Hello and welcome to Selina Playa del Carmen! The location in the Riviera Maya offers easy beach access, a relaxed atmosphere, and lively nightlife. You’ll also have the opportunity to take day trips to nearby attractions like Akumal and Cozumel, which are just a short distance away. Additionally, they provide excellent coworking spaces for digital nomads. Thanks for choosing Selina!
I would like to share my experience of staying at Selina location in PDC after spending over a month there. The pictures I am sharing are from my actual stay and are not stock or staged images.
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Out of all the Selina locations I have visited, Selina PDC seems to offer the best accessibility to various attractions. It is conveniently located in close proximity to great food and drinks, shopping outlets, laundry services, and even a Walmart, which would cater to the needs of tourists, backpackers, and digital nomads alike. Also, you can enjoy a view of the ocean from the front door.
You can easily access the beach and be on and off within a minute. The Selina Playa Del Carmen buildings are located on Fifth Avenue, which is the main shopping and restaurant street, and Calle 2, which is one block away from Centro. Within a 5-minute walk, you can reach the ferries to Cozumel, the ADO bus station, and the main taxi stand (no uber). If you’re taking collectivos, it will take you about 7-10 minutes of walking depending on the route.
I really mean that you can reach any place within a 10-minute walk. It’s truly amazing!
The Ambience at Selina PDC Hotel
The Selina Playa del Carmen site consists of three primary structures that form a rectangular property. Located at the center courtyard is a swimming pool and an outdoor area for dining, socializing, and drinking. The corridors and spaces are adorned with impressive artworks and murals. All three buildings have three levels of rooms, and two of them provide breathtaking rooftop vistas of the ocean and the surrounding region.
There are two rooftop views at Selina Playa Del Carmen. The first view is from the Activity Center where wellness activities take place daily. The second view is from a building along 5th avenue, which has two large terraces – one overlooking the pool area and the other facing the ocean. Due to the busy surroundings around its walls, it might be easy to miss the entrance to Selina Playa Del Carmen.
The moment you step into the courtyard, you’ll feel like you’re in a Mexican beach paradise. It’s a spacious, open-air area with a pool on one side and a big bar with picnic seating on the other. Keep in mind that most of the rooms are accessed through stairs and long hallways, and only a few are on ground level with just a few steps. Luckily, there is a small elevator in the corner of the bar area in the kitchen building along 5th Avenue, which can reduce the number of stairs you need to climb to access rooms in two of the buildings.
The Rooms at Selina Playa del Carmen
Selina Playa del Carmen offers four types of rooms: dorms and community rooms of various sizes, micro and semi-private rooms, standard private rooms and deluxe suites. To access the rooms and common areas, stairs are the easiest and most direct option. There is a small elevator in one of the buildings, but it is not very convenient. Depending on the floor of your room, you may need to climb more than three flights of stairs.
Selina Playa del Carmen offers dorm rooms that can accommodate from 4 to 16 people. Some of the 4-person rooms have private bathrooms, while the larger ones have shared bathrooms. The 16-person dorms are located on the top floor of the tallest building, which runs along 5th avenue.
Guests staying in the larger dorms will have a longer walk to reach their rooms, including mandatory stairs. However, these rooms are situated on high floors with large terraces overlooking the pool and ocean, providing beautiful views. On the other hand, many smaller dorms with private bathrooms are located on the lower level near the pool and activity center, while others are on the third floor above the kitchen area.
Please note that if you are staying in a dorm room, bedding lines will be provided but you will need to bring your own towel. Additionally, it is recommended that you bring an eye mask and ear plugs as the bunk beds in the dorms do not come with privacy curtains.
Private-Shared and Semi-Private Rooms
At this location of Selina, you can find Micro rooms, also known as Semi-Private rooms, which have a full-sized bed and shared rest The rooms also provide two shelves and a clothing rack.
This location has multiple sets of micro rooms. Two of them are located on Calle 2 and 5th Avenue, on the 2nd and 3rd floors respectively. These micro rooms are arranged in sets of four, with each set sharing a bathroom. The bathroom has separate his and hers sinks and mirrors along the hall, along with a separate single toilet and shower.
