Travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to the best resorts in Mexico, regardless of their vacation personality or which coast happens to be calling. Craving a big resort with multiple pools and enough high-energy activities to satisfy the whole family? Or a romantic adults-only escape with cocktails and food aplenty? How about an intimate jungle-meets-beach hideaway with five destination-worthy dining options that include a restaurant from one of the country’s best chefs? You’ll find all that and more on this year’s list of T+Lreader favorites.
How Voting Works
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).
Hotels were classified as either resort hotel, city hotel, or safari lodge based on their location and amenities, and they were specifically rated on the criteria below:
For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.
What Readers Loved
Nine of the hotels on this year’s list are clustered in Baja California Sur. The 2022 WBA winner, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, slipped one spot to No. 2, but readers still had plenty of praise for the 113-room oasis. Multiple people commented on the superlative cliffside restaurant El Farallon, with one person calling it “one of the most romantic spots anywhere.” The dining was equally memorable for another reader, who stayed at The Cape, a Thompson Hotel (No. 8), who said that “the craft drinks and Peruvian ceviche became a daily tradition.”
Hotels in the Yucatán Peninsula — specifically, in Cancún and the Riviera Maya along the Caribbean coast — also had a strong showing, grabbing another eight spots on this year’s list. One of the newest hotels to catch readers’ attention is No. 17 Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya. Opened in January 2022, the vibrant 349-room resort offers a sophisticated option in a destination whose spectacular natural scenery and adventure pursuits have, in recent years, been overshadowed by high-octane beach clubs and overtourism.
All-inclusive hotels have become increasingly popular — and increasingly elevated in their offerings — which is perhaps one reason why five of them appear on this year’s list of the best resorts in Mexico, as voted by T+L readers. The family-friendly Hotel Xcaret Mexico (No. 11) is a 900-suite property that provides access to eight theme and water parks as part of every booking. “Xcaret makes it so easy to relax,” wrote one voter. “You don’t have to think too much! The time we spend here is perfect, whether we’re there as a couple or taking our teenagers.” Other perks include a round-trip ferry to Isla Mujeres, a popular site for snorkeling and scuba diving. On the opposite coast, readers loved both Grand Velas Los Cabos (No. 12) and Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (No. 10). Of the latter, one T+L reader said, “The cuisine and beverage selections are made to please the most discriminating palate. This is a very special place to stay if you would like to be treated like gold in the most beautiful surroundings.”
The Full List
1. Hotel Xcaret Arte: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
This all-inclusive, 900-suite property debuted in July 2021 just south of resort hub Playa del Carmen. While the hotel is a popular destination for honeymooners and touts itself as being adults only, it actually allows guests as young as 16, making it a solid choice for families with older high schoolers and college students. Like its sibling property (No. 11 Hotel Xcaret Mexico), Xcaret Arte offers unlimited access to a group of a combination of water and theme parks, where guests can participate in zip-lining, snorkeling, white-water rafting, and other activities. As the name implies, art is also a big focus here. Eight on-site workshops let travelers dabble in specialties like textiles and painting. “Amazing,” summarized one reader.
Reader Score: 98.67
2. Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Whether tucked into the cliffs or steps from the sand, the rooms and suites at this refined Baja resort put guests in prime position to watch technicolor sunsets and, during migration season, California gray whales.
Reader Score: 97.99
3. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort: San José del Cabo, Mexico
“The service truly sets it apart from all other five-star resorts in the area,” shared one reader who stayed at this 84 suite and villa property, which provides complimentary butler service for every guest.
Reader Score: 97.65
4. Grand Velas Riviera Maya: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Eight restaurants and five bars make for an impressive selection of dining options at this 539-suite all-inclusive, but one T+L reader was even more excited by the spa, which they proclaimed the “best in the world.”
Reader Score: 97.17
5. Etéreo, Auberge Resorts Collection: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Local culture is always front-and-center at this 75-room property, where activities include cooking classes, Mayan calendar readings, jewelry workshops, and tastings that highlight Mexican wines and lesser-known agave spirits.
Reader Score: 97.13
6. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve: San José del Cabo, Mexico
The culinary offerings and outstanding service earned raves from T+L readers, as did the innovative experiences for young travelers. “My son was obsessed with the kids’ club,” wrote one mom. “The Jacques Cousteau kids’ program was a highlight for him.”
Reader Score: 97.04
7. One&Only Palmilla: San José del Cabo, Mexico
“This place truly maintains the original Mexico traditions, with service beyond compare,” shared one voter. Another reader echoed these sentiments: “Everyone who works at the resort goes out of their way to make you feel special, and they have a high attention to detail. It’s truly a magical place!”
Reader Score: 96.9
8. The Cape, A Thompson Hotel: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Multiple voters singled out the location as the difference-maker at this resort. “All rooms have a stunning view of the Arch and sparkling sea,” one person shared. “It’s within close distance of numerous restaurants and shops, but still feels secluded away from the masses.”
Reader Score: 96.62
9. One&Only Mandarina: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
The combination of beach and jungle made this resort stand out to a number of readers, one of whom recommends booking the Villa Cumaru: “It offers incredible space, an extremely large and private pool, as well as a large cliff top jacuzzi with a firepit, which makes sunset drinks in the room incredible.”
