Benito Juarez #63, Centro Histórico, Morelia, Michoacán
If you are searching for something beyond sombreros-and-señoritas kitsch and the myth so often perpetuated for tourists that Mexico is merely “old,” you will find it in Morelia’s Cantera Diez Boutique Hotel. This one-of-a-kind hotel is not pretending. Setting contemporary art and world-class luxuries against a backdrop of colonial colonnades, proportions, and Morelia’s signature pink stone, Cantera Diez accomplishes an effect that can only be called modern Mexican chic.
Cantera Diez does not lack for flair or flourish, particularly with its soaring ceilings and dramatic array of design touches. These range from a silver-horned phonograph set beside suede couches in the central atrium and flawless orchids gracing the sitting rooms of some suites, to an antique Christ on his cross hanging in the stairway. Also noteworthy are the “integrated” bathrooms featured in a few of Cantera Diez’s suites where, rather than being relegated to a separate bathroom, sumptuous bathtubs are located within the suites themselves, or only scantily shielded by glass panels or low walls. In the view-centric Suite Cantera, you can gaze out at the cathedral from your bubbling therapy tub.
Unique as this hotel aspires to be, the foremost reason to choose Cantera Diez is its location precisely in the heart of Morelia’s beautiful Centro Histórico. There is simply no place more central: the French doors opening onto the balcony of Cantera Diez’s front suites frame close-up views of the spires and cupolas of the grand cathedral that is the crown jewel of this UNESCO World Heritage Center. Everything that goes on in Morelia, from Day of the Dead celebrations, to the Independence Day grito, to the city’s numerous holiday parades, culminates at the cathedral, and if you are here for the show, Cantera Diez’s front suites are a bit like the box seats at the opera. If these daytime vistas don’t sufficiently dazzle, order up a bottle of something nice on a Saturday evening—Portal 7, Cantera Diez’s stylish street-level bar, can accommodate—and watch the fireworks rain down as the cathedral’s lights come on. This said, it should go without saying that, given the choice, the three front suites that face the cathedral are the most magnificent, particularly the Suite Cantera, where this hotel’s design-savvy owners went all out.
Looking inward, each of the eleven suites at Cantera Diez is impressive in its own right, particularly one junior suite (102) that, when this nearly four–hundred–year–old mansion was a private home, served as the kitchen (a detail referenced by the fish and pheasants painted on the ceiling). A second master suite (103) boasts a beautifully tiled whirlpool bath and a separate shower artfully built out of an antique boiler, all made nicer still by ample skylights. Speaking of light, however, like most urban colonial buildings in Mexico, these particular suites only open internally, which, even with Cantera Diez’s abundant vertical space, can feel a tad cloistered if you crave more than indirect natural light. And the still air on the ground floor (all of the suites are on the second level) smells the faintest bit smoky.
Included in room rates are valet parking, American breakfast, Wi–Fi, and even a welcome cocktail. Guests also receive discounts at Portal 7. Of course, the hotel offers more than itself: staff can arrange services from regional tours to hot air balloon rides and private jet use. Just be aware that, to date, this is a hotel whose clientele is chiefly wealthy Mexicans. While this is a luxurious hotel with all the amenities you would hope to find therein, expectations do vary by culture, so don’t leave the staff guessing. Communicate your needs and preferences, and you will be more than accommodated.
While Los Juaninos a block away offers similar cathedral views (from the side rather than the front) and puts its bar and restaurant on the roof to take advantage of them, Cantera Diez is the more stylish and luxurious option, especially if you snag one of the best suites.
Web Address: www.canteradiezhotel.com
Total Number of Units: 11
Published rates: $230 – $415 BB and including taxes. Mention Luxury Latin America when booking to receive a discount.
Review and photos by Molly Beer.