Two decades ago, I travelled to Mexico on a shoestring and had the time of my life. Back then, Mexico City was considered a dangerous place to travel and Cancun was the go-to resort for package holidays.
Fast-forward 20 years and Mexico has become one of the leading destinations in luxury travel in South America, Mexico City is a celebrated city basking in its moment of glory and Cancún is not the only beach resort on a traveller’s radar.
For the wealthy traveller, Mexico offers pure escapism. The opportunity to chill on windswept beaches backed by paradisiacal tropical scenery; to indulge in one of the world’s most sophisticated cuisines, and of course live the passion and kaleidoscopic nature of Mexico’s culture and people.
UHNW travellers can experience all of the vibrancy and beauty of Mexico from the comfort of their luxury private accommodation, as Mexico is home to some of the world’s most exquisite vacation homes.
Mexico’s vacation rental sector
In recent years, Mexico has seen a huge increase in visitors and the vacation rental sector is the fastest-growing of the accommodation sectors. It’s seen over a 30% increase in bookings since 2017 and the value of the sector is expected to reach a massive 1.57 billion during 2023.
Roberto Pinto from Rentals Tulum explains that this is largely due to the fact that Mexico stayed open during Covid. “Mexico was open for business during Covid. We didn’t suffer here like other destinations. It was crazy times; tourism figures went through the roof and services nearly collapsed.
“People wanted to travel but at the same time they didn’t want to have contact with other travellers, so the vacation rental sector hugely benefited.
Here in Tulum we were fully booked through Covid. We welcomed many families and they were booking all of the services we provided, which allowed them a near contactless stay.
They had the freedom of a luxury vacation rental, without having to interact with the outside world: in-house chef, private tours or boat trips. Our concierge team was very busy!”
Mexico looks to growth not recession
The luxury vacation rentals sector is also seeing a surge in Mexico, largely due to various construction projects which are currently happening, says Roberto.
“Mexico isn’t in recession. It’s investing in countrywide construction and infrastructure projects, such as a national rail line which will connect communities and tourist destinations. This project is bringing in investment from all over the world.
“That has led to corporate investors and business magnates spending time here in Mexico and many are choosing luxury vacation rentals over hotels for their stay.”
Not only this, but Mexico has seen an increase in retired and semi-retired millionaires relocating or buying a second home in Mexico. It’s an excellent choice for those looking for a higher sense of freedom and a family-orientated environment.
These expats are bringing with them families and friends who are staying in luxury private accommodation.
This is further backed by a study carried out by Virtuoso in 2022, which confirmed that affluent travellers were choosing Mexico and the Caribbean for multi-generational travel, milestone vacations and family gatherings.
The Mexican destinations favoured by UHNW travellers
According to AirDNA, the four main tourist states in order are Quintana Roo, Jalisco/Nayarit, Baja California, and Mexico.
And within these regions you’ll find the paradise playgrounds of UHNW travellers and some of the most rare private beach homes you could hope to book for your luxury travel clients, including newly awarded Sirreti List winner, Casa Tres Soles located in Punta Mita.
Tulum – Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo
Home to sublime cenotes and the UNESCO world heritage site of Sian Ka’an. Tulum is a magical resort sandwiched between the Mayan Jungle and Caribbean Sea, and a favourite vacation spot for A-listers and VIPs.
Roberto Pinto of Rentals Tulum specialises in luxury private accommodation and unique rentals in the area.
“Our portfolio is a fusion of ultra luxury beachfront rentals and those rare homes located in areas of outstanding natural beauty, which our VIP clients book when they want privacy combined with a stunning location.
“Tulum is also a popular place for filming and our homes have often been used as a film location, as well as accommodating many actors over the years!
“I have been working in the vacation rentals industry in Tulum for over 12 years now and I can say with hand on heart that we have the best team in town. In terms of concierge, housekeeping and maintenance, our staff are on call and accustomed to dealing with high profile clients.
“What’s more, all of our properties are exclusive with us and that brings a lot of direct repeat bookings because we have the best properties in the most exclusive locations in Tulum and with the highest level of service.
Punta Mita, Nayarit
Punta Mita is a 1,500 private peninsula located at the north end of Banderas Bay in the state of Nayarit. As Felipe Kuhlmann, CEO of Mita Residential tells us:
“It’s hard to find a place more exclusive than Punta Mita. Each year we host Hollywood movie stars, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, New York city financiers, as well as smart mix of the Mexican rich and beautiful”
The resort has high demand but is low density (around 500 properties in the whole resort), so in the high season it’s often hard to book quality accommodation, and therefore imperative that you have a property company on the ground to work with.
Although an A-list resort, Punta Mita manages to retain a genuine, laid-back vibe. “It’s an emerging destination for luxury travellers but still fairly low-key and growing at a manageable pace. It’s the hidden gem of luxury Mexican destinations.” Says Kuhlmann.
Punta Mita is especially popular with families celebrating a milestone or enjoying a multigenerational family vacation. It’s also a popular golf destination with many aficionados eager to experience the Tail of the Whale at the Pacifico Golf Course.
Felipe is extremely proud of the properties curated at Mita Residential. “Our properties are some of the most breathtaking and demanded professionally managed properties in the resort – our standards and staff are on another level!
Los Cabos – Baja California
Iconic Los Cabos is situated at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula on the shores of the Sea of Cortez, where it meets the mighty Pacific Ocean.
The destination is experiencing a growth period. Demand is high for luxury vacation rentals and subsequently, the number of luxury resort construction projects is on the increase.
A 2022 Airbnb survey saw Los Cabos voted as one of the top rated destinations in Mexico for vacation rentals. It’s also an emerging market for second home luxury purchases by North Americans who have holidayed there and now want to own their own slice of paradise..
Siretti member, Sun Cabo Vacations is the premiere luxury villa rental company in Los Cabos with an exceptional portfolio designed with the UHNW guest in mind, such as beachfront Villa La Datcha and the impeccable Casa Koll Estate (above image).
Mexico City – Mexico State
Mexico City is an uber-cool city to discover, It’s also home to some of the world’s richest people. Whilst celebrities and VIPs are drawn to Mexico’s luxury beach resorts, it would be crazy not to stop-off in Mexico City before travelling to the beach.
The metropolis is renowned for its epic street food and tacos scene: who hasn’t drooled their way through Taco Chronicles on Netflix and added Mexico City to their bucket list for the simple reason of visiting one of the city’s beloved taco restaurants?
Mexico’s gastronomy is so important that it was the first of now four world cuisines to be declared by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. If that isn’t reason enough to visit Mexico City, I don’t know what is!
Food aside, Mexico City’s art scene is a treasured fusion of folk and contemporary, and its boulevard lined with chic boutiques.
Although hotel stays are the preference for most travellers heading to Mexico City, those who want to wake up in a vacation rental will find gorgeous luxury apartment choices in the Barrios (neighbourhoods) of Polanca, La Condesa, Roma Norte and Colonia Roma.
Ultra luxury family and group villas are mainly located on the outskirts of the city and can be booked through luxury travel operators, such as James Edition.
Writing this article and discussing the luxury market in Mexico with some great industry professionals has made me yearn to visit. It’s a far cry from my shoestring visit 20 years ago. Mexico has truly come into its own since then, becoming a superior destination for sophisticated travellers.