The Best Hotels
Mexico & Central America
Central America and Mexico’s finest hotels do a stellar job of reflecting both the region’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. A wellness hotel sits on Mexico’s coast with private casitas standing atop cliffs, their open-air balconies marked by gorgeous views and slow-swinging hammocks. In Belize, beachfront villas display the beauty of the country, while a charming on-site bar is a must-visit for book lovers. And over in Panama, a new hotel has converted a once-abandoned landmark into an architectural masterpiece spoiling travelers with regal guestrooms fit for royalty.
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Founded by the Mexico-based architect and visionary Eduardo “Roth” Neira, Azulik Tulum combines hospitality, art, gastronomy, and wellness for the ultimate immersive experience in the Mayan jungle. All villas at Azulik Tulum are handcrafted using materials from the region to ground guests with the natural accents of the room.
The Jungle Villa, their more affordable room, is surrounded by the plants and trees of the jungle, encouraging guests to fully connect with nature. While one of the most luxurious rooms, the Moon Villa, embodies the romance of the moon, which no sharp edges and complete privacy from its own stone waterfall to the balcony overlooking the sea.
To stimulate your body and your mind, Azulik Tulum offers complimentary yoga classes as well as Mayan ceremonies and sound healing experiences. There are multiple restaurants attached to Azulik Tulum, offering guests unique and personalized tasting menus that blend traditional foods with ingredients introduced to Mexico over time. Azulik Tulum also houses SFER IK Museion, an interactive contemporary art space where guests can experience the exhibits through multiple senses in every area of the resort.
Mexico City, Mexico
Based in the heart of Mexico City’s upscale Polanco neighborhood, Casa Polanco invites guests to experience a friend’s home away from home. The 19-suite boutique hotel is poised in front of Parque Lincoln and is within walking distance of some of the world’s most impressive museums, like the Museum of Anthropology. This prime real estate is just minutes away from the city’s main thoroughfares. With a lineup of curated experiences, guests will never have a shortage of things to do, see, and experience in and around Casa Polanco. Private concerts, rejuvenating spa treatments, and mezcal and tequila tastings are just a few things on the shortlist. Though busy and buzzing as the surrounding metropolis may be, Casa Polanco provides a quiet and restful respite. Contemporary suites boast marble baths and dreamy terraces, making it the perfect space to relax and enjoy ultimate comfort and intimate moments.
Guests can kickstart their days or ease into their afternoons after a blissful morning of exploring with Tea Time, complete with an array of teas, coffee, sweats, and treats such as melt-in-your-mouth scones. Casa Polanco is located near some of the best restaurants in town so, you can opt to dine out, or if you fancy dining “at home” the concierge will order from your restaurant of choice, plate it, and serve it to you wherever you desire. There is even a dinner-at-home menu prepared by renowned chef Martha Brockmann to give guests a true homey feeling.
Puerto Escondid, Oaxaca, Mexico
What started as a beach-home buildout transformed into a community-based project to help preserve the traditions of the Indigenous communities of Oaxaca. All earnings from Casona Sforza are injected back into the local community. The Puerto Escondido boutique hotel features 11 private guest rooms overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Earth tones and bohemian decor create a serene sanctuary. Intentional infrastructure brings more than just soft breezes, it is also intended to usher in positive energy. Upper-floor rooms offer balconies with views of the golden shores and lower-level rooms are outfitted with a private pool and terrace.
Pull up a seat at the chef’s table and pamper your palate with a seven-course meal bringing you a true taste of Oaxaca. Try seven types of traditional Oaxacan mole, or have a sensational seafood feast with fresh ceviche and aguachile dishes prepared by chef Carlos Martínez. Perfectly situated between the jungle and sea, there are boundless activities to fill your days with fun and adventure. Explore the local coffee fields, craft your own souvenir in a ceramic class, catch some waves during surf lessons, get your adrenaline pumping on a zip line adventure, or be bewildered by the bioluminescence at Laguna de Manialtepec. The options are endless!
Hotel La Compañia
Panama City, Panama
A once-abandoned landmark building has bounced back spectacularly in Panama City’s old town. Opening in early 2022, Hotel La Compañía became the first hotel in Central America to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt portfolio. Originally built as a Jesuit convent in the 17th century, this highly lauded hotel is outfitted with museum-grade design elements, and it’s an architectural masterpiece restored to meld three periods of Panama’s history.