Reader Score: 96.61
10. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Readers appreciated the attentive, intuitive service offered by the staff at this all-inclusive resort. “They cater to your desires and know what to offer even before you voice it,” wrote one fan.
Reader Score: 96.50
11. Hotel Xcaret Mexico: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Among the lively restaurants at this all-inclusive are the Mercado de la Merced, which encompasses 10 themed stations, and Teatro del Río, where dinners are accompanied by live music, dance, and theatrical performances.
Reader Score: 95.69
12. Grand Velas Los Cabos: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Between three oceanview infinity pools, dedicated teens’ and kids’ clubs, and a baby concierge, families are well taken care of at this all-inclusive resort, where paint-and-wine classes, aqua aerobics, and tequila tastings are among the adult-centric activities.
Reader Score: 95.54
13. Rosewood Mayakoba: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
One of the most memorable experiences at this serene luxury resort is dinner at La Ceiba Garden and Kitchen, where guests share a family-style meal with each other and the property’s staff. Travelers can’t go wrong with one of the beach or lagoon suites, but those seeking a deeper reset might consider one of the newer wellness suites, which come with a well-being butler and incorporate touchpoints like a reflexology fountain.
WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Reader Score: 95.29
14. Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
“From the moment you step foot on the property you feel right at home,” enthused one recent guest. “Everyone always greets you with a warm smile, and you can tell that everyone is proud to be a part of the team. The staff will go above and beyond to make your time at Chileno something that you will cherish.”
Reader Score: 95.16
15. Montage Los Cabos: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Not all resorts in Cabo can boast a swimmable beach, which is one of the best features of this property, according to a T+L reader who had a memorable stay for multiple reasons: “We did the tasting menu at Mezcal for my milestone birthday, and it was delicious. And the service is above and beyond, from the butlers to the director of housekeeping, who personally took us to the hospital when my mother needed stitches.”
Reader Score: 95.04
16. Viceroy Riviera Maya: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
This past winner wowed readers again this year on the strength of its service and the level of privacy afforded by its 41 villas. Also a hit: the “fresh and authentic menus,” as one reader described.
Reader Score: 94.96
17. Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya: Tulum, Mexico
Part of the luxury brand’s expansion into the resort space, this hotel brings a refined sensibility to both its decor (the hand-carved doors make for a wow-worthy entrance) and excursions like visits to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its wealth of wildlife and plant species.
Reader Score: 94.80
18. Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Superlative service is a hallmark across the Auberge portfolio, according to T+L readers, and this resort — set on the bluffs of Punta Ballena — is no exception. “The absolute best service and people of any hotel I have ever stayed at,” wrote one person. Another WBA voter was so enamored with the property that they ended up purchasing a villa there after two recent stays.
Reader Score: 94.49
19. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita: Punta Mita, Mexico
T+L readers appreciate that there’s something for everyone at this 52-acre resort, where the staff excels in creating a welcoming atmosphere. “I’ve never experienced warmer or more complete service,” wrote one voter. “And there’s nothing wrong with a day that goes from a beach cabana, to an infinity pool, to a lazy river.”
Reader Score: 93.90
20. Mahekal Beach Resort: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
While this eco-chic resort puts travelers within easy walking distance of Playa del Carmen’s shops and restaurants, there’s ample to satiate guests who prefer to stay onsite. “Great food, really nice pool and common areas, and stunning grounds,” wrote a reader.
Reader Score: 93.88
21. Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués: Acapulco, Mexico
Forty-five minimalist villas are perched on a cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the lush environs, readers applauded the staff’s attentiveness. “They personalized my stay, anticipating to my needs,” shared one appreciative reader.
Reader Score: 93.68
22. Conrad Punta de Mita: Punta de Mita, Mexico
As one reader points out, this swanky resort isn’t in the thick of the surf town’s party areas, but that can be a plus for travelers in search of a relaxing escape. “Don’t expect to hit up nightlife from this hotel,” wrote the voter. “But it’s a beautiful property, and the food in particular is excellent.”
Reader Score: 93.33
23. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort: Punta Mita, Mexico
Set amid 22 well-landscaped acres, this 120-room haven counts two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses among its amenities. Guests who prefer pampering to putting can head to the spa for a massage or facial.
Reader Score: 93.18
24. Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta: Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Entertainment abounds at this lively resort, whether a guest wants to keep busy with activities, live shows, or something else. (One distinguishing amenity: La Plaza, a three-story shopping complex with designer boutiques and a gourmet market.) The variety is enough to earn repeat visits from at least one voter: “We stay in the Grande Luxxe Residence and return almost yearly. We take friends and family and are never disappointed!”
Reader Score: 93.00
25. JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa: Cancún, Mexico
Inviting tones of blue and cream throughout this upscale 445-room property echo its Caribbean setting. Its dining outlets, though, are decidedly global, with options ranging from classic Italian to Thai. Its lobby bar offers more than 150 different types of margaritas.
Reader Score: 92.97
Source: Travel + Leisure