Upward Projects boss Lauren Bailey (Postino WineCafe, Federal Pizza and more) isn't normally a fan of what she calls "tourist-y Mexico," which is why she had reservations about a solo tour of Tulum on the country's Yucatan Peninsula. But she went anyway on the recommendation of foodie friend Aaron Chamberlin (St. Francis, Phoenix Public Market Café), and had her mind positively blown. "It's got this really amazing vibe to it," she says. "They call it eco chic. It's very bohemian, it's got a ton of art and it's got this amazing energy."
Bailey says Tulum is home to probably 20 amazing restaurants, but "Hartwood is No 1." She ate the acclaimed off-the-grid eatery twice during her stay, which, it should be said, is no easy feat, as it's nearly impossible to get a table there without reserving one a month ahead. Being alone was the trick, as it allowed her to squeeze in between two benches at the bar. "I had a really gorgeous whitefish ceviche that they did with fresh onions and radish and really beautiful citrus," Bailey says of the wood-fired fare. "The simplicity of the ingredients that they use is a beautiful expression of the local ingredients that they do." hartwoodtulum.com
Another highlight of Bailey's stay was her hotel Nomade Tulum, which provided easy access to everything from yoga classes to world-renowned sex therapist Sasha Cobra. "Not only is it in this beautiful, really cool environment," Bailey says, "it's got these really interesting experiences that you can do while you're in your hotel… It's stunningly beautiful in a very simplistic way." nomadetulum.com
Bailey also did some sightseeing. Most notably, she went to Dos Ojos, which she describes as a beautiful sinkhole that she got to swim in. "It feels like you're snorkeling in another world."
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