When it comes to upscale hotels, Mexico isn’t lacking for choice. From amenity-laden and sprawling five-star oceanfront resorts lining every coast to swanky boutique properties that combine seclusion with spectacular settings, the country is blessed with some of the most incredible properties in the world.
But they offer more than just good looks, says Zachary Rabinor, the founder and CEO of Journey Mexico, a Mexico-based travel company that sells luxury trips to the country. “Plenty of destinations have fantastic hotels, but the differentiator in Mexico is that hospitality is ingrained in the culture,” he says. “That means you can expect unbeatable service and a staff who is warm but also operationally and professionally on their game.”
Summer is an opportune time to visit, says Rabinor, as the country has a tropical feel with lush greenery everywhere, warm waters and Mexicans and Europeans out and about enjoying the sun and the scenery.
Our list of Mexico’s seven most exceptional hotels follows:
Hotel Esencia, Riviera Maya
Originally built as the home of an Italian duchess, Hotel Esencia is spread over 50 acres on a long, secluded stretch of beach away from the tourist hordes that crowd Riviera Maya. The chic boutique property has 44 rooms, the newest of which are rooftop duplex wellness suites that have their own fitness studios with weights and the on-demand virtual training system the Mirror. Dining-wise, guests can pick from Mexican sea-to-table cuisine at Mistura, casual tacos and ceviche at Café Esencia, and the modern Beefbar Esencia by Ricardo Giraudi. The spa is set within gardens under a traditional palapa thatched roof and offers restorative treatments using locally made products. Nightly rates from $905.
Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort, Los Cabos
To describe Las Ventanas al Paraiso, part of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, as extravagant is something of an understatement: every aspect of the property is over-the-top starting from the 83 rooms, the smallest of which are 960 square feet. All come with butler service and offer views of the sea and gardens and are decorated beautifully with Mexican crafts. The staff spoils guests with touches such as welcoming them with their names engraved in the sand or surprising them with their favorite bottle of wine come happy hour. Amenities go on: The several restaurants include a taco bar and the pan-Asian Arbol, where guests can actually dine in a cave in the middle of the water.
There are also two tennis courts, access to four golf courses, a network of swimming pools, and a spa offering holistic therapies. Nightly rates from $700.
Four Seasons Resort & Residences Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, Los Cabos
On the secluded East Cape, about an hour’s drive from the touristy strip in Los Cabos known as The Corridor, the Four Seasons is situated on the Sea of Cortez and part of a 1000-acre development called Costa Palmas. The 141 rooms all have large terraces and ocean views, but the two miles of swimmable beach—a rarity in Cabo—is the star attraction. Amenities go on: There are two restaurants including an outpost of the famous and upscale Greek restaurant estiatorio Milos, four swimming pools, a Robert Trent Jones 18-hole golf course, sports area with tennis courts, and a 16,000-square-foot spa with treatment rooms that are set around a courtyard laden with palm trees. Nighty rates from $919.
Chable Yucatan, Yucatan
Magnificently located in the heart of the Mayan forest, about 25 minutes from the historic city of Mérida, Chablé Yucatan is spread across 750 lush acres that are full of native plants and flowers. Despite its size, the property offers just 40 accommodations—each is a large villa set among picturesque gardens. The two restaurants emphasize local dishes with modern touches and use produce grown on-site, and to imbibe, there’s an extensive selection of tequilas and other spirits. Chable’s spa is reason enough to make the trip here: The centerpiece is a cenote or spring where guests can partake in Mexican healing rituals or book massages. The extensive treatment menu also includes body scrubs and facials with products that are made by hand using local flowers and herbs. Nightly room rates from $741.
The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Punta de Mita
Experience St. Regis’s legendary service and style to the fullest at this 22-acre resort situated in the development of Punta Mita, about 45 minutes from Puerta Vallarta. Guests are treated to butler service in all rooms (they even help you with unpacking and packing) and can also enjoy the three infinity pools, two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses, and treatments at the Remede spa. The multiple dining options including a vegan beach bar and Altamira Cantina Gourmet, an upscale restaurant that serves refined versions of Mexican street food favorites. Then there’s all the élan that comes with staying at a St. Regis, such as afternoon tea and champagne sabering come the evening. Nightly rates from $645.
Baja Club, La Paz
Part of the Grupo Habita hospitality brand, Baja Club opened this spring on a coastal boardwalk in the historic center of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur. The hotel is an adaptive-reuse project that’s a collaboration between the architecture and design firms Max von Werz Arquitectos, based in Mexico City, and Jaune Architecture, out of Paris. Their design is inspired by the country’s traditions in colors and crafts and features red and green tones and woven materials. The 32 rooms are set around a leafy, picturesque courtyard, and the restaurant serves up tasty Greek cuisine using local produce and seafood. Don’t miss the spa where guests can get massages in treatment rooms that overlook the ocean. Nightly rates start at $246.
One&Only Mandarina, Mandarina
The One&Only brand is known for its wow factor, and Mandarina, one of Mexico’s newest high-end resorts, lives up to this reputation and then some. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and set amid the rainforest, it offers 105 tree houses and clifftop villas with private plunge pools and terraces. All feature views of the Pacific Coast, Sierra del Vallejo mountains, or rainforest. Travelers who really want to live large should book Villa One: Spanning close to 19,000 square feet, it has three bedrooms, an infinity pool, a gym, a spa, and a movie theater. Celebrity Mexican chef Enrique Olvera is behind the dining, and the spa is a highlight with its many Eastern- and Western-inspired treatments. The resort also has a beach club and equestrian center. Nightly rates from $990.
Gallery: AD’s 2021 Hotel Awards (Architectural Digest)
Ace Hotel Brooklyn
Paradero Todos Santos
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
Hotel Les Deux Gares
Hotel Castello di Reschio
The Green O
Commodore Perry Estate
The Johri at Lal Haveli
Life House Nantucket
Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto
Mayflower Inn & Spa
Patina Maldives, Fari Islands
One & Only Mandarina
Xigera Safari Lodge
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