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Mexico Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Amuleto
9 Calle Escénica
Playa la Ropa
Zihuatanejo
Mexico
Tel: 213 280 1037 (U.S.)
reservations@amuleto.net
www.amuleto.net

Architect Enrique Zozaya, whose million-dollar homes grace hillsides all along the Pacific Coast, used boulders, bamboo, tree trunks, and palm fronds to create this aerie above Zihuatanejo Bay. The six suites, housed in a grand villa, take full advantage of the natural setting. Pillow-covered couches in open-air living rooms face the sea; rock-walled outdoor showers splash like waterfalls amid vines and fronds. The low-key but luxurious decor incorporates rustic, handcrafted wood furniture with antiques from India and China. Silky 800-thread-count sheets and herbal toiletries—and a conspicuous lack of television—may make you want to linger in your room, but then you'd miss the multilanguage social scene around the infinity pool at sunset, the lush grounds where hammocks swing among cascades of scarlet bougainvillea, and the 30-seat restaurant, which is one of Zihua's best (advance reservations are a must). You can walk down the steep paved road to Playa la Ropa in 20 minutes—and if the sun and sea tucker you out, grab a taxi for the ride back. Children under 16 aren't allowed, unless you rent out the entire house.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Ana y José Charming Hotel & Spa
Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Km 7
Tulum
Mexico
Tel: 52 998 887 5470
anayjose@cancun.com.mx
www.anayjose.com

Once Tulum's most beloved basic barefoot escape, this complex has slowly but surely grown into a full-scale resort with a freshwater pool surrounded by beach beds and the full-service Om Spa with a temazcal. The 22 suites and a two-story villa have plush white platform beds, sofas scattered with colorful cushions, conch shells covering the showerheads, and—most importantly—an upgrade to 24/7 air-conditioning (not a given in this part of Mexico). The humble hotel Ana and José Soto constructed more than two decades ago even has a soaring wooden entryway, which appeared in 2011, and construction is ongoing. Still, thanks to the family's continued involvement and the loyalty of longtime clients, guests feel as though they've discovered the "real" Tulum as they wander into the palapa restaurant and wiggle their toes in the sand.—Updated by Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Aqua Cancún
Boulevard Kukulkán, Km 12.5
Zona Hotelera
Cancún
Mexico 77500
Tel: 800 343 7821
Tel: 52 998 881 7600
www.feelaqua.com

Not-so-subtle aromatherapy scents waft through the lobby and hallways at the recently reopened Aqua, the splashiest property (for now) in the Zona Hotelera. When it first opened in 2005, its stylish architecture and celeb-chef restaurants snagged international attention. After Hurricane Wilma decimated the zone a few months later, the curving facade offered unintended sea views through blown-out walls. Now, designer Francisco Gutiérrez has developed an all-new Aqua with a vibe that manages to both soothe and stimulate the senses. An aromatherapy menu rests beside an espresso machine in the 371 rooms. Whirlpool baths for two hold a place of pride between thronelike beds and open bathrooms. Suites have slick entertainment gadgets and multiple mirrors reflecting the blue sky outside the balcony doors. The spa is similarly revitalizing, with Australian aboriginal music, Moroccan oils, and Mayan temezcal techniques. Haute comfort food courtesy of Miami star chef Michelle Bernstein keeps the posh MB restaurant packed with Cancún's monied set. Siete's nouvelle Mexican menu is equally popular. Come nightfall, live performers flow through New Agey dance performances as scarlet macaws swoop above the eight on-site pools and tiered balconies. Tip: Despite its professed focus on ritual and renewal, Aqua is a status spot. Be sure to pack your designer resortwear.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués
Cabo Marqués Boulevard, Lote 1
Acapulco Diamante
Acapulco
Mexico 39907
Tel: 800 591 0439 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 744 434 0100
banyantree.com/en/cabomarques

Perched on rocky hillsides above a secluded bay, this resort's 45 villas look like origami tree houses blending with boulders and vines. Even the smallest villa ("small" being relative, at 2,200 square feet) is decked out with a chin-deep tub behind glass and a soothing horizon pool in the outdoor sala. The cliff-side location means all views are outstanding, whether from each bedroom's fainting sofa or the poolside lounge chairs draped in soft terry towels. Those views extend to the restaurants as well. Ruby teardrop lanterns glow in shade trees above the terrace at La Nao, the casual outdoor dining spot, and similar sapphire fireflies lead the way to Saffron's cozy decks, booked solid by local gourmands craving authentic Thai. Though there's plenty of room for sunning and swimming at the meandering main pool, privacy seekers prefer the miniature lap pool tucked above a pocket beach at the base of the hilly property. The location also means lots of steep walks. Not to worry—cart drivers whisk guests up and down winding pathways from the lobby, villas, and spa.—Maribeth Mellin

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Carretera Federal Chetumal–Puerto Juárez, Km 298
Riviera Maya
Mexico 77710
Tel: 800 591 0439 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 984 877 3688
Fax: 52 984 877 3689
mayakoba@banyantree.com
www.banyantree.com/en/mayakoba/index.html

The Banyan Tree is that rare luxury hotel that provides both the hallmarks of a high-end property—private in-villa pools, beach butlers, rain showers—along with a real sense of place. Local limestone was used to construct the hotel's 132 villas, which start at an enormous 3,000 square feet. The design is a subtle synthesis of Mexican artisanal traditions with the Banyan Tree brand's Asian heritage. Oaxacan rebozos double as throws on the beds, and custom-made Talavera sinks grace the bathrooms, while the architecture echoes the southeast Asian tradition of wrapping sleeping and living areas around an outdoor space. At Mayakoba, the outdoor area includes a swimming pool (at 382 square feet, it seems unfair to call it a plunge pool), a hot tub, loungers, a terrace area, and a hammock. Indoor-outdoor bathrooms have open-to-the-stars soaking tubs silhouetted by walls of candles as well as thoughtful toiletry bags that include just about everything that you'd need during your stay, from organic bug spray to honey lip balm. The villas are arranged around a series of lagoons and waterways; most are a ten-minute bike or buggy ride from the beach (those set on the sand have great views but lack the privacy of the rest of the resort). You can tool about the property on Trek bikes or on silent (and eco-friendly) electric boats. Be sure to take one of the hotel's eco-tours, which float past turtles sunning on rocks and cormorants darting amid the gnarled mangrove trees along the hotel's canals. The Thai restaurant, Saffron, perches above one such canal and is the most atmospheric of the property's five restaurants. Above all, make time for the spa, which specializes in Thai herbal massage and also includes a rainforest complex, a circuit of hydrotherapy and thermal treatments inspired by the Mexican jungle.—Colleen Clark

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Boca Chica
Playa Caletilla
Old Acapulco
Acapulco
Mexico 39390
Tel: 52 744 484 7879
www.hotel-bocachica.com

Hip fresas escape Mexico City's smog to puff away on Havanas in seafront cabanas at this Acapulco classic. The hotel is pure retro, with camped-up touches like vintage fridges, radios, and bikes scattered about the lobby and lounges; there's even a red and white Ford Thunderbird–like motorboat to take you for a spin. The rooms themselves are minimal, with puffy duvet-wrapped beds a few steps from mint -green curtains encircling showers. Glossy white shutters open to sky and sea with glimpses of Isla La Roqueta across the bay from Playa Caletilla, a crowded, shabby, gringo-free beach packed with multi-generational families. Or, take in the view from the balcony, where black-string hammocks are perfect for swinging. Chef Keisuke Harada oversees the kitchen's killer burgers and sushi menu, which are complemented by an extensive sake and mescal list. Things heat up at night when the tiny dance club Coco Wash gets going, but a sexy music mix whispers around the pool all day long.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Cabañas Tulum
Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Km 7
Tulum Beach
Tulum
Mexico 77780
Tel: 866 550 6878 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 984 151 8754
www.cabanastulum.com

After a 2010 renovation, this old-timer isn't a rock-bottom hotel anymore. But don't worry, it hasn't gone all froufrou either. The 16 simple white rooms with bright orange and pink accent walls serving as headboards now have AC at night, 24/7 electricity, even Wi-Fi (most times), and hammocks on front terraces. Beachfront cabanas are delightful until the wind blows sand under the shuttered doors—there's a reason the on-site kiteboarding school is popular. Second-story rooms in the back row catch cooling breezes and are more private. Ziggy Beach, a longtime local hangout, has been upgraded, too, and now has comfy chairs, hammocks, and beach beds on the sand and a menu of yummy ceviches from the Bistro restaurant.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Cabo Azul Resort & Spa
Paseo Malecon s/n
San José del Cabo
Mexico 23400
Tel: 52 624 163 5100
www.caboazulresort.com

This 332-room property just outside San Jose del Cabo somehow remains tasteful despite its large scale. The centerpiece is the vast courtyard with three massive pools (all kept at the temperature of a warm bath) that stretch down to the beach and are flanked by bamboo pods with mattresses big enough for two. The pool's proximity to the outdoor palapa-covered bar encourages guests to stay in the warm water, margaritas in hand, until well after dark. The large one- to three-bedroom villas mix Mexican touches such as dark-wood antiques and oversize lamps with amenities including flat-screen TVs, whirlpool baths, double sinks, and full kitchens—each room also comes with a sizable terrace. Other draws are the cushy spa and the romantic beachside restaurant, Javier's, with its gauzy curtains and simple but well-done local dishes. The resort's overall effect is a successful merging of form and function, and for now it remains a well-kept secret. One caveat: Watch out for the rather aggressive concierges who want to sell you everything from tours to time-shares before even showing you to your villa.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Camino Real
700 Mariano Escobedo
Polanco
Mexico City
Mexico 11590
Tel: 800 722 6466 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 55 5263 8888
mexico@caminoreal.com.mx
mexico@caminoreal.com.mx

Although it was built in 1968, the Camino Real still has the feel of a modern grand hotel—maybe because of all the priceless works of art, such as a mural by Rufino Tamayo in the lobby. Located in a quiet, privileged neighborhood, steps from Chapultepec, the hotel's 712 rooms are divided into six "missions" (actually separate wings of the hotel); all have clean lines and sharp corners, and some have sliding-glass windows that open onto balconies. (Avoid low floors with interior views, unless you want to spend all your time in the dark.) Amenities include a gym, a pool, and nine restaurants, including a local branch of Le Cirque.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Camino Real
Calle 5 de Mayo 300
Oaxaca de Juarez
Mexico
Tel: 52 951 501 6100
mexico@caminoreal.com.mx
www.caminoreal.com/oaxaca/index.html

The original 1968 modern grand hotel—the one that tends to host the visiting luminaries—has held up well, especially after its serious renovations circa 2002, which included the installation of an Adam Tihany-designed branch of Le Cirque. The 714 rooms are fancifully divided into six "Missions"; all have clean lines and sharp corners, with sliding-glass windows, some onto balconies (avoid low floors with interior views, unless you want to spend all your time in the dark). A pool, gym, and six other restaurants are useful. Less so, unless you're a conference planner, the 20 meeting rooms. The location, steps from Chapultepec, is quiet and privileged, but you might feel as if you wandered into someone else's corporate retreat.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Capella Ixtapa
Paseo Playa Linda
Ixtapa
Mexico 40880
Tel: 52 755 55 51100
Tel: 877 247 6688 (toll-free)
www.capellaixtapa.com

The cliff-clinging buildings that make up Ixtapa's Capella cascade down like an architectural waterfall to a cove away from Ixtapa's overbuilt resort center. Along the way are six floors with 59 handsome suites geared to couples, each with a compact-car-sized pool and breathtaking Pacific views (and all served by a quietly attentive staff). A small pebble beach provides seclusion, if not expanses of sand (the latter can be found at a nearby public playa), and the hotel's funicular railway car runs between the elegant figure-eight infinity pool and the rooms to help guests negotiate all this verticality. Although the decor is fairly standard, the hotel has a refreshing way of elevating ordinary objects to the level of art: On one wall, in an hourglass-shaped grouping, is a collection of local ceramic plates; on another are 30 stone pestles; and clusters of fresh coconuts serve as accents in the hallways. At the rustic outdoor restaurant, Las Rocas, which also hugs the cliff, guests choose their dinner from a display of local catch; the menu at the more refined A Mares includes novel dishes such as red snapper with a chorizo crust and sushi with a nip of chipotle.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Capella Pedregal
1 Camino del Mar
Cabo San Lucas
Mexico 23455
Tel: 877 247 6688
www.capellapedregal.com

From the resort's entrance via a jaw-dropping 1,000-foot-long tunnel carved through the mountain, to the seafood restaurant El Farallón tucked into a cliff above the ocean, to the views of whales and dolphins splashing in the surf, the focus at Capella's new property on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula is on making the impossible feel routine. Eight contemporary buildings (some of which back right into the mountains) house 66 rooms on 24 acres of dramatic yet manicured bluffs. Huge stone vases, metal turtle sculptures, Jurassic-size shells, and dozens of varieties of cactus dot the property, while three curvy public pools—two freshwater and one salty—snake through the grounds. Rooms, the smallest of which measure 820 square feet, take on a Mexican gothic look and, happily, include private plunge pools, stand-alone tubs, one-button fireplaces, and complimentary minibars. Personal assistants assigned to each guest will eagerly fulfill even the most self-indulgent request. Lunch options consist of upscale twists on the usual burgers-and-salads resort fare, but the breakfast buffet at Don Manual's is elevated to craft with bountiful fruits and fresh pastries and no fewer than five milk options, all presented in a warm, rustic kitchen.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa de la Cuesta
32 Cuesta de San José
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 154 4324
info@casadelacuesta.com
www.casadelacuesta.com

