How To Take A Romantic Trip To Tulum, Mexico

Houghton’s Katharine Polk shares her travel diary from a recent romantic getaway

Courtesy of Houghton, by Michael Hooks (@h.o.o.k.s)

Houghton designer Katharine Polk let us in on her travel diary from her recent trip to Tulum, Mexico. Join her in the sun, surf, and sand, below.

After designing and shooting my collection for April's Bridal Fashion Week, next up on the agenda was planning my birthday trip in June. I have an affinity for palm trees, beaches, and frozen drinks and didn’t want to travel too far since my schedule is so busy; an easy, short flight was a must! Tulum, Mexico, where I've been to before, made perfect sense then. I quickly found two hotels in which to split a 10-day trip with my boyfriend Michael Hooks. The planning had begun.

When I started thinking about this getaway, I wanted to stay at and visit resorts, restaurants, and explore landmarks that I thought would speak to the Houghton Girl and Bride. This is my firsthand research on the ultimate Mexican wedding venue, bachelorette party spots, and, naturally, honeymoon suites.

The two hotels we ended up staying at varied drastically in style and aesthetic, speaking to two very different girls and couples. The first half of our stay, we resided at Papaya Playa Project, a sustainable resort stretched out over miles of oceanfront paradise. For the “low-maintenance” Houghton Girl, Papaya Playa Project has a variety of private villas sans Wi-Fi, phones, or cable. This is the resort for you if you are looking to disconnect from the web and reconnect (especially after all the intense wedding planning) with your partner. 

The rooms feature an open layout with rain showers, perfect for that romantic vibe. Papaya Playa Project is also great for a bachelorette party if you book one of their larger private houses that sleep six-plus. The staff at Papaya Playa Project is so gracious and friendly; on my birthday, they brought me a birthday cake with my breakfast! The staff will make sure you have anything you need including bikes to explore the town of Tulum and will even book you a couples massage overlooking the beach, with nothing but the waves crashing underneath you. And if you’re there with the girls, book a table to celebrate their famous Full Moon Party.

Casa Malca was our second stop, a drastic difference from the open and rustic layout of the first resort. With both my boyfriend and I in creative fields, we were really excited to get an up close look at the famous art collection housed on the property. Casa Malca has recently expanded to 42 rooms, which are all surrounding the pool, looking out on the beach, or have their own private garden. The boutique hotel is built around the main entrance, formerly Pablo Escobar’s home!

Lio Malca, the hotel’s owner, is an avid and world-renowned art collector. He’s made the hotel a museum for his guests filled with his extensive collections of KAWS, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf. Everywhere you look, there is a colorful painting, sculpture, or commissioned installation by one of these famous artists. Each room and suite is also designed around the art selected for that room. This resort is perfect for the creative artsy type who will appreciate the art hidden in each corner and crevice.

Houghton beach brides, get ready…

Courtesy of Houghton, by Michael Hooks (@h.o.o.k.s)

Left: Love this pic, shot by Michael. It really evokes the simple and pure feeling of our trip. This look is so clean but feminine, which is perfect for a Mexican getaway. The tulle skirt is made up of pleated ruffles, so I could roll it up in my suitcase, and the silk cashmere tank is an elevated classic. This look can go from birthday dinner to beach elopement.
-Houghton “Holly” tank, Houghton “Constance” skirt, Tuza “Snake Belly” necklace, Amanda Pearl “ Quill Thorne” earrings, Amanda Pearl “Quill Bypass” rings, and Lulu Frost “Code Number” rings.

Top right: I bring my Polaroid everywhere with me and caught a snap of my babe after my birthday dinner at Nomadé in the wind chime alley.
- George Frost “Harpoon” bracelet, George Frost “Poison” necklace, and Freelife LA hat.

Bottom right:  A view from above; Mike and I ventured to the top of the tower at Papaya Playa to get a bird's eye view of the “Tree House” being built. P.S.: You can stay there for maximum romance factor!