The Best Luxury and All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico

Three infinity pools at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Three infinity pools at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit | Courtesy of Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta / Expedia

Northern England Writer

An achingly fantastic all-inclusive resort deserves an extravagantly long name, and that holds true at Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya, situated on a private beach in quaint Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo. There’s no better adults-only resort in Mexico for truly hiding yourself away from the world, spending all day lounging in the plunge pools or on the terraces, before enjoying complimentary champagne of an evening. As an added bonus, you get a free bottle of tequila on arrival.Whether you’re heading to Cozumel or Cancún on the east coast or Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific, here’s our guide to some of the best luxury hideaways and all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.

Playacar Palace

At the turn of the millennium, Playa del Carmen was a tiny hamlet next to the Cozumel Island ferry dock. Now it’s the low-rise counterpart to Cancún – an hour further north. Right on the main beach, with a suite of swimming pools, restaurants and rooms, Playacar is as close as Playa del Carmen gets to a full-scale resort. It’s great for families looking for everything on site: you can sneak off to the spa, hit watersports together, head off for a snorkel trip to Akumal’s Yal Ku Lagoon, catch a show back at the hotel in the evening, or summon room service for a quiet night in.

Barcelo Maya Riviera

This riviera retreat is more like a small (very luxurious) village than a hotel. There are six restaurants and bars to cherry-pick from, and a spa inspired by the four elements – with saunas, steam rooms, pools and bi-thermal showers. More than half the rooms have sea views, the beach is long and creamy, and there’s a wealth of all-ages activities, including a kids’ club for little ones, a disco for teenagers and a theatre for grown ups, too.

The Royal Sands Resort & Spa

A good spot for a family beach break: the Royal Sands sits on a plum stretch of Cancún’s long, talc-fine beach, behind a sinuous sculpted pool – which you never need to leave, thanks to the swim-up restaurant and bar. All rooms are spacious, modern suites with separate living and bedroom areas and fully-kitted kitchens. Some have room for up to six. Nearly all have balconies with family-sized breakfast tables, overlooking the ocean.

Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort

Lower-key than Cancún, an hour’s drive north, this Akumal Bay address is an all-inclusive which does more than most to integrate with its natural surroundings. Low-rise, balcony-fronted buildings sit in a pool-dotted, palm-shaded garden, sprinkled with loungers and Adirondack chairs. The reef is a paddle away, turtles still nest on the white sand and with only a few other resorts nearby, stays feel more intimate than most on the Riviera Maya.

TRS Coral Hotel

Built in the late 2010s with a honeycomb of suites, the Coral sits on Playa Mujeres, to the north of Cancún’s main hotel zone. Suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies are vast and fitted with contemporary honey-colored woods, light polished stone and minimalist drapes. Bathrooms have pod-like tubs and his-and-hers basins. A good choice for honeymooners looking for someone else to take care of the plans, after months of wedmin.

Palmaïa

This by-the-beach wellness hotel in Playa del Carmen sits on a quiet stretch of sand. The suites – with big glass-fronted sea-view balconies hovering over the pool – are beautifully-fitted in polished stone and lush woods and come with seductive open-to-view bathrooms. From the all plant-based food served at Palmaïa’s four restaurants to the lapping sound of the waves and the swim-up suites with views of the Caribbean Sea, everything here seems to be geared up for relaxation.

Iberostar Selection Paraiso Lindo

Seven pools – some with large paddling areas, others with wave machines and whirlpool baths – family-sized suites, a golf course, play areas for toddlers, evening shows, endless activities… At heart, the Iberostar is a big, old-fashioned resort for families looking for an all-inclusive beach vacation that’s simple, warm and sunny.

Beloved Playa Mujeres

This quiet, low rise on Playa Mujeres – just north of Cancún’s busier hotel zone – is primed for loved-up couples. Boutique flourishes include modish rooms in Mykonos white with scatter cushions, Bulgari unguents and waterfall-edged balcony pools. The ones to book are the Ocean View Junior Suites – only a fraction more than the cheaper rooms, but with Cancún’s turquoise sea views – both from private balconies and the Jacuzzis, built for two.

The Royal Hideaway Playacar, Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is a favourite for luxury travellers who want the cultural intrigue of Mexico and the warm, white sands and turquoise oceans of the Caribbean coast without having to go to neighbouring Cancún. The beachside Royal Hideaway Playacar has tapped into this desire for luxurious living and developed a sprawling, adults only, upscale resort with swanky marble and mahogany villas named after various flowers. There’s also a spa, infinity pools and even an onsite theatre.

