Think a trip to Mexico is out of your budget? Think again. From Cancun to San Miguel de Allende, there are dozens of hotels geared toward the budget-minded traveler. While you won't get over-the-top luxury and butler service, there are lovely hotels with well-equipped guest rooms, relaxing pools, and on-site restaurants. A team of Oyster investigators visited hundreds of hotels throughout the country to sleep in the beds, lounge on the beach, and eat at the restaurants, to see which offered the best bang-for-your-buck. Take a look at our expert picks for the hotels with the best value in Mexico, and get inspired for your affordable, yet excellent, getaway.
The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort is located along the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. With a lovely beach, attractive facade, and well-groomed property, this resort offers quality in the heart of Cancun's Hotel Zone. Rooms are either studios or villas, and both are complete with living areas, kitchens, washer/dryers, and balconies. Hints of traditional Mexican decor give the comfortable rooms -- furnished in rich brown and gold tones -- a bit of authentic flavor. Bathrooms are especially chic, with tiled patterns along the walls. There are on-site restaurants serving international cuisine and the Tierra Market provides ingredients for guests to cook in fully equipped kitchens.
Close to the bustle of downtown Isla Mujeres and along the beautiful sands of Playa Norte, Privilege Aluxes provides not only comfort but also a touch of luxury. The 124 rooms are spacious, feature a modern, minimalist decor -- though at times it may seem too austere -- and come outfitted with amenities such as alarm clock radios, minibars, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. Many are suites and have impressive ocean views and large, private terraces with their own Jacuzzis. Outside, the grounds are well kept, dotted with tall palm trees and two glistening pools. The shoreline is just steps away and the hotel provides relaxing beach beds shaded by towering palm roofs. There’s an all-inclusive option for guests, and there are three on-site restaurants to choose from.
This three-and-a-half-pearl boutique hotel is situated in central San Miguel de Allende, three blocks from the historic city center. Although the property has a huge courtyard as well as seemingly countless arched doorways, there are only six contemporary and spacious rooms with stylish, artistic details. Compared with the similarly priced Casa Quetzal, Hotel Nena is a much better value, with a delightful restaurant and rooftop bar plus an outdoor pool. The hotel is ideal for romantic couples or for small wedding parties, but it lacks central heating and can get chilly at night during the colder months.
The 34-room, mid-range El Meson de los Poetas is a boutique hotel housed in a converted 18th century mansion that's situated in Guanajuato's historic city center. The charming property is well located for visiting the capital city's major attractions, like the Diego Rivera Home and Museum just across the street. Each of the homey guest rooms here is named after a poet and features colorful artwork, while several units also include full kitchens. An excellent breakfast is served on-site in the hotel's bright central courtyard, but lunch and dinner aren't available on site. There is no elevator in the four-story building, so guests need to be prepared to climb stairs.
Tucked away along the Sea of Cortez near Baja's capital is this 115-room luxurious (and yet affordable) resort with panoramic views in all directions. Amenities run rampant with three pools, access to La Paz Beach, an 18-hole golf course, a private marina, and a spa. If that's not enough, there's tennis, a yoga deck, and free use of non-motorized water sports (though the selection is limited). Rooms have slightly exposed walk-in showers and masculine decor, but guests can step out onto balconies for cheery vantage points. Open-air restaurants -- like Steinbeck’s, which boasts a boggling number of tequilas, and the Beach Club for stellar sunsets -- serve quality decor. The resort often hosts weddings, corporate groups, and romantic weekenders -- meaning it might not be the best pick for some families.
The 15-room Hotel Casa San Angel is a charming, upper-middle-range, boutique hotel located right at the start of the prestigious Paseo Montejo, Merida’s main avenue that’s lined with restaurants, shops, beautiful mansions, and museums. Centered around an enchanting inner courtyard festooned with potted plants and greenery, the property provides a relaxing stay -- a tranquil atmosphere that's maintained by a no-kids-under-12 policy. Rooms are spacious and homey, and though amenities are limited -- there are no in-room minibars, mini-fridges, or tea/coffee facilities -- they feature pleasant, Mexican decor, lovely bathrooms, and hammocks. The hotel’s restaurant serves tasty Mexican fare, and there’s a small outdoor pool on-site. There’s also a boutique stocked with an assortment of Mexican arts and crafts made by local artists.
Welk Resort Sirena Del Mar is a picturesque cliff-side property overlooking the Sea of Cortez and the famous Los Arcos. The 36-villa resort is beautifully appointed with travertine stone floors, thatched palapa roofs, and two stunning infinity pools. Three private decks allow for sunbathing throughout the resort, and the intimate cove beach prevents outside guests and vendors from wandering the property. Each villa comes complete with a fully stocked kitchen, accented by granite countertops and stone floors; colorful furniture and artwork; and simple bedrooms with huge sliding doors that lead to private balconies. Eachbathroom has a separate Jacuzzi tub and shower.
Hotel Casa Gonzalez is a charming and historic property that functions more like a cozy guest house than a traditional hotel. Four historic "homes" built in the 1930s and '40s are scattered through a lush courtyard. The 33 rooms are renovated to include flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms, most have an outdoor area as well. Meals are served in a charming dining room on communal tables; breakfast isn't included but the prices are low. The American and British embassies are in the neighborhood, and guests often book long-term stays at this casual and welcoming family-run budget property while they deal with immigration issues.
Villa Bella is a charming little B&B boasting extraordinary views of both Banderas Bay and Sierra Madre mountains. Most of its seven individually decorated rooms have appealing rustic touches such as wooden beams and stoneware floors, and offer expansive vistas. Some have full kitchens and large jetted tubs. The action during the day revolves around the beautiful lap pool, and those who want to go to the beach should note that it’s a short drive away or a 20-minute walk down a steep hill.
The 350-room Fiesta Americana Merida is an upscale hotel situated at the intersection of Merida’s main avenues and close to lots of shopping and dining options. Elegant, spacious rooms are tastefully adorned, if a bit bland, and feature a host of amenities; some (but not all) include free continental breakfast, welcome Champagne, and daily newspapers. The property has two restaurants located in its impressive open plan lobby that occupies the sprawling ground floor, as well as a casual bar with a relaxed atmosphere and a pool table. There’s a lovely outdoor pool and an on-site fitness center. The hotel’s ample meeting and event spaces encompass 16 rooms and attract many business travelers, though families with children are also catered to with a kids’ club.
The eight-room Hotel Hacienda Merida is an upper-middle-range boutique hotel with charming, colonial-style interiors centered around a gorgeous inner courtyard with a lovely pool. There’s also an elegant lobby bar, and for guests seeking a dose of pampering, massage treatments are available. Rooms are homey and colorful, with lovely canopy beds and bathrooms with large walk-in rainfall showers, but some of the air-conditioning units can be loud, and there are no tea/coffee facilities, minibars, or mini-fridges. The prime location is ideal for travelers seeking proximity to the city’s sights, many of which are a short walk away from the hotel.
The charming Hacienda Santa Cruz is a countryside getaway surrounded by beautiful, lush gardens about 25-minutes outside of Merida. The upper-middle-range property has 11 colorful rooms with vibrant artwork and textiles, though fairly spare furnishings and amenities; rooms lack TVs and Internet access, but common areas throughout the property offer free Wi-Fi. The lovely grounds include two outdoor pools, and there’s a spa offering a range of treatments. There’s also an on-site restaurant that serves modern Mexican fare and free breakfast.