The other set of micro rooms is located in the highest part of the hotel, near the large dorms. Guests can reach these rooms by climbing two sets of stairs or taking the elevator, followed by a walkway with a few additional steps.
The microrooms are located in the inner hallway which connects the front terrace to the back terrace. This inner hallway also houses a shared bathroom which is used by both the microrooms and the large dorms. The bathroom has two toilets, two showers, and three sinks. Additional showers can be found in a separate hallway.
There are some Micro rooms on the second floor of the reception building in the corner over reception. Some of these micros have windows that overlook the busy Calle 2 below and get a good amount of natural light. However, the experience in these micro rooms can vary. Guests will receive linens, including two towels, a double shelf with hanging rods, a mirror, and weekly room cleaning. The rooms are equipped with a remote-controlled air conditioner/heater and ceiling fan.
Although micro rooms provide privacy, they lack certain amenities such as natural light and clothes hangers. They are typically situated in the central part of the building with either a small window or no windows at all, and they have less square footage. I have personally stayed in micro rooms that were shared and found them to be well designed. However, I did not like sharing the restroom facilities with the dormitories.
Standard and Private Rooms
The standard rooms at this location are located above the reception on the second floor and along the second floor of the poolside building. They offer a private bathroom, larger windows, and more natural light compared to micro or dorm rooms. Amenities such as clothes hangers and air-conditioning/heaters are included.
Suites and Deluxe Rooms
The suites at Selina Playa Del Carmen offer more comfort than standard rooms with additional features such as a desk, seating area, and a private balcony or walk out window. Moreover, the suites have a lot of natural light due to the presence of large windows and sliding glass doors.
At this location, there are several suites available. The two main suites have a view of the pool and come with their own balcony, outdoor swing, and separate access points. These suites are known for being the quietest in Selina. However, it’s worth noting that they don’t receive much sunlight, which can be comfortable during the summer.
The noise level at this location is a concern due to a live band performing under the large building on the avenue, resulting in echoing music in the rooms on that side of the building. However, the Selina Playa del Carmen has many positive aspects to love, including access to the Coworking space during a 35-day stay in two different micro rooms. The location is also unbeatable.
Within 3 minutes, you can walk to various locations like the beach, ADO bus station, ferries to Cozumel, Parque Fundadores, 5th avenue, nightlife, Centro and local street food. You can even walk to Walmart in 8 minutes. The building situated along 5th avenue has bars and restaurants on the backside, one of which has a live band every night. Although I love the band’s upbeat performance, I could hear them until 2am, no matter which room I stayed in. Given this, I had to use noise-cancelling headphones on work nights.
The Pool at the Selina Playa del Carmen
There is a pool at the Selina Playa del Carmen that is located in an open air courtyard. In this courtyard, there are Mexican banners and on one side of the courtyard is a beautiful blue pool that is surrounded by jungle greenery and a row of hammocks. While some guests enjoy swimming in the pool, many others appreciate the ambiance and like to use the space to relax. Furthermore, soaking your feet in the cool water can be incredibly refreshing after a long day out.
One of my favorite spots for morning coffee or a relaxed work call is the pool area because the music is quieter than in the bar area. However, I have one critique: the pool area doesn’t get much sunlight due to surrounding buildings. While this extra shade can be useful on hot days, it can also lead to colder pool water. There’s also an on-site dive school that uses half of the pool area for lessons in the late mornings and afternoons, in addition to the guests using it.
Restaurants and Dining
The Selina Playa Del Carmen location has a bar that serves as the social center and main attraction. The bar has a palapa roof, string lights, and picnic tables, and is located in the center courtyard. Guests can choose to sit in high top chairs at the long bar, relax at a picnic table, or unwind in Mexican style chairs and tables. The bar also functions as the restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 8am to 11pm. Digital nomads often work from the bar on weekdays while enjoying the pleasant atmosphere.
While the food and coffee at Selina Playa del Carmen can be convenient, they may not always meet your expectations. The real draw of dining at Selina is the atmosphere and easy access. The shady bar area is a popular spot to socialize, but please note that only food and drinks and beer purchased from Selina may be enjoyed there. If you bring in outside food or drinks, you can still consume them upstairs in the kitchen with a view of the bar.
