Cancún + The Riviera Maya

Hotels in Cancún + The Riviera Maya

Years of environmental study preceded the 2008 opening of this all-inclusive resort, which occupies 326 acres of privately owned, painstakingly protected rainforest.

The winning Mandarin formula—exemplary service, forward-reaching design, a first-rate spa—has taken root in a pristine Mexican coastal environment. Acres of mangrove forest, including an on-site cenote, surround a lovely—albeit small—stretch of powdery sand.

Behind a stark urban façade, another world unwinds in slow motion, reminiscent of a scene from the Swiss Family Robinson: wood-and-thatch dwellings, screened by banana trees, form a quadrangle crisscrossed by rustic stairs and wood-railed balcony porches.

Mahekal Beach Resort, situated on the sun-dappled Riviera Maya in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, was formerly the Shangri-La Caribe, deriving its name from author James Hilton’s vision for utopia.

You can actually swim with parrot fish and manta rays in lagoons. You can also hike tropical trails, picnic under a palapa, and sack out in a hammock.

Since relaunching in 2007, Live Aqua has become the alternative all-inclusive for those who crave Cancún but loathe the razzle-dazzle.

Waterfront views and a Swiss-Italian restaurant on a 4-mile island off Cancún. 

Room to Book: All rooms have terraces and hot tubs;  spacious Junior Suite Deluxe accommodations have outstanding views of the Caribbean.

La Vita e' Bella has direct beach access in a secluded setting near Tulum.

Wellness is so integral to this 14-acre Riviera Maya property that its signature Endless Privileges experience includes Hydrothalasso pool and cold plunge access, anti-aging diagnostics, in-room massages, and wellness consultations.

This adults-only boutique hotel in secluded Tulum has nine guest rooms, including four ocean view suites, two master suites, and three non-view, ground level rooms.

Formerly Hilton Cancùn Golf & Spa Resort

Ritz-Carlton's only Mexican property is a hacienda-style retreat on a 17,000-square-foot beach area—one of the largest in the Hotel Zone.

Luxury travel agent Natalie Nevares likes the little touches at Ocean Coral & Turquesa: "Chaise longues studded with air jets are built right into the children's pool, so parents can sit in the water with a pina colada, enjoying the bubbles and watching the kids play all day," she says.

The boutique property is the latest venture from the hip Micha brothers, who were behind the popular Hotel Deseo, also in bustling Playa del Carmen. This 15-room hideaway, just a block from the beach, forgoes the Deseo’s streamlined aesthetic for a rougher, more industrial look.