The hotel decor is a model of the elegance of simplicity, blending Caribbean flavors with a subtle dash of Italian charm. Our beachfront room on the 2nd floor offered a King Size bed with mosquito netting, a small indoor sitting area, palapa roof, locally made handicrafts, and two balconies– one with a hammock, the other with two chairs overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Though they’ve recently added an A/C option at night, the ocean breezes through our open window kept things cool.
We spent a lot of time at Piedra Escondida’s restaurant, which has an indoor area (connected to the lobby/lounge) and an outdoor patio right on the beach. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu was a mixture of Italian and Mexican dishes, including traditional favorites such as Fettucine alla Marinara and (my personal favorite) Risotto della Huerta. Everything we had, from Huevos Rancheros at breakfast to authentic pasta entrees at dinner, was so excellent, we never had the desire to eat anywhere else. And while the bugs became a bit problematic after dark, the staff always had citronella candles and sprays on hand.
There are plenty of recreation activities within a 30-minute drive of the hotel, including snorkeling in cenotes, climbing ancient Mayan pyramids
, and snorkeling with sea turtles in Akumal
. But some of our favorite Riviera Maya memories came from relaxing at Piedra Escondida: Watching the sunset from our private balcony, taking photos of iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks, drinking mojitos and margaritas on the beach, listening to lovely Latin music while using the WiFi in their lounge, and being gently lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean waves outside our window.
It might not be the sort of big, flashy all-inclusive that the Riviera Maya has become known for. But, for travelers seeking a laid-back slice of Caribbean paradise, Piedra Escondida is just what the doctor ordered. –by Bret Love; photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett