Last Updated: September 15, 2021
Disclaimer: This review represents our experiences during 3 stays but due to a recent negative stay, we can no longer recommend booking and staying at Hotel Semilla. The property markets itself one way but is managed in a different way and has inherent issues.
We have really started to enjoy visiting Playa Del Carmen due to its beautiful beach and the convenience of being close to the town with all its great restaurants and bars. While we usually stay at the Grand Hyatt, on our latest visit to Playa Del Carmen, we opted to stay at Hotel La Semilla, also just known as La Semilla, a small boutique hotel with 9 rooms steps away from the beach and the pedestrian area of town. After the US issued a travel advisory for Playa Del Carmen, there was a cancellation so we were able to book the room we wanted, the Suites Terraza directly through the hotel at a great price.
The La Semilla Experience:
In Spanish, “semilla” means “seed”. The hotel produces a one page leaflet called “The Daily Seed” in English with inspirational quotes, information about local customs and traditions, and other tidbits. I looked forward to reading the Daily Seed every morning with my morning coffee. In addition, the hotel has a map with recommendations for shops, bars, and restaurants in the neighbourhood and in other parts of Playa Del Carmen. We found the list to be quite legit and it included some of our favourites and new places for us to visit.
While Playa Del Carmen can be a little rowdy and trashy in some ways, the hotel is haven away from all of that and we were surprised by how quiet it was. There are so many spaces to wander, relax and just think as well as unique design and architectural elements to marvel at.
What really stands out in the hotel is how the natural elements such as the trees in the courtyard shaped the design elements, so nature was the architect and the functionality of the spaces followed, i.e the tables and chairs in the courtyard. Nature is taken very seriously at La Semilla and you will not find bottled water here, instead a large glass bottle of water is refilled every day when the room is refreshed.
While some aspects are very polished, some are rustic, including some of the mismatched antique rusty furnishings, which really adds to the charm of the place.
Breakfast is served daily in the courtyard and includes a fruit plate with Mayan honey, juice of the day, tea or coffee, and usually an egg dish.
In the evenings, white or red wine is offered to enjoy in the courtyard or to take to your room or the rooftop patio. My husband doesn’t drink wine and was able to store some beer in the fridge. While guests are encouraged and allowed to bring in their own drinks and snacks, there is limited space in the common fridge and freezer.
The rooftop patio has sun loungers, towels, a bathroom and an outdoor shower. After an ocean swim, we used the outdoor shower to rinse off the sand and salt since there are no public showers on the beach.
A nice touch is the laundry service and the first bag is complimentary, and after that 15 pesos are charged per piece of clothing which is very reasonable.
La Semilla also offers bikes to guests with locks to get around town and beach towels/bags are available too. It is a short enough bike ride to PlayaCar and other destinations in town, including some of our favorite places to eat: El Fogon, TaconTenedor, and Birria de Res.
The hotel is only a short walk to the beach; close enough for a few swims per day but also far enough to be away from the loud techno music that is always overtaking the beach.
Our Room – Suites Terrazza:
The Suites Terrazza, room #9 is just below the rooftop patio and up a few flights of stairs. As the hotel doesn’t have an elevator, those who can’t or don’t want to climb a few flights of stairs will want to book a different room. As soon as you enter the room, you feel the stress melt away due to the lovely décor and soothing white accents, including the quote left by the pillow case Rainer Maria Rilke: “If you stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.” We found the bed and linens and chairs in our room to be very comfortable and luxurious.
The room has air conditioning but we never used it because of the natural breeze and the powerful ceiling fan in the room. There is a small seating area but we enjoyed sitting on the balcony or going up to the rooftop, which felt like an extension of our room because we never saw anyone up there. The shower is large and has good water pressure and you can open the window to get an indoor-outdoor experience. One of my favorite things in the room was the outdoor bathtub which I enjoyed using before going to sleep. There is also no television in the room which we did not miss at all since we don’t watch TV when we travel.
While our balcony overlooks the restaurant, we didn’t not feel like it was too noisy or disturbing but some might think otherwise. The one thing that is affecting the hotel right now is the construction of a condo next door and the construction noise can be disruptive between 09:00-18:00. At check-in, this was explained by the hotel and we were offered a 10% discount as a gesture for the disruption. Overall, the construction noise was a little annoying at times but not so much so that we felt that it affected our overall stay.
We loved the La Semilla experience which was rustic luxury and serenity in vibrant Playa Del Carmen. If you are tired of large resorts and crowds, then you might enjoy La Semilla as much as we did. It feels like you are living in a beautifully designed natural space steps to the beach and to town. As this hotel is now part of SPG’s Design Collection, you can also book it using SPG points or directly through SPG to earn points/stays (SPG has been purchased by Marriott and will be merging shortly). Please note that limited elite benefits are available for guests at properties like these, i.e room upgrades because the room you book is most often the room you get in small hotels like these.
Do you prefer large resorts or small boutique properties like this one? Have you ever stayed in a room with an outdoor bathtub? Do you watch TV when you’re traveling/on vacation?
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