Callejón de los Sapos, Centro, Puebla, Mexico
In the historic center and a short walk to many local attractions, the quirkly Meson Sacristía is a historic inn with lots of character and is a great place for a Poblano cooking class.
It's a rather odd claim to fame for a hotel when it's known as the place "where everything you see is for sale," but that's because staying here is like staying in a functional antique shop. The owners have been in that business for several generations. Or think of it as a tour of a historic home filled with period pieces, but one in which you can plop down your suitcase and stretch out on the bed.
There are only eight rooms at Mesón Sacristía de la Compañ?a, so this is not a big hotel with a long list of facilities. It's a historic mansion with a big and bright courtyard in the middle. The rooms branching off of that on the ground floor contain two dining rooms, a bar, a kitchen where the cooking class is held, and a reception area that's filled with an assortment of Mexican and European antiques to browse. If you're looking for a piano to fix up, 100–year–old cooking utensils, or a light fixture than some Spaniard had in his home back when this was New Spain, you'll have fun browsing the items filling every corner.
The Sacristia restaurant gets high marks as one of the best in the city and even when the hotel is empty there are diners coming in for a late lunch or jovial special occasion dinner. The menu is strong on a whole range of Poblano specialties, from the humble semita sandwich to intricate dishes with mole sauce or pipian stews. Order the "Sacristia Delight" sampler and try a variety. You can eat in the attractive dining room facing the small street, in the covered courtyard, or in the room where they have a full bar with artisanal mezcals and some local microbrews.
A cooking class here is a real lesson in traditional Mexican cuisine. When my wife, teenage daughter, and I did one with Lizbet, the whole thing was in English and she patiently took us through all the steps. We made great batches of green and red salsa with tomatoes and tomatillas cooked on a comal, then graduated to chalupas on fresh–pressed tortillas. We learned to make a real mole poblano sauce with a long list of ingredients, from chocolate to plantains to torched tortillas as a thickener. (We learned that if you want to cook like a real Mexican grandmother though, you'll need to simmer the sauce for days instead of hours.) We brewed up a batch of jamaica iced tea to go with it all.
Each room at Mesones Sacristía is different, with an eclectic collection of antique beds, interesting furniture, art, and curios. Sure, there's a flat–screen cable TV, but ours was sitting on an old foot–pedal sewing machine converted to a table. The room service menu was on a Bible holder that once graced a church lectern. Tile floors with area rugs and high beamed ceilings lead an evocative historic air and the heavy wood doors with hand–forged iron locks are framed by talavera tiles or carved designs in wood covered by gold leaf.
Baths feature talavera tile—a Puebla claim to fame—and have quality toiletries. There are cotton robes, but they're short and not easy to figure out.
Wi–Fi works well and is complimentary. Bottled water and a nice welcome collection of local sweets from Puebla are supplied upon arrival to compliment the coffee maker. The front desk staffers speak English and are helpful when it comes to local advice on the area.
This bed and breakfast is not as large as La Purificadora or as modern as Casareyna Hotel, but if you're looking for a strong sense of place from the food to the building to the decor, Mesones Sacristía is a great choice and has the most central location of the top hotels here.
Web Address: mesones-sacristia.com
Total Number of Rooms: 8
Published rates: $80 to $150 double incl. taxes
Review and photos by Timothy Scott