Best Mexico Beach Resorts
Decisions, decisions: after a day sunning on a sparsely populated white-sand beach, does one opt for a rejuvenating chaya herb salt scrub, sundowner tequila tasting, or quiet sail around a lagoon on a traditional lancha fishing boat, watching egrets flutter into the mangroves to roost? If you’re staying at the Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico’s best beach resort, the answer is yes—to all of it.
Spoilt for choice is one way to describe the winners of our 18th-annual World’s Best Awards survey. Voraciously vetted is another. Given that our sunny, southern neighbor is America’s favorite tourist destination (according to the U.S. National Tourism Office), we knew Travel + Leisure readers would have a lot to say on everything from rooms to restaurants to romantic possibilities.
Related: America's Best Beach Hotels
Location is a huge factor—not one of the properties on our list offers anything less than jaw-dropping scenery—as was next-level amenities and intuitive, warm service, something the butlers at the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort (No. 3) provide in spades.
Mexico’s famous cuisine, acknowledged by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, also proved a big lure for travelers. Knockout all-inclusive resorts like the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (No. 10) demonstrate just how far that much-maligned category has come, with restaurants celebrating cuisine both modern (veal osso bucco with mole) and classic (just-caught octopus ceviche). Esperanza resort (No. 4) in Los Cabos just plain celebrates, with a weekly music and fireworks show.
From Riviera Maya’s swaying palms and crystal-clear Caribbean waters to the dramatic desert climes of Baja, Mexico’s best beach resorts are calling. Time to answer.
No. 1 Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen
From the Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired lobby, with its swooping cantilevered roofline and two-story rock-clad waterfall, to retro-styled lancha fishing boats that ply winding lagoons, arriving at this 130-room standout on Mexico’s otherwise megaresort-lined Riviera Maya feels like entering a different, altogether more romantic world. Choose from rooms overlooking the lagoon, suspended over the water, or on the beachfront—a stretch of wildly beautiful, largely unpopulated sand with gin-clear water. All offer soaking tubs and outdoor showers, some even stargazing decks. The Sense spa, set on an island with its own cenote, offers treatments that utilize indigenous ingredients like aloe, agave, and chaya herb salt.
No. 2 The Resort at Pedregal
This 96-room gem on Mexico’s gorgeous Baja Peninsula gives new meaning to the cliché location, location, location—a sublime oceanfront setting within walking distance of Cabo San Lucas village. Arrivals set the tone: guests reach the resort through a 1,000-foot-long tunnel drilled into mountain rock separating Cabo from the Pacific Ocean, then check in at an open-air lobby whose columns frame spectacular views of the famous Lands End and El Arco rock formations. Dinner at El Farallón is a must: freshly caught lobster and flame-grilled yellowfin tuna served alfresco, illuminated by hundreds of lanterns and candles, with waves crashing below.
No. 3 St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
Relatively new to the exclusive enclave of Punta Mita south of Puerto Vallarta, the St. Regis opened in 2010 with 120 huge Mediterranean villa–style rooms and alluring features like a multiterraced cascade down from the lobby to where Banderas Bay meets the Pacific Ocean. Expect blue-chip sea views from your bedroom and three signature restaurants. But it’s the service (with near-perfect scores) that is next-level swank: attentive butlers cater to every whim, be it booking tee times at one of two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses or meticulously folding and packing your clothes, a service elevated to an art form.
No. 4 Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán Resort
This family-friendly resort in Mazatlán’s so-called Golden Zone— a six-mile-long stretch of sublime beaches—manages to eschew the impersonal, sometimes offhand nature of all-inclusive: in fact, readers rated it No. 3 of all the resorts in Mexico for service, and were similarly impressed with the food. (This is its debut on the World’s Best list.) The manicured grounds dotted with swaying palm trees, the lagoon-like pool, and the Pacific Ocean just steps away are also high points. Parents can chill in one of two pool bars while kids get entertained at the kids’ club, which offers everything from arts and crafts to volleyball. Also included: a slew of activities, from Spanish lessons to bingo.
No. 5 Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, Los Cabos
Moving speedily up from its 2012 place at No. 15, this ultraluxurious resort commands acclaim with jaw-dropping water views from every room, revealed when pocket doors slide open onto private terraces that face the Sea of Cortés. Romance is also a big factor in Esperanza’s favor: think private candlelit beachfront dinners or couple’s treatments at the award-winning spa (private pool soaks, massages with aromatic oils). If you visit from January to March, amazing whale-watching—when humpback whales finish their 10,000-mile migration from Alaska—is just outside your door.
