Papaya Playa Project

A hotel pops up in Tulum


Touching down in the peninsular town of Tulum in southern Mexico, a collaboration of creative European service-industry innovators have launched Papaya Playa Project, a temporary hotel concept born from the pop-up retail model. The collection of 99 beach cabanas maintains a certain level of comfort while retaining the look and feel of primitive, eco-friendly lodgings in a community setting. More of a camp than a hotel, the cabanas will stand for five months on a beachfront formerly owned by a set of luxury hotels that were abandoned in the financial crisis.

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The project is led by Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels, who recently left the buzz of Berlin for the seaside splendor of Tulum. Copenhagen’s 42ºRaw is providing on-the-go sustenance to visitors while KaterHolzig—offspring of Berlin’s Bar 25—handles the main dining experience. To complete the 1960s-commune vibe, Mamapapacola Company has prepared an event series based around Mayan full moon rituals. While we’d like to avoid thinking of Mayans in the lead-up to 2012, this sprinkling of local flavor is undoubtedly entertaining.


The idea of a pop-up is new to the world luxury resorts, and will hopefully serve to bolster the struggling town’s economic situation. Last minute vacation-goers can book their reservations here.