I arrived at the chic Hotel Matilda in the late evening, already captivated by the seemingly ancient and narrowing cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende and the colorful building facades aglow in the lamplight. From my transport I stepped into the 21st century, entering a modernist jewel of crisp lines, fine art, and warm minimalist appointments. With 32 rooms and suites, the Hotel Matilda is the cosmopolitan contrast to the old-world colonial ambiance of San Miguel and the perfect complement to the burgeoning and sophisticated social, art, design and fine dining scene that is enhancing this premiere “World’s Best” city ranked number one by Travel & Leisure.
Equally acclaimed is the Hotel Matilda, which was previously awarded the distinction of being one of the best hotels in Mexico by Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice and the Best City Hotel in Mexico by Travel & Leisure. The ease at which Hotel Matilda presents its sleek architecture, impressive collection of modern art, fine dining and modern-minimal guest room décor is inclusive, casual and spirited.
My bed had been turned down, the curtains had been drawn and the lighting had been lowered when I was shown into my spacious suite. The bed’s crisp white linens abut a stunning graphite wall, offset by warm desert neutral tones, looked inviting after my journey.
Had we not passed the open courtyard where late diners were still lingering in the beautiful blue and white dining room and on the terrace of Moxi, Hotel Matilda’s acclaimed restaurant, the bed may have won. I was anxious to experience the offering created by Moxi’s acclaimed Executive Chef Pancho Ibañez. With his committed embrace of traditional Mexican techniques and preparations as a starting point, farm to table fresh ingredients and a cosmopolitan perspective on culinary trends, Ibañez sophisticated cuisine is delicately rich and sublime. Without effort, I completely indulged myself with a cocktail created with local mescal and savored a scrumptious three-course dinner before retiring.
When I opened my curtains in the morning the rising sun illuminated the keen attention to geometry and design in my suite and even more so in Hotel Matilda’s stunning central courtyard. The new day also offered another opportunity to eat at Moxi. Breakfast at Moxi is a tranquil affair. To the sounds of songbirds and the water delicately flowing over the 2-story waterfall my coffee arrives with a basket of delightful and delicious baked goods, soon followed by a delicious chilaquiles verdes and needless to say… bliss ensued. The indigenous gardens and plantings are sculptural by design and offer a tropical respite to the crisp architecture. Stunning silver Bismarck palms intertwined with colorful bougainvillea and tropical foliage grow along the far wall of the central courtyard framing the elevated edgeless pool and adding intimacy, and shade, to the patio cocktail and dining terrace at Moxi.
After a beautiful day spent exploring San Miguel, including the old town, which is, designated a UNECO World Heritage Site; I was excited to enjoy a restorative treatment at the award winning Spa Matilda. At their Apothecary Concierge, the first ever at a hotel spa, natural and artisanal ingredients were blended for my treatment. Then on to the art filled Hotel Matilda’s Mui bar, one of San Miguel’s most popular spots. The signature cocktails, Mexican fine-crafted spirits, tempting light dining snack and hacienda-style ambience attracts a stylish and fun crowd in the evenings.
The art collection includes works by Mexican and Latin American artist and many pieces were specifically commissioned for the Hotel Matilda. Works by Bosco Sodi, Aldo Chaparro, Eduardo Zaylan, and Spencer Tunick are among the collection. There is art at every turn at Hotel Matilda. Works that range from the clever to the decorative, and from the cutting edge to the traditional are on display. The curatorial dexterity is fascinating and the lighthearted/provocative guest restrooms at MUI bar should not be missed. The color two-story mural by Claudio Limon can’t be missed as it whimsically overlooks the swimming pool, deck and courtyard adding vibrant wit to the outdoor space.
Special art exhibits are often on view in the multi-story atrium at Hotel Matilda, where the 1940’s Diego Rivera painting of Matilda Stream, for whom the hotel is named, regally overlooks all who dare to indulge in the vibrant culture of Hotel Matilda.
The Hotel Matilda has a beating heart and under the stewardship of the prophetic manager Bruce James the trend-setting Hotel Matilda continues to evolve and surprise with a singular, and award-wining, elegant élan. Hotel Matilda.
Story and photography by David Lewis Taylor.
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