Guadalajara is the capital of the State of Jalisco, has a really long history, and a thriving economy. These are the best neighborhoods to look for hotels in Guadalajara. Downtown Guadalajara is a treasure of buildings from the Spanish colonial and early independence era. The Colonia Americana has a style called regionalism that was popular in the early 1900s. Chapalita has a mixture of art deco and mid-century modern architecture. Providencia feels very 1960s retro fabulous and Puerto del Hierro is incredibly modern. Walking the streets of Guadalajara will give you a sense of the city’s history and how it has changed over the last few centuries.
A theme that we are going to come back to over and over again is the contrast of modern vs traditional. You can see it in the architecture, the food, and even in the people. I like taking my friends to see the historic downtown in the morning and then to the super modern Puerto del Hierro in the evening to show both sides of Guadalajara’s personality.
In my personal opinion, the best neighborhoods to stay in are the Zona Centro (downtown), La Colonia Americana and Chapalita. Each neighborhood has a little different feel but they all have lots of activities and are very walkable, ast least during the day. This is my personal list of the best Guadalajara hotels that you should consider while planning your trip.
While the capital of Jalisco doesn’t see a lot of international tourism, it is a major destination for Mexican travelers. During Semana Santa (Holy Week or the week before Easter) most of the Tapatios (the locals) head to the beach but the city is flooded with tourists from other parts of Mexico and the price of hotels increases. During big events like the book festival (late November/early December) or the film festival (mid-March) getting a last-minute room becomes difficult. Make sure to plan ahead if you want to find a nice, affordable place to stay.
A Sunday bike ride of Guadalajara will let you see a couple of neighborhoods and experience some of the best venues to eat and drink that the city has to offer.
Here are my recommendations for places to stay in Guadalajara:
Downtown Guadalajara: El Centro Histórico
The Zona Centro is the most scenic part of Guadalajara and they hotels equally stunning. Take care not to walk around after dark. As in any major metropolitan area petty crime is an issue after the sun goes down.
No trip to Guadalajara is complete without a stroll through downtown to marvel at the architecture of the Spanish colonial era. Many of these buildings have stood for hundreds of years and are remarkable for the detail of the ornamental carved stone. Many of the temples and government buildings are open to the public and hide some of the best examples of Mexican muralist frescos that you will find in all of Mexico.
There are dozens of Spanish, colonial-era churches, expansive plazas, and museums that need to be seen. This is where you are going to get your best pictures of Guadalajara. You need to see the old town before you can understand Guadalajara’s dichotomy of modern and traditional.
The Hotel Morales is one of our favorite hotels in Guadalajara. It is clean, comfortable, and historic. The area is very safe during the day but feels a little sketchy after dark. The NH Collection is another nice option with beautiful views of the Plaza de Armas and the cathedral.
Hotel Casa Pedro Loza
Casa Pedro Loza is a spectacular 19th century mansion that has been converted into a lovely boutique hotel. It is situated on the pedestrian avenue of Calle Pedro Loza about five blocks from the Guadalajara Cathedral and the Plaza Guadalajara. The hotel is one of the most coveted wedding venues in the city so make sure to book well in advance. The Jardin Secreto Suite has a Jacuzzi tub in a garden setting. Rooms start at MX$1000 per night.
The 98 room Hotel Morales is another 19th-century architectural gem of downtown Guadalajara. Originally a guest house for a wealthy family, the building has been remodeled over and over again. This was the place to be and be seen in the 1930s and 1940s hosting celebrities such as María Felix and Pedro Infante. The hotel is located across the street from the Jardin San Francisco and easily accessible to walk all over downtown. The rooms are clean and the service is excellent. Rooms start at MX$1000 per night.
The Best Guadalajara Hotels in the Colonia Americana
The Americana is kind of a blanket term that describes multiple neighborhoods just west of the city center. Think urban hipster with early 20th-century European style mansions as the backdrop. There is a thriving restaurant and bar scene, some of the best coffee in the city, and a cultural flea market. Young people love the Colonia Americana because it is very walkable and has a high concentration of nightlife options.
The Americana is kind of a blanket term that describes multiple neighborhoods just west of the city center. Think urban hipster with early 20th-century European style mansions as the backdrop. There is a thriving restaurant and bar scene, some of the best coffee in the city and a cultural flea market. Young people love the Colonia Americana because it is very walkable and has a high concentration of nightlife options.
Casa Habita (formerly Casa Fayette) is one of the premier hotels in Guadalajara. The hotel has taken an old mansion updated it with spectacular mid-century modern design and added a tower next door. There is a beautiful juxtaposition of traditional and modern architectural heritage.
