Some people are instant favorites, and Lauren Gerrie is one of ours. We first met Lauren — a self-described "work-out-aholic" — at our regular early morning pilates class, and we've been fans of her cool style, good vibes, and major talent ever since. She certainly stays busy. Not only is she Marc Jacobs' personal chef, but she's also one-half of the lady chef duo BigLITTLE Get Together, and one-half of the duo behind the sexy dance class Moves in NYC. With all that going on, it's no wonder Lauren was craving a little time out. So, she and her boyfriend Daniel escaped the East Village for a week in one of their favorite destinations, Tulum. "This trip was dedicated to hard core relaxation," Lauren says. "I am a very low key traveler. I go off recommendations from those I trust and locals that I connect with. I think the best secrets come from the people that live and work in the area. Tulum may not be much of a secret anymore, but there are constantly new gems." Here, Lauren shares some of those gems.
We usually stay at Casa Violeta, which we love, but they were fully booked. Some of our local friends suggested that we stay at Nest so we went for it. We absolutely loved it. It's located at the far south end of the beach so it's incredibly quiet and private. Everyone who was there, from staff and fellow guests, were so chill and respectful.
Honestly, it felt as though we were staying in someone's home rather than a hotel. Our room was one of two rooms on the second floor of the main building which overlooks the ocean. We had an incredible breeze the entire time and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean. My two favorite features of our room — aside from the mouth-dropping view and ocean breeze — were the lofted bathtub and the huge bathroom with one of my favorite showers to date. I love a shower that isn't enclosed and because of the four large windows it felt like we were showering outside.
Surprisingly, I wasn't that intense about where I ate this time around. Tulum is so small, and last time we were there we tried everything — I mean everything! This time I was much more low key about eating. Maybe it's because I had just come off of a two month straight work-push that was entirely focused on food, the last thing I wanted to think about was food. That being said, we did have some very, very delicious meals...
The breakfast at Nest, which is included, was perfection... coffee, juice, tea, eggs, potatoes, fruit, bread. Usually I just need a strong cup of coffee and a little something in my tummy, but Daniel loves to have a breakfast buffet. Needless to say, we were both completely satisfied. In the afternoon, they set up a booze buffet fit for a king. Everything from mezcal to wine to beer, soda, and spirits. They live by a "help yourself" modo, which I appreciate because it feels more intimate and personal rather than a resort-mixed-cocktail-get-drunk-at-noon vibe. Not that I am not totally opposed to the latter.
One of our friends, Maria Ronchi, is the head bartender at Gitano and suggested that we try a new spot called Safari. It was so fucking delicious and I am so glad that we went. The open air bar space overlooks an airstream kitchen with an open fire pit for cooking. Every single thing we had was ridiculous, and I'm pretty sure we had the entire menu. They also had great local beers and sodas that Daniel was throwing back like nobody's business.
I am not one for pasta on the beach, but let me tell you that Posada Margherita is delicious. However, it's their fresh juices and smoothies that keep me coming back day after day. Our personal favorites are the Green Punch and the Spicy Me Up. I should also mention that the complimentary focaccia bread and pickles are so damn delicious—thank goodness I was in a bathing suit because I probably would have been temped to devour more fluffy, oily pieces of heaven.
Gitano Tulum is owned by our friends, James Gardner and Derek Klein. The last time we were there, two years ago, they had only been open for six months. Since then they have added more space to the restaurant and a boutique, and they are working on a couple more food and beverage projects. Perhaps the most exciting element is that they have just hired a new young chef, Fabian Kramer, to take their menu to the next level. We had a beautiful dinner of local fish curry with sticky rice and a tangy-spicy cucumber salad. I love simple, delicious food—especially paired with one of Maria Ronchi's cocktails.
I love fitness and movement and run my life off the idea that I can pack a lot into one day, but this trip I challenged myself to not work out at all. This was not only a much need break for my body, but it was also such a wonderful exercise in calmness for my mind. I am an early riser by nature and Daniel loves to sleep in, so I treasure the morning because it lets me have what my mom refers to as "meditation time." I adopted a morning routine of a swim, then coffee and reading, followed by stretching and some headstands.
Daniel and I are die-hard cyclists in New York so it was also wonderful to have bikes at our disposal at Nest without additional cost. The height of my day was a long bike ride to the other end of the beach to get a fresh juice.
We had an incredible water treatment followed by massages at the Yaan Wellness Center. Lovers of design and architecture should definitely pay it a visit. It's a bit pricey, but so worth it. I can't even begin to describe the peacefulness that comes over you in the tranquil environment they have created. I also learned a lot about some of the local herbs and sustainable plants that they use in the body scrubs. They grow everything on the roof of the main building, which is a sort of pitched structure. When you're relaxing in the large pool you can see the gorgeous roof top garden.
Photos by Lauren Gerrie and Daniel Plenge