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April 2008
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The Stay List: Mexico
Photo by Hacienda Temozon
Photo: Hacienda Temozon, Mexico
Hibiscus-red Hacienda Temozon features local cuisine and grand guest rooms.

Rancho los Chabacanos, Tecate, Baja
Colonial Mexican hacienda-style lodge 15 minutes from U.S. border. Native oaks, organic apricot orchard, and eucalyptus punctuate dark orange adobe casitas. Kitchenettes, dining areas; fireplaces in most rooms. Traditional purifying steam bath and black mud wraps in spa. Pool, hot tub, and Wi-Fi. 17 rooms; $90-250.

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit
An elegantly low-profile blue sky/blue water coastal paradise with a green streak. While you laze on the Pacific Ocean beach or submit to a massage employing nopal and pulque (ancient Mexican skin-healing ingredients), the on-premises treatment plant is making used water garden-ready. Get vertical and explore local arts, crafts, and history at the on-site Cultural Center. Regarding the kitchen culture: Chef Fucho is steadfast when it comes to doing business with local fishermen and farmers. 141 rooms and 32 suites; $405-2,140.

El Sueño Hotel, Puebla de los Ángeles Alcántaras, Puebla
This hotel and spa's colonial architecture dates from the 18th century, but the solar-heated hot water, four loft rooms, white-on-white decor, and spa are unquestionably "right now." Guest rooms named in honor of famous artists like Frida Kahlo and Tina Mondotti. Potted native plants fringe corridors and walkways. 11 rooms; $135-170.

The Tides Riviera Maya, Playa Xcalacoco, Quintana Roo
Spacious thatched-roof villas offer junglesque seclusion on seven-mile (11.3-kilometer) stretch of pristine beach. No cell phones, cars, or artificial lighting to mar the landscape. Polo lessons, parasailing, poolside butler. Temazcal baths—a Maya-style sauna—calm with massage and chants. Open dining policy serves up meals when and wherever you want. Yum. 30 villas; $585-2,600.

Maroma Resort and Spa, Solidaridad, Quintana Roo
Maya craftsmanship (three generations of local stone masons helped build the place in 1995 and still do some work on the property) merges with unabashed Caribbean-front luxury. Come sunset, 1,000 candles light the way. Local fare includes Mexican wine. Biologist, dive master, naturalist Ramon Aguayo lures guests from beach chairs to nature paths as well as sea reefs. 65 rooms; $510-6,140.

Zamas Hotel, Tulum, Quintana Roo
A castaway's dream featuring thatched-roof bungalows, woven grass hammocks, and wood-fired pizza oven. Swim, snorkel, or play Indiana Jones: The retreat sits between the grand Maya ruins of Tulum and bird-watching destination Sian Ka'an, a jungle reserve. 17 rooms; $90-180.

Hacienda de los Santos Resort and Spa, Alamos, Sonora
Three Spanish colonial mansions and an old sugar mill woven together by native gardens of ferns, cactuses, and palms. Guest room walls sport authentic 18th-century retablos (oil paintings of saints), folk art, and paintings. Eat formally in the traditional dining room or casually by one of four pools. Organic vegetables, fruit from Santos's own hacienda. Spa. 27 rooms; $250-1,400.

Casa Quetzal, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
On a narrow street right in the middle of one of Mexico's most culturally inviting towns (with Slow Food restaurants, spa and spiritual opportunities, a no-baloney Tuesday market). Main building went up in the 1800s; the new four-room addition also incorporates traditional Mexican metalwork and tiles. 10 rooms; $125-380.

Casa Schuck Boutique, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
A 17th-century colonial villa on a hillside overlooking the city. Portico colonnade opens to a courtyard, swimming pool, and gardens. Handmade furniture and carved wooden doors find balance with vibrant interiors. Stroll to the antiques shops on the central square or buy pottery from the on-site kiln. Watch sunsets on the expansive roof deck. 10 rooms; $169-249.

Hotel Colonial, Alamos, Sonora
An 1875 home turned boutique hotel located just off this colonial city's plaza. Graceful guest rooms with artisan-crafted furniture, hand-painted tiles, and fireplace, all arranged around an authentic Mexican interior courtyard with splashing fountain set off by native climbing bougainvillea, poinsettia, and citrus trees. Gift shop sells Sonoran jewelry. 10 rooms; $135-170.

Hacienda Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, Yucatán
The cornflower-blue former plantation evokes the belle epoque of southeastern Mexico. Proximity to archaeological sites at Uxmal and Oxkintok take you back further still; relax, there is also high-speed Internet. Wander into nearby caverns that were once sacrificial sites. Try an ancient Maya spa treatment in the spa. 11 rooms; $451-939.

Hacienda Temozon, Carretera Merida-Uxmal, Yucatán
Hibiscus red 16th-century residence not far from major archaeological sites. Grand guest rooms with 18-foot (5.5-meter) ceilings, tropical-wood cabinetry, and hammocks slung from stone walls. Local-fare dining in sun yellow restaurant, with organic produce hailing from hacienda's extensive gardens (100 percent native plantings) and fish from coastal villages. Guided archaeological walks, spa, gift shop filled with locally crafted goods. 28 rooms; $452-940.

Hacienda Uayamon, Campeche, Yucatán
Restored 18th-century villas and suites. Rest easy this way and that: Switch from the wrought-iron framed bed to a traditional hammock tethered to the walls. Private gardens and plunge pool. Take an excursion to Seybaplaya turtle camp to help release sea turtles into the wild. 12 rooms; $451-939.

Hacienda Xcanatun-Casa de Piedra, Mérida, Yucatán
Former 18th-century sisal hacienda evokes the magic of a Frida Kahlo canvas. Exotic interiors (tropical hardwood furniture, hand-carved coral stone tubs in suites) mirror the lushness beyond (wrought-iron verandas, sacred Maya trees, citrus gardens, and iguana-frequented fruit trees). 18 rooms; $250-340.

Hotel and Bungalows Mayaland and The Lodge at Chichen Itza, Chichen Itza, Yucatán
Colonial-era house and thatched-roof bungalows in the shadow of some of Mexico's most famous ancient Maya ruins. (Guests have the luxury of strolling the temples and pyramids before or after they're flooded with bus-tour travelers.) Hand-carved mahogany headboards, bedspreads made by locals. Running and bike trails. On-site excavations. Traditional dance and cooking classes. 90 rooms; $88-490.

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