Mexico hotels stay on the cutting edge of international trends with over-the-top beach amenities and sprawling luxury resort developments. The major luxury hotel chains—Four Seasons and Fairmont, Rosewood and Ritz—are ubiquitous on Mexico's beaches, but so are one-of-a kind, family-run inns and ultralavish hideaways. Most luxury hotels in Mexico are clustered in Los Cabos and the Riviera Maya, many of them combining beach resorts with multimillion-dollar vacation villas. In the cities, you'll find high-end properties catering to business travelers, as well as boutique chains such as Grupo Habita that emphasize clever architecture and hopping nightclubs (be sure to check out the Hotel Habita and Condesa DF in Mexico City). In San Miguel de Allende, Mérida, Puebla, Oaxaca, and other colonial cities, you'll find hotels in restored mansions, convents, and houses. The Web site Mexico Boutique Hotels (011-52-322-221-2227, www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com) lists small lodging options throughout the country, from jungle eco-lodges to historic hotels.
Mexico isn't the budget destination it once was, but you can still find relatively inexpensive lodging in posadas and hostelerías in most cities, even on the coast. Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Cozumel, and Tulum are all good choices for travelers on a budget. No matter the genre, however, all hotels in Mexico have distinct quirks and characteristics. Porters, front-desk clerks, and concierges at most high-end hotels are usually bilingual or better, but a smattering of Spanish comes in handy at less expensive hotels and in less touristed regions. Everywhere, housekeepers, waiters, and other service personnel may speak extremely limited English. Patience and courtesy come in handy; the mañana spirit is one of Mexico's charms and challenges.