Mexico may be famous for its taco stands and tequila, but it’s the stylish and secluded hotels that keep luring us back across the border. From private ocean-view villas on the Riviera Maya to minimalist eco-lofts in Ensenada’s burgeoning wine country, our favorite resorts combine classic Mexican hospitality with elegant amenities and forward-thinking design. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway for two or a beach vacation with the entire family, these hotels offer a great home base for exploring Mexico’s pristine waters, lush jungles, ancient ruins and rich cultural traditions.
1. Hilton Mexico City Santa Fe
Mexico City, Mexico D.F.
This is not your average Hilton plunked down in a business-friendly locale — in this case, the Santa Fe Business District. The exterior alone says it all. The hotel is located in the hyper-modern Samara complex (restaurants, shops, entertainment), and the guest rooms, with their rich timber accents, remind us of our favorite contemporary boutique hotels. With a wood-burning oven and outdoor fire pit, house restaurant Madera focuses on sustainable ingredients. But the highlight here is the rooftop, home to Cielo cocktail bar, a chic pool and some of the best views in the city.
2. Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
Positioned on a secluded bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort offers isolation while also providing convenient access to the golf courses, boutiques and lively nightlife of Cabo San Lucas. Area activities are in abundance, from whale-watching and swimming with dolphins to snorkeling, scuba diving and horseback riding along the beach. The 635 junior and executive suites — all with private oceanfront balconies or patios — boast feather-top beds and marble baths. Guests enjoy access to a majestic outdoor infinity pool and private beach for sunbathing (alas, there's no swimming allowed in these waters). Whether you're in the mood for a romantic candlelight dinner at La Frida or a signature pizza by the pool, dining options satisfy every craving. For sigh-inducing relaxation, indulge in the Royal Mexican Deep Lime Body Scrub at The Armonia Spa at Sunset Beach.
3. Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
A Zen-like atmosphere meets warm Mexican hospitality at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba. Banyan Tree's approach to serenity is holistic, focusing on the mind, body and soul with offerings such as spa therapy pavilions over the water and 118 ultra-private villas. Based on Far East design principles, the villas feature Mexican textiles, wood and design accents, and encircle individual courtyards that contain their own pools. The resort takes advantage of its three diverse ecosystems (reef-studded beach, lagoons and mangrove jungle), with activities such as wildlife photo master classes and golfing on a Greg Norman-designed PGA course woven into the landscape.
4. Encuentro Guadalupe
Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California
Just a 90-minute drive from San Diego in a balmy Mediterranean microclimate, Encuentro Guadalupe redefines the idea of a Mexican vacation. This singular destination features 20 freestanding Eco-Lofts tucked into 11 acres of mountain vineyards. The sustainable bungalows are minimalist in décor, designed to blend with their surroundings and arranged for total privacy. Don't expect an exhaustive range of resort activities here. Instead, prepare to relax. You might drift in the quiet pool surrounded by dramatic boulder formations, dine on regional flavors overlooking the vines or simply linger on your terrace with a limited production vintage from the house winery.
5. Capella Ixtapa Resort and Spa
Tapering down the side of a cliff on Mexico's Pacific Coast, Capella Ixtapa Resort and Spa brings to mind the classic hill towns of the Italian Riviera. Each of the 59 suites has a vast view of the ocean. The Ocean Front Penthouse Suites are the accommodation of choice, with private thatch-roofed terraces and infinity plunge pools. Signature house restaurant A Mares showcases contemporary Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, locally caught seafood. The spa offers decadent outdoor treatment areas, and numerous activities include exclusive Mexican cooking classes (no more than two students each), tequila tastings and customized tours that focus on local art and culture.
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