When you think of luxury hotel chains around the world, you probably think of the international ones everyone has heard of. In Latin America, however, these tend to be pretty scarce, so you’re more likely to see names like Inkaterra, Explora, Aranwa, and Habita. Many of the “chains” in this region only have two or three locations.
If your ideal luxury hotel brand is Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, One&Only, or Banyan Tree, you’ll only find a few rare locations from Mexico down through Patagonia. If your preference is Aman Resorts, Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-la, or Peninsula, you’re out of luck completely: these hotel chains don’t have even one property in the region at this point. The only international chains with significant numbers are Rosewood—with multiple resorts in Mexico–and Belmond, which has properties in Mexico and Peru.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find a luxury suite that will wow you in exotic locations. It probably just means staying in a hotel that’s not run by a corporation thousands of miles away. These upscale collections will give you more of a local touch.
Based in Peru, this highly-regarded, environmentally conscious company goes for quality over quantity. Operating several fine lodges and hotels with a sense of place, they can provide the rock star treatment when necessary but won’t let you forget where you are.
Their most recent opening that we covered is the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley in Peru
Aranwa Hotels, Resorts, & Spa
Not all of this company’s five hotels in Peru would be considered luxury, but we have reviews of the two top entries. The Aranwa Cusco is located right in the historic center, while the Sacred Valley property has room to spread out and a full spa. You’ll be sufficiently pampered at these, but at rates that are usually less than at many competitors.
As with Aranwa, but on a bigger scale, this Peruvian chain offers some mid-level business hotels along with its luxury showpiece ones. We’ve got reviews of their top properties though and recently updated the ones in Puno and Arequipa. The Cusco one is a real stunner in a historic building and Hotel Paracas is a stylish getaway near the wildlife-filled islands and the Nazca Lines.
This company, also known for its fine wine, runs four of the most artistic and enchanting hotels in South America. One is located on the vineyard land in Chile, while the other three are in Uruguay. Our jaded contributors who have seen it all have been bowled over by the service and facilities at these resorts and seemingly every art and style magazine on the planet has gushed over Viña Vik (pictured at the top) at some point in the last few years.
If your ideal vacation involves getting outside and finding adventure, then explora is the name to remember when planning your trip to Chile or Peru. This company specializes in active adventure lodges where your explorations are included in the all-inclusive rates. Like many others on this list they’ve opened a property in the Sacred Valley of Peru and are also in Torres del Paine, Easter Island, and San Pedro de Atacama. They also run fantastic overland trips, like this one between Uyuni, Bolivia and Atacama.
Located in Mexico, these beach properties are the best examples around of true “luxury all-inclusive.” Their restaurants are as good as anything you’ll find at any a la carte hotel, the rooms are spacious, and the service is hard to fault, despite the large room counts. They tend to have really good spas as well and plenty of true top-shelf liquor included in the rates. See our review of the latest opening, Grand Velas All Suites and Spa Resort Los Cabos.
Also in Mexico, this chain is almost unknown outside the country since most of its guests are domestic. They have some fine business hotels in big cities, however, as well as beach resort locations in a few spots. For an idea of what to expect, see our recently updated review of Quinta Real Guadalajara.
If you read design or fashion magazines, you’ve likely heard of Grupo Habita because they have a knack for designing hotels that wow photographers. All the cool people stay at these places and the clientele skews a good bit younger than the others on this list. They run hip boutique hotels that don’t feel like they’re trying too hard. Most are in the cities, but the luxury beach resort near Puerto Escondido is really magical.
Family Coppola Hideaways
Francis Ford Coppola founded three resorts in Guatemala and Belize, plus a boutique place in Argentina that can be rented like a villa. His company has the only one we’ve reviewed near Tikal, one in the pine forests of Belize, and Turtle Inn on the beach in Placencia. And yes, they serve the full line of options from his winery.
Other Latin America Luxury Hotel Groups
When does a group of properties become a “hotel chain”? There are many other companies in Latin America that only operate two or three locations, but offer a superlative experience with a professional, well-trained staff. These include Fasano in Brazil, Tierra, Singular, and Awasi Hotels (all in Chile), and the Alvear properties in Argentina. If you book any of these, you’re likely to have an excellent stay and it definitely won’t feel cookie-cutter corporate.