Calle Relox 18, Colonia Centro, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico
Located above the upscale Dôce 18 Concept House, a dining and retail space, L'Otel is in the middle of the action but offers a bright and modern hotel alternative in this colonial gem of Mexico.
Nowhere is the gentrification of San Miguel de Allende more evident than at Dôce 18 Concept House, a space where a former hardware store has given way to a luxury mini-mall. Downstairs an art gallery mixes with shops selling macaroons, designer handbags, dishes, and $200-plus bottles of Casa Dragones Tequila. A food court under a skylit atrium is a gourmet dream, with high-end versions of burgers, tacos, pizza, tea, and farm-to-table cuisine.
The hallways of L'Otel look down on all this from above, with walls of glass spreading the natural light around. This means that hotel guests have a larger variety of dining and drinking choices under the same roof than any other property in San Miguel.
You check in at a reception desk that is right next to "The Bar." That comes in handy when you realize you get a welcome cocktail or a sample of Dragones Tequila when you are checking in. An elevator with seats inside then transports you up to your room.
The hotel iteself is a modestly sized, boutique affair with just 10 rooms and suites. There are three Luxury Suites, then all the rest are different. The smallest is the Traditional King, but even this option has an outdoor shower (in addition to an indoor one), a balcony, and a fireplace. The Studio King and Deluxe Suite both have an outdoor bath, while the other categories get larger and have more furniture. The top choice is the Owner's Suite, which really is used by the Mexico City owner of this whole complex when he is in town. This beautifully designed space has a living room, office, and outdoor courtyard with a whirlpool tub.
Don't bring your muddy shoes into any of these rooms though because they are pristine white-on-white throughout above the patterned tile floors. Hand-painted wall accents and pops of color in the accent pillows break up the whiteness some, as do the carefully chosen pieces of furniture that are all worthy of a design magazine spread. Amenities might be the best in the city overall, with 50-inch TVs loaded with Netflix, safes, minibars, high-thread-count sheets, local Ablu natural bath products, good teas from the shop on site, and Nespresso coffee makers.
Despite the location just a couple blocks off the main plaza, there is an attractive heated swimming pool and sundeck on site at L'Otel, on the roof deck. The spot comes checkerboard tile, attractive lounge chairs, and nice views. Around the corner from that is an organic roof garden with raised beds, full of herbs and greens served on site.
There's a full restaurant on the first floor in addition to the more casual options and 50 other choices within a 10-minute walk. For reading or quiet conversation, there are two gorgeous public rooms for lounging: Living Room and Drawing Room. Breakfast, included in the rates, is served in the equally attractive Morning Room. A small spa should be in place by press time, with two treatment rooms a sauna, and a steam bath.
As in most of San Miguel de Allende, English proficiency is very high.
Every detail was thought out at L'Otel and in a city filled with artists and creatives, the emphasis on fine aesthetics throughout the building is fitting. There are very few local touches here, but for those whose tastes don't run to colonial furnishings and Mexican handicrafts, this hotel reflecting contemporary Mexico will be a delight.
Web Address: Doce-18.com/lotel
Total Number of Rooms: 10
Published rates: $295 -$1,095 including breakfast but not taxes
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.