When it comes to world-class hotels, Mexico holds considerable bragging rights. The country is saturated with spectacular hotel choices, from luxury all-inclusive resorts to splashy international brands recognized around the world. But one of the best parts about Mexico’s hotel scene is just how many fabulous small-scale, boutique hotels it has to offer.

Boutique hotels are typically one-of-a-kind, independently operated hotels with a unique concept and are not affiliated with big-time international names. They are much more nuanced, niche and low-impact. From the Caribbean coast to the Pacific, and within the centuries-old cities in Mexico’s interior, the country is bubbling with beautiful boutique hotels to discover.

Whether you’re a foodie, a spiritual-seeker, a design aficionado or someone who loves to chase the perfect wave, Mexico has a boutique hotel to match.

Discover some of the best the country has to offer with our list of the best boutique hotels in Mexico.

Casa Kimberly — Puerto Vallarta

CASA KIMBERLY/FACEBOOK

Stepping through the wrought-iron gate of Casa Kimberly is like stepping back in time. The historic, Mediterranean-style villa sits atop a cobblestone-covered hillside overlooking the rustic red tile rooftops of Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica. Inside are glittering chandeliers, colonnaded terraces and a striking, larger-than-life-sized portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, her blue eyes practically piercing your soul.

This is her house, after all. Or, at least, it stands where her original house once stood. Casa Kimberly is a renovated version of the elaborate mansion given to Taylor by Richard Burton when he was shooting “Night of the Iguana” in Puerto Vallarta in 1963.

Now, it’s one of the finest boutique hotels in Puerto Vallarta, with nine individually decorated rooms, the best location in town and an old-world glamor that is rare in this thoroughly modernized and touristy city.

Related: The best all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Vallarta

The Iguana Restaurant & Tequila Bar is the hotel’s signature restaurant, with an elegant, open-air space that has the best views in town for a sunset dinner. Catch live music performances Monday, Wednesday and Friday from November through April.

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TPG tip: Book the V.I.P.s Suite on the top floor for its panoramic views of Puerto Vallarta, the mountains and the bay. A wraparound terrace is the perfect spot for breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening.

Rates at Casa Kimberly start from $419 per night.

Casa Lecanda Boutique Hotel — Merida

EDGARDO CONTRERAS/CASA LECANDA BOUTIQUE HOTEL/FACEBOOK

Merida is one of the hottest cities in Mexico these days — and we mean that literally and figuratively. The hot-and-humid Spanish-influenced city at the tip of the Yucatan peninsula is known for its opulent 19th-century architecture, nearby Mayan ruins, fabulous restaurants, parks, museums and rich culture.

Casa Lecanda, a 19th-century house-turned-hotel, offers a haven of serenity and a refreshing escape from the busy (but beautiful) Mérida vibe.

The upscale boutique hotel has seven stately rooms, each designed to resemble a bedroom of the former private residence. All rooms have custom wood furniture for that historic aesthetic but are upgraded with modern tech touches like flat-screen televisions and Wi-Fi.

The outdoor pool is a welcome break from the Merida heat, and guests can arrange for in-room massages to double down on the relaxation.

While the hotel does not have an on-site restaurant, guests are within walking distance to Paseo Montejo — Merida’s de facto Champs-Elysees — as well as all the fabulous restaurants within the surrounding neighborhoods.

TPG tip: Opt for rooms on higher floors, which have balconies.

Rates at Casa Lecanda Boutique Hotel start at $318 per night.

Casa Hormiga — Bacalar

CASA HORMIGA/FACEBOOK

If Bacalar is not yet a destination on your Mexico bucket list, it should be. This jungle-shrouded lakefront village is one of the most serene spots in the country.

Far removed from the all-inclusive sprawl of Cancun and the bass-heavy thump of Tulum, Bacalar moves at much slower pace, where a lake lifestyle is what it’s all about.

Laguna de Bacalar is the second-largest lake in Mexico. The mind-bogglingly beautiful freshwater lake is as crystal clear as the Caribbean Sea; it’s pocketed with deep cenotes and surrounded by mangrove jungle.

Bacalar is the village that overlooks the lake and, until recently, was mostly a vacation destination for area residents and a savvy backpacker or two. However, with the emergence of more and more boutique hotels (and the new Tulum airport), Bacalar is fast becoming one of the most coveted destinations in Mexico.

Casa Hormiga is the hotel to book here. This dreamy hotel is like a zen-style oasis enclosed by high cement walls and overgrown with lush jungle foliage.

