by Victoria Joyce
Smack dab in the middle of Mexico sits a treasure, Casa de Sierra Nevada, a quietly glamorous world-class resort located in welcoming San Miguel Allende. This ancient, colorful, cobble-stoned city oozes history, art and Americans.
Set on the savannah between valleys and mountains, the area has a perfect climate – 70s in the winter and 80s in the summer. It sits on a bed of volcanic crystals with tremendous healing powers, according to the locals. Founded in the 16th century, San Miguel is home to Mexican independence and the 19th century national art school. Diego Rivera has an unfinished mural here, and images of Frieda Kahlo are as common as Our Lady of Guadalupe. A destination for expatriates since the 1930s, San Miguel Allende was designated an Unesco World Heritage site in 2008.
Getting there is easy. Hop an Aeromexico flight and connect through Mexico City to León. Casa de Sierra Nevada will send a car for the beautiful hour-long drive to the hills of San Miguel Allende.
A stay at Casa de Sierra Nevada is the ultimate experience of opulence – gardens, patios and passageways are adorned with paintings and sculptures from local artists, providing guests an enriching gallery experience juxtaposed against the beautifully renovated 16th–century accommodations. The effect is stunning with ceiling beams more than 500 years old and an iPod dock next to the bed. The resort has two remarkable restaurants, Andanza and Casa del Parque, and also offers a cooking school taught by executive chef Gonzalo Martinez that features national dishes, local favorites and market tours with an insider.
Spend an evening at the Baths at Arcangel and experience natural hot springs and a subterranean thermal spa. Underground tunnels lead to indoor and outdoor pools aligned with the sun and stars. Candles sparkle in the crystal structure while Maya hieroglyphs on the walls depict elements and animals. The design is breathtaking in addition to being sustainable. Excess water filters to a tilapia pond that feeds greenhouses.
Just around the corner from Casa de Sierra Nevada is a historic villa that was formerly a police station in the 16th century. Current owner of the villa, media mogul Bob Pittman, has created a super-luxury brand of unique sipping Tequila, Casa Dragones, named after the villa. The hand-etched crystal bottles contain the most fine blue agave tequila in the world. Experience the joy of tequila sipping in the country of its birth.