2017 Honeymoon Awards: The Most Romantic Hotels in Mexico
We partnered up with Martha Stewart Weddings and asked our readers and followers to reveal their ultimate honeymoon destinations in nine regions around the globe. Now, with nearly 9,000 of you accounted for, we've found our winners. Unsurprisingly, Mexico—with its picture-perfect beaches, luxurious all-inclusive resorts, and spellbinding natural scenery—ranked as one of the dreamiest spots. Here, a roundup of our favorite romantic Mexican retreats, from an adults-only oceanfront oasis in Cabo to an intimate all-inclusive in secluded Playa Mujeres.
Riviera Maya (Tulum, Playa del Carmen)
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
It’s hard to find anything missing from this enormous five-star resort, which sits on a stunning stretch of beach on Mexico’s Playa del Carmen, and whose 118 villas are interspersed with lagoons, mangrove trees, swimming pools, and tennis courts. Guests can take cooking or yoga classes, do a tequila tasting, play golf, go snorkeling, or lounge the day away in the extraordinary spa, which features a hydrothermal circuit of eight hot and cold thermal cabins and includes a “rain walk” and a dip in the “vitality pool,” along with sauna and steam rooms and locally inspired treatments.
The villas start at a whopping 3,000 square feet and mix Asian architecture with Mayan influences and artwork; each has its own personal heated pool, garden, an outdoor bathtub, and several private terraces (complete with hammock). Service is perfectly attentive, but never intrusive, so you and your lover will have no problem getting some much-needed privacy.
From the moment you step onto this secluded 50-acre private estate, originally purchased by the Duchess of Ferrari as a vacation home in the early 1990s, you’ll understand just how appropriate a name Esencia really is. Attention to detail is the essence of the place; the minimalist white-on-white design complements, rather than competes, with the pristine tropical paradise just outside. Rooms juxtapose the earthy with the designed, framing native hardwood furnishings, artfully arranged pieces of driftwood and Mayan bowls against colorless walls, ceilings and floors. Even the beds are done in the same crisp whites, with delightfully soft down pillows and sheets and duvets made of high-thread-count Egyptian cotton. You might not ever want to leave.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Designed to redefine all-inclusive resorts as places of true luxury, Grand Velas Riviera Maya has earned all sorts of industry awards for its sophistication and service. Instead of buffets, the restaurants serve gourmet dinners prepared by chefs from France, Spain and Mexico, and the rooms are stylish in design and massive in space. The premium oceanfront Grand Class Suites are the most romantic of the 491 accommodations and feature plunge pools on their terraces, while the ocean-view Ambassador Suites are family friendly and the Zen Grand Suites are situated close to the conference facilities. All rooms have big windows and breezy tropical vibes with splashes of Yucatan color in bed runners and throw pillows. Best of all, they all come with dedicated butler service.
Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa
Set amid 44 acres of gardens, this 432-room resort is full of the latest in modern creature comforts. Nine restaurants let guests feast on Mexican, Japanese, or French cuisine, to name just a third of the options. Then they can grab a drink at one of six bars, including a swim-up bar, sports bar, poolside bar, lounge, and even a spa bar. But while the contemporary, man-made attractions of the resort are impressive, its natural wonders border on awe-inspiring, with two miles of white-sand beaches and coral reefs offshore. But why stop at the ruin in your own backyard? The hotel can arrange excursions to the pyramids of Chichén Itzá, which have been called one of the seven wonders of the world, or to swim in the sacred underground pools of the cenote route.
Cabo San Lucas
Marquis Los Cabos Resort and Spa
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic, statement-making lobby than the one at the modern, adults-only Marquis Los Cabos, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World—the all-white, open-air space features deep archways that perfectly frame the turquoise waters beyond. Hacienda-style rooms have colorful sofas and Mexican artwork, not to mention ultra-spacious soaking tubs with ocean-facing balconies (whether you’re in a junior suite or a private casita). Spend your free hours floating in the infinity pool, indulging in a hot stone treatment at the 13,000-square-foot spa, or trying all six of the on-site restaurants—a struggle we think you can handle.
