When you become a Tablet Plus member, you gain exclusive access to a selection of the world’s finest hotels, each one committed to providing you with seamless, VIP-level hospitality. Fab Five is a series of collections dedicated to celebrating these truly exceptional properties.
Margaritas, sailboats, dolphins — the beaches along the various coasts of Mexico aren’t a hard sell, so we won’t waste your time. We’ll just say that the only thing that improves on paradise is the perfect hotel to frame it. The following fall into that category, but they don’t rest on the laurels that come with their gorgeous locations. These are the places that bring together innovative design and a sense of exclusivity you don’t often find in Mexico (or anywhere in the world, for that matter). And it should go without saying, they’re all Tablet Plus.
Yearning to get away from it all? Puerto Vallarta probably isn’t quite the first place you’ll think of. But then ther’s Xinalani, a gloriously secluded eco-resort wedged between the jungle and the water. Technically, it’s in Puerto Vallarta, but it’s actually twelve miles down the coast from the city proper, and only accessible by boat — which makes all the difference. Pick up what you need before boarding, and put an auto-responder on your e-mail: there’s no Starbucks near the hotel, nor a consistently reliable wi-fi connection. There’s also no air-conditioning, no television, no complimentary in-room iPad. The point of coming to Xinalani is to get away from all of that and enjoy the sand, sun, and sea. Well, it’s the bay, technically, the large, crystal-clear Banderas Bay on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
It’s not like the Riviera Maya needed another resort, strictly speaking. But the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen brings something fresh to this somewhat overdeveloped stretch of coastline. Traditionally, travelers to “Playa,” that buzzing beach enclave down the coast from Cancún, have had to choose between one of two options. There are the boutique hotels in town, and the sprawling all-inclusive resorts lining the beaches north and south of it. The Grand Hyatt represents the best of both worlds, offering both a central location in town as well as many of the amenities and perks of a resort.
La Valise Tulum
At the moment there may be no place in Mexico with quite as thrilling a reputation as that of Tulum, the Goldilocks of resort destinations — it’s wild but also a bit luxe, stylish but also authentic, spiritual but also grounded. No wonder the hotels sometimes struggle to live up to the myth. La Valise Tulum, however, makes it look easy. A beachfront villa and a handful of bungalows, with the jungle on one side and a spectacular white sand beach on the other, it’s a slice of heaven — and it’s packed with the modern comforts, traditional crafts, and eclectic, bohemian design that Tulum is supposed to be all about.
Boutique Hotel CasaSandra
Not Cassandra, but CasaSandra. As in Sandra’s place — a Cuban-born writer and artist named Sandra Pérez, who has transformed a little strip of coast on Isla Holbox, just offshore from the Yucatán peninsula, into a pared-down, unpretentious, stylish little beach resort. It’s intended to be as much like a home as a hotel can reasonably be, just a 17 rooms and one luxury villa spread among a few low buildings with sunset views over the sea.
The backstory seems too fantastic to be true, like something from a Roger Moore-era James Bond movie. Don Antenor Patino, the Bolivian tin magnate, plans a beachfront mega-resort, but doesn’t live to complete it — so his granddaughter Isabel Goldsmith (English financier father, long story) takes over. In the interest of preserving the land (and the dolphins) so dear to her, she revises her grandfather’s plan and erects a tiny, exclusive resort, where a maximum of 28 guests have at their disposal 1,500 acres of pristine beachfront land and close to 100 staff members.