One of the Mexican Riviera’s jewels, Cancún is famously high-rise – but the sky needn’t be the limit. Lower your gaze and you’ll find discreet boutique hotels in Cancún, whether you want lovely pools and quiet terraces for cocktail hour, or a location just a hop, skip and jump from Playa Langosta, Isla Mujeres or Nichupte Lagoon.
Cancún is sprinkled liberally with boutique hotels, and many of them are downtown, in the fast-paced heart of the action, with the best beaches a short drive away. But don’t rule out the selection of beauties in the Zona Hotelera alongside the Caribbean Sea.
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Intimacy and comfort are the watchwords at Kabah Boutique Hotel in Cancún. Giant window panes overlook the rampant urban jungle of leafy Kabah Park, drawing light into the modern interiors of rich woods and blue-green accents. Join nature lovers and fitness freaks in the open air, or sleep late in your bed, swamped with soft pillows. The rooftop hot tub beckons as sunset floods the skyline, then there’s dinner amid the red lanterns of Kabah’s China Girl Asian restaurant.
Squint and there’s something Great Gatsbyish about this bijou luxury boutique hotel in Cancún: the pure-white facade, punctured with vast arched windows; the grand spiral staircase in the entrance hall, with its muscular sculptures; the 30 airy rooms with hot tubs; and the suites, with dining rooms and kitchens, displaying a bold canvas or two. All eyes are on you as you glide down the theatrical steps to the pool, with the jade waves beyond. After a massage on the sands, take in the scenic surrounds over a chilled beer at the swim-up bar, or plunge deeper at the conservation-led Cancún Underwater Museum, three minutes’ walk away.
Charmingly low-rise, this family-friendly resort sits on Cancún’s less-noisy northern shore. It’s super-homey: two-room suites come with kitchens and deep-soak tubs for rinsing away the sand and salt of your lazy beach days. If the kids are wiped out after all that swimming, order in a pizza, or introduce them to the kids’ club while you bliss out in the spa. The location is sublime, just steps from Playa Langosta, with crumbly sands and tranquil waters to wallow in.
Resembling a clutter of cream-coloured sugar cubes, this adults-only tropical hideaway aims squarely for style-conscious couples and has “honeymooners” written all over it. Each glamorous suite at this Cancún boutique hotel has a terrace and romantic whirlpool tub for two; splurge to get your own luxurious plunge pool and private garden. The diminutive appearance is deceptive: there are three swimming pools and plenty of places to retreat to for refreshing drinks and sushi. Stick a trip to Isla Mujeres on your agenda, for turtles, coral reefs, whale sharks and sundowners on the sand.
The Oleo Cancún Playa Boutique Resort emits a cool Miami Beach vibe, with its bleached, angular architecture and the minty-green glint of its windows, reflecting foam-crested rollers. There are funky DJ sets after dark, perhaps after you’ve had a siesta in your crisp, icing-white room. By day this beachfront boutique beauty is cozy, with a coffee corner where you can post those envy-arousing Instagram shots, and a spa with ocean-view treatment cabins. Life centers around the three swimming pools, one with an infinity edge. If you want to raise your pulse a little, hop on a boat through the mangroves of nearby Nichupte Lagoon, where crocodiles lurk.
This atmospheric villa-style boutique hotel in Cancún is an easy few minutes’ walk from the broad white sweep of Playa Gaviota Azul. Vibrant turquoise facades enclose an intimate garden dense with palm fronds. Its six sparsely furnished suites ooze character with intricate wrought-iron balustrades and dark-wood doors. Don’t miss breakfast – a calorific feast of quesadillas and burritos – which should sustain you for the 15-minute walk around the lagoon to peaceful Playa Chac Mool.
On a budget? Check out our guide to the best hostels in Cancún, Mexico, for budget travelers, bookable on Culture Trip.
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