Guadalajara is Mexico’s second-largest city, but it has trouble even making the top-10 in Mexico when it comes to high-end lodging. We’ve spent a lot of time in the city and can tell you for sure which are the best Guadalajara luxury hotels and it’s not a very long list.
Plenty are designated as 5-star hotels in Guadalajara, but that’s wishful thinking by the local tourism board in most cases, so you have to look beyond that moniker. The problem is, the city just doesn’t get very many tourists with money, so the properties are mainly appealing to business travelers only. When business travel takes a nosedive–as happened over the past year–then they have a tough time filling rooms.
That can be good news if you’re headed there yourself though because Guadalajara has some of the best values on luxury rooms and suites in all of North America. Since flights there tend to be a bargain too, it’s a good place to go live it up for a while on vacation without laying out a fortune like you would at some of the other best luxury hotels in Mexico in the capital or at high-end resort areas.
The Best Large, Full-service Guadalajara Hotel
We just spent a little time at Guadalajara’s original luxury hotel and it’s still the best place to stay if you want a full-service, dependable hotel that gives you international chain service. That would be the Intercontinental Presidente Guadalajara Hotel. You get a nice French Bistro, a cool breakfast restaurant, pool, fitness center, and club lounge. There’s also a business center and covered parking.
It shows its age a bit in the retro atrium design, but it’s a dramatic effect when you enter. Across the street is an open-air mall with some more dining options. With 423 rooms to fill, this IHG hotel is a terrific value if there’s not a convention going on, so you can easily upgrade to a club room or suite.
Best Full-service Marriott Brand Hotel in Guadalajara
If your favorite loyalty program is Marriott instead of IHG, take a step down in size and head to the Westin Guadalajara instead. This skinny high-rise is located near the Expo, where many conventions take place, and it’s relatively convenient to a lot of offices and businesses.
There’s not a wide range of facilities here and the lack of a pool is puzzling, but there’s a restaurant serving all meals and an especially attractive lounge area for drinks. You can get a workout in the hotel gym and the staffers are well-trained and proficient in English.
Best Large Hotel With a Sense of Place
If someone plopped you down in the lobby of either of the two previously mentioned international chain hotels, you may have trouble figuring out where you are. They are international in their scope and decor and there aren’t many clues you’re in Mexico. At the Guadalajara Quinta Real, however, you get a real sense of place and a feeling of history also.
Quinta Real is the luxury brand of a small Mexican chain that has mid-range Camino Real properties around the country. They’re rather low-profile and cater mostly to domestic guests, but their Guadalajara luxury hotel is a real gem. It’s the best large hotel in the city if you aren’t trying to gain or cash in loyalty points. There’s a good restaurant that doesn’t water down the spices, a lounge with a great tequila selection, and an attractive swimming pool in well-tended outside gardens.
The Best Intimate Boutique Hotel in Guadalajara
If you told me I could go stay anywhere in Guadalajara with my partner for a romantic long weekend, I would return to a place I’ve stayed in twice and loved: Villa Ganz. This is a 10-room bed and breakfast inn that is high-touch, high-service, and won’t let you forget you’re in Mexico. The place is filled with tastefully chosen antiques, Mexican punch-cut lamps, artistic mirrors, and local furniture from the region’s ample selection.
Breakfast is included whenever and wherever you want it, including in the lovely gardens out back with both covered and open spaces. Upgrade to one of the top suites to get the full experience.
The Best Artistic Boutique Hotel
While Villa Ganz mixes contemporary style with Mexican history, Casa Habita earns its spot as one of the best Guadalajara luxury hotels by taking 1940s approach instead, based on when the original house was built. Plenty of custom furniture and original artwork livens up the spaces.
There’s an additional annex housing most of the rooms, with 37 of them in all. Casa Habita–originally opened as Casa Fayette, is part of the too-cool Habita chain of Mexico. You get their signature long rectangular pool on the roof deck, a restaurant/lounge meant for Instagram (or magazine fashion shoot) posing, and plenty of style.
Furniture is upholstered in retro leaf–themed fabrics and is offset by salmon–pink walls, recalling a mid–century southern California home that might have been inhabited by Joan Crawford herself. The reception area is sleek and elegant, the desk topped by black and white marble, floors original checkerboard mosaic cement tiles.
Don’t let the amateur-hour website put you off. The company tends to put all its money into the physical look of a place and then treats their online presence as a bothersome nuisance. It’s nicer than it looks on there.
You can find all these reviews of where to stay in Guadalajara, plus ones from Tequila and Lake Chapala, at this link.