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Conrad Tulum

Beachside Luxury in the Riviera Maya: A Review of the Conrad Tulum

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Lux·​u·​ri·​ous (adjective): extremely comfortable, elegant, or enjoyable, especially in a way that involves great expense. See also: Conrad Tulum.

After a one-night stay at the Conrad Tulum in Mexico's Riviera Maya earlier this spring, I could see looking up the word luxurious in the dictionary and finding a photo of this resort. From the moment you enter the massive, open-air lobby, everything feels high-end—and it is. But what sets the Conrad Tulum apart from other luxury properties is how perfectly it fits in its surroundings.

Tulum isn't just another beach town: It's an ancient archeological site with some of Mexico's best-preserved Mayan ruins and famed cenotes. Putting a glitzy, gold-plated, five-star hotel in the middle of the mangroves would feel out of place. Thankfully, the Conrad Tulum perfectly threads the needle of providing over-the-top luxury while paying respect to its natural surroundings. 

With five pools, a perfectly manicured beach, a full gym, a spa, and 11 onsite cafes, restaurants, and bars, the Conrad Tulum provides everything you need for a relaxing beachside getaway.

Read on the full review. 


Booking the Conrad Tulum 

Cash rates at the Conrad Tulum regularly clock in at $500 or more and if you plan to visit during peak travel times, don't be shocked to see prices closer to $1,000 per night. 

When using points, a standard room typically goes for 100,000 points per night. If you've got a card like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, which comes with an annual free night reward, you can also use that here.

All information about the Hilton Aspire Card has been collected independently by Thrifty Traveler.


Conrad Tulum Points Calendar


To book, head to hilton.com and search for the property – be sure to select “Use Points” under the “Special Rates” tab at the start. When selecting dates, check the “My Dates Are Flexible” button and then click the “Find a Hotel” to pull up the award calendar and see nights bookable with points. 


Conrad Tulum Calendar View


Sure, 100,000 points is a lot to spend for a single night. But that's about as good as it gets for booking award stays at top-dollar Hilton properties these days. And considering how expensive high-end hotels in Mexico have gotten, it can be a fantastic use of points if you've got them. There is one way to make it a little cheaper, though. 

If you've got elite status with Hilton, you'll be able to use Hilton's fifth-night free benefit. With this perk, you can book five consecutive nights using points and your fifth night is free. This essentially works out to a 20% savings when using points, which drops the rate down to an average of 80,000 points per night. 

Thankfully, scoring Hilton status is quite easy as each of the co-branded Hilton credit cards come with some level of stats. You can also get complimentary Hilton Gold as a benefit of having *amex platinum*.

While you can transfer points to Hilton from American Express or even Bilt Rewards, but for my stay earlier this year, we opted to save our points and book with cash at $656 for one night. 

Read next: When You Should (& Shouldn't) Transfer Points to Book Hotels

At Thrifty Traveler, we don't accept freebies. We use our own points, miles, or cash to pay for every single flight or hotel you see reviewed here – including this one!


Conrad Tulum Location

You might be surprised to learn that the Conrad Tulum isn't really in Tulum at all – it sits on Mexico's Caribbean coast about 25 minutes north of Tulum proper, near the beach town of Akumal. 

For travelers flying into the Riviera Maya for a stay here, you've got two airports at your disposal: Cancún International Airport (CUN) and the new airport in Tulum (TQO). While the Tulum Airport might seem like the obvious choice at first glance, it really isn't that cut and dry. 

The new airport is a solid 30 to 45 minutes southeast of Tulum, putting it an hour away from the Conrad Tulum. Eventually, the shiny, new Maya Train will connect the Tulum Airport to stops along the Riviera Maya (including Tulum Pueblo) – but until the train fully opens, your only option is to make the journey by car. 


Map from Tulum Airport to Conrad Tulum


If you opted to fly into Cancun, you'd instead be looking at a one hour and 20 minute drive to the hotel. No doubt longer than the drive from Tulum Airport, but not drastically so. For that reason, it's best to compare flight prices before instantly assuming that Tulum Airport (TQO) is your best bet. 

