At Home at El Taj Playa Del Carmen Condos <> Playa Del Carmen , Mexico

A few years ago, some girlfriends and I decided to head over to Playa Del Carmen for major R & R.  My friend "B" had a wedding there and decided to rope in some vacation days and we tagged along. My brother "G" happened to be visiting from the UK at the time, so he tagged along and was our photographer and faux bodyguard for the week (I think he secretly loved being surrounded by five ladies).

El Taj was where we called home for a glorious week away in paradise (aka Playa Del Carmen , Mexico). Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine waking up to the sound of waves crashing in, the bluest waters, breakfast on the beach, massages on the beach - that is El Taj Playa Del Carmen. I cannot take credit for finding this home away from home (or even the pictures in this post) - I have my friend "B" and my brother "G" to thank for scouting out the location and taking the photo, respectively.

The bus from the Cancun airport dropped us at the city center in Playa Del Carmen. We could have easily walked to the hotel but opted for the $5 cab ride instead to avoid the hassle of dragging luggage around town.  We arrived at a fully furnished 2 bedrooms / 2 bath condo that fit six easily. The property has two views and we got the beach view - thankfully. It cost a little bit more but worth the extra charge. The condo also had a semi-private balcony with a grill and jacuzzi. Our kitchen was fully furnished with pots, pans and the major cooking utensils offering the flexibility to cook our meals (we did not take advantage of that - who wants to deal with kitchen chores on vacation).  

Breakfast was served on the beach daily for a fee (which can be rolled into your reservation, paid daily or charged to the Condo). We chose to pay daily to give us some flexibility. After breakfast - we alternated between lounging on our balcony,laying on the beach,  beachside massage, reading and major relaxation. I did not get to indulge in a massage, but it was highly recommended. 

The property is centrally located and within walking distance of restaurants and nightlife in the city. We were also within walking distance of grocery and souvenir stores if needed. I loved every moment of the vacation and our stay at El Taj. I will most likely stay here again if I venture to that part of the world. Current rates start at $285 per night so pack a bag, round up a few friends and head over. You will thank me.


We were all exhausted from a long year and in need of a vacation. When "B" decided to tack on a few vacation days to a destination wedding and invited us, my response was a quick and easy "yes". 

"G" , FA", and I flew out of DFW on a Wednesday afternoon. Our flight landed in Cancun shortly before 6:30 p.m. After getting through immigration and collecting our luggage, we waited outside the terminal for the bus transfer to Playa Del Carmen city center. "BB", "Jo" and "Mo" had arrived from the East coast the day before and were already settled in our condo.

We waited twenty minutes before the bus arrived and we settled into our seats for the forty-five-minute drive to Playa Del Carmen.  It was dark when the bus pulled out of the airport (and I was exhausted), I don't remember much about the ride. We arrived in Playa Del Carmen city center about 8 p.m and although it was a short walk to our rental, we opted for the short cab ride.  The ladies from the East Coast were prepped to head to dinner when we arrived.  Quick pleasantries, a shower and a change of clothes and then dinner at a lovely restaurant around the corner from our condo.  Dinner was excellent. 

The next morning started off with breakfast on the beach, a stroll on the beach which was followed by lounging beachside alternating between stuffing our faces with food, naps and reading. This was our routine every day we were in Playa Del Carmen.  It was incredible. 

Here are snapshots of our time in Playa Del Carmen.

Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen

If you loved the snapshots in this post - They will be arriving on the Portland Grace Etsy store at the end of the month. You can visit the store for more travel inspired fine art.

Five Cities To Visit This Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times to travel. If I could, I will plan all my travels for mid-September to mid-November. The weather is great and travel cost tends to be much lower compared to the summer time and the summer vacationing crowds have returned to their homebase. A few places we would love to visit this fall (hoping we can get to some of these soon)

London. Everyone talks about the rain and the cold, but if you can get past that and book a trip. I guarantee you will not regret it. On the one hand the tourist crowd will have fizzled, but London has some of the prettiest fall foilage I have ever seen - I know, not what you will immediately think of when you think London, but if this picture is anything to go by - we cannot wait to pack our bags. 

Denver. Maybe the international flight is not your thing, how about something in the same Country. Denver is one of our favorite places to visit in fall. There is tons to see, do and eat in Denver - visit the botanical gardens and south broadwalk. Then add to that the incredible weather - what is there not to love. We have our jackets packed and cannot wait to get to the mile high city.

Visit Denver

Miami. We at Portland|Grace have just finalized plans for a weekend getaway to South Beach in just a few weeks and we cannot wait to share our itinerary with you. What we are most looking forward to - great food, perfect vacation weather and excellent beaches. Of Course, we will be sharing all our adventures right here.

St. Augustine , FL. For something off the beaten path - why not spend a weekend in one of America's oldest cities that boast great beaches and great food like the Harbour view cafe and landmarks like Castillo de San Marcos and St. Augustine Wild Reserve.


Tulum. Forget Cancun. Tulum is the place to be in Quintana Roo. If you are not a fan of cold/cooler temps. This is just the place for you. Clear blue sky, white sandy beach and the blueist water we have ever seen, you can lay on the beach and soak in the sun while the rest of us battle the cold weather. If you get bored laying on the beach (as if) - Tulum is home to one of the historic Mayan ruins and we recommend checking it out.

Thanks for letting me share. Where are you headed this fall ?