Fairmont Acapulco pool

When we first launched Luxury Latin America last decade, things were different in Acapulco. This was a hotspot on the rebound—according to the glossy magazine stories anyway—and we covered all the top hotels and resorts in what was still a fairly popular international destination. Then business dried up there and apart from adding one new property, we didn’t revisit the location.

I was just there recently for the Tianguis Turistico annual tourism fair though and stayed at the still-impressive Fairmont Acapulco Princess. The central core of Acapulco will take a while to recover from years of bad publicity, but there’s a real turnaround in motion in the newer area near the airport. A giant new convention center just opened and it’s one of the largest in Mexico, with a concert forum and huge new hotel next to it. This may seem nutty, but Acapulco is still a very popular domestic destination (an easy trip from Mexico city by car or bus) and according to some data I saw recently from hotel search company Trivago, it’s still one of the best-known, most-searched Mexican destinations internationally.

Fairmont has to fill more than 1,000 rooms between three buildings at this sprawling resort, which is situated on a terrific Pacific Coast beach with rolling waves great for boogie boarding. That means rates are almost always a good deal, whether you’re getting a spacious regular room with a furnished balcony or a huge penthouse suite. Take a two-minute tour of the place with this video:

So yes, this is a large hotel and sometimes it’s filled with conventioneers. (I was one of them.) This is a Fairmont though, which means a much higher level of consistent service than you’d get in, say, Fiesta Americana. There’s a much higher level of training and English proficiency as well. Despite the dearth of American tourists the past few years, most of the customer-facing staffers are quite fluent.

The advantage of a large resort that’s been around since 1971 is that as the area around here has grown up and developed, the Princess still sits on 470 acres of prime land, with two golf courses and what now seems like a decadent amount of empty green space. This is also the best beach in the region, with this hotel having a big long stretch of it to plant umbrellas and lounge chairs in the sand. If you’re not up for that, there are multiple large pools with waterfalls to choose from and a large full-service spa and gym.

See our full updated review of Fairmont Acapulco Princess.