Set on a hilltop just above the city center, this rose-colored colonial inn, with its pair of courtyards, tiled floors, and seven spacious rooms with private terraces, has some of the best views of the city. Owners (and U.S. expats) Bill and Heidi LeVasseur use their walls to display the work of local folk artists; in your room you might find ceremonial masks, paintings, ceramics, and weavings hanging above your bed or private fireplace. The LeVasseurs have such an extensive collection that there's a gallery of folk art and masks on site—known as the Other Face of Mexico Gallery, it's open by appointment. Walking downhill into town doesn't take much effort, but walking back up the hill is a workout—save some pesos for a cab.—Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa de Liza
7 Bajada del Chorro
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 0352
casaliza@prodigy.net.mx
www.casaliza.com

In its former lives, Casa Liza was a 17th-century colonial estate, and later the home of famed Mexican opera and theater star José Mojica. But that was before New York expat Liza Kisber transformed it in the late 1980s into a stylish B&B, complete with period antiques, local artwork, traditionally landscaped gardens, and outdoor Jacuzzi. The hotel's nine suites and casitas, along with a separate two-story villa, are individually decorated. Most have baths and kitchens decorated with Talavera tiles; all have kilims and Oriental rugs, beds with ornate linens, and private patios. The staff will happily arrange classes on local cuisine, crafts, horseback riding and yoga.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa de Mita
Playa Careyeros
Punta de Mita
Mexico
Tel: 52 329 298 4114
casademita@aol.com
www.casademita.com

Return guests book a week or more at this eight-room seaside villa on Punta de Mita, a hilly point with gorgeous beaches 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. Owner Marc Lindskog travels the world collecting furnishings and artwork to decorate Casa de Mita, and the result is an artsy mix of fainting couches and objets d'art from India and Southeast Asia, antique mirrors from central Mexico, oversize chairs, and canopy beds. Some rooms have indoor gardens, others open onto expansive shared terraces, and the one-bedroom penthouse has multiple balconies overlooking the sea. Hearty meals are included in the room rate, and the resident cooks serve up varied Mexican fare such as huitlacoche enchiladas and carne asada with all the fixings. The resort fronts a long semiprivate beach (shared with residents of the houses up the road); the best spot for postswim lounging is without a doubt the curtained cabañas in a garden above the sand.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa de Sierra Nevada
35 Hospicio
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 7040
mail@casadesierranevada.com
www.casadesierranevada.com

Despite San Miguel's recent boom in luxury hotels, this trailblazer from 1952 continues to top the charts for gracious living in six handsomely restored mansions dating back to the 16th century. The main building is a historic landmark that was originally the home of the town's archbishop and now houses the award-winning Andanza restaurant, along with five rooms and one junior suite. The other five buildings host the rest of the 37 rooms and suites, furnished with canopy king beds and colonial antiques, and featuring Talavera-tiled bathrooms and private balconies (a few with views of the Parroquia cathedral) or patios with private hot tubs or plunge pools.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Casa Misha
15 Chiquitos
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
info@casamisha.com
www.casamisha.com

Edward George and Richard Samuel left behind Manhattan to create their dream escape in this elegant B&B on a remarkably quiet street just a few blocks from San Miguel's main plaza. After badgering workers until each brick was perfectly placed and every tile squared, the duo outfitted two restored mansions with European antiques, Mexican rugs, claw-foot soaking tubs, and other tasteful extravagances. Each of the seven gorgeous rooms has its own distinct merits: Glass doors open to several balconies overlooking gardens in the light-filled Spa room, while a four-poster bed takes in views of the church from the Parroquia room, and the spacious Grande has a wood-burning fireplace in the bathroom. Formal breakfast (yogurt and fruit parfaits, chilaquiles with killer salsa verde) is served on the rooftop terrace overlooking the city or in sitting rooms filled with antique furnishings, crystal glasses, and silver candlesticks. Sound too stuffy? Rest assured the staffers are amiable and the guests gregarious, whether watching the Super Bowl in a grand sala or oohing over shopping treasures—not to mention sipping tequila beside a courtyard fireplace beneath orange and guava trees.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Natalia
4 Boulevard Mijares
San José del Cabo
Mexico
Tel: 52 624 142 5100
questions@casanatalia.com
www.casanatalia.com

It's nowhere near the beach, yet this affordable boutique hotel in a tranquil enclave of waterfalls, palm trees, and bougainvillea is among the most desirable hideaways in Los Cabos. Rooms, with wood beams and a palette of blue, yellow, and terra-cotta, have a contemporary Mexican feel. Sliding glass doors open onto terraces with hammocks and dining tables hidden behind aralia bushes and cacti. A breakfast of organic eggs, waffles, and homemade marmalades is served at Mi Cocina while lunch and dinner have a Mexican–European flair. Nights are especially lovely, with torches flickering around the dining area. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays, but breakfast can be delivered and served on your private terrace. The pool is a little small, but you don't have to worry about other people's rugrats splashing and shouting: Children under 13 are verboten. The chummy front-desk staff is helpful with recommendations and reservations.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Quetzal
34 Hospicio
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 0501
casaquetzalhotel@yahoo.com
www.casaquetzalhotel.com

Hidden behind elaborately crafted wooden doors, this restored townhouse's five suites and two rooms are decorated with unique ethnic and artistic themes. The Karma Suite has Indian carved-wood furnishings and woven textiles, while the Zulu Suite's bronze figurines and kente-cloth linens and pillows come from Africa. The expansive Pacifica Suite is big with honeymooners; it has a whirlpool tub and rooftop terrace. The hotel has a spacious second-floor patio for evening dining, and the staff can arrange for tours of La Gruta (the local hot spring) and other area attractions.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Rosada Hotel
12 Cuna de Allende
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 8123
info@casarosadahotel.com
www.casarosadahotel.com

Set literally next door to the Parroquia, Casa Rosada has terraces with stunning views of the church's dome and spires. Once the home of Diego Rivera's daughter, this 16-room gem is set around verdant terraced gardens and has period touches such as terra-cotta floors and king-size wrought-iron bedsteads, along with more eclectic elements like '50s French-style sofas, Middle Eastern rugs, and East Indian art. Even if you're staying elsewhere, drop by to visit Xapai, the hotel's friendly bar and Mexican restaurant.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Schuck
3 Bajada de Garita
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 0657
casaschuck@yahoo.com
www.casaschuck.com

San Miguel's oldest B&B is centered around a lush courtyard of jacaranda trees, geraniums, and bougainvillea. Originally built in 1966 as a private home for Connecticut escapees Charles and Gladys Schuck, the property now has ten guest suites done up in cheerful colors like orange, bright green, and aquamarine. Each contains a huge tiled bathroom, towering 12-foot ceilings, working fireplace, and French doors. The common rooftop terrace has plenty of space for sunning, as well as views over the city's rooftops, churches, and the distant Bajio Mountains. Traditional Mexican fare is offered at the onsite lunch restaurant; the cozy heated pool is a welcome relief after a long day of sightseeing.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Velas
311 Pelicanos
Marina Vallarta
Mexico
Tel: 866 612 1097 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 322 226 6688
info@hotelcasavelas.com
www.hotelcasavelas.com

Fairways and palms surround golden arches and terra-cotta roofs at Casa Velas, a gracious tropical plantation that's only a stone skip from the beach. Egrets are more common than seagulls around the swimming pools and koi ponds, birdies are all the rage on the adjacent golf course, and kiddies are nowhere in sight. The 80 suites at Casa Velas are spread between the main three-story building and twin two-story structures framing gardens and lawns. Expect cool marble floors in the rooms, stately pillars separating lounging and sleeping areas, warm splashes of saffron and terra-cotta, and plunge pools or whirlpools on balconies and terraces. The spa and gym are both peaceful retreats—no blaring beats here. Although Casa Velas is an all-inclusive resort, chefs don't stint on gourmet ingredients for the French-Mexican fare. The beach—and stylish beach club—are only a five-minute walk away, and also accessible via a complimentary shuttle at the Velas Vallarta resort across the street.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Vieja
45 Eugenio Sue
Polanco
Mexico City
Mexico 11560
Tel: 52 55 5282 0067
sales@casavieja.com
www.casavieja.com

The modest name—which literally means "old house"—doesn't do justice to this ten-suite boutique hotel near Bosque de Chapultepec. There's no subdued mustiness here: The mansion is painted in bold shades of tangerine and persimmon, and the decor in the common areas, which includes flamboyant folk art from all over the country, is over the top (sometimes literally—don't miss the elaborate tiles on the lobby's vaulted ceiling). In the guest suites, which are inspired by the works of Mexican artists, every possible space is filled with hand-carved furnishings and well-chosen antiques. You might not be able to stay in Frida Kahlo's house in Coyoacán, but you can stay in the fantasy version here, done up in the colorful fabrics that she often liked to wear.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ceiba del Mar
Costera Norte Lote 1
Puerto Morelos
Mexico
Tel: 52 998 872 8060
info@ceibadelmar.com
www.ceibadelmar.com

In need of some peaceful pampering? Travel 20 minutes south of the Cancún airport to this serene hideaway where masseurs work magic on knotted muscles, butlers slip morning coffee into a niche by your door, and hammocks sway gently outside the 88 rooms and suites. Ceiba eschews fussy design in favor of solid handcarved furniture, cloudlike beds covered in white linens, and sky-blue pillows and accents. The two swimming pools are free of blaring music and shrieking kiddies (no one under 16 is allowed on property), and though all the essential techie toys—iPod docks, Wi-Fi—are at hand, most guests ditch their laptops in favor of scuba gear for the offshore coral reefs. Two restaurants, a large spa, complimentary yoga classes, and trails through adjacent mangroves provide sufficient diversion for guests seeking extreme relaxation. Splurge on one of seven ocean-view penthouses with whirlpools on private rooftop terraces.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Condesa DF
102 Avenida Veracruz
La Condessa
Mexico City
Mexico 06700
Tel: 52 55 5241 2600
info@condesadf.com
www.condesadf.com

Jonathan Morr, the restaurateur (New York's BONDST) and hotelier (Miami Beach's Townhouse), knows what's hip. So it's no wonder that he was drawn to the neighborhood of La Condesa, a spot so hot that he borrowed its name for this hotel. The 1920s neoclassical building is the first—and for the time being only—hotel in La Condesa. Instead of ho-hum minimalism, interior designer India Mahdavi chose a playful mix of styles that combines everything from cowhide-covered banquettes to claw-foot tubs. The hotel—run by the same folks as the Habita—has 40 rooms, some with glass walls opening onto petite terraces. Outside there's a wedge-shaped courtyard, which is the heart of the hotel in every sense. The roof terrace (with a hole for that courtyard) was a hot spot as soon as the place opened in January 2005.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Condumel Condominiums
Carretera Costera Norte, Km 1.5
Costera Norte , Cozumel
Mexico 77600
Tel: 52 987 872 0892
condumel@aquasafari.com
www.condumel.com

There's something about swinging in a hammock in your own living room that perfectly fulfills fantasies of living in the tropics—especially when you're gazing through sliding glass doors straight out to sea. Rent one of these ten one-bedroom apartments for a week, and you just might consider spending a lifetime peeling papayas in the kitchen, snorkeling off the terrace, and soaking in the bathtub. Condumel looks like a modest Maya temple with its carved gray walls beside the blue water, but the bedrooms, sunken living rooms, and fully equipped kitchens are all modern. Sure it's a hassle going out to eat (there's no restaurant on site), but you'll feel like an islander shopping in produce markets and catching your own dorado for dinner. Bill Horn, Condumel's creator, owns the excellent Aqua Safari dive shop and puts together surprisingly reasonable dive packages.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Cozumel Palace
Avenida Melgar, Km 1.5
San Miguel , Cozumel
Mexico 77600
Tel: 52 987 872 9430
www.palaceresorts.com/Resorts/CozumelPalace/Index.asp

After two sweeping makeovers (one before Hurricane Wilma and one after), the former Plaza las Glorias almost deserves its grand name. It's certainly a fortress—outsiders are banned from the all-inclusive property, and security is intense (no gawkers scarfing up free drinks by the infinity pool or bellying up to the breakfast buffet). Romance reigns in the 175 suites, most of which have hammocks on ocean-facing balconies and bubbling hot tubs by beds draped in gauzy fabric. The on-site dive shop is excellent, and tropical fish gather right off the rocky coast (transport to sandier spots is available for beach-lovers). The hotel is one of several Palace Resorts in the Mexican Caribbean, and many guests are members of the company's vacation ownership program. Families, take note: Though there is a children's program here, the vibe is overwhelmingly coupley.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Cuixmala
Carretera Barra de Navidad, Km 46.2
Costalegre
Mexico
Tel: 866 516 2611 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 315 351 0044
reservations@cuixmala.com
www.cuixmala.com

Cuixmala was once the family retreat of Sir James Goldsmith, an Anglo-French financier who helped to develop the Costalegre coast in the 1980s. The Cuixmala property has since grown into a 25,000-acre nature reserve teeming with wildlife, from burros to horses to zebras, and attracting celebs like Mick Jagger and Madonna. Throughout the reserve is a collection of villas and casitas shaded by tropical forests. The most luxurious is the Casa la Loma, the original Moorish-style family compound, atop a hill. It is comprised of a seawater pool, four bedrooms in the main house, and six casitas decorated with white silk drapes and hand-painted Talavera tiles—and comes complete with a dedicated full-time staff of housekeepers, gardeners, and a chef. Typically rented as one unit, for between $10,000 and $16,000 a night, it accommodates up to 20 people.