Digital nomads can often be seen working at the bar top and picnic tables while low key music plays during the day. At night, the same space transforms into a lively and energetic social hotspot filled with laughter. Additionally, at around 7pm on most days, the bar area serves as the hub for social events such as movie night, karaoke, and trivia nights.
Suggestion: If you plan to order a drink, I suggest getting beer instead of cocktails. Cocktails take around 10-15 minutes to make and the bar has a limited selection of hard liquor. The price of cocktails ranges from $7-12 USD. The bar area is lovely to sit in and can be enjoyed anytime. But, be aware that there are mosquitoes in the courtyard. I got new bites every time I sat in the area, whether it was morning, day, or night and regardless of whether I sat at the bar or picnic tables.
The situation is not restrictive, but it is bothersome. Although this establishment undergoes regular exterminations and the exterminators arrive during my stay to show that the rooms and building are free of bugs, they do not spray the outdoor seating areas for mosquitoes.
There’s a hidden rooftop Activity Center at this location which I believe is a gem. It’s accessible by stairs in the poolside building and offers amazing views of both the city and the ocean. It’s also one of the two spots where you can catch the sunrise over the water at this Selina.
The area on the rooftop with a palapa provides a shady and relaxing space where you can feel the ocean breeze while using the yoga mats and meditation pads. It’s a great spot for starting or ending your day. You can join daily yoga classes and meditation sessions here, and there are also some dance classes occasionally. During the day, you can get spa treatments like massages. It’s the ideal place to relax.
This rooftop is not suitable for digital nomads as there are no outlets or resources available. However, it’s a great place to unwind and disconnect. Additionally, you can enjoy stunning views of the pool and the ocean.
The Fitness Center
The main wellness activities at Selina Playa del Carmen are yoga and meditation. These activities are usually led by a resident or visiting instructor who receives a discounted or free room in exchange for teaching. The schedule for these activities varies, but typically they occur in the morning around 8 or 9am. Some digital nomads have expressed concern that the morning sessions are too late, as it can be challenging to begin working at 9:30 or 10:30am.
Things to Do
Selina guests can easily reserve tours and day trips through the onsite tour desk, which an outside company operates. While the desk offers a wide selection of tours, I found them to be expensive despite the Colive discount. However, there are two special tours – the secret cenote and jungle tours – exclusively available for Selina guests. These tours take place on select days each week and are listed on the board near the bar. Guests can check the Selina PDC WhatsApp chat each week for the schedules and prices of these tours.
Guests may initially be surprised by how spacious Selina Playa del Carmen feels, despite the reception area being quite compact. The entrance for check-in is on Calle 2, a pedestrian-only street. Once inside, visitors will find a welcoming and well-lit area that serves as the check-in desk, a grab-and-go section, a shopping area, and a tour desk.
The reception area is small but has many features. There is a padlocked luggage storage area off the bar around the corner from reception where guests can store their luggage before or after their stay. It is important to note that this Selina location still uses traditional keys instead of key cards for room access. During check-in, guests receive a loose key without a keychain or any other device for easy handling. As a result, many keys are lost or misplaced.
The Selina Playa Del Carmen’s shared kitchen is located in the big building that is opposite the activity center. Guests can prepare their own meals in this communal area with an open-air bar on the second floor.
This kitchen has duplicate appliances on each side, including two fridges, two stoves, and two sinks. However, the narrow design of the kitchen can make it challenging to navigate with the excess of kitchen supplies cluttering the limited counter space. During peak hours, accessing the fridges may also be difficult due to the narrow walkway.
During my stay at Selina Playa Del Carmen, the staff conducted a thorough cleaning of the kitchen. They cleaned hard-to-reach areas of the countertops, scrubbed the fridges, and pulled out the stoves. This helped to reduce clutter in the kitchen and gave it a fresh look. While I love Selina Playa Del Carmen for various reasons, the kitchen is not one of my favorites. Fortunately, I found tacos and fresh juices just up the street at a reasonable price.
