L’Otel at Doce-18 Concept House is far from a traditional hotel — guests enter rooms from the second level of an open-air building that overlooks a contemporary restaurant and a sort of modern-day mini-mall, featuring boutiques and food stalls from local independent businesses. Opened in November 2016 in what was once a metals factory called Casa Cohen, the hotel has a fresh vibe — from zigzag floor tiles to floral wall murals — with shared spaces that include an outdoor patio and pool; a sitting room with a grand piano; and a library stocked with books like “Imperfect Utopia,” by the artist Carlos Betancourt. In February, the hotel began offering in-room spa treatments and plans to open a dedicated spa space and rooftop restaurant later this year.
In the center of San Miguel de Allende, a colonial-era city recognized by Unesco as a world heritage site and just over an hour’s drive from Guanajuato International Airport. The hotel is within walking distance of the pedestrian plaza El Jardín and various art galleries and restaurants.
We checked into our deluxe double room at night and were immediately warmed by the electric fire place “roaring” under the Sony flat-screen TV opposite the two queen-size beds. Brightly patterned pillowcases stood out against the otherwise all cotton-colored room (sheets, floors, chairs — everything) decorated with mod furnishings like wooden armchairs, marble shelves and a linen-covered, lantern light fixture overhead. Artwork, such as striking photographs of the Mexican desert taken by Edgardo Trujillo, gave life to an otherwise dreamy setting. The plump mattress covered in 400-thread count sheets provided one of the best nights sleep I’d had in a while and it was hard to leave the daybed, where we’d wrap ourselves in the cashmere blanket knit in Ixmul, a small town in the Yucatán. It’s available to purchase for $560.
Separated from the sleeping area by the TV and the fireplace, there was a marble vanity with a deep square sink, bronze faucet and lighting from two hanging Edison bulbs that flanked an oval mirror. Steps away, in a separate room with a door, the toilet and glassed-in shower got illumination from a skylight.(The room did not have a bathtub but others do.) Between the natural rays and the fresh flowers it felt like an oasis. The misleadingly thin towels made of bamboo fibers (to reduce energy during laundry) were absorbent and all the toiletries from the hotel’s own natural Ablu Botanica line were in large dispensers so we didn’t have to worry about squeezing out any last drops. Plus there was a welcome pot of lip butter, which was ours to keep.
Beyond the bevy of options in the concept house, the private hotel spaces feel like one’s own living room — if one’s own living room resembled Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as reimagined by Architectural Digest. Until the dedicated spa space with steam and sauna rooms opens, a range of body massages from Swedish and Thai to Deep Tissue and Watsu are offered in-room or by the solar-heated dipping pool. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property and each night for turndown, housekeeping left a lavender and sage spray on our pillows for what the bottle says would be “a calming, tranquil” sleep, and a mini dessert by the bedside. (Our favorite was the citron meringue tart.)
Breakfast is served in the courtyard area on glass tables lining the balcony. Fresh juices (from watermelon to orange) as well as yogurt, cereal and cheeses are available buffet-style from the bar, while made-to-order dishes include a mix of Mexican and American favorites such as oatmeal with toasted pistachios, scrambled eggs topped with mole, and chilaquiles with green or red sauce and melted cheese. Downstairs, we tried Jacinto 1930, where cocktails like the Dragon Breath with tequila, habanero extract and agave honey wowed us from the first sip, while the fried panela cheese starter had us wiping the plate with our warm corn tortillas.
A unique accommodation that’s artfully designed as a one-stop shop with offerings and comfort that won’t leave guests wanting for anything.
L’Otel at Dôce-18 Concept House, Calle Relox 22, Centro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; doce-18.com
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