Ricardo Linares 107, Centro
When you step out of the noisy streets of downtown Cuernavaca and into the tranquility of Las Mañanitas' main garden, you will find yourself in a quiet, green escape — a luxury travel destination in the state of Morelos for over fifty years.
More than fifteen peacocks roam Las Mañanitas' 2.5 hectares — five properties in city's historic center that have been acquired by the owners, the Kraus family, over the past 56 years. The peacocks mingle with toucans, parrots, other exotic birds and even a cat named Pancha, who saunters through the gardens like a queen on parade. Grass pathways take you to different sections of the property, each with their own manicured lawns and blossoming trees.
In 2010, Relais & Chateaux, the hotel group Las Mañanitas is a part of, voted the hotel's gardens number one worldwide for their design — which includes massive palm, jacaranda and acacia trees — and their impeccable maintenance, seen to daily by the hotel's dedicated gardeners. Two swimming pools and endless rolling green grass make it hard to stay inside the hotel's richly decorated, but admittedly dark rooms.
Suites in this hacienda–style hotel are filled with auburn and chocolate–hued antique wooden furniture and the artisanal tiles and colonial–style headboards of traditional Mexican interior decorating. Eight garden suites have direct access to a crystal blue, 12– by 8–meter swimming pool and terraces that overlook the gardens — by far the best room option. Narrow hallways, Mexican religious folk art and soft lighting can make other areas of the hotel feel a bit like a cloister.
Despite the hotel's fidelity to traditional architecture and interior design, it has the modern and minimalist Orlane spa Paris by Las Mañanitas, which opened in 2005 when the owners' daughter decided to covert her parents' former home, tucked away within the property, into an eight–cabin spa complete with male– and female–only whirlpools, saunas, whirlpools, and steam rooms. The spa's stone walkways, bordered by motionless looking–glass pools, lead to mosaic–tiled tubs for soaking, surrounded by tropical vegetation for complete bathing privacy. The spa's approximately 30 staff members include an on–site dermatologist and they offer a wide selection of body and skin treatments. The Las Mañanitas spa is the only Orlane spa in Latin America and is one of only three locations worldwide; the others are in Paris and Italy.
Las Mañanitas hosts weddings almost every weekend. Their expansive 300–person banquet hall opens out to the gardens and its scattered backless couches and lounge chairs give it the feeling of a Roman atrium — just add palm fronds and a feast to complete the scene.
The Las Mañanitas restaurant is a popular spot with guests and locals. Even before this trip, several people suggested it as a good place to eat in Cuernavaca. Seafood abounds on the menu, not surprising considering the Kraus family hails from the pacific northwest of the United States. You'll find Alaskan crab with mustard sauce, sea scallops, blue mussels in white wine and smoked salmon omelets for breakfast. They serve classic Mexican dishes like arrachera and chilaquiles, international dishes like the Poulet Bresse Style: chicken stuffed with goat cheese, hibiscus flower, Washington apples and shrimp and drenched in champagne sauce. They are the only place in the city that has a full–course Thanksgiving dinner each year. The restaurant patio faces Mañanitas' main garden and you can enjoy coffee in the morning to a parade of Albino peacocks with their scruffy–looking ducklings following dutifully behind.
The hotel is about a 10–minute walk from Cuernavaca's main plaza, the nicest area of the city to amble and sightsee and there are several nearby attractions like the Robert Brady museum and the Borda Garden. The hotel arranges trips to local tourist draws like Tepoztlán and serves as a refuge on the weekends for Mexico City residents looking for a little serenity. It draws guests who want to be both in the center of the Cuernavaca and yet a world apart.
Web Address: www.lasmananitas.com.mx
Total Number of Rooms: 27
Published rates: $398 to $700
Review by Lydia Carey; photos courtesy of Las Mañanitas Hotel.