To dine, guests can either use the community kitchen table or opt for high-top seating along the outer edge of the kitchen walkway, which overlooks the bar area. The kitchen and seating spaces have an open-air concept, which creates a spacious feeling and allows for a great view of the bar area below.
The Coworking at Selina Playa del Carmen
The Coworking space can be found around the corner from the kitchen, but it requires a password to enter. Inside, you’ll find various work areas such as open hot desks, a reading nook, and mini desks for those who need to focus. Additionally, there are two private phone booths and a meeting room available for coworkers who need to make calls or hold meetings.
Cowork is a paid space that is included in Colive packages or can be accessed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It provides hot desking, high-speed wifi, and complimentary amenities such as coffee, water, and tea.
Other Shared Areas
Selina Playa del Carmen has several community areas for its guests, including a large dining table where the kitchen walkway and coworking hallways intersect. There is also high top bar seating and four medium-sized lockers. On the top floor of the kitchen building, there is an artfully decorated swing area that is fully covered in shade.
There is an onsite barber shop located between the bar and pool courtyard areas. They offer haircuts for both men and women as well as a shave. It is located next to the dive center, where Selina guests can take intro or PADI dive certification classes. The intro classes are held in the Selina pool, making it super convenient for guests.
As a solo female traveler, I felt completely safe walking around these main areas, even at night. Although no place can guarantee complete safety, during busy tourist hours, the area is heavily trafficked, and police are noticeable and accustomed to tourists. However, I would still exercise caution when walking alone during overnight off-hours.
Selina Playa del Carmen hires three activity coordinators each month to ensure plenty of social and wellness activities.
The people who choose this location are just amazing people and I loved all the new friends I made here. If you leave here without meeting great people you did it wrong.
Good balance of workers and non-working guests stay here. Average age was mid 30s with people into their 50s and 60s and some 20 somethings. This location attracts a lot of digital nomads.
Quiet Hours are 11p-7a and are enforced (other than then live band on 5th avenue), security will not let people in who are not staying there after hours, the staff coordinate local volunteering efforts so you can give back to the community.
What we Loved:
- The location is an amazing hotspot for digital nomads
- A stunning pool and
- Excellent social events.
What we Didn’t Love
- The dorm rooms and micro rooms’ quality varies
- The bar area has mosquitoes.
- There are numerous stairs, and
- You can hear noise from Fifth Avenue at night
Bottom Line: Selina Playa del Carmen
Selina Playa Del Carmen has some great bar and restaurant areas where I enjoyed spending time, but I had mixed feelings about it. The downside was that there were mosquitos in the bar area, which I got bitten by every time I sat there, no matter what time of day it was. Although the hotel tried to solve the issue by calling exterminators, they only treated the room areas and not the bar area during my stay.
While the food is acceptable, there are opportunities for improvement. The selection of alcoholic beverages is limited, especially if you are not a beer drinker. The cocktail service is quite slow, taking 40 minutes during happy hour and 10-15 minutes otherwise, and the quality does not justify the high price range of $7-12 USD.
I have mixed feelings about the rooms. Some of them lack detail in cleaning, and my experience included dirty linens upon arrival as well as a leak from the air conditioner onto the top shelf in my second room. Despite this, the cleaning staff works very hard and is very kind. They clean the bathrooms every day, but they have a lot of rooms to keep up with and are unable to do deeper detail cleans as frequently as needed.
The mattresses and bedding at Selina Playa del Carmen were not very comfortable, and they need an upgrade. I hope a renovation will happen soon along with a thorough cleaning. However, I did enjoy my stay at Selina Playa del Carmen. It’s a perfect place for travelers and nomads who want to balance their work resources and social activities while injecting energy into their lives.
I plan to come back and stay at the hotel again. Next time, I will ask for a room either a micro room near the reception area, or a standard/suite room in the building by the pool to avoid the noise from the live band and not have to share resources with the backpackers in the large dorms. Thank you for reading my message. This is Acacia from Adventure on the Side, wishing you happy travels to Mexico and other places in the world. Hopefully, we’ll see each other soon.