Av Morelos No. 602, Centro Histórico
Hidden behind an unassuming entryway, among the ancient adobes that form the heart of Spanish colonial Oaxaca, is this exclusive upscale boutique hotel.
The rather cramped lobby of this boutique hotel provides an inauspicious welcome after the simple entrance, but worry not. Service is warm and professional at this unique luxury property. After this less–than–palatial introduction, you will be led up the massive spiral stone staircase that conveys a more suitably grand entrance and enter into the heart of the hotel.
Casa Cid de León offers 7 suites, among some of the largest in the city, each possessed of its own individual ambiance. All are at once romantic and homey, evoking images of Oaxaca's patrician past while offering all the modern amenities, including air conditioning, Wi–Fi, Jacuzzi tubs, gas fireplaces, and wide–screen televisions. Thoughtful details, such as towels and bathrobes wrapped with silk ribbons and bouquets of fresh flowers, invite you to feel both pampered and right at home.
The two ground–floor suites are a bit more exposed to the hustle and bustle of the hotel, but each is coyingly spacious behind its door. The Dominica is decorated in subdued earth tones and a more classic Oaxacan style. Elaborately hand–carved furnishings and woodwork, subdued Spanish religious statues, and original modern art all compliment the archways and glazed ceramic tile. The bathroom window looks into a tiny interior atrium filled with hanging plants and ceramic pieces. This suite has a small room off to one side with a workspace and an additional bed for an extra guest or a child.
The Aránjuez suite, its high ceilings supported with dark wooden vigas, is steeped in soothing greens, rich velveteen fabrics and soft light. The artwork and interior frescos reflect a garden theme, accented by wrought-iron work that imitates the curving tendrils of living vines. Antique side tables, large comfortable sofas, and beautifully tiled floors complete an elegant ensemble. This suite also has an extra room to connected to it. Tucked into a nook of a room is a frilly double bed with awning and elaborately embroidered pillows and blankets.
The best room in the hotel is la Bella Época. The home's original architects took full advantage of the sweeping suite's second–floor location with three delightful balconies, perfect for enjoying the street scene below. Light streams through large windows across the unabashedly opulent furnishings, all designed to recreate the turn of the 19th century.
This is by far the largest and most luxurious of all the suites and is the choice for someone who wants to stretch out and fully live the experience of this colonial mansion. The bedroom is grand on its own, with gas fireplace and large widescreen TV, but there is an additional outer sitting room as well with delicate antique chairs and a Sherlock Holmes-style writing desk. The aristocratic ambiance is embellished with all manner of adornments, shelves and display cases filled with candles, dolls, stuffed animals, angels, and other mementos of those bygone days.
On the same floor are the Augustina and Don Rodrigo rooms. La Augustina would make a great room for a family, with two separate spaces, one with a double bed and the other with a king-size. The king room has a tropical mural on the back wall and wooden stairs that lead to nowhere but used to lead up to the upper rooms above before the suites were separated. The queen-size Don Rodrigo suite is the smallest room in the hotel, but continues to conserve the very thoughtful décor and amenities found in each room.
Upstairs, with direct access to the hotel's upper terrace, are the Jardin de Carmelo and Mio Cid rooms. Again, these rooms will surprise you with the amount of space that sits behind their simple doors. The Jardin de Carmelo has a cozy outdoor patio with views of the city and plants of all shapes and sizes. It features an extra daybed for an additional guest. Both rooms have romantic cloth drapes that fall from the ceilings, framing each bed and Mio Cid has an ornate headboard and other décor details that imbue a sense of greenery throughout.
It's worth mentioning that the hotel's décor, which prominently features the owners' treasure trove of tchotchkes displayed throughout the suites, may not be for everyone. There is a distinctly feminine, almost frilly, charm, as well as the richly textured baroque materials, the onyx, glass, ornate fabrics, and brass. The hotel's owner has taken great pains to fill the spaces thoughtfully with local art and relics of the past, but if you are looking for ultra-modern minimalism, you won't find it here.
Everyone, however, can agree the rooftop terrace is a definite highlight of any stay. The towering domes of neighboring Carmen Bajo Temple provide a dramatic backdrop to the daily breakfast service, offering a limited number of traditional Mexican dishes and some continental-style extras. It's a lovely space to sit with a cool drink in the afternoon and enjoy the colonial ambiance of downtown Oaxaca City.
Of course, this small boutique hotel can't offer the same level of amenities that a massive five-star resort can manage, but the staff's excellent, personalized attention wins raves from guests, many vowing to return. And after a long day exploring Oaxaca's incredible cultural attractions, the many museums, restaurants and shops just steps from Casa Cid de León, you'll also be looking forward to returning to own private paradise, hidden behind simple adobe walls.
Web Address: boutiquehotelcasaciddeleon.com
Total Number of Rooms: 7
Published rates: Rooms $100 to $265 BB, depending on season