Having said that, the new airport in Tulum is much nicer – and more importantly, less crowded – than the one in Cancun. If you value your time and sanity, paying a small premium to fly into Tulum will certainly be worth it. 


Tulum Airport departures level


The property itself is set back approximately half a mile from the main highway and it shares winding, cobblestone driveway with the neighboring all-inclusive resort, Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya. 

Given its somewhat secluded location, getting off-property by foot isn't really an option. If you plan to grab dinner in town, check out the Mayan Ruins, or see any of the area's other archaeological sites, you'll need to hire a car to get around. 


Conrad Tulum Lobby & Check In

Pulling up to the Conrad Tulum's covered driveway, you'll be greeted by a bellhop to assist with your luggage and guide you to the check-in desk. You'll enter the lobby through one of four 20(ish)-foot tall pivot doors. These huge doors are great for both letting in natural light and a little breeze. 

Opposite of the doors, you'll find the same sized shuttered windows that look through to the properties reflecting pool. They were closed during my visit, as the resort was using the reflecting pool for a private event, but I can only imagine how much more grand the entrance would be with them open. 


Conrad Tulum entrance


The lobby is positively massive with spotless, black marble floors and a really unique roped-light fixture in the center. Entering the lobby, the check-in desks and spa are on the far right-hand side while the left-hand side is where the hotel's concierge is located. 

Throughout the lobby there were various seating options, including a pair of woven egg-like chairs, suspended from the ceiling above. 


Conrad Tulum lobby


Check-in was seamless and the hotel staff was more than helpful, providing me with a map of the property and pointing out how to get to my room and the various restaurants and bars onsite. That might seem simple enough but with the size of this property, a little extra direction was necessary.

During the check-in process, I was given a refreshing tropical welcome drink and a cold towel – both were much appreciated given the heat. 


Conrad Tulum welcome drink


After wrapping up the check-in process, I was again greeted by the same bellhop that initially helped be with my bags. He directed me to a waiting golf cart and drove me to my room. Along the way he pointed out a few details about the property and informed me that I could call the concierge to request a ride at any time, 24/7. Given the size of this property, I'm sure many guests do prefer a lift – but I needed the exercise. 


Rooms at the Conrad Tulum 

The resort is arranged in a horseshoe around a small bay, with the lobby in the middle. Given the layout, even though rooms are marketed as “Tropical View” and “Ocean View”, they all face the water. The tropical view rooms are simply on the ground floor with minimal or no water views. 

I booked the cheapest “Tropical View” king room but was proactively upgraded to an “Ocean View” room at check-in – likely on account of my Hilton Gold status, courtesy of carrying the Amex Platinum card. While you shouldn't ever count on an upgrade, this hotel is huge (with lots of rooms), so getting upgraded to something with a better view is probably quite common. 

Room 5322 is in building five on the third floor, a nearly 10 minute walk from the lobby, main pool, and restaurants – hence the available golf cart rides. The buildings on either side of the lobby are all connected by exterior, open-air hallways so getting from one to another is entirely possible if you have friends or someone else staying in a different building.


Conrad Tulum hallway and room door

Conrad Tulum exterior hallway


Inside the room, you'll be greeted with natural wood, dark stone floors, plenty of light, and sea views – thanks to the big, sliding-glass door that leads out to the balcony. Standard guest rooms at the Conrad Tulum measure in at just over 500 square feet – plenty of space for a king sized bed, small sofa, and a two-person dining table. 


Conrad Tulum King Ocean View Room

Conrad Tulum Kind Bed

Conrad Tulum king size bed and tv


The sofa was firm but comfortable enough for lounging and watching TV. And while not a perfect substitute for a desk, the dining table provided a decent place to get some work done. I can't imagine many people come to a resort like this with plans to work, so the table is certainly more practical. 


