This morning I had a fabulous tour with the General Manager of Kimpton Aluna Resort Tulum, a property only two years old with 78 tranquil and stylish rooms that feel like a tropical oasis - in the midst of an urban development on a scale that's mind-blowing. When Tulum's new international airport opens soon - look out! (Check out the Nine Muses Travel Instagram and Facebook for property tour photos!) Last night, my group of friends celebrated our last night all together in Tulum at the resort's rooftop, open-kitchen restaurant Bhanu Sky Kitchen. - which happened to be one of their new Thursday nights themed to be gay-friendly and with a live DJ. We had a really nice time, and for guests who don't want to overhear louder music, it's only from 6pm-10pm on Thursdays.
This Virtuoso article below is a helpful guide to other places to check out while you're here. ALL the locals agreed that ARCA was the best on this list. Let's get you booked on a trip to Tulum so you can tell me if you agree!
Excerpt below from 1/11/2022 updated Virtuoso article by Celeste Moure ca be found HERE.
Due respect to the lauded kitchens of Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Puebla, but these days travelers will find some of the country’s most exciting and downright delicious dishes coming from wood-fired ovens and grills in Tulum’s primeval Yucatán jungle. The first time I visited the area was roughly 15 years ago, when, like many tourists, I made the two-hour journey south from Cancún to explore the ancient Mayan ruins of the same name. Back then, there was just one lonely stretch of road, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, that separated the jungle from the white-sand beach, where a handful of eco-friendly posadas offered stressed-out urbanites the chance to unplug and practice yoga on the beach. Soon, celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, and Justin Bieber started to come, and the party was on. But it wasn’t until 2017, when René Redzepi chose it for the fourth installment of his Noma pop-up concept – London, Tokyo, and Sydney preceded it – that Tulum became synonymous with good eating. You’ll still find the laid-back inns, the no-frills taco stands, and the yogis perfecting sun salutations on the beach, but now both sides of the carretera are lined with designer hotels, independent boutiques, and restaurants where chefs whip up big flavors in tiny jungle kitchens.
On your next trip to the Riviera Maya’s boho-chic escape, arrive hungry.
Chef Jose Luis Hinostroza, formerly of Chicago’s Alinea and Copenhagen’s Noma, moved to Tulum to spearhead René Redzepi’s pop-up in 2017. Cooking in a wood-fired oven with Yucatán spices, produce, and seafood suited him so well, he stayed and soon became a partner and chef at Arca. Plan on a rotation of shareable small plates that go from fire to table as they’re ready, and make sure to try “The Whole Squash,” a roasted celebration of the local zucchini-like tatuma, presented on a bed of its sautéed greens and sprinkled with its flowers and toasted seeds.
When it originally opened back in 2010, this carbon-neutral, open-air restaurant’s concept was to blend into the environment, as if it had been there forever. Little has changed over the years: Diners sit at candlelit tables, and the daily menu – ceviche, jicama salad, and grilled octopus served on banana leaves are recurring items – features whatever chef-owner Eric Werner sources from local fishermen and nearby farms. “There are so many newly explored fruits and vegetables of the Yucatán,” says Werner. “It’s our life’s work to understand them and present them to our guests.”
Burned out from producing music festivals around the globe, Karen Young moved to Tulum four years ago to try something new and ended up opening a restaurant in the jungle. She recruited friends to help create a place that blends modern design and local Mayan craftsmanship in the form of sculptural wood and concrete structures that rise from the ground like palm trees. The internationally inspired menu draws on Yucatán produce and fresh fish and seafood from Punta Allen for hits such as braised and grilled octopus on a squid-ink sofrito.
A 1971 Airstream trailer parked next to a small fire pit serves as the kitchen for owner Luis Aguilar’s “campfire food.” Grilled fish, ceviche, tacos al pastor, truffle yucca fries, and chilled Pescadores beer are always on the menu. Hungry locals and visitors, often with kids in tow, arrive early to score one of the handful of tables in the open-air dining room.
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