Guests enter through the elaborately carved wooden door. The hotel exudes an almost a Bedouin-like experience, complete with magnificent carpets, woven baskets, clay, wood and stone. A central pool shimmers amid dividing walls, made to resemble jungle-shrouded ruins.

Rooms are bungalow-style, surrounding the main courtyard and each has its own balcony with a hammock.

A key component of Casa Hormiga is wellness, which it refers to as “rituals.” This broad, overarching term applies to the hotel’s wide array of wellness and spiritual-focused experiences and treatments. The hotel offers a running club that traverses the lagoon every morning. Yoga classes are available upon request.

TPG tip: The hotel’s piece de resistance is the Casa Ritual, a space to explore everything from soaking baths and temazcal (a kind of pre-Hispanic sweat lodge) to massages, cacao ceremonies, reiki and therapeutic tarot readings.

Rates at Casa Hormiga start at $146 per night.

Almaplena Boutique Hotel — Mahahual

ALMAPLENA BEACH RESORT/FACEBOOK

Almaplena Boutique Hotel is a slice of private beach paradise enveloped by jungle; it’s about as far south as you can go in Quintana Roo before you hit Belize. On a quiet, sun-bleached stretch of powdery white sand, this small, eco-minded boutique hotel has everything you need for the ultimate romantic getaway.

The palapa-topped hotel has nine oceanfront rooms. Each one is clean and simple in style but with that shabby-chic ocean aesthetic (think driftwood, gauzy curtains and woven basket lampshades).

At Almaplena, it’s the area’s natural beauty that does most of the design work, from the brilliantly blue Caribbean Sea to the groves of palm trees that spring up from the sand.

The lobby is a combination of lounge and restaurant, with plenty of books and board games alongside a menu of fresh cocktails, homemade pastas and beautifully grilled seafood. Steps from the hotel is the outdoor beach club with lounge chairs, day beds and direct access to the Mesoamerican Reef. It’s hard to believe this is the only hotel on this coveted strip of shoreline.

Almaplena Boutique Hotel is a short drive to the village of Mahahual, a sleepy beach town with a string of laid-back bars and restaurants. Picture the beaches of Tulum and subtract 99% of the people, and you have Mahahual.

Rates at Almaplena Boutique Hotel start from $104 per night.

Baja Club Hotel — La Paz

GRUPO HABITA/FACEBOOK

If La Paz is not yet on your radar, consider this the sign that it’s time. The capital city of Baja California Sur is often sidelined thanks to its glitzy, more glamorous tourist destination to the south, Los Cabos. However, La Paz rewards travelers in many different ways, from natural beauty to alfresco seafood restaurants, a burgeoning cocktail and fine dining scene, and an abundance of marine life.

Visitors who come to La Paz cannot do better than Baja Club Hotel. It’s a funky, chic hotel that lives in the bones of a historic hacienda, with prime real estate along the Malecon.

The hotel is made up of 32 minimalist, vintage-inspired guest rooms, a spa, a rooftop bar and a gorgeous pool. The central courtyard of the hotel has Pergola restaurant, serving Mediterranean-style food. The mezze is a must, as are the chicken souvlaki and the moussaka.

Baja Club Hotel’s overall vibe is a crossover of decades. It combines early 20th-century grandeur with midcentury minimalism and the sleekness of the early 21st century. It’s the perfect place to kick off an adventure exploring La Paz.

Rates at Baja Club Hotel start at $281 per night.

Las Alcobas — Mexico City

LAS ALCOBAS/FACEBOOK

Built into the bones of a Revival-style mansion in Mexico City’s posh Polanco neighborhood, Las Alcobas is a luxury boutique hotel that is definitely worth the splurge.

Its 35 rooms and suites are sleek and modern, with luxurious details; there are deep-soaking tubs in the bathrooms, top-shelf liquor in the minibars and crisp Italian bed linens. The star of the show at the hotel is its on-site restaurant, Anatol. Mexico City has no shortage of fabulous restaurants in general, and Anatol certainly helps drive that point home.

Helmed by chef Rodrigo del Valle, the menu here is a fascinating blend of flavors from around the world, from the homemade fennel sausage flatbread to the lobster esquites and the Brooklyn sandwich, piled high with house-made corned beef.

TPG tip: The Penthouse Suites have private terraces that look out over Avenida Presidente Masaryk and the rooftops of Polanco.