Located in Casco Viejo—a historic area with the hum of Havana and the pastel-colored cobblestone streets of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan—Hotel La Compañía has 88 sleek rooms in three distinct, culturally influenced wings: French colonial, Spanish colonial, and American Beaux-Arts. Each has a balcony either overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Site old quarter or the hotel’s courtyard. A rooftop pool, five on-site restaurants, and two glamorous bars further add to the appeal. Pro tip: sample Exilio Bar’s Albayalde cocktail which draws from the folklore surrounding the sole relic salvaged from privateer Henry Morgan’s 1671 sacking of Panamá Viejo. As the story goes, priests from the Order of St. Augustine painted their cherished Golden Altar black using layers of albayalde to prevent Morgan from plundering it. Today, it resides a stone’s throw from Hotel La Compañía at Iglesia de San José.
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Located right between the ocean and the mountains of Oaxaca’s most lively port town, Puerto Escondido, Hotel Terrestre is an eco-conscious traveler’s dream. It’s operated by 100% solar power and built from locally sourced materials, and its design facilities natural cooling instead of relying on air conditioning. It’s an oasis nestled in the Oaxacan wild, the perfect place for a retreat from the day-to-day. Designed by famous Mexican architect Alberto Kalach, no design detail is overlooked.
The hotel features fourteen villas, each with its own private pool, terrace, and outdoor shower. The design draws heavily from the natural environment creating this seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. There are sweeping views of the surrounding ocean and mountains at every turn. Communally on the property, you’ll find a lap pool, spa, two restaurants, and a mezcal bar. We’d recommend using the hammam and plunge pools to take in the view of the hotel’s gardens, followed by dinner at Kakurega Omakase overlooking the mountains. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and restored.
Itz'ana Resort & Residences
The small jungle-meets-reef wonderland country of Belize checks many boxes for beachcombers, nature lovers, historians, and everyone in between. On its Caribbean coast, Placencia is a pleasant peninsula packed with lagoons, mangroves, magnificent beaches, and self-proclaimed pirates with wondrous stories to tell. This is where you’ll find Itz’ana, a relatively new addition to Belize’s roster of luxurious hotels.
Itz’ana makes a stay in Belize a breeze with personalized service, roomy suites, beachfront villas with 300-thread-count sheets, and a world of activities at your fingertips. For swimming, there is a pretty pool where sipping from a just-fallen coconut is practically obligatory. To turn down the tempo, guests can catch up on their reading at Biblio Bar, a quiet leather-chaired sanctuary overflowing with books. For dining, tropically-decorated Limilia Restaurant doesn’t disappoint either. Despite the mod cons within the hotel, you would be remiss not to venture out and explore Placencia’s many spoils. Itz’ana facilitates thrill-seeker-friendly experiences, including waterfall rappelling, ziplining, manatee spotting, and deep-sea adventures at the Belize Barrier Reef.
The Spanish word ojalá means “hopefully,” “if only,” or “I wish.” This smart property in UNESCO-protected, vibrantly-hued Antigua is a wish fulfilled for travelers looking to relax and unwind in the heart of the Guatemalan city. Just minutes from the buzzy main square, Parque Central, Ojalá has extensive lush gardens that host everything from yoga sessions to low-tempo frolicking with old and new friends. A delightfully complimentary Guatemalan breakfast welcomes guests in the mornings, and nights are a treat in uber-comfortable beds. With the various little luxuries, one may forget that Ojalá is actually a boutique hostel.
Ojalá has well-appointed king and queen rooms with either volcano or garden views, as well as four and eight-person luxury dorms (where the most palatable prices can be found). Guests have been known to extend their stays to keep soaking in the laidback setting, which is just as captivating as the city itself. A stay at Ojalá is one of the finest experiences one could hope to have in candy-colored Antigua.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
Los Cabos, Mexico
The first sign the 24-acre, 119-room Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal isn’t your average tropical resort concerns the arrival: a stone tunnel’s been carved through just for guests’ usage. On the other side, a waiter hands you a cocktail. Then there’s the cliffside perch hugging the beach, epic whale-watching from your terrace, infinity-edge pool. And we haven’t even talked about the spa (Luna y Mar) where Mexican folk healing (folding in Indigenous herbs and ingredients such as damiana in a massage, or a chocolate face mask as part of the Lovers Soak by candlelight) mingles with good old-fashioned pampering and a pool free of children.
El Farallon’s ocean-to-plate menu mirrors the Pacific Ocean below. There are eight food-and-drink venues on-site with a serener-than-most “buffet” at Su Cucina with fresh-pressed juices and waffles topped with fun ingredients like açaí berries, plantains, or cocoa nibs. Even the coffee here is remarkable: think pour-over coffee with buttery, flaky pastries at Neutral Coffee Lab. Six room categories, from villas to private homes, allow you to spread out and easily feel at home.