For those not traveling with an entourage, individual rooms in Casa la Loma are available on a nightly basis when the compound's not booked. Or you can rent one of three multiroom villas, with private housekeeper and cook, on another hill out of sight of the grand manse. Nine smaller casitas, whose porches are equipped with daybeds, binoculars, and books, are clustered in yet another forested area near the clubhouse and main dining room. (Breakfast and dinner are served, featuring organic produce from the property's gardens, coffee beans from a sister hacienda in the mountains, and fish straight from the sea.) You can explore the surrounding nature reserve on electric boats that glide silently through lagoons filled with blue and white herons, egrets, and pink spoonbills. Or you can hike past the farms of coconuts and mangoes, and the broomcorn that feed the horses, Brahman cattle, and those amazing zebras. The beach at the property faces the wild ocean and isn't great for swimming. It's better to take the ten-minute shuttle to the hotel's private beach club, which has padded lounge chairs, hammocks, and a restaurant serving light meals.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Deseo Hotel + Lounge
Avenida 5 at Calle 12
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
Tel: 52 984 879 3620
info@hoteldeseo.com
www.hoteldeseo.com

Children are neither seen nor heard at Deseo, chic older sister to the Hotel Básico. The 15 rooms here are super-hip white on white, wherein the only adornments are cascading white window drapes and clotheslines playfully hung with flip-flops, sun hats, and bananas to get you in a beachy mood. The vibe is romantic and sensual; a couple of the suites have bathtubs right next to the beds, and all rooms come with fluffy white duvets and pillows that invite lounging. The most-private rooms have hammocks strung across skinny balconies for afternoon lazing. King-size padded chaises beneath white gauze canopies allow privacy beside the pool, where sunlight filters through wood-slat rails. Deseo feels more sophisticated and relaxed than the Básico, though Muzak-y electronica plays everywhere (you can switch it off in your room, but it never really leaves you alone). It's a welcome escape from the jumble of T-shirt shops and tequila-soused tourists that pack Playa del Carmen's main thoroughfares.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Distrito Capital
37 Juan Salvador Agraz
Santa Fe
Mexico City
Mexico 05300
Tel: 52 55 5257 1300
www.hoteldistritocapital.com

Distrito Capital is the latest venture from the team behind two of Mexico City's hottest hotels, Habita and Condesa DF. Set in the emerging commercial district of Santa Fe, near the Toluca domestic airport, it's ideal for business travelers looking to avoid the traffic of city center, but also for leisure travelers who are passing through the capital on their way to other points in Mexico. The 30-room hotel takes its inspiration from the Park Hyatt Tokyo and other hotels that float above their cities: Rooms occupy the top four floors of an office building, with reception, restaurant, and gym at the bottom. And like the Park Hyatt, Distrito has an international, cosmopolitan swagger. With the exception of the large selection of mezcals at the bar, the sleek and spare hotel wouldn't be out of place in Berlin or London. Rooms are studies in unadorned black (hallways and bathrooms) and white (sleeping areas), with soaring ceilings and large windows with views of Santa Fe and, on the occasional clear day, the volcano Popocatépetl. Ask for a corner room to double the number of views (corner accommodations are suites on higher floors and standard doubles on lower ones). We have only two complaints: First, the black walls and dressers combined with less-than-generous lighting can make it hard to find any dark items, especially if your wardrobe is also a study in basic black. Second, while this hotel could physically pass for, say, a chic Park Hyatt, the service is more warm and well intentioned than it is five-star-flawless. Distrito Capital's restaurant, from chef Enrique Olvera, founder of Pujol, is a big draw: Widely acknowledged as one of the leaders of alta cocina mexicana, Olvera here tries his hand at simpler fare—appropriate for the mood of the eclectic crowd, a mix of businessmen and fixtures of the Mexico City nightlife scene, who party until early in the morning under the glow of the Alvar Aalto lamps.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
El Mesón
80 Mesones
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 0580
elmesonhotel@prodigy.net.mx
www.elmesonhotel.com

As much a work of art as a hotel, this modern 15-room inn attracts architecture buffs and art lovers with its retro stamped-tin walls, curlicue ceiling murals, and antique bentwood chairs. The design combines elements of traditional San Miguel—stone walls and arched windows—with more contemporary touches, such as white lacquered dressers and cherrywood vanities around silver sinks. The modernist style, with open closets and shelves, demands a certain level of tidiness, while patchwork duvets and goose-down comforters on the beds and soft-glow reading lamps on the nightstands make for a cozy ambience. Paintings from the adjacent gallery adorn the guest rooms, along with black-and-white family photos. Some two-story suites overlook the circular pool set in a brick courtyard. The neighborhood is chockablock with restaurants and bars, making it a convenient base for those in search of nightlife.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
El Tamarindo
Carretera 200, Km 7.5
Costa Careyes
Mexico
Tel: 866 717 4316 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 315 351 5031
reserve@eltamarindoresort.com
eltamarindoresort.com

Set on a 2,040-acre nature preserve, Tamarindo is a mini Eden where deer and armadillo wander through forests and fairways, and more than 150 species of birds take refuge on the 18-hole championship golf course. Golfers love the place, and so do families on weeklong vacations and couples desiring private hideaways with resort amenities. The 29 bright pink, yellow, and blue villas and three- to four-bedroom casas invite nature indoors with open-air living rooms and private plunge pools. Plush beds sit in white-walled rooms with highly polished wood floors and brightly colored Mexican textiles. Guests can get even closer to the action with wildlife preservation and bird-watching programs, or just relax on the more than ten miles of private beaches and at the earthy spa. At night, guests dine beside the ocean underneath lanterns hanging from La Higuera restaurant's fig tree, and find their way back to their villas with the aid of hundreds of candles.—Maribeth Mellin

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Esencia
Carretera 307
Xpu-Ha
Mexico
Tel: 877 528 3490 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 984 873 4835
reservations@hotelesencia.com
www.hotelesencia.com

The entrance to this peaceful hideaway lies on a jungle path off an unmarked sandy road. It's hardly the place you'd expect to find a striking white Italian-style villa. But the Duchess of Ferrari had the home built in the early '90s to entertain world-weary friends, and it's since been transformed into a 29-room high-end hotel. Set on 50 acres of wild land and a broad white-sand beach, white-on-white rooms are split between sea-view suites in the original buildings and newer private cottages facing tropical gardens. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, elaborate sound systems, and electronically controlled shades, making a high-tech contrast with the artful arrangements of driftwood and primitive carved bowls. The best villa rooms are on the second floor and have large balconies overlooking the pool and sea. Families will prefer the multibedroom cottages, which have private pools. Guatemalan chef Bernardo Garcia focuses on local ingredients and indigenous cooking methods. The Aroma Spa also takes cues from local culture, using precious stones, heated rocks, seaweed, and cacao to help melt away stress and balance energy flow.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Esperanza
Carretera Transpeninsular, Km. 7, Punta Ballena
Cabo San Lucas
Mexico
Tel: 624 145 6400
info@esperanzaresort.com
www.aubergeresorts.com/html/esp.shtml

"This is a place for a special occasion." On a bluff above the Sea of Cortés, this resort ensures that the water is "visible from all points." "Well-lit, inviting" haciendas have light-colored woods and custom textiles. El Restaurante, "with twinkling candles, perfect table settings, and Mediterranean food, is from a storybook." "Varied activities" include deep-sea fishing, off-roading, and zip-lining.

(117 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Excellence Playa Mujeres
Prolongación Bonampak
Isla Mujeres
Mexico
Tel: 52 998 872 8600
playamujeres@excellence-resorts.com
www.excellence-resorts.com/all-inclusive-resorts/playa-mujeres-mexico/playa-mujeres-mexico.htm

At this 2007 adults-only all-inclusive north of Cancún, receive a "great welcome and guidance" from staff who "answer all questions knowledgeably." In bright, perfect-scoring rooms, "the personal, unique ambience" includes a whirlpool with views of the ocean, and "the best balcony daybed." Among the offerings at the nine restaurants are "very fine" Mexican, Indian, Asian, and fish.

(450 suites)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Excellence Riviera Cancún
307 Carretera Federal
Manzana 7, Lote 1, SM 11
Puerto Morelos
77580
Tel: 866 540 2585 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 998 872 8579
reservations@excellence-resorts.com
www.excellence-resorts.com/all-inclusive-resorts/riviera-cancun-mexico/cancun-overview.htm

"From the moment you enter the inviting lobby, you know it's going to be a good vacation." The all-inclusive sits on a white sand beach. Warm-colored, Mediterranean-style rooms with private balconies "are luxurious yet put you at ease." Agave's Mexican food "is uneven, sometimes bland, other times nice and spicy." Expect "top-notch service." "You can swim into the spa—what can beat that?"

(440 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Mayakoba
Carretera 307, Km 298
Riviera Maya
Mexico
Tel: 52 984 206 3000
mayakoba@fairmont.com
www.fairmont.com/mayakoba/

The Fairmont may be a small step down on the luxury ladder from its neighbors around the pricey Mayakoba development (Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental, Banyan Tree). But the size and the variety of activities on offer make it a great choice for active types and families. Oceanfront casitas have stairways leading to the white sand beach, while most of the 401 expansive rooms and suites are perched over lagoons where croaking cormorants nest in the trees. Electric carts and long wooden lanchas (boats) transport guests between the lobby, a central island with several swimming pools, the beach, and the rooms. There are a wide range of dining options on offer, from the Mexican-inspired fare at La Laguna to the global cuisine of the more formal Las Brisas, which has live jazz nightly. The Willow Stream Spa overlooks the tropical forest canopy.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Pierre Marqués
Playa Revolcadero
Granjas del Marqués
Acapulco
Mexico
Tel: 888 441 1414 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 744 435 2600
aca.reservations@fairmont.com
www.fairmont.com/pierremarques

When wandering garden paths to beachside bungalows, dodging indolent iguanas, you can imagine what J. Paul Getty had in mind when he chose these mango and lime groves beside Bahía de Puerto Marqués for his tropical retreat on the east side of Acapulco. Back in 1957, when oil was gold and Getty was called "the Richest Man in the World," his colony of midcentury-modern bungalows beside a rock-walled house and small pool was an escapist's delight. The Pierre languished over time, until Fairmont Hotels poured millions into a complete renovation in 2001—and today, you can once again lounge here in poolside glamour. The 335 rooms, suites, villas, and bungalows are now comfy rather than flashy, with sandy colors and lots of cool marble and glass. The Mexican fusion cuisine at Tabachin includes dishes like Baja lobster with fried noodle soup. Two golf courses provide a sprawling green barrier between the hotel and reality, and guests have use of the facilities—including a Willow Stream Spa and the Yuca Club disco—at the adjacent Acapulco Princess, another Fairmont property. The long beach is virtually deserted save for joggers, wanderers, and clutches of sunbathers. However, the surf is usually too rough for swimming.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach
Blvd. Kukulcán, Km 9.5
Zona Hotelera
Cancún
Mexico
Tel: 52 998 881 3200
Fax: 52 998 881 3255
www.fiestaamericana.com

With more than 600 suites, the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach is one of Cancún's largest luxury properties—and, Persian Gulf–style, it bills itself as a "six-star" hotel. While the title invites a raised eyebrow, the Coral Beach is nothing if not grand. Each suite—the smallest of which is 500 square feet—sprawls from a sunken living room to a private balcony with ocean views. The decor incorporates traditional Mexican touches, such as Colonial-style arched porticos and ornate ironwork balcony railings, with modern accoutrements like cordless phones. Stained glass à la Bellagio glows overhead in the lobby, where violins accompany cocktail-hour Margaritas (mixed with Don Julio, for a headache-free buzz). A free-form pool flows alongside the beach; palms shield several lounging areas to provide a sense of privacy.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Mexico, D.F.
500 Paseo de la Reforma
Juárez
Mexico City
Mexico 06600
Tel: 52 55 5230 1818
reservations.mex@fourseaons.com
www.fourseasons.com/mexico

Resembling an old-fashioned hacienda—if haciendas had soared to eight stories—this hotel wraps around a central courtyard with a fountain that could have been plucked from the zócalo of any Mexican town. The fortresslike walls mean that when you're dining under umbrellas on the shaded terrace or enjoying the view from your own private balcony, there's no noise at all from traffic-clogged Paseo de la Reforma (which runs past the front door). Bosque de Chapultepec, a sprawling park dotted with museums, is within easy walking distance. The 240 rooms and suites are tasteful and elegant, with color schemes of peach, gold, or green; bold fabrics; and dark woods. The service, as you would guess, is polished and professional.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita
Bahía de Banderas
Punta Mita
Mexico
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 329 291 6000
reservations.pun@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/puntamita/