Esperanza, an Auberge Resort
Two scenic bluffs hug this 17-acre hideaway, tucked off the main highway. Esperanza, a shining star in the Auberge roster, hasn’t missed a beat since it hosted President Obama and family back in 2012. Along with 57 re-done suites and casitas (all with private patios), there’s free yoga and fitness classes, an ethereal spa with open-air treatment rooms, cushy serviced cabanas overlooking an adults-only pool, and a calendar of culinary events. Its standout restaurant, Cocina del Mar, looks out onto the rock-studded surf, and the cuisine, courtesy of Argentinian chef Guillermo Gomez, spotlights the best Baja purveyors.
Las Ventanas al Paraíso
There’s a reason this Rosewood property is a go-to for A-Listers like Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, and Cameron Diaz—Las Ventanas al Paraíso, which translates to "the windows to paradise," lives up to its name. The 71 suites, spread across all-white adobe buildings and 12 beachfront villas, are a tasteful combination of glamour and privacy, with wood-burning fireplaces, patios with telescopes (whether you use them to star-gaze or whale-watch is up to you), and, for some, alfresco Jacuzzis, not to mention a villa to end all villas. Other romantic offerings: a serene indoor-outdoor spa shaded by palm trees, pampering pool service, and a Department of Romance for those looking to fine-tune that trip of a lifetime.
For the utmost luxury, look no further than the One&Only. The Spanish mission–style property offers a Jean-Georges steakhouse, a 22,000-square-foot revamped wellness spa, two all-new salons, and recently renovated rooms featuring details like embroidered throws and leather bars. Guests can expect in-room deliveries like artisanal tequila on arrival and sewing kits to match their wardrobe, along with cocktail-hour snacks and the chance to book tailored excursions, including camelback beach safaris, trips to organic farms, and private charters onboard the resort’s yacht. But be sure to hit the shores first; the hotel has one of the only swimmable beaches in all of Los Cabos.
Le Blanc Spa Resort
This glamorous adults-only gem blows away every preconception about the all-inclusive experience. Its minimalist, all-white interiors are stylish and sophisticated. The food is superb, from multi-course French tastings at Lumière to handmade pastas at Blanc Italia. The spa, complete with 19 Le Blanc d’Or treatment rooms, is enshrouded by a bamboo garden. Our favorite part of all? The thoughtful extras never seem to end, from coconut cocktails on arrival to 24-hour butlers assigned to every room. (Look out for your yummy treat and butler-drawn bath at turndown.)
Beloved Playa Mujeres
At just 109 suites, this adults-only all-inclusive in secluded Playa Mujeres feels uncommonly intimate for Cancun—and that’s just the way we like it. Imagine it: reservations at all four onsite restaurants aren’t required, and you’ll almost never have to elbow your way to the swim-up bar. If your room doesn’t come with an ocean view, you’re treated instead to a split-level space with its own whirlpool tub—and all guest rooms are stocked with BVLGARI amenities and a complimentary mini-bar full of snacks. While guest rooms are as big and beautiful as the rest of the low-key property, the space you’ll be hanging out in the most is probably the 35,000-square-foot spa, whose hydrotherapy circuit is surely the best on the strip.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun
This freshly minted Hyatt just reopened to the tune of an $85 million renovation, and so far—we’re loving the results. The highlights? Three infinity pools, eight restaurants, and a prime position on not one but two white-sand beaches. Swim-up suites are perfect for couples who want extra room to play, and an exhaustive menu of daily activities (think: theater shows, water sports, and yoga classes) will keep you busy. After dinner, pop by the margarita bar for a nightcap, where a tequila sommelier can guide you through 140 varieties. Prefer a quieter experience? There’s a hotel-within-the-hotel, Turquoize, that is blissfully adults only.