Casa Velas, Puerto Vallarta

We move to the other side of the country now, with the intimate, all-inclusive Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta. Again, this is an adults-only, exclusive resort with added extras that will soothe the demands of even the fussiest luxury traveller. Take, for example, their ‘pillow menu’ which allows you to hand select the pillow upon which you’ll be laying your head that night, as well as their excellent onsite restaurants. Lush gardens, Koi fish ponds and in-house peacocks never let you forget for a second that you’re holidaying in paradise.

Fairmont Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen

If you’d like to take your kids with you to an all-inclusive Mexican resort, then consider the Caribbean coastline’s Fairmont Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen. Here, kids under five stay free and there are a range of all-inclusive packages to suit every taste. Not convinced of its appeal? Well, this resort offers the option to travel through it either on foot or by boat, thanks to the tranquil canal system that winds through the 45 tropical acres of the Fairmont Mayakoba, after which you can dine on an island at La Laguna restaurant.

Excellence Playa Mujeres, Cancún

One of many Excellence resorts, Excellence Playa Mujeres, located just north of Cancún on a white sand beach, is often thought of as one of Mexico’s best. It’s an adults-only spot with a laid-back vibe, private golf course and a whopping ten restaurants and eleven bars. Either lounge in your sumptuous, modern suite (some of which boast roof terraces and plunge pools) or take advantage of access to the spas and deep-water shipwreck scuba dive tours.

Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancún

For a Cancún all-inclusive that’s a bit closer to the action, then the highly-rated Le Blanc Spa Resort is the perfect option if you want true rest and relaxation within the famed Zona Hotelera. Modern, minimalist and hip, with a sleek design and an uber-cool feel, this is a favourite for luxury holidaymakers in Cancún who yearn for a marble-filled suite, complete with private jacuzzi and ocean views. However, as the name suggests, you must also dedicate some time to the excellent spa services, swim-up bar pools and relaxing on the powdery beaches.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in the up-and-coming holiday zone of Nuevo Vallarta, just up the Pacific coast from popular Puerto Vallarta, is a luxurious resort boasting over 250 rooms, all with balconies and a heap of sumptuous extras as standard, plus room service 24-hours a day. Take advantage of the triple-level infinity pool and don’t forget to get at least one spa treatment while you’re there. Switch between days at the swim-up bar and nights at the exquisite restaurants.

Zoëtry Paraiso De La Bonita Riviera Maya, Puerto Morelos

An achingly fantastic all-inclusive resort deserves an extravagantly long name, and that holds true at Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya, situated on a private beach in quaint Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo. There’s no better adults-only resort in Mexico for truly hiding yourself away from the world, spending all day lounging in the plunge pools or on the terraces, before enjoying complimentary champagne of an evening. As an added bonus, you get a free bottle of tequila on arrival.

Secrets The Vine, Cancún

Breaking out of the typical beachy, palapa-heavy vibe that luxury hotels in Mexico often lean towards, Secrets The Vine in Cancún instead has a striking Art Deco feel. Enjoy the balcony or patio that come as standard in each of the nearly 500 marble and teak outfitted rooms here at Secrets The Vine, and take a dip in one of the four pools available (one is reserved for Preferred Club guests only, though). Alternatively, just soak up the ocean view from the floor length windows.

Marival Residences & World Spa, Nayarit

Perfect for everyone from honeymooning couples to families – unlike many other all-inclusives, Marival Residences & World Spa isn’t adults-only – at this resort, you’re located in a prime spot just 30 minutes from nearby Puerto Vallarta. Choose any of the 169 penthouses, villas or suites and enjoy the privacy, luxury and laid-back vibe of Marival, but don’t expect a wild party scene, as this resort positions itself as a residential-style destination.

Valentin Imperial Maya, Playa del Carmen

Adults-only, again, at Playa del Carmen’s Valentin Imperial Maya resort, which has a definite boho-luxe vibe about it. Swim-up bars and fancy restaurants are juxtaposed with the raw beauty of the actual resort location itself – Valentin Imperial Maya is sat right beside Playa del Secreto and has plenty of palapa cabins for your Instagram and personal enjoyment. A bonus touch is the free glass of champagne on arrival, and an onsite fresh fruit bar for the health-conscious.

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancún, Playa del Carmen

Our final all-inclusive Mexican resort entry is Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancún, an airy, spacious and luxurious treat which is actually in Playa del Carmen, not Cancún. Each of the 412 rooms are decadently decked out with four-poster beds and private terraces, and the resort itself isn’t half bad either – there are over ten pools and an open-air theatre to name but a few of the fancy included facilities you get as standard at Secrets Maroma Beach. If you’re still feeling stressed out, there’s always the spa treatment.

For more options in Mexico, check into one of the best resorts in Playa del Carmen or the top resorts in Puerto Vallarta – and book your stay with Culture Trip.

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