On a private peninsula 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, this 3,000-acre, 145-casita resort has become an escape for SoCal families who'd rather not lift a finger while on holiday. The usual Four Seasons–worthy service is especially impeccable here: Polite staffers suddenly appear beside your poolside or beach lounger bearing Evian spritzers and skewers of fresh fruit; your child's name is spelled out in colored bath sponges on the lip of your giant bathtub; and masseurs from the on-site Apuane spa make house calls—and beach calls—on request. If lounging at the shore grows tiresome, you can take a turn around the 18-hole, Nicklaus-designed golf course; play a few sets of tennis; or indulge in myriad water activities: diving, deep-sea fishing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking (the last three are free of charge). New amenities are always on offer—among the latest are a 55-foot yacht for private charter, a "lazy river" pool with inner-tube rides around the family-oriented Oasis complex, and a 9,000-square-foot, five-bedroom Coral Suite designed by architect Diego Villaseñor. Top off a long day of pampering with a tequila-pairing menu at Aramara restaurant—es magnífico.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Garza Blanca Resort
Carretera Barra de Navidad, Km 7.5
Puerto Vallarta
Mexico
Tel: 52 322 176 0700
garzablancaresort.com

Cupping a small cove south of downtown Puerto Vallarta, Garza Blanca epitomizes the kind of sunny serenity you'd expect from a five-star resort on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The centerpiece is a free-form tiered pool staffed by butlers who deliver fluffy towels and chilled water to your umbrella-shaded chaise longue—plan on watching a margarita sunset from the horizon tier, which sits right above the beach. Inside, the 79 cream-colored, sea-facing suites have floor-to-ceiling windows, plush platform beds, and dark-wood furnishings; amenities include flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations, along with whirlpool tubs in the shiny marble bathrooms. Wrought-iron chandeliers hang above the suite dining rooms beside chef-worthy kitchens, and hammocks big enough for two swing outside on oversize balconies. The waterside tables on the terrace at Blanca Blue restaurant are in high demand, and the menu—which might include beet sorbet, shrimp wrapped in prosciutto, duck with foie gras, and amazing truffled poached eggs at breakfast—rivals any on the Puerto Vallarta's gourmet dining scene. The lunchtime scallop and mango ceviche at Aquazul, a casual snack bar by the pool, is mighty fine as well.—Maribeth Mellin

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grand Velas
Carretera 307, Km 62
Playa del Carmen
Mexico 77710
Tel: 866 230 7221 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 322 226 7930
www.rivieramaya.grandvelas.com

Leading the pack of luxury all-inclusives popping up along the coast, the Grand Velas opened in 2009 and gives a huge bang for the pricey tab. The 491 suites, many with pools on private terraces, have dark wood furnishings that stand out against clean white walls, plus extra touches like Molton Brown toiletries and espresso machines. Most of the bougainvillea-draped buildings face the sea, but for privacy and tranquility consider those tucked amid lagoons and jungle. Those in the inland building have decks with padded lounges facing lush lagoons where white herons nest in mangroves. Don't expect the usual all-inclusive buffets at the eight restaurants. Azul, the main poolside eatery, features sushi, sashimi, and ceviches at lunch; truffles and Champagne sauces get good play at the French restaurant Piaf; and aromatic Basque dishes are offered at Cocina de Autor. Hydrotherapy pools bubble and spout in the two-story spa (alas, services are not included in the rate); allow at least one extra hour for splashing about.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort
98 Avenue Cocoteros
Nuevo Vallarta
Mexico
Tel: 888 261 8436 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 322 226 8000
contactcenter@grandvelas.com
vallarta.grandvelas.com

This resort north of Puerto Vallarta is "better than most all-inclusives in Vallarta, Cancún, or Cabo." Encounter "beautiful and well-maintained natural surroundings" and perfect-scoring airy rooms with Mexican art, Balinese furnishings, and marble floors. At Piaf, French dishes are "quite good." Staff "treat you like you are special."

(267 rooms)

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Guayacura
Legaspi at Topete
Todos Santos
Mexico
Tel: 52 612 468 6039
www.guaycura.com.mx/

This 14-room inn faces the main plaza in historic Todos Santos and takes its name from one of Baja's indigenous groups. It's all about leaving your stress outside the door of the two-story redbrick building, a task helped by the complimentary margarita served at check-in. The sun-filled rooms have local touches like Saltillo tile floors along with four-poster beds dressed in Egyptian cotton. All of the rooms have different draws, like vintage copper tubs in the deluxe room and an ample desk in the Oasis suite that faces the palms and mango trees. The view from the Sky Deck takes in the contrast between views of the town's plaza and the lush green groves, with distant glimpses of the blue Pacific. There's also a pool and a bar where fresh mango, papaya, pineapple, and coconut are key ingredients in cocktails. Tropical fruits are also on the menu at the Guaycura Aena Spa, while local seafood is the main ingredient at the restaurant.—Maribeth Mellin

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hacienda Petac
Petac
Mexico 97100
Tel: 800 225 4255
info@haciendapetac.com
www.haciendapetac.com

A seventeenth-century sisal plantation built atop Mayan ruins, the Hacienda Petac ("House of the Turtle Catcher") has been transformed into a stylish five-bedroom, 80-acre estate available only if booked in its entirety. The weekly rate includes all the essentials, plus guided excursions to nearby archaeological sites, Mexican cooking classes, bird-watching treks, evening lectures, and sunset serenades by mariachi band Los Tres Yucatecos, a local favorite. Massages are additional but priceless. All five suites boast 30-foot ceilings, period furnishings, and hand-painted floor tiles. The service is unobtrusive and flawless.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hacienda Puerta Campeche
Calle 59, No. 71 Pro 16&18
Campeche
Mexico
Tel: 52 981 816 7535
www.luxurycollection.com

In the historic heart of Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site 250 miles southeast of Cancún, the Hacienda Puerta Campeche marries seventeenth-century architecture to a new wing designed in a similar colonial-era aesthetic. All 15 rooms are sizable and sport elegant, authentic details such as adobe-tiled floors, in-room hammocks, and pale limestone sinks in the even more commodious bathrooms. However, it is the swimming pool that most impresses: Concealed behind a phalanx of semi-roofless facades is a series of pools that flow ingeniously from room to room. The hotel's restaurant, La Guardia, serves a seafood-focused menu of Yucatecan classics, while the clubby El Tejaban bar is purely a cigars-and-tequila affair.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hacienda San Angel
336 Miramar
Puerto Vallarta
Mexico
Tel: 877 815 6594 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 322 222 2692
info@haciendasanangel.com
www.haciendasanangel.com

Forever associated with the 1964 movie The Night of the Iguana and the era of Burton and Taylor, Puerto Vallarta has a certain glamorous reputation to live up to. No place better recaptures that age of chic than Hacienda San Angel. Originally commissioned in 1977 as a Valentine's Day gift from Richard Burton to his (post-Liz) wife, Susan Hunt, it was acquired by San Francisco designer Janice Chatterton in 1990 and opened as a hotel in 2003. Chatterton now lives on-site, and her attention to detail shows in the 16 suites and the separate one-bedroom villa. All are artfully decorated with colonial antiques and custom tile work. Seven suites and a wedding chapel are located on a steep hillside across the street from the main hotel, affording spectacular views of downtown Puerto Vallarta, the malecón, and the bay. A funicular carries guests in these rooms up and down the hill, and though earplugs are provided to block out the hourly ringing bells from the cathdral right next door, light sleepers might still be happier in the original hotel building. Throughout both sections are secret courtyards with fountains, and terraces with sweeping views over Banderas Bay. Modern-day conveniences include three heated pools, a rooftop hot tub, Wi-Fi, a DVD library, and a restaurant serving chef Gonzalo Raul Noguira's Mexican-infused international cuisine. Puerto Vallarta's best galleries and restaurants are just down the hill—100 steps down, to be exact.—Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hippodrome Hotel
188 Avenida Mexico
Condesa
Mexico City
Mexico 06100
Tel: 52 55 5212 2110
hippodrome@stashhotels.com
www.thehippodromehotel.com

In an Art Deco building that would look right at home in South Beach, the Hippodrome has a streamlined facade that turns heads. But the beauty here is more than skin deep, as you'll notice in details such as the cage elevator that once graced the Castillo de Chapultepec. The 16 generously sized guest rooms are decorated in warm hues, with chocolate walls and shag throw rugs. The best part may be the bathrooms, which have sinks and shower surrounds fashioned from the same cream-colored stone. Most eye-catching is one of the bathrooms in the penthouse suite, which includes a porcelain whirlpool tub facing a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking a terrace running the length of the building. Stroll outside and you get a great view of the trees in nearby Parque Mexico. The hotel opened in early 2007, a few months after the Hip Kitchen. The restaurant, with a new guest chef serving up a tasting menu every two months, quickly developed a following among the locals in the fashionable La Condesa neighborhood.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel at Imanta Resort
Montenahuac Lote L
Higuera Blanca
Punta de Mita
Mexico 63734
Tel: 877 370 5427 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 329 298 4200
info@imantaresorts.com
imantaresorts.com

Within the many luxury hideaways that populate the wild coast surrounding Puerta Vallarta, Imanta—a 250-acre enclave of gorgeous rain forest fronted by a miles-long private beach—sets the bar even higher. Perched above the beach, its seven striking villas use mostly local Mexican stone, wood, and glass but have an almost Asian feel, with huge floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and sunken tubs, as well as large private terraces and individual pools. Staff are personal and professional; baby-sitters can easily be arranged at the last minute; and the chef himself comes out to ask what you want to eat. With yoga, kayaking, surfing, golf, horseback riding, and spa treatments all available on-site or a short drive away, Imanta has an enviable combination of location, low-key luxury, and service.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Básico
Calle 10 at Avenida 5
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
Tel: 52 984 879 4448
www.hotelbasico.com

In the mood for rubber and latex amusements? You'll love the Hotel Básico, a high-concept, adults-only creation from Carlos Couturier and the Micha family, owners of Deseo and the ever-hot Hotel Habita in Mexico City. Tire treads cover the reception-area floors, and the industrial minimalist furniture—all metal and fiberglass—is almost too cool for a Mexico beach, especially one like Playa del Carmen, which has lately been invaded by the fanny-pack crowd. Style takes priority over comfort—vinyl poolside chaises grow slick under sweaty sunbathers, privacy is nonexistent in the 15 guest rooms, and street noise is a constant companion. On the other hand, you're sure to meet like-minded, semi-exhibitionist compadres in the hot tubs and pools, which are made from renovated water storage tanks. The restaurant, Marisquería, makes a mean taco, too.—Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Brick
95 Orizaba
La Roma
Mexico City
Mexico 06700
Tel: 52 55 5256 4583
hotelbrick.com

The vibrant bohemian neighborhood of La Roma now has a hotel that lives up to the area's artful flair. Hotel Brick is in two parts: a faithfully restored early-20th-century mansion that houses three suites, and a modern frosted-glass addition with 14 rooms. Choose the original manse if you are looking for classic touches like chandeliers, wooden shutters, and cozy sitting areas (plus views of the tree-filled neighborhood). The dark brown and gray furnishings in the new buildings give rooms a masculine feel. Here, even standard rooms have small balconies, while the penthouse suites have rooftop terraces with whirlpool tubs. The lobby bar looks like a bordello, with chesterfield sofas and red velvet chairs (possibly a nod to the building's rumored past as a brothel). Amenities include a library stocked with Assouline photography books, a skinny outdoor lap pool hidden in the lowest level, and a lush lawn on the mansion's roof. The hotel's restaurants are La Roma's hippest hangouts: Linger over lunch at the terrace restaurant overlooking the sidewalk, or dine inside at the more formal Brasserie La Moderna, overseen by chef Richard Sandoval.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Catedral
166 Hidalgo
Puerto Vallarta
Mexico
Tel: 52 322 222 0604
info@hotelcatedralvallarta.com
www.hotelcatedralvallarta.com

Got a favorite color? Well, the whole spectrum is on display at Hotel Catedral, a restored hotel in the '50s-flashback neighborhood of Viejo Vallarta. The 21 rooms (all named for Mexican ballads) sport a kaleidoscope of colors, from rosy leather equipale chairs and matching pink walls in one room to an original mint-green tiled bathtub in another. Much of the original building remains, including brick balustrades and black-and-white tile floors, which blend in surprisingly well with the hodgepodge of old-school and contemporary touches, such as colorful embroidered pillows from Chiapas and Oaxaca on the beds, tin mirrors that hang above rustic wood bureaus, and tiny modern balconies overlooking the busy market streets. Coffee, fruit, and pan dulce are served every morning in the first-floor dining room/library, and guests linger at tables in the interior courtyard come nightfall. The surrounding streets are lined with simple cafés, high-end restaurants, modest farmacias, and trendy resort-wear shops; the plaza, cathedral, and malecón are practically next door.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel des Artistes del Mar
5 Avenida Anclote
Punta Mita
Mexico
Tel: 52 329 291 6857
reservations@hoteldesartistes.net
www.hoteldesartistesdelmar.com

Punta Mita's El Anclote neighborhood is a fun, laid-back community where shoes (and shirts) are optional. And this waterfront hotel is the classiest place on the beach, jammed between casual restaurants and water sports shops—perfect if you're into surfing, paddle boarding, or sipping an icy mojito under the sun. Don't let the unimpressive entryway fool you: The dirt street leads to an art gallery, a fitness center, a full spa, and a four-story building housing 12 apartmentlike suites that have front-row seats to primo surf and a lively beach. Most of the suites are fully equipped with kitchens and multiple bedrooms, and are decorated by individual owners (styles vary from urbane granite, glass, and steel to clubby brown-leather sofas and yellow-ocher walls). Chef Thierry Blouet, a star among Puerto Vallarta's finest, oversees the superb Café des Artistes del Mar. Bikinis are the outfit of choice at the hotel's rooftop El Cielo bar, where the view of the crowded beach scene is enhanced by an infinity pool, several lounging areas, and chill-out tunes. Both destination weddings and surf clinics take over the property at times, testimony to its beach-chic vibe.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Encanto
51 Jacques Cousteau
Acapulco Diamante
Acapulco
Mexico 39390
Tel: 52 744 446 7101
www.hotelencanto.com.mx/inicioss.html

