Whether it’s Cancún on the Caribbean coast or Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific, you’re spoiled for choice if you’re looking for luxury in Mexico.
Here are five destinations to get you dreaming.
At the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, looking out onto azure Caribbean waters, Cancún is a resort hotspot. It’s not difficult to see why: miles and miles of white sand beaches with great off-shore diving; the Zona Hotelera with its shops, restaurants and nightlife; incredible wildlife on the Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres; an ideal base to head to the interior and explore Mayan ruins like Chichén Itzá and Cobá – the list goes on.
For those wanting to do all this in luxury, head just south of the city to the TUI Sensatori Resort Riviera Cancún. You can expect five-star surroundings (including five pools), sophisticated dining (most notably Le Chique, where over 18s can enjoy a complimentary 14-course taster menu in opulent surroundings), a comprehensive spa (with treatment rooms looking over the sea) and conveniences like a children’s club. The rooms are extremely well-appointed with hot tubs and various mod-cons and there’s even a Mojito Lounge that has 18 (count ’em) speciality mojitos to choose from.
If you’re looking for a more remote, romantic retreat, try the adults only Isla Mujeres Palace. This also puts you much closer to the Isla Contoy National Park with its 170 bird species, including red flamingos, snowy egrets and olive cormorants.
Playa del Carmen & Playacar
Playa del Carmen runs a little further south of Cancún. It’s perfectly located, opposite the island of Cozumel (perfect for diving and snorkelling at some of the world’s best reefs), and close to Tulum where you’ll find spectacular Mayan ruins.
Just south of Playa del Carmen, is the exclusive gated community of Playacar with luxury hotels, trendy condos and an 18-hole championship golf course.
Head to the Rui Palace Riviera Maya, a stunning beachfront hotel with restaurants, spas and a scuba-diving school (there may be an additional charge for this) that gives you the chance to get a full PADI diving certificate.
It’s also worth remembering that TUI’s Multi-Centre holidays allow you to mix and match you destinations, perfect for this region and Mexico generally. You can, for example, include a three-night stay in Cozumel as part of a package that might take in Cancún or include flights to destinations on the Pacific coast like Nuevo Vallarta (see below).
The Riviera Maya stretches for 135km from Puerto Morelos about 30km south of Cancún right the way down to Tulum, taking in the Playa del Carmen along the way. Much of it remains relatively untouched, with small fishing towns and great diving off the coast, particularly the cenotes (limestone caves full of stalactites and stalagmites), as well as the chance to swim with turtles at places like Akumal.
It’s just north of Akumal that you’ll find the perfectly located El Dorado Seaside Suites and Spas. This is an TUI Sensimar luxury resort (so you can expect first-class dining for adults only in stunning locations) perched right on the beach, and comes with gourmet restaurants (La Carreta is where you’ll find delicious traditional Mexican dishes), a state-of-the-art spa (with the option to have a couples massage on the beach), and rooms that come complete with swim-up Jacuzzis.
No wonder Forbes listed it as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.
A visit to Puerto Vallarta – including its northern suburb of Nuevo Vallarta – is not to be missed. Nestled around the waters of the Bahía de Banderas, Vallarta combines the classic palm-fringed beach experience with plenty of surfing and diving, shopping on the malecón (boardwalk) for traditional ceramic tiles and taste-tests at tequila distilleries, some of the best restaurants in the entire country, and day trips trekking or zip-lining in the lush, tropical mountains of the interior.
To stay, check out the Art Deco-influenced Rui Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, nudging onto the golden sands of the Playa de Flamingos.
There are plenty of watersport options at the resort, like catamaran sailing, kayaking and bodyboarding, and when all that activity works up an appetite you have four restaurants to choose from. It also has a kids club and plenty of evening entertainment for those who simply want to hang out.
While you are here, it might be worth considering a short trip inland to Guadalajara - from here you can fly to Los Cabos on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. This a brand new destination for TUI as of the 6th November, so If you are after the sweet combination of sleepy daytimes and party-central nights surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, this is the place to be.
Punta de Mita
Venture further north of Vallarta and you arrive at Punta de Mita on the peninsula. This place is something of a playground for A-Listers like Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow, and there are plenty of luxury resorts in the area like the St Regis and the Four Seasons.
For nature lovers, a day trip to the Islas de Marietas National Park has to go on the bucket list, what with its marine life (manta rays, humpback whales and sea turtles among them) and its birdlife, with species like blue-footed boobies and red-billed tropicbirds using the islands as feeding and breeding grounds.
If you’re looking to get a little more remote, keep travelling north along the coast and you’ll arrive at Sayulita, which has a far more hippy-chic feel to it, what with the boutiques, bars and local craft shops. It’s something of a surf mecca, with plenty of surf schools for those who’d like to learn or improve. This is great whale-watching territory too, especially in the winter as these magnificent animals make their annual migration.
All hotels featured in this article can be booked with TUI. Explore more of the delights Mexico has to offer, here.