Home & Garden: 11 Luxurious Hotels in Mexican Small Cities You’ve Never Visited but Should

The 14 Best Boutique Hotels Around the World, According to T+L Readers

  The 14 Best Boutique Hotels Around the World, According to T+L Readers Intimate, luxurious, Travel + Leisure World's Best Award-approved hotels in destinations like Malibu, Costa Rica, and Kenya.You can stay at the most beautiful, most luxurious hotels in the world, but often that means you're one of 500 guests. At a boutique hotel, however, you are never treated as one of many. When you stay at a property with just a handful of rooms — be it oceanfront villas or thatched-roofed chalets — you can expect a level of service that's often unattainable at large-scale hotels. From private safaris through Kruger National Park Area to personalized butler service and private chefs, the world's best boutique hotels know how to deliver.

Although summer—the time of year when the days stretch far past 8 p.m. and lobster rolls are always on the menu—is typically lauded as the best season, it doesn’t make as strong a case for a trip to the beach as winter does. After all, the beach feels so much more attainable in the summer when it’s warm all the time. But here’s an unpopular opinion: The best time to book a spot on a beach is during the winter when the bitter cold is practically begging you to take a trip to the coast. And there’s hardly a place with better beaches than our neighbor below the border. Whether you’re opting out of the day-to-day for a full week or just a few days, you can’t go wrong with Mexico hotels.

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Though cities like Tulum in Quintana Roo, Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, and Mexico City are popular vacation spots for a reason, there’s something to be said about the Mexican cities that offer a quieter sense of luxury that doesn’t skimp on culture or cuisine. From Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, to Tequila, Jalisco, the Central American country is chock-full of hotels worthy of anyone’s escapist dreams.

Devoid of televisions and mini fridges, the suites range in size from 780 to 2,674 square feet. Guests at Paradero are encouraged to connect with their natural surroundings. © Photo: Yoshihiro Koitani Devoid of televisions and mini fridges, the suites range in size from 780 to 2,674 square feet. Guests at Paradero are encouraged to connect with their natural surroundings.

Paradero

When you think of brutalist architecture, your mind may gather visuals of the Barbican Centre and Estate in London, the Geisel Library in La Jolla, California, and The Met Breuer in New York City. They’re all beautiful and captivating in their own right, but there’s something about them that doesn’t exactly shout luxury—perhaps it’s the very nature of brutalism. However, architects Ruben Valdez and Yashar Yektajo have designed a hotel that is as brutalist as it is charming and luxurious above all else. Paradero, one of the most eye-catching Mexico hotels, residing on five-and-a-half flat acres in Todos Santos is surrounded by both family-owned farms and the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains.

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Valdez says, “The idea was about creating a sequence of spaces that would allow guests to rediscover the landscape. The aesthetic of the whole place—from the restaurant to the open-air living room—came from the landscape.” Perhaps that’s why everything is an earthy concrete that’s softened with plush neutral seating, pale fabrics that dance in the gentle breeze, and delicious aromas that waft from the open kitchen throughout the entire property.

With 35 guest suites—some of which feature up to 2,674 square feet of indoor-outdoor space and rooftop terraces with hammocks above the entryway—Paradero has mastered the boutique feel.

Spanish architecture shines at Hotel Solar de las Ánimas. © Photo: Hotel Solar de las Ánimas Spanish architecture shines at Hotel Solar de las Ánimas.

Hotel Solar de las Ánimas

At the base of an inactive volcano in the heart of Tequila, the 93-room Hotel Solar de las Ánimas is like sleeping in a time capsule that just so happens to be outfitted with contemporary amenities, including two heated pools (one of which is on the roof). Each of the Creole colonial-inspired spaces, which range from an expansive library complete with plush leather Chesterfield sofas to the royal suite that lives up to its regal name, is authentically Mexican. Plus, the fact that it’s Church of Santiago Apostol–adjacent and situated within one of Mexico’s coveted Pueblos Mágicos doesn’t hurt its charm one bit.

