Everyone’s going to Mexico, in case you hadn’t noticed. The North American country was one of the few countries to keep its borders open during the pandemic and since then Mayan mania seems to have taken hold. The big surprise, perhaps, is that it took everyone so long to cotton on to Mexico’s charms. Steaming jungles, beaches strung out like pearl necklaces, fascinating Indigenous culture, ancient ruins, heavy-hitting street food and highly individual design define this country of surprises.
If you’re thinking about visiting Mexico in 2023, then good news – the country has witnessed a raft of new hotel openings recently, properties which combine killer locations with world-leading design. Feast your eyes on the best luxury hotels in Mexico to book for 2023…
Casa Malca, Quintana Roo
Lapped by the Caribbean Sea, largely concealed by the verdant jungle of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and just a 25-minute drive from party paradise Tulum, this historic mansion is perfectly located for those who want to be well-connected but remain discreet – qualities that clearly appealed to Pablo Escabar. Word among locals is that the property belonged to the drug kingpin right up until his death in 1993 – and an escape tunnel (now a meditation room) adds weight to the rumour. These days, Casa Malca is owned by Colombian art dealer Lio Malca. All 71 suites are overflowing with work from the likes of Basquiet and Jeff Koons, while a private cenote (a naturally-formed swimming pool) is a spectacular piece of natural art.
Rooms from $538 per night, visit casamalca.com
Hotel Cigno, Quintana Roo
Known for its historic haciendas and grand Colonial avenues, Merida is arguably one of Yucatan’s most attractive cities and this 19th-century mansion embodies its graceful charm. Sitting pretty a few blocks from the beautiful Erita Church, the property conjures the atmosphere of a house party, thanks to the fact it has just 10 rooms, each with tiled floors and a carefully-curated selection of antiques. Its cocina (kitchen) is headed up by local chef Angel Palaez, who learned to cook at the side of his grandmother and who favours classic recipes that spotlight ingredients from Yucatan, many of which are pre-Hispanic.
From $189 per night, visit cignohotel.com
Maroma, Quintana Roo
Once a private home, then a guesthouse, now a resort, this dreamy escape has grown organically over the past few decades and, from May 2023, it will be entering its next iteration: as a Belmond hotel. There’ll be 10 new waterfront suites, a nature-focused wellness centre (with Guerlain products) and a culinary offering headed up by Mexican-born Daniel Camacho. What hasn’t changed are Maroma’s thatched towers, dreamy location – the hotel occupies a spot where the jungle flows into the sea – and dedication to celebrating Mexican artisans through beadwork, ceramics and leather touches in seriously extravagant rooms.
From $1,791 per night, visit belmond.com
La Valise, Guanajuato
San Miguel de Allende has long been a Mecca for artists of all mediums, from Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros to Beat writer Neal Cassady. As you watch the mists of the Mexican highlands swallow the town’s colourful streets, you’ll understand why. La Valise draws its design inspiration from the studio of painter – and Frida Kahlo’s lover – Diego Rivera (now the Anahuacalli Museum). The hotel’s six suites are a masterclass in texture, balance and form, with quirky touches such as exposed beams and night skies painted above octagonal bathtubs. Enjoy breakfast by the courtyard pool and dusk in the rooftop hot tub.
From $322 per night, visit lavalisesma.com
Galopina, Quintana Roo
If you were invited to stay in the low jungles of Yucatan by a friend with impeccable taste, you’d have an experience a little like this. Surrounded by cenotes (wild swimming pools), and with its own organic kitchen garden, this five-bedroom hideaway is an idyllic spot in which to while away days by the pool and evenings under the stars. A tawny colour palette and private terraces make each room feel as if it has sprung organically from the earth. Take a rickshaw to nearby convents, learn beekeeping at the hotel’s own hives, or simply relax in the refined nature of this hotel.
From MXN$3,900 (approx. £163) per night, visit galopina.com.mx
Cross a wooden bridge, continue past a waterfall and you’ll find yourself in the 42-acre nature reserve that is Naviva – the Four Seasons’ brand-new luxury resort in Punta Mita. Just 15 tented camps nestle in a pristine forest where butterflies the size of your fist flit between hibiscus flowers and birds of paradise provide a twittering soundtrack as you sip mezcal cocktails and indulge in fresh seafood. With sea-view plunge pools, fire-pits and decks the size of many London apartments, it would be tempting to spend all your time in your tent. But if you can tear yourself away, then the hotel can arrange experiences including spearfishing with local fishermen, and artist’s studio visits.
From £4,378 per night, visit fourseasons.com/naviva