Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a deeply cherished Mexican holiday honoring the memories of loved ones who have passed, traditionally marked by ofrendas, elaborate altars filled with food, drinks and flowers that the living artfully prepare to welcome the souls of their loved ones.
If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to Mexico to witness or take part in the festivities, this might be the year. As the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity celebration gains popularity among foreigners, many luxury properties around the country are offering experiences designed to introduce the cultural festivities in a fun, approachable style.
Here are a few of these hotels and restaurants taking reservations now.
Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel in San Miguel de Allende, is hosting an exclusive Día de los Muertos celebration with an art installation by renowned Mexican visual artist Betsabeé Romero. The installation takes over various spaces within the gorgeous property including Andanza, Casa Limón, Pool Arches and Tunki Rooftop by Handshake, all adorned with recycled plastic flowers, hand-printed latex skulls and more.
Guests will have the opportunity to engage in conversations and experiences led by Romero, a multi-disciplinary artist known for her impactful work that combines various mediums and explores themes of cultural heritage, identity and social change.
Guests booking a minimum three-night stay between October 31 and November 5 can enjoy welcome cocktails, daily breakfast, a La Catrina skull makeup session for two and a Romero-designed personal altar kit so they can build their own altars dedicated to loved ones directly in their guest rooms. The celebration culminates with an exclusive cocktail event at Tunki Rooftop by Handshake on November 1 and a dinner party at Andanza Restaurant on November 2.
For Día de los Muertos festivities this year, Velas Resorts in Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, and Los Cabos will offer celebrations ranging from nighttime cultural tours of Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon to culinary Day of the Dead amenities, a poolside Catrina parade in Los Cabos and kids’ activities in the Riviera Maya.
At all of the resorts, guests can sample pan de muerto, the traditional sweet bread, and other traditional food items, and observe altars, art and handicraft exhibits that highlight the event’s cultural significance.
Most notably, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit will host the first annual Mexology Fest, a fusion of Mexico’s rich Día de los Muertos traditions and innovative mixology on November 2 and 3. Included in the resort’s nightly rate, attendees will immerse themselves in two days of workshops, tastings,and evenings led by world-class mixologists from Mexico and the United States, including a nighttime takeover from Mexico City’s acclaimed Licoreria Limantour, named The Best Bar in North America in 2021 by 50 Best.
From October 30 to November 3, all three all-inclusive luxury and ultra-luxury hotels at the popular beachside park in Riviera Maya will celebrate the Day of the Dead for the 17th year in a row. Hotel Xcaret Mexico is family-friendly, while both Hotel Xcaret Arte and La Casa de la Playa are adults-only; all are known for showcasing Mexico’s vibrant art, gastronomy, culture, music and architecture.
Guests can expect a rich variety of experiences, including theater performances, musical presentations, hands-on workshops, dance shows, exhibitions, a dedicated children’s area and two shows by renowned Mexican singer and three-time Grammy Award Winner Natalia Lafourcade on November 1 and 2.
Of course, traditional cuisine will be at the forefront of activities, and this year the state of Queretaro will be the guest of honor, showcasing its cultural richness and traditions.
For a third year, renowned chef Richard Sandoval shares a glimpse of the history and culture, as well as the meaningful ingredients, sacred practices, and time-honored traditions of Mexico’s Día de Los Muertos celebrations across 35 restaurant concepts globally, including in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
Through a crossover of food, beverage, music and extraordinary experiences, Sandoval continues fulfilling his goal of sharing the cultural significance of the holiday and his fond memories of celebrating with his loved ones, honoring his ancestors and highlighting his heritage and hometown of Mexico City.
Chef Sandoval and his culinary team have taken the menu to new heights this year, with featured cocktails paired with complementary dishes and vice versa, creating a seamless fusion of flavors. The campaign launches on October 5 and lasts through November 5 in locations across 10 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Mexico, Morocco, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
From October 1 to November 5 at Derba Matcha Café in the hotel lobby, guests can enjoy a house made pan de muerto made by award-winning pastry chef Aaron Santana, paired with delicious Mexican hot chocolate. Believe me when I say Andaz has some of the best pastries in the entire city.
Perfectly located in the heart of the Condesa neighborhood, Andaz is a mere half-hour walk from the start of the parade, which begins at noon on October 28. Hotel guests can also check out the themed pop-up art gallery from Caminarte and Catrina face painting, which is available for hotel guests on both October 28 and November 2.
In celebration of the traditional Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, the St. Regis Mexico City will host a special brunch on Wednesday October 22 at Diana Restaurant. The brunch will have live stations (Mexican antojitos, raw bar, cold cuts and cheeses, salads, carving station, sushi and desserts) with a paramount view of the “Desfile de Catrinas” that takes place in Paseo de la Reforma that day.
Diana is also the spot to experience panoramic views of the big parade on October 28, which extends from the Estela de Luz monument to the city’s main square.
Specialty themed cocktails will be available from October 20 to November 5, and the establishment will host a themed Day of the Dead jazz night at King Cole Bar on Thursday, November 2.