Turtle Inn Belize

Two readers’ polls came out within two months of each other, from Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure. There is a bit of overlap in the results, but not much, which I find quite odd. Considering how similar those two magazines are (I forget which one I’m holding half the time unless I look at the cover), it’s strange that their readers would have such divergent opinions. It is especially pronounced when you look at the best hotels in Mexico, Central America, and South America–an area we know quite well here at Luxury Latin America.

The verdict? The Travel & Leisure one is spot-on. No publication on the newsstand or web has hit as many hotels in the region first-hand as we have and the Travel & Leisure results show that their readers have also been out and about quite a bit. The Condé Nast Traveler one? Well, let’s just say that somebody has figured out how to beat the system or their readers just plain don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s loaded with hotels that rarely rise above average and there are lots of properties known more for their convention facilities than the quality of their rooms or service.

We’re talking curveballs like Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun–listed as #39 in the world–is this a joke?! JW Marriott Cancun the third best resort in Mexico? The regular Cancun Marriott #17 in Mexico? I detect some serious ballot stuffing.

For a more accurate view of the best of the region, here’s the top-20 from Travel & Leisure, with links to our reviews where available.

1. La Casa Que Canta, Zihuatanejo, Mexico (just visited–review coming soon)
2. Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires
3. Esperanza, Los Cabos, Mexico
4. Ritz-Carlton Santiago, Chile
5. One & Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico
6. Turtle Inn, Placencia, Belize (pictured above)
7. Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires
8. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
9. Las Mañanitas, Cuernavaca, Mexico
10. Royal Hideaway Playacar, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
11. Lapa Rios, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
12. Park Hyatt Mendoza, Argentina
13. Blancaneaux Lodge, Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize
14. Hotel Villa del Sol, Zihuatanejo, Mexico (review coming soon)
15. Tides Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
16. Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico
17. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico
18. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, San Ignacio, Belize
19. Hotel Monasterio, Cuzco, Peru
20. Four Seasons Hotel México D.F., Mexico City
21. Casa Santo Domingo, Antigua, Guatemala
22. Marquis Los Cabos, Mexico
23. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Los Cabos, Mexico
24. Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
25. Ritz-Carlton Cancun

I wouldn’t put too much stock in who’s number 5 and who’s number 25 since readers can only rate a place they’ve stayed in and don’t know how one hotel compares to the other. It’s safe to say though that you can’t go wrong with any of these fine hotels.