Conrad Tulum loveseat and table


Out on the balcony, you'll find a small patio set with two chairs and a table, as well as your own private soaking tub, big enough for two, but just barely. 


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Conrad Tulum soaking tub


Each side of the bed had a nightstand, each with its own set of outlets to charge your devices – including a USB plug-in – and light switches to control the bedside reading light. Mexico uses the same type of electric outlets as the U.S., so you won't need to worry about bringing an adaptor along with you. 


Conrad Tulum alarm clock and nightstand

Conrad Tulum phone and nightstand


The bedroom and bathroom area are separated by a beautifully-designed, woodgrain half wall – complete with a massive flatscreen TV mounted to it.


Conrad Tulum TV


In the bathroom area, you'll find a quartz double-vanity with two wardrobes on either side, as well as the shower, and toilet. 


Conrad Tulum vanity


The vanity is stocked with European luxury brand Byredo hand soap and body lotion, as well as iconic, New York City-based C.O. Bigelow toiletries. 


Conrad Tulum bathroom toiletries


In one of the vanity drawers was a hair dryer, so you shouldn't need to worry about bringing one from home if that's a necessity. 


Conrad Tulum hair dryer


The two wardrobes were well stocked with plenty of hangers (something that many hotels miss the mark on), an iron, umbrella, shoe-shine kit, laundry bag, and a personal safe. There were also Conrad-branded slippers and robes in the closet, which is always a nice touch. 


Conrad Tulum wardrobe

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On the end of the room, near the balcony, is where you'll find the shower. The tinted-glass window allows in natural light – a must with the dark-stone tile – but does a surprisingly good job of not allowing anyone to see in. Not like it would matter much with the direct sight-line being across the bay.


Conrad Tulum shower


There's both a rainfall shower head and a wand. Water pressure and temperature were both excellent. 


Conrad Tulum shower


On the opposite end of the room is where you'll find the toilet, in its own room … with a door. This is a small detail but for some reason, many hotels don't give much privacy to the toilet or separate it from the rest of the bathroom. Thankfully, that isn't the case here. 


Conrad Tulum toilet room


Near the door you'll find a mini-bar, stocked with all the usual suspects. 


Conrad Tulum mini bar


On top was an espresso maker and kettle with complimentary coffee and tea.

Two bottles of still water were also on top of the mini-bar, and complimentary, but given that it's not safe to drink the tap water in Mexico, there's also a purified water station on each floor near the elevator. Two more bottles of water were placed on either nightstand as part of the evening turndown service. I didn't go thirsty. 


Conrad Tulum espresso maker and water


Down below was a mini refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, beer, wine, and champagne. There was also a slide out drawer with bottles of hard alcohol – tequila (naturally), vodka, gin, and whisky – and a couple of small snack items. All the mini-bar items in the bottom cabinet were available for purchase and prices were as expected for a high-end resort like this. 


Conrad Tulum mini bar beer, wine, and liquor


As a welcome gift, the hotel had a small bowl of fresh chocolate waiting for me on the table, and a Conrad Tulum-branded burlap beach bag. 


Conrad Tulum chocolate welcome gift

Conrad Tulum beach bag


Overall, the room was beautifully appointed and had everything you'd need for a comfortable stay. The finishes inside the room kept with the eco-driven theme of the hotel and leaned heavily on the natural surroundings of the area while still feeling high-quality. 

For me, the biggest drawback of this room was the bed frame. It was a platform bed with frame extending out several inches beyond the mattress. 


Conrad Tulum bed frame


You can chalk it up to my lack of spatial awareness, but I lost track of how many times I clipped my shin on the bed frame walking by – both day and night. 


Conrad Tulum Restaurants & Bars 

For dining, the Conrad Tulum has 11 – yes, I said 11 – different cafés, restaurants, and bars to choose from. With everything from contemporary Mexican to Japanese and Mediterranean on offer, you won't need to worry about going hungry, no matter your palate. 