Rates at Las Alcobas start at $379 per night.

Acre Resort — San Jose del Cabo

ACRE RESORT/FACEBOOK

Visiting Los Cabos and staying off the beach may seem like a wild idea at first, but after discovering Acre Resort you’ll soon see it all makes sense. Designed like a desert oasis, where the architecture blends seamlessly with the landscape, this treehouse-style resort sits on 25 acres of working organic farm.

The treehouse rooms here draw visitors in with their Tulum-meets-desert aesthetic. Earthy and sophisticated, the treehouses feature thatched walls, outdoor showers and a boho-chic aesthetic.

On terra firma, the hotel’s restaurant and bar are known throughout the area for using locally grown and sustainable ingredients. Acre’s restaurant is one of the top-rated dining venues in Los Cabos. The cheddar biscuits are a must, as are the soft-shell crab tacos and the braised short rib.

A large jungle-shrouded pool invites relaxation — order a creative cocktail at the pool bar and request Acre’s signature mezcal, La Tierra de Acre.

Related: The 11 best all-inclusive resorts in Los Cabos

The hotel strives to be an integral part of the community with programs like Acre Dogs, a sanctuary that houses and re-homes stray dogs, as well as an animal sanctuary that is home to donkeys, goats and free-roaming peacocks.

TPG tip: For more space and upgraded perks, consider one of Acre’s recently debuted villas. These stays include yoga classes, daily continental breakfast, fully equipped kitchens, laundry and access to a private pool.

Rates at Acre Resort start at $294 per night

Hotel Matilda — San Miguel de Allende

HOTEL MATILDA/FACEBOOK

In a city like San Miguel de Allende, which is strewn with fabulous boutique hotels, it can be difficult to decide which one to book. For us, the choice is clear: Hotel Matilda is the best boutique hotel in the city.

Step off of the 16th-century cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende’s colorful Centro Histórico and enter the art-splashed world of Hotel Matilda.

The 32-room hotel is a sleek, modern oasis within a city of colonial facades. A rotating collection of contemporary art, a chic pool bar and a restaurant helmed by chef Vincente Torres drives this hotel into the 21st century.

Rooms are flooded with natural light, decorated with a color palette of gray and dark wood, and have either a balcony or terrace.

TPG tip: Larger rooms have living spaces, kitchenettes and deep-soaking tubs.

Rates at Hotel Matilda start at $361 per night.

Casa To — Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

CASA TO/FACEBOOK

There comes a tipping point for Mexico’s beach towns when they transform from surf style to luxe, boho-chic.

For Puerto Escondido, one of the most famous surf towns in the country, that point has come with the introduction of Casa To. An inspired vision of both architecture and interior design, Casa To evokes an ancient temple; it brings a luxury spin to brutalist architecture and a dash of glamor to an otherwise barefoot, casual destination.

With only nine suites, the small boutique hotel blurs the lines between material and nature, with concrete structures practically swallowed up by a riot of jungle foliage. The design ethos nods to centuries-old ruins in Mexico that have been lost to the jungles with time.

Inside, guests encounter a central patio with bamboo chairs and a beautiful, shimmering turquoise-colored pool divided by panels with circular cutouts, creating an underground cistern-style aesthetic. Rooms feature private terraces, while upper rooms have heated plunge pools.

Rates at Casa To start at $264 per night.

Careyes — Costalegre, Jalisco

CAREYES/FACEBOOK

Careyes is a place that suspends reality. This creative, well-kept secret community is a collection of glamorous villas, colorful casitas and beachfront bungalows scattered across ocean-facing cliffs and well-concealed bays.

Part of a biosphere reserve, the protected landscape ensures that only 7% of the land can ever be developed, making this escape one of the most naturally beautiful and sustainable in Mexico.

Careyes has been around since the 1960s, and the exclusive community is a hodgepodge of more than 40 nationalities. Its residents and visitors are drawn to a collective mindset that values art, design, photography, music and spirituality.

Decidedly luxurious, there is nothing quite like Careyes in Mexico. The vibe is dressed down and relaxed, with an emphasis on melding indoor and outdoor realms. Most villas and casitas are open-air, many with sparkling infinity pools and dreamy views across the Pacific Ocean.

The community also has a variety of restaurants, a polo field, beach clubs and a dedicated foundation committed to providing education, activities, environmental training and sexual health for the surrounding communities.

Rates at Careyes start at $301 per night.

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