A number of hotel chains are represented throughout Mexico, including Palace Resorts, Le Blanc Spa Resort, Best Western, Holiday Inn, CityExpress, Fiesta Inn, Fairmont, Hilton, Ritz, Camino Real, Starwood (Sheraton, W, Westin, Four Points) and many others. Prices have risen considerably in recent years, although most are still cheap compared to similar American or European hotels. The accommodation chains are generally clean and comfortable, which is good for business travellers, but not necessarily for those who want to explore Mexico by themselves. Smaller roadside hotels and motels may not be safe or comfortable. Boutique hotels can be found throughout the country; the price range varies, but all are rich in Mexican tradition, elegance and charm, which is the ideal way to discover the cultural heritage of each state. The book Mexicasa by Melba Levick, which can be found in many libraries and online bookshops, is an excellent source of information. There are also many all-inclusive resorts for those visiting the main seaside destinations.
There is a strong backpacker culture in Mexico and many hostels offer dormitories and private rooms. You can expect to pay between 50 and 150 pesos for a night in a dorm room, often with breakfast included. Hostels are a great place to exchange information with other travellers, and you can often find people who have already visited your future destination. There are a number of websites that allow you to book hostels in advance for a small fee, and this is becoming increasingly common.
The most authentic accommodation can usually be found by asking locals or gringos, especially in small towns. If you are unsure about the safety or condition of the room, ask to see it before you pay. This is not considered rude.
If you have to travel to colder areas in winter, consider taking an electric blanket – because the cheapest hotels have electricity but no heating. And even though it can get quite hot outside in the afternoon, clay and cement are like refrigerators. A kettle is also a good idea, because hot water is not always available when you need it.
If you are travelling with children, use a plastic suitcase (with wheels and a handle) as luggage, which can be used as a children’s bathtub if needed. Economy hotels rarely, if ever, have bathtubs.