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Overlooking the central garden and the restaurant, Las Mañanitas Hotel Garden Restaurant & Spa’s terrace suite is one of the most coveted rooms. © Photo: Las Mañanitas Hotel Garden Restaurant & Spa Overlooking the central garden and the restaurant, Las Mañanitas Hotel Garden Restaurant & Spa’s terrace suite is one of the most coveted rooms.

Las Mañanitas

About an hour and a half south of Mexico City, the super lush city of Cuernavaca, Morelos, is home to a few sites worth visiting, including the 16th-century Palace of Cortés whose walls don murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera, and the centuries-old Cuernavaca Cathedral. Before you honor the city’s heritage, though, check into the 23-room Las Mañanitas, which translates to “the mornings” in English. Housed in a Mexican colonial-style structure, the centerpiece of the boutique spot are the gardens, which are home to the exotic birds that fly in and out. Another hallmark of the pink-hued hotel, which glows a fiery fuchsia shade when the sun goes down, is the art. The walls are adorned with pieces by the likes of local artists, including José Luis Cuevas, Vicente Gandía, and Francisco Zúñiga.

The Cape, a Thompson Hotel has not one but two pools, one of which is filled with saltwater. © Photo: The Cape, a Thompson Hotel The Cape, a Thompson Hotel has not one but two pools, one of which is filled with saltwater.

The Cape, a Thompson Hotel

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Cabo San Lucas isn’t exactly a city off the beaten path, but The Cape, with its 1960s Southern California–meets–Baja aesthetic, is doing its part to transform Los Cabos into an undiscovered region worth exploring. Architect Javier Sánchez designed the hotel so that all of the rooms and private multi-bedroom villas face the ocean and its surrounding rock formations that are just a few steps from the hotel’s walls. The best view, however, is from chef Enrique Olvera’s moody seafood restaurant, Manta. The furthest corner of the hotel’s resident eatery consists of floor-to-ceiling glass panels that offer uninterrupted views of the crashing waves below.

Sánchez took several cues from the surrounding natural landscape—especially when it came to Currents spa, which he built into one of the pre-existing rock formations. There are even treatment cabanas outside so that guests can let the sounds of the nearby ocean lull them into a deep relaxation during a massage.

Hotel San Cristóbal is like a trip to the 1960s in the best way. The pool makes a compelling case to skip the beach. © Photo: Nick Simonite Hotel San Cristóbal is like a trip to the 1960s in the best way. The pool makes a compelling case to skip the beach.

Hotel San Cristóbal

Also in the small city of Todos Santos, the glamorously retro-inspired Hotel San Cristóbal is a 32-room oasis with a beachfront, open-air restaurant, heated pool, colorful lounge, an intimate library, seaside mirador, and even a stylish boutique. There’s even a historic chapel, dubbed La Capilla, on the property where plenty of guests have tied the knot. Perhaps a notable element of the charming spot is that it’s so unexpected: A sharp and unassuming turn off the main road leads guests down a rather long dirt path that, almost instantly, reveals the bright white clay building behind a collection of towering palms.

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For anyone coming from a big city with more than enough light pollution to go around, the terrace at Hotel Matilda is a perfect place to remind yourself that stars still exist. © Photo: Hotel Matilda For anyone coming from a big city with more than enough light pollution to go around, the terrace at Hotel Matilda is a perfect place to remind yourself that stars still exist.

Hotel Matilda

Anyone with an affinity for historic architecture, pack your bags and head for San Miguel de Allende, a booming city in Mexico’s central highlands that’s famous for its ornately baroque colonial-era structures. Hotel Matilda is a five-minute walk from the 17th-century, neo-Gothic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, and it sharply contrasts with its historic surroundings. Established by a contemporary art collector, the hotel’s design focuses on a more modern Mexico. And as is to be expected, it’s all about the art, featuring works by Latin artists, including Angelo Diego Rivera, Bosco Sodi, Daniela Edburg, and Nacho Rodriguez. Hands-down, this is definitely where the cool crowd stays when they’re in the artistic city.

Unique architecture knows no bounds at Casona Sforza, which opened in January 2021. © Photo: Alex Krotkov Unique architecture knows no bounds at Casona Sforza, which opened in January 2021.

