Calle 10 Nte. 1402, Barrio del Alto, Puebla, Nexico
Puebla's newest luxury hotel pays homage to the city's colonial heritage with meticulously designed spaces and Rosewood's classic "Sense of Place" focus.
In a city like Puebla, heavy with Spanish Colonial influence, the luxury Rosewood group's latest hotel is appropriately laden with history and symbolism. Décor details compete with the overall omnipresence of the place itself—a complex of three government buildings from the 1800s. The hotel's front patio is a 85-year-old talavera tiled fountain (pubic property but under the care of Rosewood) and inside a stone-boveda tunnel are ancient stone wash tubs (used by locals when the river ran through the property). Connected to the complex is a small, rosy pink, 400-year-old chapel.
Conserving these historical spaces, as well as the buildings themselves and many of their original stonework and flooring, resonate with Rosewood's "Sense of Place" motto, a feeling palpable in their other hotels, like Rosewood San Miguel or Las Ventanas in Los Cabos, but never so much as here in Puebla.
The three-year job of renovating three ancient buildings means that each room or suite is distinct in its layout. Of the 76 rooms, the largest category are their Deluxe rooms, with either a king or two double beds. Four of the rooms are suites, joined by a small entryway, perfect for families traveling together. At 680 sq ft, popping for one of the Premier King rooms will give you just that little bit of extra space that can count for comfort. Overall, a large percentage of rooms face the main grass-covered courtyard (our favorites) and overlook a fountain created from some of the property's conserved architecture.
Each room has its own unique details, carefully chosen for authenticity and ambiance: antique blown-glass windows separating bathrooms and bedrooms, original mosaic floors, period lamps, four-poster beds, and beautifully preserved hand-set stone walls. Each is outfitted with an incredible stand-alone tub (either brushed nickel or ceramic), rainforest showers, robes, and slippers. There's a Nespresso machine, fine cotton Italian sheets, a Bluetooth speaker (that I could never figure out!), and a lock box. There is a full minibar with drinks and snacks, with the usual exorbitant prices.
The colonial style can feel a little oppressive for travelers who want expansive spaces and a light decorative touch, but for those looking for a traditional Mexican setting, it will feel just right. It doesn't get much more classic than walking the hotel's stone patios and hearing the chapel bells ring on a balmy Puebla afternoon, or sneaking a peek at their replica of the Boturini Codex in the hotel's main lobby.
Rosewood Puebla prides itself in featuring the artwork of Mexican artists and offering pieces for sale. The property also provides Mexican-made bath products and employs a mostly Mexican staff—all of whom speak perfect English.
The one place where Rosewood veers from the traditional is in dining. Cafe Azul is a streetside European-style bistro with a mix of Modern Mexican and international classics, but with an obvious effort on the part of the head chef to provide quality and innovation to what could easily be just another hotel restaurant. The food at Cafe Azul was delicious—gin and tonic oysters, ceviches, and sandwiches like a croque monsieur or roast beef with horseradish. Mexican pastries are on display for dessert. Deep inside of the heart of the hotel is the Pasquinel Bistrot, their fine dining option, with a darker, more romantic vibe. The restaurant centers around a large open cooking hearth and serves a menu of international classics with a focus on Mexican seafood.
The Los Lavaderos basement bar is open to the general public and sits alongside the glassed-in tunnel with the stone washbasins we mentioned earlier. There is fireside seating, a private area for groups or tastings, and a menu of charcuterie, along with an extensive list of cocktails. The bar, like both restaurants, offers a mostly Mexican wine list.
The hotel's rooftop bar and pool offer great views of the city's many church domes. The pool is large enough for swimming laps and heated, although not so much that you would want to go for a dip on a cool day. Rosewood's small spa Sense is also on the top floor offering facials, massages and other beauty treatments. Next door to the spa is the 24-hour gym with great views of the city.
Rosewood Puebla adds to a bit of a luxury hotel zone developing in the city, only steps from La Purificadora and CasaReyna, two other great luxury options in Puebla. All these hotels are off of 5 de Mayo avenue, which makes them just a 15-minute walk to the center. This location has the benefit of being close to downtown but not overwhelmed by the tourism that can sometimes take hold of central Puebla, particularly on the weekends.
Overall Rosewood Puebla makes a great new addition to the luxury offerings in one of Mexico’s largest cities, albeit, by far the city's priciest one. Management's commitment to the history and preservation of the location is definitely one of its most sparkling attributes, as well as good food, first-class service and its convenient location.
Web Address: www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/puebla
Total Number of Rooms: 76
Published rates: $480 E$3,500 (taxes included)
Review and photos by Lydia Carey.