Both a state and a city, Oaxaca is in the southwest of the country and a great choice if you want to explore a more authentic side of Mexico than you may in the more touristy resorts. The cuisine here is quite unique (be sure to try the street food and plenty of mezcal) and as a former Aztec region, there are plenty of fascinating sites to tour. It’s historic, sometimes a little hectic (especially in the city centre), but always bright and colourful. But generally, life here is leisurely, laid back and casual, so expect to adapt accordingly.
Quinta Real Oaxaca
Dating back to 1576, this building served as the Convent of Santa Catalina de Siena until the mid-1700s. Now a boutique hotel, its frescoes, original tile floors, beamed ceilings, flower-filled gardens, stone courtyards and fountains make it a unique and enchanting place to stay. There are 91 classically decorated rooms (with air-con, a minibar, bathrobes and slippers), an alfresco restaurant, bar, a snack bar, a fitness centre and an outdoor pool. Quinta Real Oaxaca places travellers within a short walk of all of the city’s main attractions.
Hotel Escondido Oaxaca
Another of Oaxaca’s Design Hotels, this one lies on the pristine’s sands of the Oaxacan coast. Guests (aged 16 and over) are accommodated in palm-thatched pool villas with private terraces, but can also swim Olympic lengths in the enormous shared pool. During the day, meals are served in either of these locations or in the hotel’s restaurant, while in the evening, the chef prepares a small menu of daily changing specials. The decor and architecture gives the resort a castaway feel, aided by hammocks slung beside the pool. Visit Hotel Escondido between autumn and spring to be in with a chance of seeing turtles hatching on the adjacent beach.