Parrots squawk in treetops beneath glass-enclosed suites at dawn at Encanto, an architectural stunner in Acapulco's sophisticated Diamante neighborhood. Architect Miguel Angel Aragones is known for his creative lighting schemes, and every night the mod-minimalist hotel is bathed in swirling purple and aqua. But the 44-suite hotel is at its best in natural light, when shafts of sunshine stream through portholes and slits onto white angled walls. Guests get to play with the room color as well, from bedside controls that also close blackout shades and cue up music and movies from the TV perched on a platform between the bed and sky view. Design beats out function, in some ways; it can be hard to feel cozy and comfy in the high-style setting. Out by the pool, beautiful guests lounge beneath sail-like awnings while sipping iced chai with tequila and nibbling celeb-chef Monica Patiño's ceviches. Come evening, there's a sexy lounge scene, so you can experience Acapulco's legendary glamour without ever hailing a taxi.—Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Habita
201 Avenida Presidente Masaryk
Polanco
Mexico City
Mexico 11560
Tel: 52 55 5282 3100
info@hotelhabita.com
www.hotelhabita.com

Enrique Norten of TEN Architectos wrapped a '60s-era low-rise in cloudy glass and pared down the 36 rooms to the basic necessities of Dwell readers: smooth gray carpets, a glass shelf the length of one wall, stainless-steel sink, good down and linens on the platform bed, and not much in the way of storage. Off the lobby is Aura, where the food and decor share an Asian sensibility; on the sixth floor is the indoor-outdoor (mostly outdoor) bar Area. The fifth floor houses a small, glass-walled indoor-outdoor gym, plus a pretty pool that nobody uses. Beware: The weekend partying of the fresas (the young, wealthy elite) on said rooftop can leak into the surrounding rooms. The hotel is located in quiet, posh Polanco, steps from the shops and not far from Bosque de Chapultepec.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Hacienda Mérida
Calle 62, #439 between 51 and 53
Mérida
Mexico 97000
Tel: 52 999 924 4363
info@hotelhaciendamerida.com
www.hotelhaciendamerida.com

This eight-room hotel in an 1840 hacienda may be just a few blocks from Mérida's central plaza, but in the evening, when bats dart through the courtyard's colonnaded portal and stars twinkle above the palm trees, you'll feel like you're at a country estate. The sense of seclusion is reinforced by unobtrusive staff, towering ceilings, and two lovely courtyards. Yucatán's capital city has several other excellent hotels set in nineteenth-century homes but none with such contemporary style: dark-wood furniture is set on red-stained polished-cement floors, and abstract paintings adorn the foot-thick walls, painted in a traditional combination of rust and creamy yellow. Though the hotel's four larger rooms are dubbed "executive," don't expect officelike details (except for free Wi-Fi). The space that might have gone to a desk is turned over to a huge bathroom and a vast shower, all the better to enjoy local treats like natural honey shampoo and sisal bath scrubs. Perhaps the most soothing of all is the massage therapist, on call in the back courtyard every evening.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
The Hotelito
Rancho de la Cachora
Todos Santos
Mexico
Tel: 52 612 145 0099
thehotelito.com

True to its name, this affordable hotel is tiny. There are just four suites, with beds draped with canopies, and soft violet- and rose-colored walls framing freshly raked sand terraces and a 48-foot-long saltwater pool (there are hammocks and low-slung blue and pink loungers for sunny relaxation). Most of the guests congregate outside, but if you are feeling antisocial, there is an extensive book and DVD collection for entertainment. Both town and the beach are minutes away by car or foot. Use of bodyboards and beach umbrellas is complementary, and the hosts are happy to plan activities, including whale-watching, surfing, and attending gallery openings.—Maribeth Mellin

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Matilda
53 Aldama
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 1015
info@hotelmatilda.com
www.hotelmatilda.com

The talk of the town and a magnet for chic chilangos (from Mexico City), this edgy boutique hotel a few blocks from the Jardín takes San Miguel's art rep to a new level. Paintings, photographs, and sculptures from Mexico's finest contemporary artists fill spare, white spaces in two Cubist buildings with 32 rooms and suites, plus a spa, restaurant, and sophisticated bar. Spencer Tunick's photo of thousands of nude people gathered in Mexico City's Zócalo wallpapers the lounge restroom; a reproduction of Diego Rivera's The Archer and a portrait of owner Harold Stream's mother join works by Bosco Sodi, Nacho Rodríguez Bach, and Aldo Chaparro in the library lounge and bar. Visuals aside, it's the comforting details in the graphite-and-white rooms that make Matilda so delightful. Low beds with padded-leather headboards are dressed in Vivenda 400-thread-count linens and cashmere throws; wall-length white lacquered countertops act as desk space with all necessary outlets and cables plus a 42-inch flat-screen TV; large Calcutta-marble bathrooms are outfitted with freestanding tubs and stocked with Malin+Goetz toiletries. An aromatherapy hammam and heavenly chromotherapy tub augment the spa's more standard treatments. Best of all, there's none of that too-cool-for-you snootiness so common to hip hotels.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Villa Rolandi Gourmet & Beach Club
Fracc. Laguna Mar
Isla Mujeres
Mexico
Tel: 52 998 877-0700
info@villarolandi.com
www.villarolandi.com

The sense of escape begins the minute you board a private yacht at Cancún's Embarcadero Marina and leave behind the lineup of pirate ships and tour boats. Graceful white egrets gaze unperturbed from mangrove perches as your craft slips into Laguna Makax on the sleepy western shore of Isla Mujeres. A porter awaiting your arrival leads the way up a marble staircase to a suite overlooking the sparkling sea. Such a grand entrance is one reason Villa Rolandi has attracted the likes of Tony Blair, who once booked all 20 of the hotel's suites for his family. These are furnished in traditional-chic style, with archways between foyer and bedroom, blue pillows piled on the couches, and padded headboards for comfy reading in bed. Bathrooms have showers with dueling showerheads (six in all) and stereo speakers; a flip of a switch converts the shower into a sauna. King beds, couches, and whirlpool baths on the balconies face the hotel's horizon pool and tiny beach, which can get pretty crowded when all suites are full. The Rolandi family's empire began with Italian cafés, and one of their top chefs rules the range at the Villa.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Jashita
Bahía Punta Soliman
Tulum
Mexico 77780
Tel: 52 984 139 5131
www.jashitahotel.com

Secluded hideaways like this are rare in the Riviera Maya. A shallow reef protects Punta Soliman's see-through aquamarine waters, where angelfish swarm around white coral, and there aren't many neighbors to interrupt the tranquility. To the north lies a mangrove lagoon; a few homes dot the beach to the south. Stylishly minimalist, the best of the 15 rooms at Jashita take in sea views from the platform beds draped in white gauze. Rooftop suites with horizon pools blend into the sky; glass walls bring in stunning views and blinding sunlight. There is a small spa, and the Balinese-inspired Sahara restaurant serves fish carpaccio, fragrant seafood soup, and family-recipe pastas. A pool is nestled into palms, and kayaks await guests beside the tempting iridescent water.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa
Bulevar Kukulcan, Km 14.5, Lote 40-A, Zona Hoteler
Cancún
Mexico 77500
Tel: 888 813 2776 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 998 848 9600
Fax: 52 998 848 9601
marriott.com/property/propertypage.mi?marshaCode=CUNJW

Prefer to swim sans sand and salt? Slip into the lap pool or gigantic Jacuzzi in this resort's 35,000-square-foot spa and watch the sunset over the lagoonthen get a full-body Mayan mask using the aphrodisiacal Xtabentún liqueur before retreating to your room. Everything's oversize and highly personalized herethey'll even arrange to have framed pictures of family or friends in your room upon arrival. Book a suite with access to Club 91, the hotel's "boutique" level lounge with ocean-view balconies, gourmet food on hand throughout the day, complimentary Internet access, and private concierge service. Opt for the standard rooms, and you still get a plush carpeted space with a balcony and ocean view, flat-screen TV, large bathroom with double sinks, and Marriott's signature casual-elegant decor. Of the three restaurants, Gustino stands out for sublime Italian, and the kids' club has the little ones babbling in Spanish in no time. For further water immersion, consider the resort's 18-foot-deep dive pool, complete with an artificial reef.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
La Amada
Boulevard Kukulcan, Km 12.5
Cancún
Mexico 77400
Tel: 888 692 6232
Tel: 52 998 872 8730
info@laamadahotel.com
laamada.com

Just 20 minutes north of Cancún, the newly developed coastal enclave called Playa Mujeres feels a world away from the flashy vacation capital. The 109-suite La Amada is the smaller of the two hotels so far in Playa Mujeres, and like its top-end competitors farther down the coast, it doesn't equate luxury with glitz. The whitewashed, low-rise architecture is refreshingly understated, while the rooms, starting at 960 square feet, mix sharp-edged lamps with sumptuous sofas and gauzy curtains. The spa, with a great open-air hydrotherapy circuit and an elaborate gym, occupies prime real estate (at too many hotels, it's wedged in the basement). At Aroma, the more formal restaurant, satisfying, straightforward combinations like Caribbean lobster with risotto are made with the freshest ingredients; only the wine list is a bit weak. With a whirlpool tub in every room, the atmosphere is definitely honeymoon-friendly, but larger casitas, with plunge pools, accommodate families. As for the beach, it's perhaps the biggest luxury, considering those in Cancún proper have faced erosion problems. Broad, palm-lined, and quiet, it stretches away to the north alongside a placid bay.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
La Casa Que Canta
Camino Escénico
Playa la Ropa
Zihuatanejo
Mexico
Tel: 888 523 5050 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 755 555 7030
information@lacasaquecanta.com
www.lacasaquecanta.com

La Casa Que Canta (The House That Sings) is crawling with lovebirds. There's good reason: The 25 cliffside suites have views of Zihuatanejo Bay and balconies that are perfect for sunset-watching, private plunge pools, and patios with white hammocks and cushioned loungers that invite snuggling. Each suite also has a pink marble bathroom, a complimentary minibar, and lots of folky-chic Mexican art. Pathways lead down the rocky cliff-side to an infinity pool, saltwater pool, spa, and gym—as well as to Playa la Ropa. Here sit two separate, superposh beachside villas, El Murmullo and El Ensueño, which come with private butlers, concierges, and chambermaids (Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Karl Lagerfeld have been among the occupants). In order to keep the general honeymoon-ness of the place intact, no children under 16 are allowed.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
La Casona
280 Durango
La Roma
Mexico City
Mexico 06700
Tel: 877 278 8018 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 55 5286 3001
informes@hotellacasona.com.mx
www.hotellacasona.com.mx

Across Paseo de la Reforma from La Condesa—in the less trendy, more authentic, but still lively Colonia Roma area—this turn-of-last-century colonial-style pink mansion has 29 adorable wood-floored rooms. Each is different (they all say that, but here it's true), and decorated with antiques and a music–commedia dell'arte theme: lutes in spotlit niches, violins and accordions instead of paintings. There's also a lounge with a wall of hunting horns, and a restaurant, Piaf, that serves French cuisine. The scant facilities amount to Wi-Fi and a fitness room, but ambience, comfort, and friendliness make up for that.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
La Purificadora
802 Callejón de la Norte
Paseo San Francisco
Barrio el Alto
Puebla
Mexico 72000
Tel: 52 222 309 1920
www.lapurificadora.com

The latest offering from the design-savvy Grupo Habita is set inside a nineteenth-century water-purification plant separated from Puebla's center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) by a broad boulevard. Architect Ricardo Legorreta has kept the bones of the industrial structure—soaring stone walls, hulking dark-wood beams—but excised the rest to make room for a dioramalike lobby that is open on one side with inviting violet couches arranged around elevated fire pits. As with Habita's other properties, the experience here is less about plush comfort than it is about style and glamour. The service at the restaurant may be glacially slow, but at least you are sharing a long communal table, made from heavy wooden beams salvaged from the original building, with slick entertainment impresarios weekending from Mexico City. Guest rooms are compact and fairly minimalist, and early construction flaws are being amended (such as a floor-to-ceiling glass door that opened onto a lovely balcony but didn't shut completely)—all the more reason to stay late at the rooftop bar and pool, where the hip clientele drink up the impressive city views. Gastronomes should also take note: The hotel's executive chef, Enrique Olvera, also owns Mexico City's celebrated Pujol restaurant.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Las Alcobas
390A Presidente Mazaryk
Polanco Chapultepec
Mexico City
Mexico 11560
Tel: 52 55 3300 3900
www.lasalcobas.com

Tucked unobtrusively in a pleasantly quiet corner of stylish Polanco, Las Alcobas (the Alcoves) feels like a pied-à-terre, with appropriately discreet service and suites meant to impress even the most jaded traveler's senses. An amiable butler presents an Olinalá tray with a choice of handcrafted soaps and provides technical instructions for the room's remote-control drapes and mood lighting. Mexican candies are stacked on a tiny Oaxacan doll's chair, and the fridge is stocked with ToniCol soda; each morning, coffee and pastries are delivered to your room (all included in the rate). Design firm Yabu Pushelberg's dramatic touches in the 35 rooms include oversize blue marble slabs around chromotherapy whirlpool tubs, inlaid leather walls facing platform beds, and a three-way mirror. In the lobby, a winding rosewood staircase adds drama. At the hotel's Dulce Patria restaurant, highly acclaimed chef Martha Ortiz (of Aguila y Sol fame) plays with regional flavors to create chamoy margaritas and mole manchamantel ("table-stainer" mole) with fruity pico de gallo.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Las Brisas
5255 Carretera Escénica
Acapulco
Mexico
Tel: 52 744 469 6900
brisa@brisas.com.mx
www.brisas.com.mx

Blushing brides—such a charming and antiquated concept!—fit right in at this venerable honeymoon hotel perched on a hill high on the east side of town overlooking Acapulco Bay. Various renovations over the years have updated the property since its 1950s heyday, but this grande dame isn't into trends. Bathtubs are scarce in the 260 spacious but simple casitas, and the linens and towels feel more Fieldcrest than Frette. Still, old-school panache abounds. Waiters balancing room-service trays (complete with flower vases) steer pink and white jeeps from the hotel's kitchen each morning to deliver breakfast to each casita's door. A shuttle leaves every 20 minutes to bring guests to the beach club at the foot of the hills, where pools are set like glassy ponds amid boulders and palms. (You can always be lazy and float in your casita's private plunge pool instead.) A sunset dinner at the French-Mexican Bellavista restaurant is the perfect way to end the day.—Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Las Hadas Golf Resort & Marina
Avenida Vista Hermosa S/N, Pen¿nsula de Santiago
Manzanillo
Mexico
Tel: 52 314 331 0101
lashadas@brisas.com.mx
www.brisas.com.mx/?method=hotel&idhotel=4

The arabesque white façade with castle-like peaks earns this resort a perfect design score. Decorated in minimalist style with whites and grays, all rooms face Manzanillo Bay. Legazpi serves "passable international cuisine" on a top-floor dining room or a terrace with views of the marina. "After the first few hours here, no one wanted to leave the property."

(232 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Las Mañanitas Hotel, Garden, & Resort
107 Ricardo Linares
Cuernavaca
Mexico
Tel: 52 777 314 1466
Fax: 52 777 318 3672
www.lasmananitas.com.mx

With a garden setting "convenient to the town square," this hacienda has "large, airy rooms" with wood beams and tile floors that open onto "peaceful patios." Grounds impress: "They're landscaped and inviting, with peacocks roaming about." Religious paintings hang from the walls of the restaurant, where "the traditional Mexican food is really good." Spa Orlane recently opened.

(29 suites)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Las Ventanas al Paraíso
Carretera Transpeninsular, Km. 19.5
San José del Cabo
Mexico
Tel: 52 624 144 2800
lasventanas@rosewoodhotels.com
www.lasventanas.com

The modern Mediterranean rooms at this extravagant resort have huge beds and lavish bathrooms. A-list celebrities flock here for the unparalleled service. The nightly turn-down service includes your choice of aromatherapy oil, and the housekeeping staff tailors your sewing kit to match your wardrobe (although people who can afford to stay here never sew on their own buttons). The pool attendants, meanwhile, would rather die than let you adjust your own umbrella. The eateries include The Restaurant (which has a dress code), the oceanside Sea Grill, and a tequila and ceviche bar. The excellent spa uses products made from blends of Baja's plants, as well as various native remedies and healing rituals.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
La Tortuga
Avenida 10 between Calles 12 and 14
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
Tel: 52 984 873 1484
info@hotellatortuga.com
www.hotellatortuga.com

Front desk clerks greet new guests as if they'd just arrived home at this 51-room charmer just a block from Playa's busy Fifth Avenue. Affable porters, housekeepers, and bartenders attend to individual quirks, quickly offering fresh water, beach towels, and bug spray (pests emerge around the gardens at sundown). Slip straight into the courtyard swimming pool from terraces outside ground-floor rooms, or survey the town from a rooftop suite—even many of the basic accommodations have small balconies. The simple white rooms have TVs, coffeemakers, AC, and fans, though bathrooms are small, lack tubs, and have sinks designed for tall people. However, at little more than $100 a night, this hotel is a steal, especially considering the adjacent Itzá day spa—one of Playa's finest—and the margaritas in the communal lounge. Rates also include complimentary Wi-Fi in public spaces and passes to the wildly popular Mamitas beach club a few blocks north. The quiet back-street seclusion, friendly staff, and 16-and-over policy strike the ideal note of affable mellowness that appeals to couples and singles alike.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Meridien Cancún Resort & Spa
Retorno del Rey
Blvd. Kukulcán, Km 14
Zona Hotelera
Cancún
Mexico
Tel: 52 998 881 2200
Tel: 800 543 4300
reservations@meridiencancun.com.mx
www.cancun.lemeridien.com

Next to La Isla mall, this "Caribbean-style resort" has "airy and modern rooms" with views of the sea or Laguna Nichupte, marble bathrooms, and Hermès bath products. Aioli's French-Mediterranean food is "better than average"; Le Rendez-Vous lobby bar specializes in frozen cocktails and contemporary art. Staff "anticipated our needs."

(213 rooms)

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Los Milagros
116 Matamoros
Cabo San Lucas
Mexico
Tel: 52 624 143 4566
info@losmilagros.com.mx
www.losmilagros.com.mx

Inspired design and attention to detail needn't always mean a hefty price tag. Bougainvillea drapes over iron railings, brick walls support vines shading the small pool, and tiled fountains splash at this endearing budget hotel on a side street in San Lucas. Bright yellow shutters, woven straw headboards on wrought iron beds, and large bathrooms with tiled counters add a Mexican flair to the 12 large rooms. Guests gather with owner Sandra Scandibar around the courtyard table to exchange tips on taco stands and beaches. More solitary types stick to the rooftop terrace beside flowers blooming amid boulders. Film and band crews staying several weeks claim dibs on ground-floor rooms with kitchenettes while famed Cabo regulars hide out in the upstairs suite.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental, Riviera Maya
Carretera 307, Km 298.8
Playa del Carmen
Mexico 77710
Tel: 800 526 6566 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 984 877 3888
mocun-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/rivieramaya

Art and architecture enhance the natural expanse of this tranquil 36-acre enclave, where emerald grass pyramids echo the local Mayan culture, and the 128 white-on-beige rooms form a neutral backdrop for the lush vegetation surrounding them. The decor is a lesson in luxe minimalism, with bamboo floors, glassed-in showers, and sleek wood and rattan furnishings. Twenty rooms are situated beside the region's dreamiest destination spa, with a watsu pool shielded by trees and vines; an outdoor lap pool framed by lawns; and a peaceful, shady café—and that's just the outdoor amenities. Indoors, therapists and trainers soothe and strengthen muscles with Thai massage, jet-lag herbal wraps, and intensive yoga classes. On-site restaurants include the Mex-Asian Ambar, which rises like a UFO above a languid lagoon, and Aguamarina, a casual oceanfront seafood restaurant. One caveat: The exclusivity of the resort can make it feel a bit cold. Couples looking for an ultraprivate getaway might not notice, but social travelers will want to opt for the more friendly Rosewood Mayakoba.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Maroma Resort and Spa
Carretera 307, Km 51
Solidaridad
Mexico
Tel: 52 998 872 8200
Tel: 866 454 9351 (toll-free)
reservations@maromahotel.com
www.maromahotel.com

José Luis Moreno created this beloved barefoot-luxury resort long before the Riviera Maya became the hot destination it is today. After being acquired by Orient-Express Hotels in 2002, it was expanded, and the jungle-lush estate (a former coconut plantation) is now a sleek operation with 65 rooms, including spacious Sian Nah oceanfront suites with plunge pools and private fitness rooms. The 7,000-square-foot Kinan Spa has architecture based on "Mayan sacred geometry," and offers temazcal, massage, a meditation pavilion, and yoga retreats. The food—even the calorie-reduced spa cuisine—is wonderful. Candles are lit throughout the 25-acre resort at night, leading the way along winding paths. Inside the rooms and suites, sconces, archways, and nightstands built into curving walls create an old-world Mexican ambience; some units have heavy wooden tables and chairs on private terraces and casement windows to let in sea breezes. But pyrophobes and claustrophobes beware—flickering votive candles and oil lamps are part of the turndown ritual here, as is a voluminous gauzy mosquito net draped around the bed.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Maya Tulum
Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen, Km 7
Tulum
Mexico
Tel: 888 515 4580
reservations@mayatulum.com
www.mayatulum.com

Yoga bunnies, look no farther: This place inspires near-cultish devotion among its fans, and word of it has spread through the yoga community like wildfire (after all, how many Hatha, Jivamukti, and Bikram devotees can you put under a palapa before they talk?). Accommodation is in little individual huts, very basic, but bathroomed; the best ones are on the beach. It's all exquisitely laid-back, with one apparent drawback: The food is only so-so in the huge wooden dining hall where meals are "celebrated," and it feels like a members-only club. But then you take a class or two (not included), and—bam—you're hooked, too.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
ME by Meliá
Blvd. Kukulkán, Km. 12
Zona Hotelera
Cancún
Mexico 77500
Tel: 52 998 881 2500
Tel: 866 436 3542
mecancun@solmelia.com
www.mebymelia.com

Think Cancún's a bit passé? Nightlife impresario Rande Gerber doesn't agree. He teamed up with Maxim magazine to create the beach club at the oh-so-hip ME, where techno music greets you in the lobby and every aspect exudes sensuality. Rain showers, espresso machines, iPod docks, and LCD TVs entertain guests in the 448 rooms and suites (the best have secluded balconies with mattresses for lounging…or whatever else). Onyx lights glow beside Balinese beach beds as evening falls, and portholes behind the pool bar shimmer with turquoise lights. The restaurants are named Silk and Salt, the spa (with the latest hydrotherapy jets and showers) is called Yhi (after some goddess of light), and the coffee bar is eSpace—you get the picture. Still, it has a comfy, friendly vibe that accommodates guests of all ages.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
ME Cabo
Playa El Médano
Cabo San Lucas
Mexico
Tel: 52 624 145 7800
me.cabo@solmelia.com
www.me-cabo.com

The young and the beautiful stride through the lobby at this newly renovated San Lucas fave at the center of all the nightlife action. Guests lounge on orange beach beds at the Nikki Beach club, dip into the multi-level pool, and nibble sushi with margaritas and beer. At night, local scenesters, DJ groupies, and hotel guests mingle as torches and fire pits blaze in the Passion Club Lounge—beware of rooms above the club unless you're planning on pulling all-nighters. Should you need further stimulation, the restaurants and clubs of San Lucas are a 10-minute walk away. However, with 150 rooms and suites, there's enough space for guests less intent on imbibing. And the rooms themselves are oases: Cream-colored walls; dark-wood furnishings with clean, simple lines; and splashes of orange art make for a sophisticated and relaxing space—though the low-slung couches and chairs aren't all that comfy. Rooms in The Level, the VIP floor, include pre-loaded iPods, espresso machines, and dedicated concierges; poolside suites have lounging beds on their above-it-all terraces.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Omni Puerto Aventuras Hotel Beach Resort
Carretera Chetumal–Puerto Juarez, Km 269.5
Puerto Aventuras
Mexico
Tel: 52 984 875 1950
www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/PuertoAventuras.aspx

On the mainland by Cozumel, this low-rise is popular with the yachting crowd. Rooms are furnished in a local, breezy style, and each has a whirlpool tub. Guests relax poolside, snorkel, or sip cocktails under beach palapas. The restaurants use locally sourced ingredients; El Xenote's dishes are Mayan-influenced, but the food at the resort "is its sole downside."

