Western Living Magazine
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The once sleepy San Miguel de Allende is undergoing a revival.
First Published March 2012 Nestled in the mountains of central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende has long enjoyed its low-key status as a popular retreat for second-home expats from the U.S. and Canada. With its colonial charm, temperate weather and artsy vibe, it was a perfect retirement spot—and, consequently, a little too sleepy for the jet-set crowd. But a pair of stylish new hotels, some farm-to-table dining and the arrival of a luxe spa are setting the town up for a serious revival. Check In Set on a 13-acre property, Rosewood San Miguel takes its architectural cues from traditional Mexican haciendas. To wit: a central courtyard, arched doorways and stone paths that lead to a tequila bar, lavender-scented gardens and tiered swimming pools with, yes, pool butlers. Refreshing towelette? Kiwitini? Sí, cómo no. Wooden floors and beamed ceilings stand out against creamy walls and delicate bedspreads in the 67 rooms, outfitted with a mix of Mexican and Spanish colonial pieces. Signature treatments at Sense Spa focus on local healing traditions and indigenous ingredients—like a mole spice and cocoa scrub to help increase circulation. At its 1826 Restaurant, dine on traditional Mexican dishes reinvented (the crispy corn empanadas with shredded chicken and Oaxacan cheese are a delight), and catch the sunset at Luna, the rooftop bar overlooking the city and cathedral.Hotel Matilda offers something entirely different: contemporary style fused with a museum-worthy art collection. The owner, an avid collector, named the hotel after his mother, whose portrait—painted by Diego Rivera—hangs in the chic library lounge. Pieces by Bosco Soldi and Spencer Tunick are peppered around the sleek property; 32 spacious rooms are perfect canvases for showcasing creature comforts. Past the lip of an infinity pool is the spa, where guests relax in an outdoor lounge, indulge in massages or detox in a private hammam steam room.Like a diligent curator, chef Jorge Boneta spent months researching and tasting before partnering with small organic farmers, ranchers and dairymen to procure the best ingredients for Restaurant Matilda. Boneta cures and smokes his own bacon and sausage, and crafts artisanal cheeses from raw organic milk, and herbs and fruits from the organic garden make their way into tequila cocktails at Bar Matilda.