Mexico is the US’ most visited country. The reasons are self-explanatory. It’s got stunning coastlines and world-class resorts, and it’s a short (and often affordable) flight from virtually anywhere in the States.
But the sad reality is Mexico is severely underrated. With millions flocking to immensely popular coastal destinations like Cancun and Cabo, a wealth of culture, food, and history is left undiscovered.
To help you plan your next adventure south of the border, we’ve found some fantastic hotels in lesser-visited areas of Mexico. Mix things up a little; these are the best hotels in Mexico.
Location: Merida, Yucatan
Vibe: High value and historic
The rundown: When you arrive at Cancun airport, grab a rental car and head the opposite way from the city. After an hour and a half or so, you’ll stumble across one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Bursting with color and history, Merida is the perfect foil to the resort-laden beaches on the coast.
When you’re not using the city as a base for exploring the nearby ruins or sampling the local cuisine, cozy down at Hacienda Xcanatun, a converted 18th-century hacienda. The luxury property is of incredible value but boasts all the charm and quirks expected of an older building. It’s also got an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which is insane in its own right.
Hotel Boutique Casona de Los Sapos
Vibe: A touch of France
The rundown: Just a short trip from the capital, Puebla’s staggering location has been enchanting visitors for decades. With a monumental volcano looming in the background, the country’s fourth-largest city churns away with historic charm. It is also the site of Mexico’s famous victory over the French that inspired the Cinco de Mayo holiday.
For a delightful stay in the heart of the historic city, try Hotel Boutique Casona de Los Sapos. Built around a traditional courtyard, the 16-room boutique property has a pool, two restaurants, a French bakery, a gym, and a sauna. With rooms running from around $173, it’s another bargain.
Quinta Real Oaxaca
Vibe: Covent convert
The rundown: Put down the Tex-Mex at your all-inclusive. It’s time to experience authentic Mexican food. Oaxaca is the unrivaled gastronomic capital of what is already an epic country for food. If you’re a foodie of any sort, it should be on your list.
For your stay, we’d recommend Quinta Real Oaxaca. Built in the 1500s as a convent, it retained its old-world mystique while adding modern facets to the property. Today, it’s a top-value luxury hotel, and there are few better bases for your culinary explorations of Mexico.
JW Marriott Hotel
Vibe: Elegant city escape
The rundown: As Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara is jam-packed with things to do, see, and eat. It’s the home of many quintessentially Mexican cultural staples but also has its foot firmly in the future, boasting a plethora of museums, theatres, and modern bars and restaurants. It’s guaranteed to surprise.
The JW Marriott in the city center is a beauty. It is ideally placed for exploration and equipped with an array of outstanding amenities like a pool overlooking the city and a vast gym. Its bars are elegant, its restaurants mouthwatering, and the service is exemplary.
Four Seasons Mexico City
Location: Mexico City
Vibe: Inner-city sanctuary
The rundown: The Mexican capital is nothing short of spectacular. Sprawling for miles and bursting with life, it’s a must-visit for any traveler. Its reputation is picking up as a destination, but it’s still way behind the likes of Cancun. It’s unmatched for museums, nightlife, food, and culture and is only getting better.
For an extravagant stay, try the Four Seasons. Situated in the bustling La Reforma neighborhood, guests are steps from some of the best shopping and attractions in the city while enjoying a bit of peace from the city. You’ll want it after a long day out in the concrete jungle.
Location: Puerto Vallarta
Vibe: Unequalled serenity
The rundown: If we can’t convince you to head a little further afoot, you better make your hotel amazing. You could do far worse than the One&Only Mandarina. Located just up the coast from the popular seaside town of Puerto Vallarta, this ultra-luxury property is as close to heaven as you’ll find anywhere.
The resort recently finished 8th at the 50 Best Hotels in the World awards ceremony, highlighting the level we’re talking about here. Overlooking a secluded crescent bay, the resort’s varied accommodations are expansive and luxurious, while its services and amenities are second to none. It’s a destination in itself.