(30 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
One&Only Palmilla
Carretera Transpeninsular, Km. 7.5
San José del Cabo
Mexico
Tel: 866 829 2977 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 624 146 7000
reservations@oneandonlypalmilla.com
www.oneandonlyresorts.com

Revered Spanish mission buildings, a hilltop wedding chapel, and white-sand beaches lend old-world Mexican elegance to the postmodern makeover of one of Cabo's iconic hotels. Guest rooms have thoughtful details like rain showers with towels of varying sizes (so you don't have to wrap your hair in an enormous bath sheet), hand-sculpted marble tubs, personalized minibars and intuitive butler service. If your private terrace with its unobstructed view of the cerulean sea doesn't lure you outside, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course (hewn from a verdant mountain), an indoor-outdoor spa (composed of private villas), and a new shopping and dining plaza certainly will. Families gather around the meandering pool and manicured beach while couples go for the smaller infinity pool with a bar and fire pits. Dining options range from Jean-Georges Vongericthen's Asian-inspired Market to "Mexiterranean" dining at Agua on a windswept bluff overlooking the Sea of Cortez.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Playa Azul Golf Scuba Spa Hotel
Carretera Costera Norte, Km 4
Costera Norte , Cozumel
Mexico 77600
Tel: 52 987 869 5160
playazul@playa-azul.com
www.playa-azul.com

It doesn't take long to get to know waiters and guests by name at this cozy retreat on the island's north shore. Smooching couples and adventuresome kids all feel at home in the calm waters beside the hotel and on the small beach. Mellow ivory walls and dreamy blue fabrics, wicker furnishings, and plenty of windows give the 50 rooms an airy, clean feeling. You won't find Frette and Bulgari here, but you'll get tangy margaritas by the pool, free access to the nearby golf course, and a complete break from crowds and noise. An added bonus: Spa packages offer discounts on aroma stone massages and other services at the serene on-site Savia Spa.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Posada Corazón
9 Aldama
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico
Tel: 52 415 152 0182
posada.corazon@gmail.com
www.posadacorazon.com.mx

Step through a doorway behind the Parroquia into old San Miguel, where mansions once commanded acres in the heart of the city in the 18th and 19th centuries, and you'll find this elegant inn, which certainly fits in with the neighborhood's historic heritage. Guests share roaming privileges with the cats, dogs, and roosters that wander among the giant ficus trees, clumps of cacti, citrus groves, and sculpture garden. Six bright, airy rooms with slick tile floors, somewhat lumpy beds, and private baths with showers are located in a stone house designed by the architect Leonardo de la Canal, a descendant of one of the city's founding families. Nonguests can ring the front entry bell and enjoy delicious organic breakfasts in a window-walled library.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Posada la Poza
Colonia la Poza
Todos Santos
Mexico
Tel: 52 612 145 0400
contact@lapoza.com
www.lapoza.com

Hummingbirds zip around plumeria, rose, and jasmine blossoms in gardens surrounding this seven-suite artsy eco-hotel on a roller coaster dirt road in Todos Santos. Guests are greeted with binoculars and CDs of their choice and settle into meticulously arranged living and sleeping areas with orangey plastered walls, fresh flowers, bowls of pistachios, and stocked bookshelves, or on terraces or balconies facing desert gardens, a soothing saltwater pool, a sea-grass framed lagoon, and the booming Pacific waves. Rowboats are available for excursions across the lagoon to a long deserted beach; more than 70 species of birds find refuge here and you can easily spot cormorants, egrets, herons, and pelicans. Delicious Euro-Mexican dinners are served in El Gusto! Restaurant, decorated with paintings by owner-artist Libusche Wiesendanger. She and her husband Juerg bring a Swiss formality and flavor to the service and cuisine. The menu always includes a selection of salads, soups, and hearty entrees with enough variety to keep guests from tackling the road to town (better to dip into the town's many excellent cafes for long lunches). If you're looking for action, stay in Cabo. But if you crave a completely serene getaway with ample pampering, you just might want to stay here forever.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Presidente InterContinental Cancún Resort
Blvd. Kukulcán, Km. 7.5
Zona Hotelera
Cancún
Mexico 77500
Tel: 52 998 848 8700
Tel: 800 344 0548
cunhc-resvn@interconti.com
www.interconti.com/cancun

The Presidente was one of Cancún's first luxury hotels, and though it's not as sleek and high-tech as some of its competitors, it has a comfy, lived-in casualness that suits the flip-flop-and-shorts ambience of Cancun. Some of the service staff here have been gushing over hotel guests for ten years. The scarcity of balconies in sea-facing rooms is a major flaw in the '70s-style architecture; ask for a suite on the tenth floor to insure the most generous space indoors and out. Renovations in 2006 to bring the property closer to the competition resulted in cocoon-soft beds in the 299 rooms and a mirrored tequila bar in the middle of a new glass-walled lobby, with pool and sea views. There's also Wi-Fi in the lobby, plus two restaurants and an upscale palapa beach bar where you can actually watch the sun set into the sea (most hotels face east). The best reason to book is Presidente's beach, the most private and peaceful stretch of silky white sand and languid aquamarine sea in the Zona Hotelera.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa
Carretera a Chankanaab, Km 6.5
Costera Sur , Cozumel
Mexico 77600
Tel: 52 987 872 9500
reservations_cozumel@interconti.com
www.intercontinentalcozumel.com

The Presidente has long been the most luxurious resort on Cozumel, buried in thick palms and flowering shrubs beside a prime snorkeling and swimming beach. After Hurricane Wilma devastated its '70s-style open-air architecture in 2005, designer Bryan W. Tarrant came to the rescue with a redesign that injected modern sophistication while retaining its endearing character. The facade and open-air corridors remain much the same, as do the blooming bougainvillea and hibiscus. But beds were shifted to face the sea in the 220 enlarged rooms and suites, and many of those were tricked out with ocean-view bathtubs, outdoor rain showers, iPod docks, and plasma-screen TVs. A peaceful adults-only pool replaced a patch of stripped-down jungle. Find further peace and quiet in the ultraprivate Reef Suite terraces or the Mandara Spa. A session in the temazcal (Mayan steam bath) inspires liquidity in mind and body—as do a few margaritas on the mango-colored couches at the seaside Caribeño restaurant.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Holistic Retreat & Spa
Cabo Pacifica S/N
Cabo San Lucas
Mexico 23450
Tel: 52 624 142 9696
sayala@pueblobonito.com.mx
www.pueblobonitopacifica.com/

This adults-only retreat has a two-mile stretch of beach and lots of water and cactuses in the landscaping. The lobby is an "oasis of serenity with eucalyptus-infused air." "Spacious rooms" have handmade wood furniture and "gigantic showers with river rock inlaid floors." Breakfast includes the "fresh fruit 'Rubik's Cube,' made from colorful chunks of melon and papaya." Staff "treated us like family."

(327 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort & Spa
Predio Paraiso Escondido
Domocilio Conocido
Cabo San Lucas
Mexico 23450
Tel: 52 624 142 9999
reservations_hpbsb@pueblobonito.com.mx
www.pueblobonitosunsetbeach.com/

"You'll think you've gone to heaven" at this private beachfront resort. Flowering gardens are dotted with waterfalls, while the "mission-style lobby has magnificent artwork." Hacienda-like hillside villas showcase ocean views, marble baths, and "beautiful tile work." For "music and camaraderie at sunset," stop by the cedar-and-onyx lobby bar for martinis, sushi, and tropical drinks.

(154 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Rancho La Puerta
Tecate
Baja California
Mexico
Tel: 858 764 5500
www.rancholapuerta.com

Guests hardly realize they're in Mexico when splurging for a week at this legendary spa. Well, until they join the dawn hike on Pilgrim Way trail and watch the sun rise over distant Baja peaks and canyons. Celebs and high-energy execs mingle with regular folk eager to experience ultimate rejuvenation within the ranch's 3,000-acre cocoon. The low-cal menu pulls from the organic garden and is legendary for its flavors and creativity (though we won't tell if you bring a stash of snacks and alcohol). Exercise, from water-sport conditioning to postural therapy, is challenging, while the pampering easy. The spa offers acupuncture, aromatherapy, and acupressure, as well as more traditional massages. Specialty weeks focus on everything from memoir writing to Zen qigong. After a full day, return to your casita and relax in front of the fireplace.—Maribeth Mellin

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rancho Pescadero
Highway 19, Km. 62
El Pescadero
Mexico
Tel: 650 823 0815
rancho1@ranchopescadero.com
ranchopescadero.com

A long trek over twisting roads filled with sudden perils (abrupt turns, steep drops, goats, cows) leads to Rancho Pescadero, a 12-room resort six miles south of laid-back Todos Santos, on a prime piece of the Pacific coast dotted with surfers, whales, and little else. Casual is the rule here—you're greeted upon arrival by one of four "guard" dogs (which will likely lick your hand and roll over for a belly scratch). Manager Christine is the one-woman welcome wagon/bartender/yoga instructor/dog wrangler, who will provide free drinks and snacks in return for the latest Sunday New York Times or New Yorker. George, the de facto concierge, dispenses fishing advice as fast as he uncorks your Chilean cabernet franc. Beyond lounging by the pool, activities are few (yoga, stargazing, bike riding) and time moves slowly. The one thing not taken casually here is service: Staff dutifully accommodate every request, from surfing lessons to off-the-menu hankerings. Each of the sizable guest rooms is outfitted in a minimalist Mexican style that smartly blends into the surroundings while maintaining a sophistication with a canopied bed, soft colors, and floor-to-ceiling terrace doors that can slide entirely into the wall for sprawling ocean views. With the focus on unplugging, crowing roosters and the sound of the surf are your wake-up call.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Cancún
36 Retorno del Rey
Blvd. Kukulcán, Km. 13.5
Zona Hotelera
Cancún
Mexico 77500
Tel: 52 998 881 0808
Tel: 800 241 3333
rc.cunrz.concierge@ritzcarlton.com
www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/cancun

The Ritz-Carlton has long been one of Cancún's most luxurious hotels, with a prime location on a quiet street near the Zona Hotelera beaches. The property underwent a $15-million renovation in 2006 that refurbished—but didn't alter—the classic Ritz-Carlton decor: Marble floors gleam, chandeliers sparkle, and rooms are still upholstered in plush, soft-colored fabrics. The 365 rooms all look out on the water (to varying degrees) and have plenty of space. Dining experiences include dinner on the sand in private, torchlit cabanas, and cooking classes and elegant tequila tastings at the Culinary Center. Whether or not the formal ambience is your cup of tea, there's no denying the superiority of the service: A beach attendant brings ice for the bottled water you grabbed from the minibar or sets your tote bag on a stool so it doesn't get sandy; a spa attendant adjusts the temperature of your shower before you step in.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rosewood Mayakoba
Carretera Federal Cancún-Playa del Carmen, Km 298
Mayakoba
Mexico
Tel: 888 767 3966 (toll-free)
mayakoba@rosewoodhotels.com
www.rosewoodmayakoba.com

The staff at the Rosewood Mayakoba achieves the perfect service-to-friendliness ratio. Cart drivers meet guests at their doors with open umbrellas during tropical rain showers and waiters quickly memorize cocktail and coffee preferences. The service sets the tone for guests, making the vibe here far more social than at the Mayakoba development's other chichi options, the Banyan Tree and the Fairmont. Much of the development is a protected reserve, and the outdoor Yucatán limestone showers, waterside plunge pools, and sunken tubs in indoor gardens in the 128 suites (none smaller than 800 square feet) play off that nature-focused bent. The stark cubist buildings, on the other hand, seem to shimmer against the azure sky. Though it's tempting to cocoon in your luxe retreat, guests are easily lured out by the contemporary European fare at Casa del Lago, the casual Mexican meals served pool and beachside, and the primo tequilas at the Agave Azul. Even more enticing is the Sense Spa, whose waterside treatment rooms and spa café reside on their own private island. This is, in short, the ideal way to experience Mayakoba.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
11 Nemesio Diez
Colonia Centro
San Miguel de Allende
Mexico GTO 37700
Tel: 52 415 152 9700
sanmiguel@rosewoodhotels.com
rosewoodsanmiguel.com/en/index.cfm

Far grander than the colonial mansions of old, Rosewood's 67-room boutique hotel is constructed of local rose-hued limestone and has creaking hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, arched porticos, and fountains galore. Polished wood desks with leather blotters, velvet couches, Oaxacan woven rugs, and beds piled with throw pillows give the rooms a baronial flair. Baths with deep tubs set in arched niches can be closed off for privacy by heavy sliding wood doors, while glass-paned French doors open onto balconies with views of the city and the ornate steeple of San Miguel's iconic Parroquia. The main restaurant, 1826, showcases chef Carlos Hannon's locavore Mexican cuisine, while tables at the Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar are in high demand when sunset lights the cityscape aglow.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Royal Hideaway Playacar
Lote Hotelero No. 6, Desarollo Playacar
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
Tel: 52 984 873 4500
Fax: 52 984 873 4506
www.royalhideaway.com

This pricey all-inclusive brings Maui to Mexico—minus the leis and mai tais. It was the first adults-only resort in Playacar and benefits from a generous 13-acre layout of lawns, streams and sand. Whirlpool bathtubs, walk-in closets, and couple-friendly king beds hit all the right marks for those seeking the optimum bang for their bucks. Lavish coffee and tea spreads, complimentary room service, mini-bar, beer, soda, and a DVD library up the all-inclusive ante. However, many rooms lack even a peak at the horizon pools, narrow beach, and aquamarine sea. Although dining options abound, management still clings to a closed-toe shoes for men rule in the Asian and Mediterranean restaurants. Excuse me? In flip-flop territory, even the priceiest of resorts nix dress codes. No matter—the beachside grill sports candlelight after sunset and serves hearty seafood and steaks. The all-inclusive nature makes this largely the province of weddings, honeymoons, and incentive groups, and Mexico neophytes find the comfort they crave in the gated Playacar setting.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancún
Carretera Federal 307, Km 306.5
Punta Maroma
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
Tel: 52 984 877 3600
info.semrc@secretsresorts.com
www.secretsresorts.com/maroma

This two-year-old Playa del Carmen newcomer has "coral on the walls and magnificent marble staircases." Surrounded by 12 small swimming pools, "beautiful suites" in warm tones showcase views of the beach. "Sit under a palapa with the pool on one side and the ocean on the other" at Oceana, which specializes in seafood. "For an all-inclusive, the restaurants are very personal."