Casa Bruselas is another great option in the Colonia Americana that is a little more budget-friendly. The owners run a beautiful coffee and gelato shop, and the property is within walking distance of some of the best food in the city.
The Best Guadalajara Hotels in Chapalita and Ciudad del Sol
Chapalita and the area is my favorite part of Guadalajara. These residential neighborhoods used to be rural but the urbanization caught up long ago. The streets are lined with orange trees and roses, there are plenty of parks and the mid-century modern and art deco architecture is accented with Mexican Stone and color.
The Glorieta Chapalita holds a lovely art market on Sundays and the surrounding restaurant zone is very enjoyable. Calle Parque Juan Diego is my favorite street in the metro region.
The RIU Hotel is Guadalajara’s newest landmark. One of the tallest buildings in Mexico, the 44 story building can be seen from all over town. The RIU is located at the intersection of three of the most important avenues in Guadalajara and is a favorite of business travelers because of its central location. There are 500 designer rooms, plenty of English-speaking staff and the comforts of a top-notch hotel. My family loves to stay here. Rooms start at MX$1300 per night
Hotel La Mansion del Sol
You can think about the Mansion del Sol like you are going to stay with your really rich grandparents. The hotel is a mid-century (mid 20th century) mansion that has been converted into a hotel with an old school motif. It is fabulous and tacky at the same time but super comfortable. You are right down the street from Plaza del Sol and right down the street from Chapalita. Having a car is recommended because it is right in middle of a suburban neighborhood and there isn’t too much walking distance.
The Best Guadalajara Hotels in the Colonia Americana
The Colonia Americana is the heart of hipster Guadalajara. Much like the Colonia Roma in Mexico City you will find plenty of small restaurants and bars set in historic buildings. The architecture dates to the era of Porfirio Díaz just before the Mexican Revolution. Avenida Chapultepec is the heart of the bar district while Avenida López Cotilla has some of the best restaurants in town. The area is a little run down in parts especially as you move east towards Avenida Enrique Díaz de Leon and downtown. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings and not to walk around focused on your cell phone.
Casa Fayette is one of the Best Guadalajara Hotels and Experiences in 2019
Casa Fayette is the hottest boutique hotel in Guadalajara at the moment. Originally a 37 bedroom mansion, one of Mexico’s top design firms has converted the structure into a hotel with a great restaurant and day-spa. The rooftop pool is one of the trendiest places to be seen in Guadalajara during the summer months. They even have some vintage bikes for rent so that you can get to know the neighborhood better. Rooms start at about MX$2000 per night.
Hostel Hospedarte Chapultepec
If you are interested in meeting travelers this is your budget accommodation of choice. Located right off of Avenida Chapultepec in the heart of the bar district you are walking distance to everything. This particular hostel won the Hostel World’s award for best hostel in Mexico in 2014 and is always ranked highly on TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet. Rooms start at around MX$500 per night.
In the 1960s and 1970s Providencia was the most luxurious neighborhood in Guadalajara. While Puerto de Hierro may have taken the crown of ultra-luxury, Providencia has a great restaurant scene, fancy boutiques and plenty of green spaces. The massive park, Parque Colomos, predates the neighborhood as a residential area and is still a weekend favorite for Tapatios. Make sure to check out Punto São Paulo, Av. Terranova, and Av. Pablo Neruda. They are all loaded with great restaurants and shopping
Zapopan and Puerto de Hierro
Zapopan is most famous for its 17th-century Basilica and the annual pilgrimage where thousands of the faithful make their way to the Basilica to ask the virgin for her blessing and look for strength and encouragement. Coming in a close second of famous things in Zapopan is the mall. Walking around Plaza Andares for a few minutes will give you a sense of the money in this part of Mexico. The skyscrapers, the Ferrari dealership, the tech companies and the sheer number of Michael Kors bags will remind you that shorts and sandals are not in style.
Tlaquepaque and Tonalá
The municipalities of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are folk-art lovers paradise. Tlaquepaque has excellent galleries and pedestrian walkways while Tonalá is where a lot of the workshops are still churning out smoke, blowing glass and forging the pieces you see in the high-end Tlaquepaque galleries. There are enormous restaurants where the locals come to drink tequila, listen/sing mariachi and gorge on regional dishes. Make sure to save room for a corn-on-the-cob in the plaza; they are the best!
Besides the airport, Tlajomulco is probably not too high on the to-do list. There is a burgeoning suburb with a couple of golf courses, a bunch of multinational restaurant chains, a couple of tech campuses and the occasional abandoned narco mansion, but nothing to drag you out that way unless you are on business or driving to the beach.