Situated amidst the idyllic Bajío mountains, charming San Miguel de Allende is well worth the trek deep into the heart of Mexico. Despite receiving an impressive share of recent accolades, the city—with its well-preserved Spanish colonial historic center—remains refreshingly unspoiled by modern tourism. Mexicans from neighboring regions continue to make up the vast majority of visitors, which has helped keep the cost of both hotels and dining affordable. While accommodation options range from small bed and breakfasts to luxury hotel chains, we found the best value at Hacienda El Santuario, a centrally located, boutique property housed in an enchanting former convent.
Budget Level: Upscale ($100+/night)
Lodging Type: Boutique (33 rooms)
What You Need To Know
While the hotel first opened its doors to guests 20 years ago, the building dates back to 1571. Many of its original details have been preserved, while regional artwork and crafts have been brought in to evoke local folklore and enhance the quintessentially Mexican aesthetic. Just beyond the lobby, the hotel’s central courtyard is filled with hanging plants, vibrant papel picado banners, and colorful ceramic tilework. Two buildings on either side house the hotel’s 33 guest rooms, each of which is adorned with unique Mexican decor alongside modern conveniences, like sleek flat screen TVs. Many have private terraces or direct access to the hotel’s gorgeous outdoor walkways, which are lined with lush greenery, flowers, and birdcages.
Hacienda El Santuario embraces the spirit of its historic surroundings. At breakfast, served in the courtyard, sophisticated guests leisurely sip cappuccinos while a harp player provides harmonious melodies, making for a serene way to start the day. Next door, a black-and-white-tiled entry room is home to a large wooden carousel among a medley of other Mexican antiques. It’s the kind of property you’ll want to take the time to explore in order to truly appreciate its impressive details.
Who Will Love It
Those who value an extremely photogenic property. From the potted plants along the rooftop garden to the blue-and-white-tiled countertops of the bathrooms, there’s Instagram gold around every corner. Our favorite spot was an open-air lounge adjacent to one of the guestroom buildings. Brimming with greenery adorned with hanging birdcage lamps, it’s the perfect space to sip a coffee, catch up on work, or simply admire the view.
Who Might Not
Those who require on-site restaurants and bars open through all hours of the day. While Hacienda El Santuario offers a magnificent complimentary breakfast, guests need to venture out for lunch and dinner. Coffee, beer, and wine can be enjoyed in the courtyard, but a full-service bar isn’t currently available. However, the hotel does plan to launch a lunch and dinner menu in early 2019.
The aforementioned complimentary breakfast takes the prize. Served buffet style, Mexican favorites like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros are the true stars here, in addition to a generous spread of pancakes, fresh fruit, and pastries. The setting in the stunning central courtyard makes the most important meal of the day a memorable one as well.
Breakfast, valet parking, reliable wifi, and L’Occitane bath products. Guests can also borrow bicycles and straw hats to use as they explore beautiful San Miguel de Allende.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
While free at breakfast, any coffee beverage from the courtyard’s Nespresso machine will cost extra. So will any massages and spa treatments you may decide to treat yourself to.
How to Get a Deal
Rates are lower mid-week than on weekends. Additionally, low-season rates are available throughout the year, and are based on periods between the city’s major celebrations, rather than on seasons. While you’d have to pay more during holidays like Dia de Los Muertos and Independence Day, one way to catch San Miguel’s exciting festivals would be to visit during the annual Alborada, which celebrates the city’s patron saint. Held in September, this is actually the largest party of the year, but since it largely attracts locals, the hotel is still able to offer low-season rates during this period. Finally, keep an eye on the Promotions page of the hotel’s website.
In the Neighborhood
Hacienda El Santuario boasts an extremely convenient location, just two blocks from the city’s central plaza, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, find the Jardin Principal and Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, a 17th-century church and the city’s most iconic landmark with its dramatic pink spires. Along the way, consider one of the excellent restaurants on Cuna de Allende, such as the hopping rooftop eatery La Posadita or upscale Maria Xoconostle with its charming courtyard.
Querétaro Intercontinental Airport is approximately one hour and 15 minutes from the hotel by car. Aeromexico offers direct flights to Atlanta and Detroit, and connections to more than a dozen other U.S. hubs via Mexico City. For additional flight options, consider León’s slightly further Del Bajío International Airport, approximately one hour and 40 minutes from Hacienda El Santuario. The hotel can arrange one-way transfers to either airport from approximately $75 USD for two passengers.
The Bottom Line
A trip to the heart of Mexico wouldn’t be complete without a hotel stay that captures the country’s essence. True to its name, Hacienda El Santuario is a relaxing sanctuary which will take you back in time while still offering modern conveniences for a comfortable getaway. With its central location, gorgeous design, and warm hospitality, this boutique property offers tremendous value for your money.