Excellence Playa Mujeres
Playa Mujeres, a quiet coastal area north of Cancun, is a magnet for those seeking true relaxation. Get there, and the adults-only Excellence Playa Mujeres takes care of the rest. This intimate all-inclusive has everything you’d want in a get-away-from-it-all retreat: hydrotherapy treatments and aromatic baths at the spa, swim-up suites that you can access straight from the pool, well-stocked minibars for days when you just can’t drag yourself to the beach (your room’s pillow menu might have something to do with that). We especially love the champagne greeting at check-in—a perfect primer for lavish Spanish dinners at Barcelona or elevated seafood at the Lobster House.
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit All-Inclusive
The feeling at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is larger than life. Guests arrive into a soaring palapa lobby before being ushered off to suites that measure more than 1,000 square feet. The roster of fitness classes is impressive, ranging from Pilates to salsa dancing, and the spa, a member of Leading Spas of the World, is the largest in the region. The amenities are generous too, with gourmet dining options, unlimited premium liquors, a 24-hour concierge, non-motorized water sports and even scuba classes included. With so much to do on the property, there’s little incentive to leave. But guests who venture out can take canopy tours, fly on zip-lines, swim with dolphins, go whale watching, snorkel, shop and stroll along El Malecón in Puerto Vallarta, and take scenic sunset or dinner cruises in Banderas Bay.
If few couples epitomize true romance like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, it follows that the Puerto Vallarta vacation home they shared, a gift from Burton to Taylor, would be one of the world’s most romantic escapes. And it is. "A legacy of passion lives on" at Casa Kimberly, the hotel boasts, thanks to a beautiful restoration of the lovebirds’ blue-tiled pool and the same spectacular views over Banderas Bay that they admired in their time. A footbridge called the Puente del Amor still connects their former villas, and you can order their favorite cocktail, a variation on the chocolatini, at the restaurant-cum-tequila bar.
Escape the tropical sun in the shady poolside loungers, or take in the city and mountain panoramas from any of the Veranda-profiled common spaces. Start each day with a complimentary breakfast, and end it with music by one of Mexico’s most famous mariachi bands. This stay has pretty much everything you need to experience a romance for the ages, down to indulgent in-room massages. The only missing ingredients, of course, are you and your beloved. mariachi band.
Hacienda San Angel
In a series of contiguous, totally renovated houses, Hacienda San Angel is the most gracious lodging in the heart of Old Vallarta. About five short but steep blocks from the bay and its recently renovated sea walk (the malecón), the property has impressive downtown views and is close to the best restaurants, galleries and shops of the original tourist zone. Spectacular Master Suites are between 250 to 600 square feet, with views of the deep blue bay." Popular with honeymooners and couples, the property has a romantic atmosphere that’s simultaneously traditional (there’s a wealth of religious art from Mexico’s colonial and republican eras) and modern (a few of the suites have terraces with private hot tubs overlooking the deep blue Banderas Bay).
Vibrant pink gardenias and dusty green cacti line the walkways leading to Las Alamandas, a former private estate with just 16 rooms scattered around the 1,500-acre property, and a maximum of 42 guests allowed at a time. The guestrooms are elegant but simple, with bright ceramic tiles, folk art and indoor/outdoor lounge areas. While tacos, chips and guacamole from La Palapa Beach Club will keep you satisfied poolside, save a night to savor upscale Mexican cuisine at Oasis, the hotel’s main restaurant, which uses all local ingredients. Must tastes: corn mushroom quesadillas and homemade sorbet in flavors such as hibiscus flower and mango.
Cozumel Palace All Inclusive
The five-story Cozumel Palace nods toward traditional Mexican architecture, with white walls, hacienda-style archways and fenced balconies, all crowned with a yellow tile roof. Contemporary interiors have a subtler aesthetic, with light pastels, pearly marbles and dark wood. A large bar and lounge serve the spacious entryway, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase water play at a lounger-lined pool deck juxtaposed against the Caribbean Sea. Rattan furnishings, stone-top tables and white marble floors infuse understated, contemporary style in the 175 rooms and suites, so as to not disturb the azure ocean views from the hammock-strewn balconies. Steal away from your romantic guestroom to unwind at the nine-room spa and savor grilled seafood snacks and frosty cocktails by one of three ocean-facing pools.
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