No. 6 One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos
Staff at this exclusive 175-room hideaway (a favorite of celebrities and the stealth-wealth set) get every detail right, from unpacking upon arrival to arranging a lunchtime cooking session at a local mountain ranch. Readers particularly praised the location—at the dramatic point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortés on the tip of the Baja Peninsula—as well as the spacious, Spanish colonial–style rooms. While the bill might engender some sticker shock (value wasn’t the resort’s strong point), the slew of complimentary inclusions such as garment pressing, tequila on arrival, and daily deliveries of fresh fruit and snacks help ease the sting.
No. 7 Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, Mazatlán
This plucky 30-acre all-inclusive set on a Pacific cove just outside Mazatlán’s Golden Zone rocketed up from the No. 37 spot in the region on last year’s survey. The rooms and facilities scored big, with vacationers wooed by the resort’s 15 buildings modeled after the city’s 1800s downtown, the Mediterranean-style gardens (complete with wandering flamingos), and perks like a complimentary grocery-stocking service (the rooms all have kitchenettes). Readers also ranked it No. 2 in Mexico for families, with romance scoring almost as highly, making it truly a resort for all seasons.
No. 8 Banyan Tree Mayakoba Resort & Spa, Playa del Carmen
Neighboring our No. 1 pick in the luxury Mayakoba development on the Riviera Maya, this Mexican offshoot of the much-loved Asian brand is a perennial winner with travelers, thanks to its dramatic architecture (swooping pagoda-style roofs and soaring ceilings) and secluded setting between jungle, lagoon, and ocean. Somewhat surprisingly, the resort scored high on both family appeal and romance: chalk it up to the supreme privacy of the 107 stand-alone villas, which feel like your own walled sanctuary complete with outdoor tubs, pool, and two separate living spaces joined by a garden.
No. 9 Secrets Maroma Beach, Riviera Cancún
This adults-only enclave situated on one of the Mexican Caribbean’s most beautiful white-sand beaches hit it out of the park with our readers when it came to romance: No. 1 among all resorts in Mexico with an almost-perfect score. Not surprising, then, that the 412-room all-inclusive is a big hit with honeymooners, who flock to experience its winning formula of gorgeous views, rooms with private terraces and Jacuzzis, plus a full slate of daily activities and amenities—14 restaurants/bars, a 13,000-square-foot spa, a pool that feels as large as the ocean just beyond—ensuring that if you leave your room, you’ll never be bored.
No. 10 Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta
This 267-room upscale all-inclusive moved up several places from last year’s World’s Best Awards, thanks to factors like attentive, intuitive service, a lavish three-tiered infinity pool, and five restaurants serving the kind of sophisticated dishes you might not expect to find at an all-inclusive. Frida restaurant in particular impresses with octopus and scallop ceviche and crispy candied suckling-pig tacos cooked in banana leaves. The resort also ranked highly with business travelers: the attached 10,000-plus-square-foot convention center can host groups ranging from 10 to 2,700 guests.
No. 11 Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen
Though this luxury all-inclusive rated No. 3 in all of Mexico for families, the resort manages to appeal to couples, too, thanks to adults-only areas; a secluded setting among 80 acres of protected mangroves, jungle, and cenotes; and five highly regarded—not to mention ambitious—restaurants serving everything from Asian fusion to molecular gastronomy–inflected Spanish fare. The 1,000 feet of pristine white-sand beach fronting the resort surely doesn’t hurt either, nor does the 75,000-square-foot spa, one of Mexico’s largest.
No. 12 Ritz-Carlton, Cancún
Ritz-Carlton’s only Mexican property sits somewhat incongruously in Cancún’s glitzy, nonstop-party hotel zone, but the 365-room hacienda-style resort stands apart from its neighbors thanks to that famous personalized Ritz service and customized accommodations like two floors of Club Level rooms and Itzy Bitzy Baby Rooms for parents with newborns. (Our readers voted it No. 6 in Mexico for its family appeal.) Other highlights: every room has a private balcony with Caribbean views, and the fine-dining Mediterranean restaurant, Fantino, is considered one of the best not just in Cancún but the country. Taste the porcini-crusted filet mignon and brandy-splashed Maine lobster lasagna to see why.
No. 13 La Casa Que Canta, Zihuatanejo
One glance at La Casa Que Canta’s gorgeous infinity pool, its edge blending with the blue of the ocean and sky, and you can understand why this 25-suite hideaway perched high above Zihuatanejo Bay is a six-year veteran of the World’s Best list. There’s also a second saltwater pool adjacent to the beach that is filled naturally by the sea, plus a Clarins spa featuring novel Mexican-inspired treatments like a nopal cactus anticellulite wrap. Thanks to its adults-only nature, not to mention a huge range of top-shelf tequila in the bar and private plunge pools in the 11 suites, the resort also scored highly when it came to romance.
