Boutique Chic

Enjoy the private side of Mexico at these luxury hotels.
Text by Annie S. Butterworth

CasaSandra, Isla Holbox
Avoid the hustle and bustle of Cancún and treat yourself to a stay on Isla Holbox, about 40 miles northwest of the resort city. Artist and writer Sandra Perez has created elegant accommodations with a personalized feel. To add a touch of adventure to your trip, try swimming with a whale shark. For more information, visit casasandra.com.

Azucar, Veracruz
This secluded retreat offers guests their choice of 20 bungalows, each with a private terrace and hammock, so visitors are inclined to relax the day away. You'll love the Gulf Coast views and the open-air library. Visit hotelazucar.com to make reservations.

Hotel Los Flamingos, Acapulco
Once owned by the likes of John Wayne and Johnny Weissmuller (of Tarzan fame), this getaway is a must-see―and a must-stay. Rooms have spectacular ocean views, and the bar has been famous since the 1950s for its signature drink, the "Coco Loco." Visit hotellosflamingos.com.

Basico, Playa del Carmen
For hip and eco-friendly accommodations, check out the Hotel Basico, located in the center of popular Playa del Carmen. Take in all the action―and the sunsets―from the trendy rooftop bar. The hotel is made from recycled materials, so each room is imaginative and innovative (and includes a Polaroid camera for taking vacation shots). Visit hotelbasico.com for reservations.

Casa Natalia, San Jose del Cabo
This 16-room hotel near (but not too near) Cabo San Lucas has a staff-to-room ratio of two to one, providing guests with impeccable service and personal attention. However, Mi Cocina, the hotel restaurant, is really what has visitors talking. You can even enjoy a full breakfast on your balcony. For more information, visit casanatalia.com.

Verana, Yelapa
Rustic meets glamorous at this secluded sanctuary near Puerto Vallarta. A 30-minute open-air boat ride and a hike through the jungle bring you to Verana, which provides modern amenities and high design despite its primitive location. Don't miss taking a dip in the infinity-edge pool. For more information, visit verana.com.

El Encanto Inn & Suites Hotel, San Jose del Cabo
Located in the heart of historic San Jose del Cabo, the El Encanto Inn offers visitors more than just the standard sand-and-sun fare. Guests can explore art galleries and take in the handiwork of Mexican artists and craftsmen. Of course, the beaches of Cabo are just minutes away. For more information, visit mktideas.com/encanto-inn2/index.html.

Hotelito Desconocido, Puerto Vallarta
It doesn't have electricity or telephones, but Hotelito Desconocido in Puerto Vallarta still fits the definition of luxury. Each of the 24 rooms (including bungalows on stilts above a lagoon) has a distinctive, colorful style. Pathways and rooms glow at night from candles and torches. Take time to relax in one of the hotel's outdoor bamboo baths. For more information, visit hotelito.com.