The all-inclusive Hotel Mousai features a rooftop “beach club.” // © 2016 Hotel Mousai
Feature image (above): Grand Velas Riviera Maya is one of five AAA Five Diamond Hotels in the region. // © 2016 Grand Velas Riviera Maya
This year, AAA added a new hotel to its Five Diamond roster of the best places to eat and stay in Mexico. And, as always, the AAA Five Diamond rankings provide a useful overview of top-of-the-line luxury travel options around the world, including in Mexico.
A total of six hotels joined the Five Diamond listing for the first time in 2016, and one of them is in Mexico: Hotel Mousai, an all-inclusive member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts in Puerto Vallarta. The first and only property in the city to win this award, Mousai offers an upscale, adults-only getaway with contemporary decor, a sizeable spa and a rooftop “beach club” on the 18th floor.
All of Mexico’s Five Diamond recipients are located on its coastlines, with easy access to beaches and outdoor activities, as well as plenty of high-class pampering. Here are some other diamond-studded ideas for that next vacation wish list.
East Coast Elegance
AAA Five Diamond choices on Mexico’s Caribbean coast include The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, which is not only recognized for its luxurious accommodations, but also for two of its restaurants: Fantino, a contemporary Mediterranean venue, and The Club Grill, which specializes in continental cuisine and hosts live jazz performances. Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is also an award-winner in the dining category. Le Basilic features a French-Mediterranean menu created with the guidance of chef Henri Charvet.
Other award-winning hotels in Cancun are Le Blanc Spa Resort, known for its sumptuous, 19-room spa, and the adults-only Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, which features lovely touches such as four-poster beds and in-room Jacuzzis. Secrets Maroma is also Rainforest Alliance Certified, indicating its commitment to reducing environmental impact.
Also certified by the Rainforest Alliance — and a Five Diamond recipient — is Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita in the Riviera Maya, an all-inclusive resort that stocks its 90 guestrooms with Bulgari bath amenities and offers healing treatments at its Thalasso Center & Spa.
Nearby, the Mayakoba development is home to two AAA award winners. Fairmont Mayakoba earns its Five Diamond status with 401 rooms and suites that have private entrances, spa-style bathrooms and balconies and terraces that overlook some 240 acres of tropical forest, pristine gardens and the Caribbean Sea. Rosewood Mayakoba, meanwhile, has 130 suites with private plunge pools, rooftop sundecks, garden showers and individual docks.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya, set on 206 jungle-filled acres, offers beautiful nature views as well as spacious suites that measure more than 1,100 square feet and are furnished with L’Occitane amenities, artisanal tequila and Jacuzzi tubs. The hotel’s spa is a member of Leading Spas of the World, and at more than 90,000 square feet, it’s billed as the area’s largest spa facility.
Mexico’s Pacific Coast is dotted with Diamond-studded resorts designed to indulge — especially in Los Cabos, where three properties have earned the Five Diamond award. The Resort at Pedregal is graced with residential-style villas that come complete with personal concierge service and private plunge pools. Mexican artwork and limestone floors provide a unique ambiance at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort, which has well-appointed suites with wood-burning fireplaces and ocean views, as well as a noteworthy spa. One&Only Palmilla, meanwhile, is set on one of the few swimmer-friendly beaches in the area and has a spa with a yoga garden and 13 private treatment villas.
In Acapulco, Banyan Tree Cabo Marques is the go-to resort for Diamond-loving globetrotters, with its enviable location atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and villas that have private pools and a relaxingly isolated ambiance.
The Riviera Nayarit is home to no less than four AAA Five Diamond hotels, including Grand Luxxe, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort. Grand Luxxe is crisscrossed with miles of wooden pathways that lead to amenities such as a spa, a fitness center, restaurants, a waterpark and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, on the northern edge of Banderas Bay, offers top-of-the-line options like two- and three-bedroom suites with private terraces and balconies and teak wood furniture imported from Bali. Some suites also have private plunge pools, and the three-tiered infinity pool is a focal point for the well-manicured public gardens.