No. 14 Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort, San Jose del Cabo
A perennial favorite with well-heeled travelers, this T+L Hall of Famer deserves every accolade thanks to exceptional rooms and amenities—private infinity pools, rooftop stargazing decks, telescopes for whale-watching, tequila welcome gifts—and superb service. Attentive butlers take care of everything from setting up laptops to securing tour reservations (and yes, there’s really something called the Department of Romance, which can arrange anything from musical serenades to love letters). The only area readers weren’t so impressed with? Value. Hyper-luxury doesn’t come cheap.
No. 15 Excellence Playa Mujeres, Cancún
Making its debut on the World’s Best list, this adults-only all-inclusive north of bustling Cancún feels almost like a small beachside town of 450 rooms, breezy whitewashed hideaways with four-poster beds, Bulgari amenities, and in some suites, luxuries like rooftop terraces with plunge pools. Guests have plenty to choose from when it comes to dining, with a whopping nine restaurants and 11 bars on hand, plus a palm-fringed white-sand beach right on the resort’s doorstep.
No. 16 Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya
Facing one of Mexico’s most beautiful and pristine stretches of Caribbean beach, Maroma not surprisingly rated No. 7 in the country for its location, and even higher (No. 5) for its romance factor. Its Sian Nah suites—freestanding villa-style ocean-view rooms with private plunge pools—were also a hit, as were daily rituals like the lighting of hundreds of candles around the resort’s paths each evening. Topping it off, the award-winning Kinan Spa offers treatments based on traditional Mayan rituals.
No. 17 Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita
This luxury stalwart might just be a Hall of Famer, landing on our World’s Best list every year since 2007, though it slipped from No. 8—no doubt due to the sheer number of new and ultraluxurious properties nipping at its heels. Still, Punta Mita’s grande dame has plenty to crow about, not least its gorgeous setting (the cliff-top Oceanfront Casita Rooms offer breathtaking Pacific Ocean views), impeccable service, and general air of quiet opulence. Readers also found it muy romantico, as well as great for families thanks to kid-friendly perks such as miniature robes and milk and cookies on arrival.
No. 18 Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos Resort, Cabo San Lucas
T+L readers can’t get enough of this luxury all-inclusive chain—or of Cabo in general—and this Playa El Medano property won their hearts, zooming from No. 41 in 2012 to the top 20 this year. Located on the area’s best beach for swimming and within walking distance of town, Pueblo Bonito sits in a white-stucco and blue-domed enclave, convenient for activities, and every room comes with an ocean view. Make time for a meal at Cilantro’s, where seafood dishes pair well with Instagram snaps of Lands End, Los Cabos’ iconic rock archway.
No. 19 JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa
You mightn’t expect a resort at the heart of Cancún’s notoriously touristy hotel zone to hit the top 20, but this 448-room beachfront tower appealed to readers precisely for its location. The lure is partly in the setup: the resort feels like its own small, self-contained city, with rooms featuring private ocean-view balconies and terraces, nine restaurants and bars, multiple pools—including a 14-foot outdoor dive pool with artificial reef—a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a newly revamped 35,000-square-foot, three-level Mayan-inspired spa. With all that on hand, who needs to leave the property?
No. 20 Hyatt Zilara Cancún (Formerly Royal Cancún)
Jumping 25 places up the list from 2012, this 288-room adults-only all-inclusive retreat—recently rebranded as a Hyatt but otherwise unchanged—is another sign that the once-maligned Cancún is starting to undergo something of a renaissance with discerning travelers. The opulent rooms, with their white-canopied beds, private ocean-view terraces, and Jacuzzis, were big winners; some decadent King Suites even have swim-up bars of their own. Beachside butlers, unlimited champagne, and wine tastings with the in-house sommelier are additional perks that raise the resort above its peers.
No. 21 Fairmont Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen
The most family-oriented of Mayakoba’s three properties, this 401-room luxury resort maintains a sense of intimacy despite its sprawling size—thanks to a layout that celebrates its unique natural setting, with guest rooms, casitas, suites, and five pools set among 45 acres of tropical jungle and mangroves beside crystal-clear lagoons or strung along a white-sand beachfront. An eco ethos prevails, with no cars on property; instead, guests get around via lanchas (retro-styled covered boats), electric golf carts, bicycles, or on foot. Both spa and golf enthusiasts get spoiled here: the former at the acclaimed Willow Stream Spa, the latter at the world-class Greg Norman–designed El Camaleón course.