If you're in a hurry, you can get coffee, juice, pastries, and other light bites at Cafetal throughout the day, which is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. While the main breakfast restaurant, Arbolea, serves a buffet of American classics as well as a variety of international dishes and is open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., daily. 


Conrad Tulum Arbolea


I dined here for breakfast and found everything from the chilaquiles to the fresh-squeezed orange juice to be delicious. 


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But the star of the show for me was the fresh-made french toast. The brioche bread was hand-cut and fried to order, with a dusting of cinnamon-sugar, fresh whipped cream, and a garnishing of fruit (for health reasons), it was truly delightful. Seriously, don't skip the french toast if you have breakfast here! 


Conrad Tulum french toast


Thrifty Tip: Breakfast for two at Arbolea is included for Hilton Gold and Diamond members.

Ultramar is the hotel's main pool bar with lively music at the heart of the resort. It's open from 9 a.m to 1 a.m. daily, so no matter if you're grabbing lunch or an evening nightcap, this is the place to be. 


Conrad Tulum Ultramar


You can get a variety of tropical cocktails and tasty bites here and either dine (or drink) at the bar or in one of the multiple other seating options – including around the huge gas fire pit.


Conrad Tulum Ultramar lounge seating


I opted to grab dinner and a drink here during my one-night stay and while I found the food to be excellent, the service was a little on the slower side. I wish I could say that the place was packed and that's the reason for the lackluster service but it was mostly quiet during my visit. 


Ultramar carne asada tacos


Another food and drink option is Chiringuitos: The daytime snack bar serves a rotating menu of drinks and snacks under a woven palapa at three different locations (Crudo, Carbon and Leña). And if you're just looking for a drink, be sure to check out Chaak Bar, just off the main lobby. 

For guests looking for a finer dining experience, the hotel features four upscale restaurants that are exclusively open during evening dinner hours (6 p.m – 11 p.m): 

  • Autur: Modern Mexican cuisine, with a rotating cast of up-and-coming resident chefs. 
  • Kengai: Izakaya-inspired (Asian) menu, with skewered meats, vegetables, and dishes designed for sharing. 
  • Ukai: Japanese sushi restaurant, featuring sustainable fish and seafood. 
  • Maratea: Mediterranean cuisine with a menu of small and medium plates and paired with innovative cocktails.

I didn't get a chance to visit any of these dinner outlets during my short, one-night stay but the hotel staff specifically recommended Autur as a “can't miss” dining experience. Unfortunately, it was closed the night (Monday) I visited.

Based on the food I did eat while on property, I'm sure all the restaurants are great. Dining really seems like an area where Conrad Tulum has put a lot of emphasis and aims to do it well. 


Conrad Tulum Beach & Pools

Let's admit it, kicking back on the beach or in your own private, pool-side cabana is kind of why you're staying at the Conrad Tulum in the first place. Luckily, with five different pools and a private stretch of beach, there's no shortage of options for catching some sun or cooling off in the water. 

The main pool sits right out in front of Ultramar and features several different lounge chairs and cabanas – none of which ever seemed crowded during my stay. Depending on the time of day, some spots were more shaded than others. 


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This main pool also featured a pair of jacuzzi tubs and made way to a second-tier infinity pool that overlooked the beach. A small walkway separating the two pools led to a sunken fire pit which would surely make for a great place to relax once the sun goes down. 


Conrad Tulum infinity pool


The hotel's private beach would also make for a nice place to relax and catch some rays. Like all resorts along this stretch of the Riviera Maya, the Conrad Tulum's beach was full of sea weed, though the maintenance team did a commendable job of cleaning it up in the mornings and raking the beach throughout the day. 


Conrad Tulum beach


Behind the beach, you'll find yet another massive infinity pool with plenty of lounge chairs and cabanas. I really can't stress enough just how massive this resort is and how much privacy and personal space everyone had as a result of it. Nowhere on the property did it ever seem crowded – which isn't always the case at resorts like this. 


