From the rooftop of the new Rosewood San Miguel del Allende, we could see clear across the city. It was springtime and the flowering Jacaranda trees punctuated the rows of colorful colonial villas and cobblestone streets. The neo-Gothic Parroquia de San Miguel with its pink spires and sandstone facade rose above the city like a mythical beacon and accented the skys dusty pink hues as the sun set behind it. Its no wonder San Miguel de Allende is such an arts community. Its beauty and relaxed pace is inspiring, and I sat there thinking how easy it would be to fill a blank canvas with this view: purple puffs of paint for the Jacarandas, yellows and reds for the haciendas, blue accents for the doors, window frames, and quickly turning sky. From this perch, we sat evening after evening, sipping fresh tamarind margaritas, snacking on warm tortilla chips, chatting with our waiter-friend all the while watching the sun disappear behind Central Mexicos oldest town.
El Corazon de Mexico, as San Miguel de Allende is called, thanks to its location smack dab in the middle of the country in the mountainous region north of Mexico City, is also the countrys creative heart. Here, the famous Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez, a branch of the Palacio de Bellas Artes of Mexico City, attracts art students from around the world. Youll likely see easels and tripods scattered throughout the citys gardens and squares with budding artists behind them, capturing their version of San Miguel.
The Rosewood San Miguel de Allende opened its doors in February 2011 and though it was swiftly built from the ground up a year ago, it fits right in with the jumble of jewel-box 18th- and 19th-century haciendas and mansions around it. The hotels architectural details attest to the exceptional craftsmanship and artistry of the people in the region. The Gothic-style archways, the millions of made-to-look-worn etches in the stair, the carved wood ceilings in the lobby sitting room all meticulous details that give the new hotel a historic feel. 67 rooms and suites have wood-beamed ceilings, private patios or balconies, sitting areas with a stone fireplace, large bathrooms with alcove tubs and separate showers, and beautiful hand-crafted furnishings.
The signature 1826 Restaurant & Bar is marked by two unique chandeliers, made of dozens of colorful lanterns (which are sold individually in the markets and shops in town), and an open kitchen that allows patrons full view of locavore Chef Carlos Hannon and team whipping up fabulous Mexican fare, with a modern twist. Across the hallway, a handsome tequila bar comes with a considerable collection of fine tequilas and mezcals, not to mention a master tequilero (tequila expert) who can describe, recommend, and mix the potent spirit. If tequilas not your poison of choice, theres also the 2,000-bottle wine cellar La Cava downstairs.
Of course, our favorite spot was Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar for the unparalleled view, fresh fruit-infused margaritas, and tasty tapas. The cabana-flanked pool on the ground floor is a great place to while away a few hours while noshing on bites served poolside from casual eatery Agua.
Spa Sense just opened this spring and, like the rest of the resort, pays homage to the destination with treatment packages that incorporate the surroundings. The Thermal Waters Wellness package takes morning spa-goers to the thermal pools (10 minutes outside of town) for a yoga stretch and dip in the healing waters then culminates back at the resort with a signature scrub, thermal stone massage, and breakfast.
Nightly rates start from $315/night with breakfast; +52-415-152-9700; www.rosewoodsanmiguel.com
Also of note is Hotel Matilda, an art-inspired boutique hotel that opened in September 2010. Think cool contemporary interiors, an infinity-edge pool that overflows into a spa garden, a rotating art collection, 32 rooms with calcutta marble floors and balconies or terraces, and free Wi-Fi throughout. Nightly rates from $210; www.hotelmatilda.com
For general trip-planning info, see our Mexico Travel Guide.