No. 22 Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancún
Forget everything you thought you knew about Cancún all-inclusives: this glam adults-only gem, one of the world’s most romantic, blows all your preconceptions out of the water. For a start, the food is top-notch. The Italian restaurant features handmade pastas while the seven-course French-inflected menu at Lumiere includes Gallic delicacies such as escargots and foie gras. (The breakfast and lunch buffets skew more traditional Mexican.) The hotel also gets top marks for small-but-memorable details like champagne flutes of coconut juice on arrival and chic striped beach totes in every room, as well as its minimalist décor, French-style balconies, and 24-hour butler service. leblancsparesort.com
No. 23 Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancún Resort & Spa
Readers were particularly smitten by the beautiful beachside setting at this doyenne of Cancún luxury resorts, not to mention amenities like the 40,000-square-foot Gem Spa, with a menu of treatments inspired by gemstone therapy, and the resort’s free-form infinity pool. All 602 suites feature balconies with sweeping ocean views of the Caribbean meeting the Bahía de Mujeres, and there are 10 restaurants and bars, ranging from white-linen fine dining at French-influenced Le Basilic to swim-up cocktail service and Latin beats at the Bikini Bar.
No. 24 Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort, Cabo San Lucas
Cabo’s astounding whale-watching is a big draw at this family-friendly 635-suite all-inclusive, and with expansive Pacific Ocean views from every room many readers felt no need to leave the resort. (One caveat: the ocean isn’t suitable for swimming in this area.) The Armonia Spa also drew raves, particularly for its sense-of-place treatments like the Royal Mexican Lime Deep Body Scrub and signature Baja-inspired local healing rituals. The resort offers a huge array of dining options, with guests having access to all restaurants at the three sister Pueblo Bonito properties nearby.
No. 25 Royal Hideaway Playacar, Playa del Carmen
A five-minute stroll to buzzy Playa yet a world away, this upscale hacienda-style gated resort offers spacious suites with regal touches like marble floors, king beds, and bathrooms with hydromassage tubs. But it’s the stellar service that earns this adults-only all-inclusive hideaway top marks: readers were impressed with the attentive staff’s ability to anticipate their every need. As at many high-end all-inclusives, guests are spoiled for choice here, with six restaurants, six pools, and a full-service spa, along with decadent touches like beachfront daybeds and daily high-tea service.
No. 26 Viceroy Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen
Starry-eyed couples gravitate to this supremely private luxury resort set between jungle and sand outside of Playa del Carmen. Each of the villas are freestanding and generously proportioned—starting at 1,000 square feet—and include plenty of reasons to stay put, like heated plunge pools, alfresco rain showers, and private patios with hammocks. Service is another highlight: the resort’s mayordomos (a.k.a. butlers) can arrange for romantico moments (candlelit baths), personalized hand-cut soaps, and aromatherapy turndowns, as well as dinner under the stars or poolside under the resort’s “dine anywhere” philosophy.
No. 27 Cabo Azul Resort, San José del Cabo
Set on 12 oceanfront acres at the heart of the Los Cabos corridor, this all-villa resort offers plenty of room to move around—even the one-bedroom villas clock in at 1,202-square-feet. The décor is castaway-chic all the way: polished stone floors, beamed ceilings, white-on-white furnishings, canopied beds, romantic mood lighting via rustic perforated lanterns. Public spaces draw praise as well, from the three-tiered pool with palapa-style swim-up bar to the beachfront cabanas to the regional Mexican fare (fresh ceviches, mole poblano) at Javier’s restaurant.
No. 28 Playacar Palace, Playa del Carmen
Location is everything at this beachfront all-inclusive. All 208 rooms have unbroken views of the sparkling blue Caribbean Sea and close-by Cozumel Island (the ferry docks just next door). While more modest in its offerings compared to other luxe all-inclusives in the hotel zone—only three restaurants and three bars, for instance—the resort compensates with perks like double Jacuzzis in every room and 24-hour room service. Golfers will be in their element here as well: two courses are minutes away, including the Playacar Spa & Golf Club, a championship course designed by Robert van Hagge. playacarpalace.com
No. 29 Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, Cabo San Lucas
U.S. travelers can’t get enough of Cabo San Lucas, and one glance at this three-year-old resort—a first-timer on the World’s Best Awards list, set between the craggy cliffs and wild Pacific Ocean landscapes of Land’s End—explains why. All guest rooms, from studios to four-bedroom penthouses, offer inspiring ocean views, and guests can even opt for massages in open-air cabanas set on the beach, with the crashing waves as soundtrack. To make the most of the town’s famous sunsets, mosey up to the Sunset Pool, where cocktails and snacks are served until 10 p.m. grandsolmarresort.com
No. 30 CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort
This family-oriented property in Cancún’s famous hotel zone might not win any awards for design—it hews pretty closely to the generic megaresort style of the area, although with fun shocks of green and yellow—but its steps-from-the-sand proximity to a gorgeous stretch of calm Caribbean beach can’t be argued with. A huge pool provides all-day distractions for the whole family, and parents will love that there’s a new kid’s zone, plus certified nanny services available. It’s the perfect opportunity to take in a treatment from the spa’s globe-trotting menu, featuring everything from Hawaiian lomilomi to shiatsu massage.