the in-house restaurant, is located on the first floor. The food is Moorish-Spanish influence and, is prepared as much as possible using fresh local ingredients.

The restaurant is run by an Uruguayan Chef, Federico Cappi, and most people prefer to eat at Habitas rather than going out. Complementary with this, the Bar serves craft cocktails and healthy, freshly squeezed juices. The rooftop, with its views, is used for parties and cocktails.

Now, THIS is a guestroom!

There are now 32 guest rooms, ecologically designed and sustainably built, that are in reality luxurious canvas tents. Most of the rooms are built into in the jungle with five suites facing the ocean.

The “rooms” are well planned and luxurious in a rustic way, reminiscent of glamping.

They have a raised wooden platform floor, a palapa roof and canvas walls that can be removed to let in the climate and the view. There are handwoven rugs on the floor, wide double beds and raffia lamps.

To keep the guests comfortable the “rooms” have strong air conditioning to cope with the climate that can become hot and humid.

Habitas, Mexico
La Toilette

The en-suite outdoor bathrooms are enclosed with bamboo screens – no ceilings, and the same applies to the lavatory. They have rain showers and come with “delicious” smelling organic bath products exclusive to Habitas.

There are several spaces where the guests can gather and interact. One of these is the open-air cinema that shows select movies and this space doubles also for open air concert series.

In keeping with the importance of “wellness” there is a Wellness Center with a spa offering holistic treatments and massage as well as reiki and yoga.

Communal spiritual area

The Spiritual Cleanse.

Some guests come only for the Spiritual Cleanse, and do not stay long.

The cleanse is similar to a Shaman ceremony.

Copa, a tree resin is used in the ceremony, is the same resin that has been used for hundreds of years in the ancient Mayan culture. It is reputed to heal, restore and remove negative energy and promote natural healing.

This may sound “wu-wu” to people not familiar with Spiritual Cleansing, but it makes good sense in the context of Habitas.

What is so unique about Habitas?

This is essential Tulum offering a spiritual retreat attracting like-minded people of all ages and different walks of life, who share a love of music, wellness, and food. The architecture, the environment and the design create “opportunities for guests to be open to interaction through communal spaces and activities.”

This is a beautiful and unique property, representing a new type of luxury experience allowing people to come together around conversation, food and music.

The Habitas brand is planning to expand and the next Habitas “Homes” will be opened in Malibu, Ibiza and Namibia in the future,

The price of rooms starts at $376.00 per night.

In conclusion.

I did not stay at Habitas and was fortunate to be allowed a showing of the property, as they do not like outsiders doing tours that will disturb the guests. I was asked not to take photographs and these beautiful images were supplied by the Habitas Press Office for which I am most grateful, as they convey better than any words the exquisite beauty of the Habitas setting. It is a unique and very special experience for those who come to visit.


Social architecture is the conscious design of an environment that encourages a desired range of social behaviors leading towards some goal or set of goals. The environment social architecture influences may be social systems, or digital spaces such as media tools (sometimes synonymous with Web 2.0) and UX strategy. In building design it can refer to the architecture of social spaces such as bars and restaurant.[1] Credit: – From WIKIPEDIA.Habitas,

Hotel Information

  • Carretera Tulum-Bocapaila Km. 4.0
  • Tulum, Quintana Roo
  • Mexico.
  • Tel. +52/198 4197 2142
  • habitastulum.com

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the road less traveled