Luxury Travel Advisor has reached out to a handful of top travel advisors to see what their favorite luxury hotels in Mexico are. Here’s what they had to say:
Owner, River Oaks Travel, Houston, TX
With a mix of iconic properties and exciting newcomers, Los Cabos has a resort to match every mood and travel style. Take Auberge Resorts — sister properties Esperanza and Chileno Bay offer two very distinct experiences for luxury travelers.
Perched on the bluffs of Punta Ballena, Esperanza has long been a retreat for celebrities and A-listers. Multi-bedroom villas and haciendas are perfect for families or groups looking for privacy, with butler service and golf carts ready to whisk you to the spa or dinner at the signature Cocina del Mar. For couples looking for something more intimate, the bright and airy casitas offer plunge pools and hammocks, with exposed wooden beams and soft drapery that add to the romantic feel. I personally love that the beach is private to the resort (a rarity in Los Cabos), perfect for relaxing to the sound of the waves in a palapa-roofed cabana.
An Oceanfront Junior Suite at Esperanza has 1,200 square feet of space.
Sister-property Chileno Bay is a newer addition to the Los Cabos hotel scene but fast becoming a fan favorite. While firmly in the luxury market, the property has a younger and hipper vibe — perfect for families and young professionals looking for high-quality service with a more casual feel. Picture an excellent pool scene, authentic beachside taco bar, and restaurants serving up craft cocktails and modern takes on traditional Mexican dishes. Families can spend the day snorkeling at the swimmable beach, or let the kids play in the extensive club while mom relaxes at the beautiful spa. For anyone looking for the ultimate in relaxation (and who isn’t during this COVID situation?), I highly recommend booking one of the Spa Suites — featuring a huge living area, plunge pool, and separate treatment room, these suites will turn your entire trip into a spa getaway.
Firepit at the Comal restaurant at Chileno Bay Resort & Residences
For travelers looking for privacy combined with 5-star luxury, the iconic Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal more than exceeds expectations. While all of the rooms offer private plunge pools (making it easy to want to stay in!), the ultimate exclusivity can be found in the new casitas and private homes. Perched along the hillside and offering stunning views of the Sea of Cortez and marina, these ultra-stylish escapes are perfect for families and friends looking for space. I stayed in a three-bedroom home for a recent birthday trip and found it to be the perfect option for travel during COVID — large open floor plan, private pool to relax in, and a butler to arrange in-villa dining, private excursions, and anything else we could need.
The Presidential Suite at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
Regardless of which accommodation you pick, however, make sure to take advantage of the resort amenities. Luna y Mar Spa is probably the best in all of Los Cabos, so consider reserving your treatment in advance as it books out. And no visit to Pedregal is complete without dining at the cliffside El Farallon, one of the most dramatic restaurants in the area — I also highly recommend visiting the Champagne Terrace for their unique champagne flight with salt pairing. No matter how you spend your days, however, you’re in for a real treat at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.
El Farallon at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal offers a dramatic cliffside dining experience.
Owner, With This Ring Destination Weddings and Honeymoons
As we prepare to return to travel, I visited Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen in search of some smaller luxury properties for my clients to experience and what I discovered was amazing. Join me on my journey to The Fives Oceanfront in Puerto Morelos and The Thompson Beach House in Playa del Carmen.
Located in the fishing town of Puerto Morelos, The Fives Oceanfront is the perfect place to relax and recharge. This peaceful resort has 94 lavish rooms, ranging from the junior suite to one- two- and three-bedroom residences. The lead-in category is 640 square feet and has balconies. I spent the night in a spacious and luxurious one-bedroom residence. There was a separate living room and bedroom, a full dining room and modern kitchen. Why a kitchen you ask? Well, the hotel offers an all-inclusive option, but you can also order a box of food to prepare on your own or for an additional fee you can have a chef prepare a delicious meal for you. In addition to that there is a private beach club situated along the pristine beach with bean-bag chairs where you can relax and enjoy an innovative cocktail. But best of all, you can safely step outside and enjoy this lovely Mexican village.
From check-in to check-out, you are taken care of by ambassadors. There is an app that you use to stay in touch. You can request a bath, dinner reservations, excursions, just about anything your heart can desire, and they do it with such joy. My favorite dining experience took place at Rohan Marley’s restaurant. Yes, he is the son of Jamaican singer Bob Marley. The restaurant adheres to the Rastafarian lifestyle and offers all organic meals. Food is prepared using local fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and offers vegetarian and vegan options. The presentation, views and service were all that one could ask for. Imagine Jamaican coffee and rum next to the beach in Mexico.
The Fives Oceanfront is an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate.
And then there are the Presidential Luxury Suites that are more than 5,900 square feet. There you will find a rooftop private pool, hot tub and spacious terrace. I have traveled to many destinations but the views from these balconies are breathtaking.
Next Stop: The Thompson Beach House in Playa del Carmen. This hotel has only 27 rooms and suites and offers an intimate oceanfront escape. The Beach House is perfect for a group, honeymoon or destination wedding.
General Manager Rene Malacara and his staff provide personalized service and you are quickly greeted by name. This hotel offers a private and exclusive beach club just steps away from the vibrant Quinta Avenida.
You can enjoy dinner at the beachfront restaurant with amazing sunsets. Just a few blocks away you will find The Thompson Main House. In Playa, it’s all about the rooftops and this one does not disappoint, offering beautiful spaces to relax and enjoy the view.
This hotel is right in the shopping area and you can even get a bike to explore. There is no charge for the adventure. The rooftop restaurant has high-end cuisine and spectacular views. In the evening great entertainment is provided.
The Thompson Beach House has only 27 rooms and suites.
I highly recommend a split stay so that you can enjoy the experiences at both luxury resorts. They have two different personalities and provide luxury in different ways, one a bit laid back and the other in the center of activity.
Just remember some of the best things come in small packages.
Founder and Director of Travel Design Videre Travel
I’ve just returned from the new One&Only Mandarina — and after so much buzz (I feel like it’s all anyone was talking about last year!) my expectations were high. Have you been out there yet?
My IC Mallory and I were there for four nights and it was as close to perfect as you can get. As expected, the villas, the landscaping (150 gardeners on staff!), the food, spa and setting were all lovely. But what really set this experience apart for me was the service.
Over the past 20 years working in the luxury travel industry, I can count on one hand the resorts where it seemed as if the team knew what I needed even before I did. And more than once while staying at One&Only Mandarina, I commented that the staff knew what I wanted before I did!
Just a few examples of this include: Staff in the restaurants remembered what we ordered the day before and made recommendations accordingly. I returned to the villa one afternoon to discover my broken mask chain had been fixed simply because someone noticed it was broken. One of the lifeguards overheard us talking about how nice the beach cabanas were and when we arrived at the beach the next morning the staff let us know they had reserved one for us.
COVID-testing at One&Only Mandarina is seamless and simple.
Finally, the resort staff made the required COVID test seamless and super simple. Two days before we were to depart, they organized for a test in the villa (at no charge).
It’s basically like a pregnancy test — one line and no COVID, two lines and yes COVID — then they send it to the lab for confirmation. The next day we received a formal letter via email to present at the airport upon departure. So easy!
The one thing to keep in mind with this property is seasonality. Here the weather (and the water temperature of the ocean) can be a bit cold over the winter months. While all the pools are seriously heated year round, if travelers are looking for a true warm weather getaway it’s probably best to avoid November — January. Also, the resort is nestled into a coastal rainforest. As such, they do receive a fair amount of rain during the months of June — August.