Jun 13, 2022
4 min read

An Interior Designer's Guide to Tulum

Olivia Stutz
 is an experienced world traveler and the founder of 
Olivia Stutz Design
, a New York-based design studio specializing in luxury residential and commercial environments. With offices in NYC and Miami, her designs can be found nationwide. 
Among Oliva’s top travel highlights are glamorous getaways to France, Spain, Italy, The Bahamas, and many more of the world’s most sought-after destinations (you can read a bit about these experiences in her Insider Profile). Her eye for design and exquisite taste—in food, fashion, and accommodation—give her a unique and interesting perspective on one of her all time favorite destinations: Tulum, Mexico.
Read on for her insider tips on food, nightlife, R&R, and more. 
Olivia Stutz
Olivia Stutz


What are your top three hotels in Tulum?

Be Tulum
 – one of my favorite Tulum hotels and it’s located on the main road, so you don’t need a car, just your feet to walk everywhere. 
Casa Violetta
 – another favorite, also conveniently located on the main road, so no car needed. This is also one of the oldest hotels in Tulum – it’s a treasure. 
Hotel Esencia
 – this one is about 40 minutes away from Tulum. It’s a destination, and once you’re there, you’re not leaving. Which is incredibly relaxing to me!
Casa Violetta
BeTulum // Casa Violetta

What is it that you love about staying in Tulum?

When you’re there, you adopt a truly bohemian life. If you don’t bring shoes, that’s actually okay, they aren’t needed. The food is local and fresh. The water is beautifully turquoise. What else do you need? 
The jungle, too, is another major draw. And if you’re lucky, you will be able to smell the copal incense that most of the hotels burn each night around 7 p.m. 

Eat & Drink

Where are your go-to spots to eat & drink in Tulum?

Breakfast: I usually lean on the hotel I’m staying at for this. Just get some coffee, walk to the beach barefoot, and sip!
Posada Margherita
 for the pasta or 
The Real Coconut Kitchen
 at the Sanara Hotel for some extremely yummy/vegan options.
Casa Jaguar
Kin Toh
 (more for the ambiance than the food), 
El Asadero
 (located in town), and 
Casa Violeta
 (they will make you dinner on the beach if you ask!)
Posada Margherita
Casa Jaguar
Posada Margherita // Casa Jaguar


What’s your idea of a great night out in Tulum?

Gitano Jungle
 is always fun and has great mezcal, too! (Pro Tip: This is the original Gitano, there are locations in New York and Miami now, too.)
I’m wearing a dress from 
. I’m inviting all my friends and the yoga instructor from my class that morning. 
Nico Jaar
 is DJ-ing. We’re staying out until sunrise. My new friends are Tulum locals who will read the stars above your head, then tell you what it all means. 


If we’re going for a full spa experience in Tulum, where’s the place?

Be Tulum’s in-house spa, 
Yäan Wellness.
 The atmosphere is top-notch and the entire staff is honestly great. 

What’s your idea of the most relaxing and restorative thing to do in this location? 

Book a Temazcal—a traditional sweat lodge ceremony used for health and therapeutic benefits—and do it during the full moon.


Is there anything cool happening with a nod to the environment in Tulum? 

So many hotels in Tulum still stay true to their initial eco-friendly ways from 30 years ago, letting a nice fan and the breeze from the ocean give you all the air-conditioning you need. 

Are there any stores in Tulum who are championing a more environmentally friendly outlook that we should know about? 

. I don’t even think Hartwood owns a refrigerator! 
Wai Açai
Los Bowls de Guadalupe
 are both owned and run by a group of amazing girls in Tulum. 
Casa Violeta
 and its owner, Karla Gutierrez, also really champion young, up-and-coming designers in a truly powerful way. 
Wai Acai
Caravana // Wai Acai

Where is the innovative, sustainable architecture that stands out in Tulum? 

Azulik Tulum,
 as well as the new structures at 
Be Tulum
, and 
IK Lab’s “Guggenheim Treehouse.”

For the best that nature has to offer, where should we go? 

All of the cenotes in the area are amazing: Gran Cenote, Casa Tortuga, Dos Ojos, and Casa Cenote (which is the closest one to town).


Which locations are going on your Instagram highlight reel? 

  1. The kitchen at
  2. The spa at
    Be Tulum
  3. A late-night dinner at the
    Azulik Treehouse
  4. The newly built
    Tulum Treehouse
    (a luxury five-bedroom rental house)

Where’s the best backdrop for a picture that can be your new profile? 

On the beach or in the turquoise water. Or maybe in front of some outrageous art piece at 
Casa Malca
Casa Malca
Casa Malca // Azulik

If there’s one shot to take that sums up the place, what is it? 

This may seem weird, but the main road at the end of town is awfully stunning and bare—just one simple road lined with overgrown palm trees.

Any extra tips?

  • Get to know the locals. They might invite you to one of their infamous jungle raves.
  • Bring cash. There is only one working ATM on the entire road. 
  • Don’t over plan. All you need is to make the correct dinner reservations every night around 8 p.m. and you’re set. 
  • Even if the city did just allow Bagatelle to open on the beach (sad emoji face), I will always have a soft spot for Tulum. The real trick with Tulum is just finding your spot on the beach and looking at the beautiful water, that’s truly all you need. 
To learn more about Olivia, follow her on IG 
Sign up for Safara

Want up to 10% back towards all future hotel bookings?

Sign Up
Site Map