Casona Sforza

Good news to some and bad news to parents, the recently-debuted Casona Sforza is an adults-only boutique hotel in Puerto Escondido. It may be new, but the Alberto Kalach–designed hotel is making noise in the area because of its highly unusual shape: It’s a series of spaces with curved roofs designed and built with a not-so-subtle nod to ancient techniques for building such as arched vaults. They’re not just attention-grabbing, though; they can resist earthquakes and improve air circulation, too. Nearly as attention-grabbing as the shape of the main structure is the minimalistic corridor that leads to the terrace and massive circular pool.

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The hotel comprises only 11 rooms, which are nothing short of luxurious suites. Five of them are on the ground floor and feature their own terrace and private plunge pool, and the remaining six, with balconies and indoor tubs, sit on the upper floor.

Banyan Tree Puebla fits right in with the UNESCO World Heritage site around it. © Photo: Banyan Tree Puebla Banyan Tree Puebla fits right in with the UNESCO World Heritage site around it.

Banyan Tree Puebla

Banyan Tree Puebla may be a relatively new hotel, but it fits in so seamlessly with the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage site that guests would never know it’s only been up and running for a year. It’s also a blend of several different cultures. It’s rooted in Asian hospitality standards and boasts both Italian and Thai restaurants, the latter of which is on the rooftop terrace. Plus, the city views alone make a strong case for booking a room at a Mexican hotel that isn’t anywhere near the ocean.

Only a few steps away from the distillery that manufactures El Tequileño, Casa Salles is a tequila-forward boutique hotel. © Photo: Ricardo Arreola Only a few steps away from the distillery that manufactures El Tequileño, Casa Salles is a tequila-forward boutique hotel.

Casa Salles Hotel Boutique

Fans of authentic tequila may want to consider heading to the liquor’s namesake city in Mexico and booking a weekend at the 25-room Casa Salles Hotel Boutique, which is owned by El Tequileño. The hotel sits right next to the brand’s distillery, so it’s evident that tequila is an integral part of guests’ stay. With highly curated dining experiences, bespoke tastings, private distillery tours, and horseback riding through the agave fields, the activities on offer at Casa Salles are unique, to say the least.

Hotel Secreto lives up to its name in a big way: It’s a beloved hidden gem in the heart of Isla Mujeres. © Photo: Jose Antonio Granados Hotel Secreto lives up to its name in a big way: It’s a beloved hidden gem in the heart of Isla Mujeres.

Hotel Secreto

On Isla Mujeres, tucked within a unique cove that you’d only see if you were actively looking for it, Hotel Secreto is exactly what its name implies: A secret oasis on the ocean with a 65-foot pool. Designed to feel like a private beach house, Hotel Secreto has only 12 guest suites, giving the spot a super intimate feel, which, of course, was the goal. Plus, each one is complete with a spacious living area and a large balcony overlooking the pool and beach below.

Discover the world's hidden and lost rivers

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Hotel Bö was designed with the elements in mind, especially water, which is seemingly everywhere at this San Cristobal de las Casas spot. © Photo: Hotel Bö Hotel Bö was designed with the elements in mind, especially water, which is seemingly everywhere at this San Cristobal de las Casas spot.

Hotel Bö

Near the southern tip of Mexico, close to Guatemala, Hotel Bö is a design-centric spot that’s reason enough to head to San Cristobal de las Casas in the southern state of Chiapas. And from the decor to the cuisine, it’s all about the elements—specifically water. The hotel’s emphasis on warmth, though, is unparalleled, and it’s most obvious in the guest rooms. The Bo suite, the biggest of the charming accommodations, is a two-story haven that prioritizes authentic Mexican design. The private terrace—with panoramic views of the Cerro de Huitepec mountain, a fireplace, water mirror, breakfast area, and sun deck—is perhaps the most relaxing area at the hotel.

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Discover the world's hidden and lost rivers .
Homes are built on their banks, bridges span their bodies and they carry people and goods on their backs. Cities have been built around them and even shaped by them. Yet many of the world’s rivers have fallen victim to the success of those very cities, becoming polluted and forced underground. They flow beneath streets, parks and pavements, with some completely buried and others with small sections that can be seen above ground – if people know where to look. Here are some of the world’s most fascinating hidden waterways.

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