Review: Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

By Henry Feintuch on 16 January 2019
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Travelers who have visited Mexico’s larger and better-known regions – including Cancun, Acapulco, Los Cabos and Guadalajara – are, in greater numbers, discovering a hidden gem in San Miguel de Allende, a city and municipality in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato Located in the country’s central highlands, approximately 700 miles south of Houston and 170 miles northwest of Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in colonial history and home to a large American, Canadian and European expat artist community.

We flew into Guanajuato International Airport, a short 65-minute hop from the country’s capital, Mexico City. We drove to San Miguel de Allende – a 90-minute, 48-mile (77-kilometer) ride through wilderness and small towns. A visit to San Miguel de Allende offers a throwback to the second half of the 16th century when the town was a key epicenter in the Chichimeca War in which the Chichimeca Confederation defeated the Spanish in an early colonization war. Today, the city sports more than 72,000 inhabitants and tops many travel publications’ destination lists as one of the best cities in the world.

The Hotel Matilda and its in-house gourmet restaurant, Moxi, opened in 2010 setting out to celebrate the contemporary Latin art scene and catering to the needs of sophisticated international travelers. Hotel owner and developer Harold Stream’s vision was to create a living art gallery inside the boutique hotel. He succeeded by immersing guests in the collection from the front desk’s digital live kaleidoscope wall projection, by noted experiential artist Nacho Rodriguez Bach to the entryway “Bacco” bust, sculpted by Javier Maira, and the 1942 painting of Matilda Stream, the owner’s late mother, by famed Mexican artist Diego Rivera. Particularly worthy of note is the restaurant’s ceiling, painted by Claudio Limon, a popular art director, painter and illustrator from Guadalajara.

Books in the hotel’s lobby collection are all best sellers but placed spine to the wall to promote “discovery.” The hotel’s Müi Bar, closed for the day when we visited, sports drink stands held up with metal hands.

THE ROOM

Our Luxury Suite, one of 32 rooms and suites in the hotel, was large and welcoming. The centerpiece was a four-poster bed with soft linens. To its left was a wet bar with tequila and Mexican wines and snacks. A seating group featured a club chair, marble coffee table, oversized floor to nearly ceiling mirror and couch. Beyond was a floor lamp, table and plant. On the opposite wall, a long credenza served as a desk, coffee brewing station and included a large screen Sony TV.

A private bathroom suite, walled off by two sliding doors, contained a standalone soaking tub, water closet, twin sinks/vanities and a built-in spacious wall of closets.

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