Four Seasons MexicoAs we’ve tried to make clear in Luxury Latin America, we don’t put much faith in “five star” ratings doled out by tourism bureaus or local rating agencies. They are usually far too generous. While we don’t agree with all of AAA’s choices for its 5-diamond awards either, you certainly can’t fault them for handing out too many. Only 10 hotels in Mexico made the cut.

AAA tends to rate hotels on a very rigid and objective set of requirements, paying lots of attention to the variety of floor coverings, whether there is wainscoating in the hallways, and how many pieces of custom furniture are in the lobby. So the big corporate hotels have an edge over those who worry more about personalized service than whether “signage is of outstanding quality and unique design.” Thus the inclusion of the J.W. Marriott and Fiesta Americana hotels in Cancun, two hotels that are usually filled to the brim with conventioners. Here’s the rundown:

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach
JW Marriott
The Ritz-Carlton

Mexico City
Four Seasons; (our review coming later)

Nuevo Vallarta
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort

Playa del Carmen
Fairmont Mayakoba
Occidental Royal Hideaway Resort & Spa

Puerto Morelos
Paraíso de la Bonita Resort

Punta Mita
Four Seasons Resort

San José del Cabo
Las Ventanas al Paraíso