Conrad Tulum pool

Conrad Tulum pool

Conrad Tulum pool


Finally, there were two more pools (and jacuzzis) at either end of the horseshoe bay. These would be ideal for guests staying farthest from the central lobby area and would save the five- to 10-minute walk required to get to one of the other pools. 


Conrad Tulum Gym & Spa 

Fitness Center

The gym at the Conrad Tulum is located downstairs, near the Kid's Club, just a short walk from the lobby. It took me a bit to find it on my own, and I ended up asking for directions from the concierge, but once I got headed in the right direction it was easy enough. 


Conrad Tulum fitness room


Just a heads up: There's no locker room, but there is a small area with towels, a water cooler, and small cubbies to store any personal belongings. The gym is staffed with fitness instructors that lead different group workouts throughout the day, including yoga sessions and high-intensity circuit training. 

Inside, you'll find the gym fitted from head-to-toe with modern Life Fitness equipment. The back wall is full of cardio equipment, including ellipticals and treadmills, that look out into the lush jungle surroundings. 


Conrad Tulum cardio equipment


Up front, near the entrance, you'll find a rack of dumbbells and inclined benches for weight-training. 


Conrad Tulum dumbbells


There is also plenty of cable equipment scattered throughout the gym for other strength-training exercises. 


Conrad Tulum weight equipment


Finally, there was a separate spin room and yoga studio off to the right side of the fitness center. You can use either of them on your own, or while attending a class. 


Conrad Tulum spin room


The gym was a good size, though I'd imagine it could get crowded when the hotel is at full occupancy. During my 45-minute workout it never felt crowded with maybe a half-dozen other guests in there at a time. 


Conrad Spa Tulum

I didn't get a chance to visit the spa during my brief stay but based on the photos on the Conrad Tulum's website, it looks like a great place to let your stress and worries wash away. 

The spa itself is said to be inspired by the Mayan Gods of sun and wisdom. Each ritual begins with a cleansing copal limpia ceremony and a guided meditation to take guests on a multi-sensory escape. 

The main welcome area of the spa is designed to look like one of the region's famous cenotes. There are 16 private treatment rooms, as well as a men's and women's changing area. 


Conrad Tulum spa
Photo courtesy of Hilton.


There is a spa office near the front desk, in the lobby, but the actual spa itself is in an entirely different part of the resort. Prices for different treatments are as to be expected at a resort like this. You can find the full list of services here


Other Amenities at the Conrad Tulum

If sitting by the pool (or beach) all day isn't your thing, what are you doing in Mexico? Just kidding.  

For those that need a break from all the relaxing, the Conrad Tulum has complimentary bicycles that are available to rent. You can use this to ride around the Conrad and neighboring Hilton Riviera Maya's extensive grounds. I'm not sure if taking them off-property is an option and given the busy stretch of highway that these resorts are on, I wouldn't really recommend it. 


Conrad Tulum bikes


If you brought the kids with you on vacation and are in need of a break, there's both a staffed Kid's Club and a Teens' Corner with different activities and games planned throughout the day. 


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Conrad Tulum teens' corner


Maybe some retail therapy is more your style. If that's the case, the Conrad Tulum has you covered with a couple of boutique shops right on site. 


Conrad Tulum shops


Finally, if you really do like relaxing but just need a change of scenery from the pool or beach, there are these woven igloo-like structures lining one side of the hotel's reflecting pool – each with it's own unique seating options including, hammocks, swings, and other lounge chairs. 


Conrad Tulum walkway to lobby


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Safe to say, no matter what you're looking to get out of a stay at Conrad Tulum, the hotel has something for every type of traveler. 


Bottom Line

Conrad Tulum definitely puts the “luxe” in luxurious – but it does it differently than other high-end hotels. By leaning into its natural surroundings and working those details into the entire resort, it leaves a lasting impression of a different kind of luxury. 

You'll be hard-pressed to find a nicer, more elegant beachside hotel than the Conrad Tulum for your next trip to Mexico. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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