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San Miguel de Allende, the Spanish-colonial city in Mexico’s Central Highlands, is often called the country’s most beautiful urban center. The UNESCO World Heritage site’s cobblestone streets are lined with colorful buildings, El Jardin, the main square, thrives with artisanal market stalls, food carts and street performers, and rising up from the center of it all is the astonishing pink Gothic-style Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church. Luckily for travelers, San Miguel de Allende’s hotels are just as aesthetically pleasing. From hidden boutique gems to sprawling luxury properties, here’s where to stay.
Best Overall: Hotel Matilda
San Miguel de Allende is a historic city steeped in tradition, but its most impressive hotel is thoroughly modern. Hotel Matilda, a five-minute walk from the main square, is decked out in stylish fixtures and contemporary art. The rooms, which range from the Deluxe to the apartment-sized Owner’s Suite, feature Malin + Goetz products, iPod docking stations and Egyptian cotton linens. The rooftop infinity pool and terrace is the perfect place to recover from a day of exploring. Meanwhile, on-site restaurant Moxi is one of the best in the city. Overseen by celebrity chef Enrique Olvera (his Mexico City restaurant Pujol is #10 in the world), it serves up a menu of innovative Mexican cuisine.
Best Budget: Villa Mirasol Hotel
Centrally located Villa Mirasol can’t be beaten when it comes to value. Once a colonial house, it has a quiet, homely feel. The generously-sized rooms are clean, comfortable and equipped with air conditioning, hairdryers, bar fridges and other basic amenities. Rooms that sleep four are good for families, while the Bella-Vista Suite has a small private patio. The main square, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, and other sights are all within walking distance. A warning for those less mobile — the three-story building has no elevator.
Best Boutique: L’Otel Chiquitos
With just four rooms, L’Otel Chiquitos is the definition of a boutique hotel. Hidden down a quiet street three blocks from the iconic pink church, it’s conveniently located yet tranquil as can be. Each room is beautifully decorated with local art and equipped with a fireplace, iPod dock, flat-screen TV, DVD player and Blu-ray player. In-room spa treatments are on offer. The property’s real piece de resistance, however, is the terracotta-tiled rooftop terrace with a pool and uninterrupted views across the city. Since the hotel guest count is so small, it’s unlikely you’ll share the private oasis with more than a few others.
Best Family: Casa Misha
A unique find two blocks from El Jardin, Casa Misha is a B&B style property decorated with an eclectic mix of Mexican, French and English antiques. Every one of the six elegant guest rooms is available for double occupancy, making it a great find for families and groups. Each suite offers a special bonus: the Grande has a claw foot tub and a fireplace, the Parroquia has double doors that open out to a small patio looking onto the iconic pink church. A breakfast of Mexican specialties such as chilaquiles and juevos rancheros, or lighter options like toast, cereal and fruit is included and can be served in your room or in and around the hotel’s many gardens and terraces.
Best Romance: Belmond de Sierra Nevada
Belmond hotels are known for bringing next-level luxury to stunning locations, and the San Miguel de Allende outpost is no exception. A collection of beautifully maintained 17th- and 18th-century buildings make up the property. The tranquil grounds have the feel of a Spanish villa, filled with trickling fountains and flowers that attract exotic birds. A swimming pool in the garden is a treat after a long day. The Parroquia is visible from some of the 37 rooms, each of which are decorated with local art and textiles and feature colorfully tiled bathrooms. Both the hotel's eateries — Restaurante Del Parque (Mexican) and Andanza (Mediterranean) — are highly rated by visitors. The Blue Bar offers a cozy fireplace for cold nights and a terrace for star-gazing when it’s warm.
Best Luxury: Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
If you don't stay here, at least pay a visit to Rosewood San Miguel de Allende during your time in the city. The 67-room property, on one of San Miguel’s prettiest streets, is home to breathtaking rooftop eatery Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar. Come for the delicious international bites and cocktails, stay for the unbeatable view. You can watch the city turn pink, orange and purple as the sun sets. If you are lucky enough to check in at the Rosewood for a night (or five), you’ll find every plush room and suite has French doors that open onto a private balcony, and a marble bathroom with a huge copper soaking tub. Most also have a fireplace. Something to keep in mind: Rosewood has three pools and many shaded daybed cabanas — so tempting they might derail your plans to explore the city.
Best Nightlife/Best for Singles: Hotel Nena
Singles, or anyone traveling solo in San Miguel de Allende, should check in at Hotel Nena. From the swanky, low-lit lobby to the rooms decorated in dark tones, the adults-only property (you must be 18 or over to stay) has a sexy, intimate feel. The Hotel Nena lobby bar, lounge and rooftop terrace draw a young, sophisticated — and most importantly, child-free — crowd for pre-dinner drinks and nightcaps. Each of the six rooms at Hotel Nena has unique features: the Marlene Junior Suite has a deep-soaking tub and private terrace, while the Pilar Master Suite has a full kitchen and high ceilings with exposed beams. (Hot tip: the Maria has the best view of the city). All rooms at Hotel Nena have air conditioning, LCD TVs, water filters, Wi-Fi and laundry service. The hotel also welcomes pets up to 16 pounds.
Best Business: Casa Schuck
Casa Schuck is in the heart of San Miguel, just a 10-minute walk to El Jardin and the Parroquia, but you’d never know it once you’ve stepped inside. The 10-room, B&B style property has welcomed guests into its tranquil oasis for more than three decades (though the rooms feel recently renovated). Super-fast, free Wi-Fi and a full complimentary Mexican breakfast are just the beginning of the perks Casa Schuck offers working travelers. There’s also a pool, and the rooftop has astonishing views. The 520-square-foot royal suite looks out across the city and also has a sunlit desk to work at. Not all suites are as large, but most do come with a desk and plenty of natural light. Around the meandering property —from the rooftop terrace to the leafy garden — you’ll find many quiet spots ideal for a productive work session or business meeting.
Best View: Hotel El Palomar
Many hotels in San Miguel de Allende offer views of the city, but the perspective from Hotel El Palomar is especially breathtaking. Two blocks uphill from the town center on San Francisco street, all 10 rooms have balconies with panoramic views of San Miguel, and some have fireplaces and jacuzzis. There’s also a pool on the rooftop —which is arguably the most spectacular point to take in the scene. You can dine at rooftop restaurant Antonia’s Bistro, although some travelers say you might be better off going elsewhere for dinner. Spacious rooms, high-quality linens, complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and free parking are just a few more perks that make El Palomar a great find in San Miguel.