Chiquitos 1 A, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
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It’s tempting to say that staying at L'Ôtel in San Miguel de Allende feels like visiting the home of a gracious friend. After all, the place has just four guest rooms and it’s housed in a renovated colonial mansion. Plus, the open-air courtyard, the rooftop patio with gorgeous views of the town and a cozy dining room, all shared by just the handful or two of fellow guests, are about as easy to get comfortable in as the bedrooms.
But for all that, to say that staying at L'Ôtel is like visiting a friend is to shortchange what’s really a masterfully executed hotel experience — unless of course the friends you visit have a talented kitchen staff, a nicely curated, unostentatious collection of paintings hung in all the right places, and luxuries like towels and robes made from that only-in-hotels cotton, billowing beds with goose down duvets and (insert enormous number)-thread-count linens from Italy and, well, you get the point.
The folks behind L'Ôtel play a pro-grade trick with the plant life, too. In the courtyard, with its row of bright cushions set in the shade of an alcove, we find flowering vines crawling along the sun-washed stucco walls. In the guest rooms, all suites actually, we have vibrant orchids placed sparingly but dramatically, dollops of color to offset all the bright whites of the linens and the beiges of the fabrics and walls. Then there are the big, almost wet-with-color paintings of flowers by Leigh Hyams. It’s almost enough, and this is saying something, to redeem the words “floral motif.”
The aesthetic — the aforementioned beiges and bright whites against hothouse colors, dark-red tiled floors, four poster beds and cushion-rich alcoves framed by elaborate ogee arches — is consistent throughout all the rooms, but each suite has distinctive touches. In one of the two junior suites you find, for example, a headboard with elaborate silver patterning that complements the (many) pillows on the bed. In addition to plentiful space for lounging about, the regular suite has gaze-worthy objects like a table whose base is made to look like the roots of a gnarly, salt-bleached tree. The so-called owner’s suite is of course the largest of all, with a separate sitting-room/office and a bathroom whose blue-and-white tiled shower is framed by a Turkish-style arch.
Back outside, the center of San Miguel de Allende is a short walk away, and like L’Otel, it’s more than it seems at first glance. Yes it’s a stylish, low-key destination for expat retirees and shorter-term visitors, but it’s also a place with a strange, rich history. The town’s colonial past is evident everywhere you look, with beautifully preserved churches and towering spires dominating the skyline. That it was also the first town in Mexico to declare independence from Spain, that by the turn of the 20th century it had become practically a ghost town, and that over the next hundred years it was a magnet first for artists, then writers and hippies and finally savvy vacationers, makes it almost too much to wrap one’s mind around. It’s a place that seems nice enough from the start, but look a little closer and settle in further, and the charm of the place only increases.
How to get there:
L'Ôtel is located 110 miles (1h30min) from the Leon Airport. Transfers can be arranged for US$150 for up to 2 guests in a private car, one way. Please contact CustomerService@TabletHotels.com for assistance with airport transfers.
- 4 Rooms
- Style: Contemporary Classic
- Atmosphere: Quiet
- Chiquitos 1 A
- San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
Hotel amenities and services
- Central air conditioning
- Free parking
- Free wi-fi
- Honesty Bar
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Pets allowed (charges apply)
- Rooftop terrace bar
- Shopping area nearby
- Spa treatments (on request)