Interview with Hotelier Matthew Schilowitz of Acanto Boutique Hotel – Playa del Carmen

I’ve been down in Playa del Carmen for the last couple months and have it’s one of my favourite places I’ve been too. This is my first trip to the area and was told I’d enjoy the style down here and I definitely am. With me following and working with clients in the boutique hotel industry, I was hoping to discover some cool boutique hotels in the area. An important part of Playa is maintaining its relaxed and friendly riviera atmosphere, reminding me of the Mediterranean. This has made Playa a hotbed for boutique hotels and condo-hotels.

Wandering around looking for a vacation rental I was going to view, I walked into the Acanto, a luxury-boutique hotel, to ask for directions. I’m glad I did because it’s one of the most attractive hotels I’ve seen in the Mayan Riviera. I got in touch with the owner Matthew Schilowitz to learn more and he agreed to an interview!

Acanto Boutique Hotel Playa del Carmen


Simon: Hey Matt, thanks for joining us for an interview. Before we get into your hotel here, can you share your history in real estate before Acanto?

Matt: Yes. In the early 1980s I started a real estate development and construction firm in the East end of Long Island in the Hamptons. And in the 80s and 90s I acquired and developed many residential communities, commercial projects and hundreds of homes.



Simon: What made your turn into an hotelier and create the Acanto Boutique hotel and condos?

Hotelier Matthew Schilowitz of Acanto Hotel Playa del CarmenMatt: I always had a desire to own a hotel or resort. And in 2004 I decided to acquire properties in the Caribbean. I purchased 21 oceanfront acres in Eleuthera Bahamas.  It has over a half a mile on the Caribbean sea with a private island as well, it is approved to build a 200 plus acre resort and shortly after the Bahamas purchase I stumbled upon Playa del Carmen in Mexico and immediately recognized the growth potential of the area, values were good and pricing was reasonable. I purchased some residential and commercial buildings just off 5th avenue (the main tourist strip in Playa today) which was still a dirt and asphalt road at that time. I also purchased a 7 room boutique hotel called Chican Bal Ka. I followed up with a complete renovation and renamed it the Acanto Boutique Hotel. It started with 7 units, each had a kitchen and dining room and central air conditioning, the only hotel accommodation in Playa del Carmen with apartment or condo type accommodations. Between 2004 and 2008 I purchased to property next to the hotel and in December 2012 opened the brand new Acanto Residences and Hotel. It has 21 one, two and three bedroom units.



Simon: Why did you choose Playa del Carmen as your location?

Matt: I happened to stumble upon Playa del Carmen in 2004. I noticed in the middle of what seemed like nowhere a Sam’s Club and MacDonalds being constructed. Just outside of town and at that point realized that the area would become very populated. When I first arrived the roads were still dirt in some areas around 5th avenue (la Quinta avenida) and with the beach one block away and several older quaint properties I decided that this would be the area where I would invest and develop. Shortly thereafter Playa del Carmen was and still is noted as one of the fastest growing cities in the Western Hemisphere.



Simon: The charm of Acanto sets it apart from other luxury-boutique hotels down here, what inspired the design?

Matt: The original design of the hotel, when I first purchased it in 2004 was more of a Spanish Hacienda style. And for the new construction we decided to design the interiors with a modern flair. Acanto is now is regarded for being the most romantic, Intimate and charming hotel in Playa del Carmen.

The interiors were designed by my Fiancé Laurie Purnell. Her vision to combine the contemporary interiors with the Hacienda exterior was a success. Each unit boasts marble floors, solid mahogany cabinets and furniture, granite kitchen counters, stainless steel appliances and modern electronics. So we provide state of the art design and amenities to enhance our guests’ experience, but still make them all feel right at home.



Simon: Can you share some of your unique features or popular amenities with our readers?

Matt: Aside from the romantic design and inviting atmosphere we offer every guest VIP experience and services. We have full hotel services including concierge, daily maid service, Restaurant/café, a spa, swimming pool, BBQs and Jacuzzi and VIP beach club access with a discounted menu. Every room has plasma TVs central air and full kitchens. We offer tours , transportation, private chef services and so much more.



Simon: And can you explain the “Condo-Hotel” aspect of Acanto?

Matt: Playa del Carmen is a popular family destination, so while we offer all the hotel services mentioned above the guests are able to enjoy the, 1 2 or 3 bedroom units, which happen to be condominiums.

The units are also for sale and some privately owned. This opportunity allows retirees and investors  the opportunity to own a unit at Acanto. We manage and maintain the units for a nominal fee for the owners and they benefit from the rental income as well as the use of the unit whenever they choose.

Retirement to Playa del Carmen is very popular among American, Canadians and Mexican. It is filled with restaurants, shops and many other amenities making for a perfect vacation and retirement destination. We also have financing program and guaranteed income returns for some units as well. Retirees can also use their IRA and retirement funds to purchase.

Beach view from Acanto Boutique Hotel Playa del Carmen


Simon: So what’s the plan with your upcoming boutique hotel in Eleuthera Bahamas?

Matt: I’m currently I am looking for a development or financial partner, we have pre approval for up to 200 units, which will combine a boutique hotel as well as villas and condos all on the beach. With the success of Acanto already secure, I’m excited to move my plan for my Bahamas property forward.



Simon: Appreciate you time with us today Matt and we definitely want to follow up with your new Bahamas property as it develops.

To learn more and make reservations, please visit

And for more info and pricing on condo-hotel ownership, visit

Acanto Condo-Hotel Playa del Carmen

Simon Gerard
[email protected]

Simon is a luxury marketing consultant and editor at Luxury Branded. He writes about luxury brands, travel and lifestyle trends for our blog and our clients. He lives for travel and spends most of his time between Vancouver, BC and the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Follow him on Twitter: @S_Gerard and on Google Plus: +Simon Gerard