Right off the bustling main avenue of downtown Tulum, a 20-minute drive or bike ride from the beach road hotspots, an unassuming grey-cement building sits shrouded in a jungle of leafy plants. A simple chalkboard sign lodged in gravel is the only indication that something more might be found inside. This is Casa Pueblo, Tulum’s chicest new boutique hotel and the first venture into hospitality made by Derek Klein, a local tastemaker, creative entrepreneur and founder of the wildly popular restaurant-cum-nightclub Gitano.Largely credited with—and condemned for—catapulting its sleepy, bohemian home onto the international party scene, Gitano opened on Tulum’s beach road in 2013. It continues to draw steady crowds as one of the must-visit spots, but Klein sold his stake in the lounge two years ago, in the hopes of recapturing the magic that his original creation, like a Frankenstein, has since lost.
The unconventional location in Tulum town is the first sign that Casa Pueblo presents a different animal from its beach road competitors, which a recent article in New York Magazine’s The Cut chastised for their lack of environmental responsibility and proclivity for bad house music. Though the absence of sand and sea can be a drawback for some, the pueblo location offers adventurous travelers the opportunity to explore a different side of Tulum and interact with locals, outside of the confines of a resort. There’s no shortage of tchotchke shops and tourist-friendly bars in town, but it feels a world away from the scene of the beach road, providing an escape for those who wish to avoid the crowds in favor of exploration.
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