Mazatlan has never built up a reputation as a luxury travel destination and it has long been an also-ran when compared to the glitzier Mexican resort areas along the Pacific. It has often seemed to be content drawing a mass market vacation crowd, leaving the five-star experiences for others to fulfill.
This has seemed at odds with the proliferation of luxury real estate offerings, however, and it seems that upscale condos and homes are bringing the hotel and restaurant game up as well. As the city expands, the tide is rising. Combine that with a short distance from the U.S. plus very reasonable rates and it's definitely worth a first-time visit.
Mazatlan's main draw, however, is that it's not just a tourist town. It wasn't purpose-built to serve visitors from the north flying in for a long weekend. It's a historic port city with plenty of character and only a fraction of the locals work in tourism. As a result it feels more like "the real Mexico" than the places that used to be mostly empty beachfront.
Luxury resorts are still a bit of a novelty here, but there are now three that warrant serious consideration by picky travelers with high standards. As new hotels open in the future aimed at this market, we'll be there to see if they should be in the mix as well.
Luxury Hotels in Mazatlan
Las Villas at Estrella del Mar
Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay