Above photo by @travelinglamas
Mexico or Morocco? If the above photo is any indication, the boutique hotel scene in vibrant Oaxaca City is growing more and more intriguing by the day. From colonial-era charm to Oaxaca’s indigenous roots, minimalist design to global-inspired architecture, not to mention thoughtful blends of past, present and cultures alike, these beautiful boutique hotels are offering the best of it all for your stay in the cultural (and literal) capital of Mexico’s Oaxaca state.
Here, our top picks of where to stay now in magical Oaxaca, all located within walking distance of the city’s best shops, art galleries, historic sights, mercados, restaurants and of course – mezcal bars. Salud and dulces sueños!
As of December 2020, all properties in this list are currently open and welcoming guests with Covid safety measures in place.
Located just two blocks from the bustling Zócalo (public square), this chic boutique hotel acts as a calming haven right in the middle of it all. Riddled with history, the property was previously a monk’s convent that partially survived an earthquake – all before becoming a private residence in the 1970s inhabited by the current owner’s grandparents. (Got all that?) Fast forward to now, and Casa Antonieta presents as a 6-room luxury hotel featuring neutral hues, natural furnishings crafted from sustainable materials such as bamboo and hardwood, and just enough accents to add style while maintaining a minimalist aesthetic. Plus! An on-site café serving up excellent espresso, cold brew & more that you can enjoy in the property’s peaceful courtyard.
CASA DE ARTE
A relative newcomer on the scene, Casa de Arte opened it’s doors in early 2020 as part boutique hotel, part art gallery and part restaurant & bar. The property is located an approx 15-minute walk from Centro in the neighborhood of Reforma, leaving you close enough to the action without being in the thick of it. Seven stylishly appointed rooms feature rotating works from local, contemporary artists, in addition to locally-produced, natural wood furnishings. This explains why each room is thoughtfully named after a regional tree, like the Madimbo Room pictured above. You can further catch up on some R&R poolside in the pretty back patio and later, head to the on-site Mixtú restaurant for inventive Oaxacan cuisine and mezcal cocktails.
CASA DE LAS BUGAMBILIAS
Ideally located just steps from Templo Santo Domingo, this family-run boutique hotel (previously their own private residence) has been charming guests since the 1990s. Standing the test of time for good reason, Casa de las Bugambilias exudes Oaxaca from every corner – be it the colorful colonial exterior, delightful courtyard or 10 thoughtfully appointed rooms complete with local folk art and antique furnishings. We also love their spacious communal lounge complete with library and desk space for working on-the-go. Enjoy complimentary breakfast in the on-site dining room, and later head next door to sister restaurant La Olla for evening cocktails (and views!) on the rooftop terrace.
We’re admittedly biased because we stayed here during our recent trip to Oaxaca – for a full month! Perfect for a short trip or extended stay like ours, this renovated historic building opened its doors as a collection of serviced, boutique apartments in December 2019. Seven room types range from studio to 2-bedroom suite, all stylishly outfitted with neutral-toned furnishings, authentic Oaxaca accents, modern bathrooms and beautiful beamed ceilings. Almost all rooms have kitchenettes and some with private terraces. Expect wonderful hospitality from Dolores, the on-site housekeeper, not to mention an on-site washer/dryer and communal terrace. Most of all we loved the location! Casona Soledad is located in a historic square counting Plaza de la Danza and two stunning churches, putting you just steps away from everything Oaxaca City has to offer.
EL DIABLO Y LA SANDÍA – BOCA DEL MONTE
With a name like El Diablo y La Sandía (The Devil & the Watermelon) you know you’re in for a fun and eclectic stay! Counting two locations, Boca del Monte (literally translating to “mouth of the mountain”) is located on a quiet cobblestone street at the foot of Oaxaca’s Cerro Del Fortín hill – home to the famed Guelaguetza Auditorium and plenty of epic views. This 8-room boutique hotel exudes authentic Oaxacan charm with plenty of quirky touches, seen throughout a beautiful interior courtyard, elevated terrace, large communal kitchen (where complimentary breakfast is lovingly prepared), and honor bar waiting with local libations to kick start, or end, your night. Quaint yet spacious rooms await with antique furnishings, exposed wooden beams and plenty of colorful, authentic accents. The best part? The property’s lovely and welcoming owner, Maria, who will go out of her way to ensure you have an excellent stay.
