While the entire Hotel Zone inspires comparisons to Miami, this all-inclusive resort, commanding a quiet stretch of sublime beach, unabashedly promotes itself as "South Beach in the Mexican Caribbean." Unlike most all-inclusives, restaurants and bars are open to outside guests, and chic public spaces draw the bikini-and-stiletto set by day, and local fashion boys and girls at night. The lobby features a reflecting pool, water-themed sculptures throughout the hotel, and chill music emanating from bars. The variety of food and drink is above average here, but "inclusive" extends to a fitness program, a foray into Playa del Carmen, and the spa's water ritual. Luxurious touches such as rain showers and MP3 players abound, though the minimalist rooms in black, white and claret tones are a bit smaller than in many comparable properties. All have views of the ocean or the lagoon, only the high-priced suites have balconies. The ocean-view spa offers facials, body treatments, massages and purification rituals. Though children are welcome, ME is geared toward couples, with two pools and four suite levels reserved for adults and none of the activities family-oriented resorts offer.
- Christine Delsol