Last February 2020, right before the world shut down, Ryan and I spent a week relaxing and recharging on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. We usually take a vacation around this time of year—when New York is cold and spring still feels a little too far away. But this trip was a little bit different. The past few years we’ve picked amazing destinations that I’d go back to in a heartbeat: Montego Bay, Jamaica; Port of Spain, Trinidad; Guanacaste, Costa Rica. But this year we went to Tulum—which is a little under 2 hours south of Cancún—and it stood out.
If you didn’t guess where this was going—here it is:
Your brand is more than just your logo or your visual assets, and it matters.
In past years we’ve stayed in regions that are known for their budget-friendly all-inclusive resorts, but Tulum had less of these options, and we knew we wanted to be able to explore all the food and drink spots nearby without feeling bad about having already paid for all-inclusive. So we ended up booking a 6 night stay at Hotelito Azul (shout out to Ryan’s racked up credit card points for the help) and let’s just say we are already planning to go back.
(Oh also. This is not at all sponsored.)
Here are some pictures – although I’m going to be honest, I didn’t take many (I was digital detoxing, and I wasn’t actually planning to write this ahead of time). But Hotelito Azul had a FEELING that isn’t even really captured by photographs—so let’s dive in.
1. The name
For starters, adding “-ito” to the end of the word in Spanish means “small” so Hotelito Azul was just that—small and unassuming. (Our shuttle driver from the airport drove right past it the first time). Both the name and the fact that it’s entryway was so inconspicuous felt immediately intimate, cozy and local.
2. The environment
The moment we entered the hotel grounds (which was all outdoors) our feet were in the sand. Guests and employees alike were barefoot, which made me want to immediately rip my shoes off too after 6+ hours of travel. And we all know that care free, time-for-vacation feeling of being barefoot in the sand.
3. The decor
I could go on and on, but the last thing I’ll highlight was the hotel room itself. It was actually a wooden hut, with a tiki roof, macrame hanging on the wall, and a hammock on the balcony. While it felt outdoorsy and rustic, it still had the comforts of a hotel room—a brand new bathroom, a comfy big bed with crisp white sheets, and organic bath products.
And here’s the thing: this is all intentional.
Their brand is unique, cozy, and quiet. It’s somehow laid back and luxury at the same time. It made us feel relaxed, and comfortable, and like we needed to go back immediately.
The all-inclusive resorts we’ve stayed at in 3+ countries have been wonderful in their own right—but when it comes down to it, they were all the same. We had to look outside of them to find the real beauty of the place we were in.
Hotelito, we’ll be back.
Ready to build a brand that is less all inclusive and more Tulum? Let’s chat!
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