Last updated: 05:00 AM ET, Fri October 02 2015

Opinion Home | Magic of Mexico

  • Greg Custer | October 2, 2015 5:00 AM ET

    7 Mexican Hotels That Define Colonial Luxury

    7 Mexican Hotels That Define Colonial Luxury

    For travelers wanting to broaden their cul­tural horizons (without crossing oceans), Mexico has more 16th-19th century European architecture, monuments, museums and fine art than any country in the Western Hemisphere. From the high deserts of Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí to gracious Guanajuato and always festive Oaxaca, Mexico’s historic interior showcases the country’s 300 years under Colonial rule.

    And thanks to a surging U.S. dollar, there’s never been a better time to introduce clients to the colonial majesty that awaits them in Mexico.

    San Luis Potosí

    The city owes its early importance to the discovery of silver and gold deposit in 1592. In the 17th century SLP assumed the role of Mexico’s most important northern city, whose domain once stretched from Louisiana to New Mexico. For much of the colonial era, mining and ranching wealth bestowed the city with elaborate Neoclassic and Baroque public buildings, mansions and churches.

    Hotel Museo Palacio de San Agustín

    Unique in Latin America for the beauty of its neoclassic architecture, murals, chapel and antique furniture, Palacio San Agustin is a motherlode of antiquities brought directly from Europe. There are 18 suites each with their own scent and personality.


    The Historic Center of Zacatecas (founded in 1546 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site) winds through a high desert ravine. A massive 16th century silver discovery helped adorn a tight clustering of magnificent churches, convents and sturdy colonial mansions. By the early 18th century, Zacatecas was producing one-fifth of the world’s silver. At 8,100 feet elevation, Zacatecas will literally take your breath away.

    Quinta Real Zacatecas

    This gracious luxury property is arguably the most unique historic inn in the Americas. Spacious suites (Master, Gran Class, Presidential) face El Ruedo, a lovely, circular, 16th century Spanish bullring. The site’s former bullpens today offer refined dining, with an extensive wine list, barrel vaulted passageways, candles and romance.

    San Miguel de Allende

    Revel in arched colonial mansions, flower-filled patios, and winding cobblestone streets.

    Founded in 1542, San Miguel became an impor­tant commercial center connect­ing Mexico City with Zacatecas. It has been luring artisans and writers for decades. Pastel hued historic architecture, galleries and fine dining make San Miguel a “must” for any colonial cities visitor. The city boasts a thriving cultural, festival and enter­tainment scene, and everyone is invited!

    Rosewood San Miguel de Allende

    Capturing the historical essence and ambience of San Miguel’s Spanish past, the Rosewood stays true its “Sense of Place” philosophy. Surrounding guests with a curated collection of contemporary Mexican art, the intimate Rosewood is reminiscent of a grand hacienda. There’s even your own “Art Concierge” offering immersion into San Miguel’s renowned allure.

    Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada

    Occupying a cluster of historic buildings and mansions, this charming luxury hotel offers the ultimate colonial Mexico experience. Gardens, stone arches and traditional wooden doors surround subdued, color-splashed patios. The hotel has its own cooking school and spa, and its swimming pool is a hidden oasis.

    Hotel Matilda

    Blending a chic vibe with art-gallery ambiance, the Matilda wows guests with refinement (a holistic spa, pool, library) and a “lifestyle focused” approach to hospitality. Moxi Restaurant, led by Chef Enrique Olvera, is one of San Miguel’s culinary hubs. Sumptuous rooms (from Deluxe to Owner’s Suite) are sophisticated and spacious, blending earth tones with color accents and soft lighting.

    Oaxaca City

    Oaxaca State is among a handful of the most culturally important region of the Americas. It is one of five human “wellspring regions” of the world, and still today maintains its ethnic authen­ticity, architectural purity and ecological complexity. Oaxaca City’s astonishing colonial-era trea­sures include green-hued stone architecture, colorful markets, fine art galleries, regional delicacies, and astonishing archaeological treasures

    Palacio Borghese

    With its six uniquely appointed suites, Palacio Borghese offers luxury, refinement and views of Oaxaca’s historic center. Its beautiful cloistered spaces invite reading or meditation. Evening Tea, fine dining and suites that project European elegance are what make the Borghese one of Oaxaca’s most sought hotels.

    Quinta Real Oaxaca

    This exclusive jewel reflects the regal splendor of New Spain. Housed in a 16th century former Dominican Convent, there are 23 peaceful, spacious rooms with beautiful views of the hotel's interior gardens and patios. Eight spacious Grand Class Suites offer a view onto Oaxaca's historic streets or interior patios with native plant gardens.


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Greg Custer Magic of Mexico

Greg Custer Greg Custer is a California native with more than 35 years working in various international travel industry capacities. He spent 14 years in aviation (TWA, Mexicana, Aerocalifornia). With a love for studying all things Latin America, (BA/MA UCLA, Latin American Studies) he is a leading authority on travel agent educational programs for Latin American tourism boards. Greg is fluent in written and spoken Spanish and has conducted hundreds of training workshops for travel agents. He is an accomplished travel photographer and author (with wife Jane) of the “Magic of Mexico” travel agent study guide. He resides in Ajijic (Jalisco) Mexico, enjoying one foot in the modern world and the other in Mexican pueblo life.
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