Meet Kevin Wendle, owner of Mexican jungle hotspot Hotel Esencia

A lover of all things beautiful but more importantly, an individual dedicated to the idea of entertaining people and making them happy, Kevin felt something call out to his sensitivities as a long-time Hollywood producer when he first laid eyes on Hotel Esencia.  However, for the entrepreneur in him, the hotel was more than just a beautiful spot where he could relax for a few weeks before going back to the real world. For him, Hotel Esencia was the opportunity to create the perfect retreat on the Riviera Maya…a place between jungle and ocean and with a profound understanding of luxury and superlative service. Therefore, he infused the hotel with the same warmth and hospitality he reserves for his family and friends, making every guest feel like they are coming to a place that’s as good, if not better, than home.

Kevin, what would you say helped you develop your taste for the hospitality industry?

Kevin: To be honest, I’ve always loved designing and sometimes flipping luxury homes, however, I had always looked at it as more of a side hobby. And to me, what I really value about those experiences was the opportunity to work with so many talented designers and architects from which I’ve learned so much. As someone who loves hosting guests at my homes, a few friends said to me “you should really be in the hotel business”. And it was really as simple as that. That’s what led me here and I couldn’t be happier.

And why acquire Hotel Esencia? Did you have a particular attachment to Mexico and more particularly to the Tulum region?

Kevin: A good friend of mine owns some large hotels in the region and I saw that Riviera Maya was, and still is, the fastest-growing tourist destination in the world with non-stop flights from almost all major cities in Europe and the Americas. I was already madly in love with the tropical year-round perfect weather, the glorious palm trees, and the rich Mexican and Mayan culture – I realized it was such a special, magical place and I wanted to be here as often as possible.

Developing the Luxury Hotel Esencia

What were the major changes you made to the hotel when you took over and what were the things you preserved?

Kevin: Hotel Esencia began as the seaside villa of an Italian duchess on one of the world’s most spectacular beaches. It’s located midway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen with no neighbors on either side. It feels like you’re at someone’s private estate on a deserted island yet most clients don’t have to fly halfway around the world to be here.

I kept the original main house, which had been so brilliantly designed, but upgraded or rebuilt most of what was here, including the new restaurants and more than 80% of the original suites. The result is 29 suites that are more spacious and luxurious, with all the comforts of a refined beach home.

And how would you say you achieved that delicate balance of preserving the architecture of the building along with the beautiful nature around it while also adding that ultra-luxury touch?

Kevin: I’m an art collector, so art and design are such a big part of my life and my own homes. As I think of Esencia as my family’s home in Mexico, I wanted to be sure my family and friends – and of course our guests – would feel that they are in a place of warmth and beauty. So, art and design, and the best food and service that money can buy is all part of this.

I mean, when you’re on vacation, you ideally want to visit somewhere that’s at least on par with your own home, if not a big step-up. So many of our clients are extremely successful and I didn’t want to let anyone down, no matter where they were coming from.

Hotel Esencia Wins Awards with Forbes

Esencia won the title of “Wellness Star of the Year 2021” according to Forbes? How did that make you feel?

Kevin: We were honored to be recognized by Forbes Travel Guide as the only winner of their 2021 Wellness Star Award.

The idea to create Rooftop Wellness Suites was an idea I had in the darkest moments of 2020 when I knew we would be closed for a while. No matter how fast the pandemic would come to an end, I believed that our clients would treasure their own private spaces more than ever.

I tore down the ten smallest suites in the hotel and built these duplexes from the ground up, much more spacious and luxurious with large private rooftop pools, “The Mirror” virtual personal trainers, TRX, Technogym weights, yoga mats, steam showers with essential oils, and even optional Peloton bikes. These are now our most popular suites…

Guest Experience and Facilities at Hotel Esencia

Why should travelers come to Hotel Esencia?

Kevin: I’m so pleased that we’ve been recognized again and again as Mexico’s best beach resort but today’s luxury travelers want more than just a great bed and beach. We are intensely focused on the entire guest experience from booking to departure – we think about each guest almost every minute of every day – to ensure an unforgettable holiday in every way.

And finally, for all your future guests reading, describe a perfect day at the hotel?

Kevin: Waking up to fresh coffee and warm pastries delivered, complimentary, on your terrace and enjoying the sounds and sights of the exotic birds circling for a bite.

Go for an early morning beach walk or our complimentary yoga followed by breakfast. From there, flop into a beach palapa with a great book, enjoy the sea, maybe a swim and some snorkeling followed by a lunch of fresh ceviche and tacos, more beach time, a swim at the pool, paddleboarding, kayaking or enjoying one of our 40 Mayan treatments at the spa.

Then maybe a nap, cocktails at our beach bar then dinner followed by stargazing with someone you love. Or if you’re lucky, after dinner, watching a giant sea turtle create her nest or seeing the birth of hundreds of baby sea turtles on our beach between August and October.

For more exclusive interviews, stay tuned! Book your stay at the Hotel Esencia with Lartisien.

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