(412 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Secrets Marquis Los Cabos
Carretera Transpeninsular, Km 21.5
Los Cabos
Mexico
Tel: 52 624 144 2000
concierge-cabos@hotelesmarquis.com
www.secretsresorts.com/marquis/index.asp

Soaring arches frame the Sea of Cortez view from the open-air lobby at this architectural stunner, formerly called the Marquis Los Cabos. Wide-winged bronze angels appear ready to fly from the lobby's edge above waterfalls cascading down three levels to the pool. Architect Jacobo Micha's thoughtful design carries through to the 235 suites as well: Original paintings and sculptures complement the open-air design, mattresses can be flipped from firm to soft, long entryway counters are perfect for holding beach gear, and whirlpool tubs are deep enough for soaking. Beach casitas are equally indulgent, with individual pools by the sand to please celebs and privacy-seekers. Sunlight streams through latticed wood ceilings above open-air hot tubs in the 1,200-square-foot spa, and the sinuous pool meanders above the beach. Under the Secrets Unlimited Luxury format, the Marquis is now an all-inclusive, adults-only property. The rate covers upscale meals at the six restaurants, which includes seafood at Dos Mares and six-course tasting menus at Canto del Mar (premium liquor is also covered at the bars). The change makes sense in Corridor hotels such as the Marquis, as transportation to the two towns can be very pricey.—Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The St. Regis Mexico City
439 Paseo de la Reforma
Mexico City
Mexico 6500
Tel: 52 55 5228 1818
mexico.city@stregis.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis/property/overview/index.html?language=en_US&propertyID=1735

Sheathed in a gleaming glass-and-steel tower on the Paseo de la Reforma in the banking and embassy district of Polanco, the 189-room St. Regis may seem all business, but its central location and convenient kids' club means it's also a fine choice for leisure travelers. Inside, the decor subtly alludes to Mexico's heritage while gracefully integrating textures and restful colors (shades of gray and taupe with touches of greens and purples) throughout all the interior spaces including the luxuriously comfortable rooms and suites. The dramatically proportioned reception area and King Cole Bar, on the third floor, overlooked by commanding murals by Marc Otela, leads through French doors onto a terrace with inviting seating for casual fare (there are three full-fledged restaurants here and excellent room service as well). The only quibbles are the overly complicated room lighting system and the fact that improperly angled shower drains in the opulent bathrooms are prone to flooding. Service, including the efficient personal butler, is first-rate, but the crowning glory of the St. Regis is its fifteenth floor. Here you can exercise, have spa treatments, swim in the small but beautiful pool, or soak in one of the two hot tubs, all the while enjoying an exhilarating view of mountains from your sanctuary in the sky.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
Carretera Federal 200, Km. 19.5
Punta de Mita , Nayarit
Mexico 63734
Tel: 52 329 291 5800
www.stregis.com/puntamita

One might forget that the 120-room St. Regis is actually in the middle of a gated community of luxury hotels, private villas, and a golf course just north of Puerto Vallarta. The secluded atmosphere is achieved through unobtrusive design and landscaping and an enviable position hemmed in by rocky headlands. From the quiet reception villa atop the bluff, a series of reflecting pools and villas run down a gentle slope. The beach itself, just beyond the infinity pool, is ideal for swimming. The hotel has an effortlessly relaxed sensibility, with huge beds, indoor and outdoor showers, and ample terraces with a table and a chaise big enough for two. The butlers are helpful but not obsequious, and the food at both restaurants is simple yet delicious.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Tides Riviera Maya
Playa Xcalacoco
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
Tel: 888 230 7330 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 984 877 3000
reservations@tidesrivieramaya.com
www.tidesrivieramaya.com

Thirty deceptively earthy villas dot deep jungle trails along the beach at the Tides. The Viceroy Hotel Group (of the Avalon Beverly Hills, and Viceroy Palm Springs and Viceroy Santa Monica fame) took charge of the eco-friendly retreat in 2006 as the first phase of its Riviera Maya invasion (Next up: residences by powerhouse architect Ricardo Legorreta in the nearby Mayakoba development). Mayan carpenters constructed thatched villas with all the comforts of a rustic billionaire's cottage: bathrooms with marble showers and Molton Brown toiletries, canopied beds with 500 thread-count sheets, and outdoor living rooms with private plunge pools, hammocks, beach beds, and the occasional butterfly. The beach is narrow and long, and the spa heavily devoted to native traditions like temazcal (Mayan sweat lodge). Well-selected wines and high-end tequilas accompany Mediterranean-Mayan dishes at the on-site Azul restaurant—indulge in delicacies like the caviar-topped swordfish sashimi. For getting back to nature without skimping on frills, the Tides is ideal. But be forewarned that noise from nearby construction could cause trouble in paradise.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Tides Zihuatanejo
Playa la Ropa
Zihuatanejo
Mexico
Tel: 52 755 555 5500
reservations@tideszihuatanejo.com
www.tideszihuatanejo.com

The Tides Zihuatanejo launched Mexico's beach-chic movement in 1978, when it was known as the Villa del Sol. The hotel was made over in 2007 by hip-arbiters the Viceroy Hotel Group (of Viceroy Palm Springs and Avalon Beverly Hills fame), which kept some of the spirit with original folk art but modernized the design with white-on-white linens and upholstery and couples-size infinity pools on the suite terraces. Streams trickle beneath bridges and beside bamboo groves between the adobe-inspired buildings that house the resort's 70 guest rooms; softly lit trails lead to the beachfront restaurant and La Cava, a wine-cellar dining room. The hotel is located on Playa la Ropa, Zihuatanejo's most popular stretch of sand, but a roped-off lounging area provides privacy and beach-butler pampering; mayordomos care for any other needs and preferences. The small spa features a yoga wellness program and a yoga pavilion on the beach.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Valentin Imperial Maya
307 Carretera Federal
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
Tel: 800 232 8316 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 984 206 3660
info@valentinmaya.com
www.valentinmaya.com

The fountain-flanked entrance and courtyard of this adults-only resort make it feel "like an old Mexican plantation." White-and-red buildings with palapa roofs house suite-style rooms in neutral colors with cherry woods, each with a fully furnished terrace or balcony; the Golden Junior Suite has a swim-up pool. Eight restaurants offer diverse cuisines—all "a gourmand's delight!"

(540 suites)

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ventanas al Mar
Carretera Costera Oriente, Km. 43.5
Windward Coast , Cozumel
Mexico 77600
Tel: 52 987 105 2684
info@ventanasalmar.com.mx
www.ventanasalmar.com.mx

Though guests at Ventanas tend to turn in early, those awake around midnight can watch meteor showers flash through the sky or witness the heart-wrenching labors of a pregnant sea turtle digging her nest deep in the sand. This place is all about nature—it is the only hotel on Cozumel's windward coast, and it uses wind turbines and natural wells to provide electricity and water. Isolationists bring groceries and set up housekeeping in large suites with tiled kitchenettes; breakfast is served on the courtyard patio, and there's a restaurant (closed at dark) next door. Otherwise, it's pretty much you and the sand and the sea. And with only 12 rooms and two suites, you'll feel almost like you have the place to yourself.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Verana
Bahía de Banderas
Yelapa
Mexico
Tel: 866 687 9358 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 322 222 0878
reservations@verana.com
www.verana.com

Verana makes you work for its gorgeous views: You reach its aeries by climbing a steep hill or riding up with your luggage on a burro. But the solitude, the laid-back vibe, and the hand-crushed strawberries in your daiquiri make it worth all the effort. Movie industry pros Heinz Legler and Veronique Lievre chose this mountaintop on the south side of Banderas Bay as the ultimate setting for a rustic-chic escape constructed with local materials and a lot of imagination. They created the Palapa first, using it as their home while designing seven different casas. Decor varies from casa to casa—the Tea House has low beds on polished wood floors, the Studio has cantilevered window walls framing views of the sea—but all share a comfortably rustic vibe with rough-hewn furniture, pillowy beds, and a focus on bringing the outside in (think large windows, outdoor lounges, and more). Our favorite casa is the aforementioned thatched-roof Palapa, with dining nooks, an outdoor shower, hammocks, a large stone-floored terrace, and a net-draped bed on a platform overlooking the sea. Delectable meals (homemade yogurt with mango and granola, fresh-from-the-sea shrimp, spicy Thai beef) are served poolside or on the dining terrace. Outstanding therapists perform magic at two spas—one solely for hotel guests, the other a day spa with café for outsiders and guests. Activities include nature hikes to waterfalls and isolated beaches—and nightly cocktails with couples celebrating their honeymoon or engagement. Romance is inescapable here.—Maribeth Mellin

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
The Villa @ Mirida
Calle 59 #615a x 80 y 82
Mérida
Mexico
Tel: 52 999 928 8466
merida@thevillasgroup.com
www.thevillasgroup.com

For the exercising of colonial fantasies, this white-colonnaded tomato-red 19th-century nobleman's estate just outside the historic barrio de Santiago is just the thing. A mere seven rooms plus a chilled, efficient Mexican-Canadian staff make it seem all yours, especially while wandering the tropical gardens, dipping in the pool, or contemplating the courtyard fountain from the shade of the cloisters. Rooms have polished terra-cotta or blue-and-white tiled floors, extravagant carved mahogany or wrought-iron beds with white matelassé bedspreads and pale violet or ocher walls. The nicest have verandas overlooking the gardens. There's a charming bar-lounge with light food, and the chef will do dinner on request, but downtown Mérida's on your doorstep.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Villa Amor
Playa Sayulita
Sayulita
Mexico
Tel: 52 329 291 3010
Tel: 619 819 5407 (U.S.)
info@villaamor.com
www.villaamor.com

Surfers and recluses have been trying to keep Sayulita a secret for decades; the small village, just 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, has been a magnet for North American back-to-nature types since the highway first pierced this remote coastline in the 1970s. The best hotel in town, Villa Amor, has all the right touches—curvaceous architecture blending into hillsides, a location right above a reliable surf break at Playa Sayulita, and some of the best Mexican food in the neighborhood. Stairways snake up steep hills to the 33 rooms, all of which have fabulous views from their comfy open-air living rooms (the separate Grand Villa, popular with honeymooners, has a private pool overlooking the bay). Surfboards, kayaks, boogie boards, and snorkeling gear can all be borrowed free, but you'll want to claim your gear early if the place is full. Yoga groups sometimes take over the property for weeklong camps, taking full advantage of the laid-back setting.—Maribeth Mellin

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Westin Resort and Spa Cancún
Boulevard Kukulcán, Km 20
Zona Hotelera
Cancún
Mexico 77500
Tel: 800 228 3000
Tel: 52 998 885 2084
www.westincancun.com

Aggressive branding (Heavenly Bed, Heavenly Spa, and so on) doesn't diminish the distinctive modern architecture at this 379-room Starwood property in the quiet south end of the Zona Hotelera, between the sea and Laguna Nichupté. Long white hallways broken by eye-popping fuchsia pillars and yellow walls, as well as sea views through blue-framed windows, are all inspired by Ricardo Legorreta's Mexican modernism. The halls lead on to large marble-floored rooms decorated with admirable restraint. Each element, from the sensible desk to ample bathroom counters, emphasizes function over fashion. Rooms in the Royal Beach Club tower (private concierge, pool, and café) have balconies, unlike most in the main building. But the views are great anywhere. Windows on the west-facing lagoon side benefit from dazzling sunsets, and the lagoon pool is a peaceful oasis. Most guests gravitate to the seaside pools and beach and to the spa—check out the rooftop treatment huts set on wooden stilts to catch sea breezes. The hotel's main restaurant serves a lavish breakfast buffet and à la carte meals through the day and night, while the beachside Sea & Stones restaurant presents seafood and meats prepared tableside on hot stones. The quality and prices are satisfying enough to keep guests happy—a good thing, since there are few other options within walking distance.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W Mexico City
252 Campos Eliseos
Polanco
Mexico City
Mexico 11560
Tel: 877 946 8357 (toll-free)
Tel: 52 55 9138 1800
reservations.mexicocity@whotels.com
www.whotels.com/mexicocity

Forget the various shades of gray that distinguish many of this chain's locations. To remind you that you're in Latin America, the W Mexico City is splashed with bordello red. It's the color of the pillows in the lobby, the tables in the Whiskey Lounge, and the chairs in the Cocoa Bar. In the restaurant, Solea, red panels give you a bit of privacy. (But since this is a hipster hangout, the panels are semitransparent, so that you can still see and be seen.) And don't forget the 237 bedrooms, where red walls add a sensuous touch to rooms that otherwise would be a bit sterile. All have up-to-date amenities such as Wi-Fi (for a fee), DVD, and CD players, and a few bizarre—but pleasant—touches such as hammocks in the bathrooms. Big windows mean good views over the greenery of the posh Polanco neighborhood.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Zoëtry Paraíso de la Bonita Riviera Maya
Carretera 307, Km 328
Bahía Petempich
Puerto Morelos
Mexico
Tel: 888 496 3879 (toll-free)
info@paraisodelabonita.com
www.paraisodelabonita.com

The enormous, adults-only Paraíso has become a Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resort, the first in a new brand from the company that owns the region's many Dreams and Secrets resorts. However, the only thing that has changed is the name: The 90 massive suites and a 22,000-square-foot thalassotherapy center and spa remain as before. The hotel may profess to be about relaxation, but the rooms themselves have been designed to within an inch of their lives, with an overwhelming number of ethnic objets d'art and antiques. Thankfully, the rest of the hotel hits the mark: The navy freshwater pool begs to be jumped into; the beach is quiet and pristine; the restaurants are varied and all worth taking seriously; and the toiletries have the right Italian names. The sheer luxuriousness is a bit over the top—and yet so easy to get used to.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.