EL DIABLO Y LA SANDÍA LIBRES
The sister property of Boca Del Monte, El Diablo y La Sandía Libres can be found on the other side of Oaxaca Centro, close to the trendy Jalatlaco neighborhood. Smaller in size yet no less charming (or quirky!), this converted house dating from the 1940s opened as a welcoming, 6-room boutique hotel in 2010. Spacious, comfortable and colorfully accented rooms are centered around a whimsical courtyard, where you’ll find a dining area serving up delicious complimentary breakfast. We love that all rooms are named after the Mexican lotería card game, such as Corazón, Catrín or Luna – the latter of which offers the most privacy as the only room located upstairs (complete with private terrace). Want the whole place to yourself? You can! El Diablo Libres offers a discounted rate to book out the entire property, and we can’t imagine a more perfect place to stay in Oaxaca with a group of friends or family.
The first Oaxaca City outpost from Grupo Habita (you may know them from their luxury properties in Mexico City and Puerto Escondido), Escondido Oaxaca opened earlier this year as a design-driven, minimalist enclave right in the middle of historic Centro. The property takes shape from both the street-facing, restored colonial house as well as a contemporary addition in the back, seamlessly blending both old and new. Expect wood, smoothed cement and palm touches in the 12 unique rooms, some including private balconies or garden patios. The property further offers a tranquil rooftop pool for soaking or sunbathing, a quiet “Culture Room” for reading or co-working, and an intimate restaurant & bar serving up heritage Italian cuisine from Chef Mario Petterino.
The sister property to Mexico City’s Chaya B&B, Grana B&B (named after the pre-hispanic, botanical dye “grana cochinilla”) is set in a renovated 18th-century mansion located just 1 block from Templo Santo Domingo. Calming, refined rooms with wood and cacti accents are offered from Standard to Suite to Loft, some with views of the surrounding cobblestone streets and others facing the inner courtyard – complete with antique fountain and inviting hammocks strung between traditional cantera columns. A charming dining area hosts daily, complimentary breakfast, while a quiet reading room doubles as a yoga and meditation space. Grana further boasts a romantic rooftop with beautiful views of the city, surrounding mountains and of course – epic Oaxacan sunsets.
HOTEL LOS AMANTES
From 15-year old mezcal brand Los Amantes comes the namesake Hotel Los Amantes (meaning “The Lovers”): a luxury, 10-room property located just steps from Templo Santo Domingo. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building, Portuguese architect João Boto Caeiro carefully preserved its original, colonial style while adding in a contemporary aesthetic. The resulting rooms are chic, bright and spacious, filled with refined decor, some with bathtubs and all with original works of art from Mexican artists. Guests can also head upstairs to the rooftop terrace for inventive Oaxacan cuisine, excellent mezcal cocktails and spectacular views (sunsets included!) of historic Centro and the surrounding mountains.
Opened in 2010, this design-focused hotel masterfully celebrates both colonial style and modern day minimalism. Upon entering Hotel Azul you’ll find yourself in a carefully restored, 17-century building committed to preserving its historic roots. Keep walking through the colonial-style courtyard and you’ll soon emerge into a modern, minimalist oasis lined with tall San Pedro cacti and featuring a focal fountain wall designed by renowned Mexican artist Francisco Toledo. Twenty-one rooms in total are housed between the two facades, including five signature suites each designed by, and named after, a different Mexican artist – including the aforementioned Toledo. Hotel Azul is further complemented by a library and business center, cinema room, chapel, art gallery & shop, on-site restaurant (including a beautiful private dining room) and rooftop bar & terrace with impressive views of the city – and mezcal cocktails to match.
HOTEL SIN NOMBRE
What’s in a name? That’s the question at the root of the newest addition to Oaxaca’s design hotel scene: Hotel Sin Nombre (“hotel without name”). Housed within the walls of an unassuming exterior just steps from the busy Zócalo, this stunning oasis acts as a calming escape not only from the hustle & bustle of the city, but of society’s ever-present commercialization. Here, minimalist design presents itself as a label-free, blank slate – encouraging guests to fill in the rest. The 17th-century building was formerly a liquor distillery, uniquely fitting as owner and artist Elliott Coon is also the co-founder of artisanal mezcal brand Gem & Bolt. The only label you’ll find at Hotel Sin Nombre, and worthy of a pass. 😉 The building was carefully restored by architect João Boto Caeiro, who together with Coon reimagined and redesigned the space into Hotel Sin Nombre. Reminiscent of a Moroccan riad with a distinct Mexican foundation, 22 tranquil rooms are further complemented by a rooftop terrace with pool, a small library “hidden” underneath a staircase, a sunlit central courtyard and plenty of further nooks & crannies to get lost in. The on-site restaurant serves up haute Oaxaca-vegan fare from Chef Israel Loyola, which you can pair with expertly crafted mezcal cocktails from the beautiful backlit bar.