The one-time home of fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville, Casa No Name is steeped in artistry and tinged with the romance of a fairytale. Hidden from public eyes for the best part of 300 years, this 18th-century mansion stands in San Miguel de Allende’s centro histórico, originally belonging to the city’s resident bishop. The time-worn stone, original fireplaces and cobbled courtyard ensure the house still exudes colonial charm, but worldly additions like Indian archways and a Tibetan fountain have added something altogether more exotic, combining with the lush greenery to create the impression of a secret garden. Each of the six rooms is furnished with a globetrotting selection of artwork and antiques, and the roof now sports an enticing terrace with a cocktail bar, spa tent and a hot tub, all overlooking the surrounding rooftops.
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A bottle of red wine and a bottle holder crafted by a local artisan
Each room is different, and all have their own quirks and charms. Deborah’s Suite was the artist’s bedroom, and has a wooden floor, stone fireplace and and the original bed frame, which bears a gilded inscription. Aura, the owner’s suite, is another favourite among guests. It’s on the top floor, and has a private terrace overlooking the stone courtyard and lush gardens.
There’s a hot tub on the roof terrace that's fed by a steady cascade of water coming from a long, thin cut in the wall. The bar is just a few steps away, making this a choice spot for sipping gin cocktails at sundown.
The rustic spa tent is on the roof terrace, and can be shielded from view with thick white drapes. Before your treatment, slip into a placid state on the daybed outside, which is strewn with patterned cushions and surrounded by greenery, including a planter of fragrant lavender. For your treatment, try the signature herbal aromatic massage, where the therapist places sachets of herbs at key points around the body, applying pressure to relax the muscles. You can also book private yoga classes with a highly regarded teacher.
Bring the most fanciful novel on your to-read list – you couldn’t ask for more a more fitting setting to be spirited away.
The main courtyard and the ground floor rooms are wheelchair accessible, but the rooms aren’t adapted in any way.
The relaxed atmosphere and intimate setting is best suited to adults, but children over 13 are welcome.
There’s a more private table on the Lorca patio, in the shadow of bougainvillea and orange trees.
Lean in to the city’s artistic side with bold prints and bright colours.
There’s no restaurant per se, but daily breakfast and a Sunday brunch are served in the courtyard, which is shaded by trees and soundtracked by splashing water from the stone fountain. Snacks and small plates are available at Bar Olivia throughout the day.
The bar is on the roof terrace, and is at the heart of the hotel’s social scene. It’s the most modern space in the hotel, but the furnishings are made from earthy materials like polished concrete, auburn wood and blackened steel, sitting easily with historic features like the ornate Indian archways, which were originally part of a palace. During the heat of the day, you can order your cocktail to the hot tub; after dark, a fire pit keeps things cosy and bathes the terrace in warm, flickering light. Try the Mediterraneo Español, a zesty and refreshing medley of Gin Mare, rosemary, grapefruit, pink pepper and premium tonic.
Breakfast is served from 9am to 11.30am; Sunday brunch is from 11am to 3pm. Bar Olivia is open for drinks, snacks and small plates from 11am to 11pm.
Breakfast and dishes from the bar are available as room service within their respective hours.
Casa No Name is in San Miguel de Allende’s centro histórico, known for its baroque architecture and flourishing arts scene.
The best place to touch down is Queretaro Airport, an hour’s drive from the hotel. It can be reached directly from Mexico City and select US airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta and Chicago Midway.
With the hotel in the heart of the city centre, you won’t be needing a car unless you want to explore the surrounding countryside. You’ll be able to walk to most of the sights and taxis are cheap and plentiful. If you do want to hire, the Smith24 team can arrange it.
Worth getting out of bed for
The old-world romance of the courtyard and the exoticism of the roof terrace make the casa an inherently pleasing place to while away your time. You may have the city’s best sights, restaurants and bars within easy walking distance, but it’s all too easy to spend a day moving from the spa hut to the library to the roof, catching the best of the afternoon sun from the hottub.
If, on the other hand, you’re in the mood for exploring, the culture-rich city centre lies just beyond the casa’s time-worn walls. In the 20th century, a steady influx of artists and artisans transformed what was once an unassuming town into a cosmopolitan community that prizes craftsmanship and artistry. This is still reflected in San Miguel’s thriving markets, where traders peddle everything from hand-painted porcelain to jade-studded bracelets. One of the best places for Mexican crafts is the Mercado de Artesanias, a covered market that’s open daily and filled with stalls piled high with quality goods. On Saturdays, don’t miss the Tianguis Organico in the Instituto Allende art school, selling organic products like cakes, chocolate, cheese and hot-off-the-grill items like tacos and quesadillas. Another hotspot for local creatives is Dôce 18 Concept House, a handsome colonial building that’s become a destination for local design, fashion and food, complete with a restaurant, coffee shop and library selling art, photography and fashion titles. If you still haven’t had your fill, pay a visit to Fabrica la Aurora, an old textile mill now filled with cafes, art shops and galleries. For national history and fine drinking rolled into one, take a tour of La Casa Dragones, a famous cavalry stables turned small batch tequila producer. Dating back to 1671, the stables were once home to the horses of the Dragones of San Miguel, an elite cavalry regiment enshrined in history thanks to their important role in Mexico’s independence campaign. If this will be your first visit to the city, it’s worth braving the crowds to see inside the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, the parish church that soars over the skyline like a pink wedding cake.
For brunch, book a table in the refined dining room at Moxi, serving Mexican cuisine with an international lean. On Saturday, there’s a fixed brunch menu that usually runs to several courses. For a laid-back lunch, try CevicherialaMuyMuy, a stripped-back and modern eatery serving simple seafood dishes and craft cocktails, both made with love and care. It’s name might be a little enigmatic, but the food and surroundings at theRestaurant speak for themselves. The tables are spread between an 18th-century Moroccan courtyard and an elegant dining room, where American chef Donnie Masterton serves his high-end comfort food, made with the best local produce he can find. Book ahead for dinner. Stylish fine dining can be had at Aperi, helmed by Franco-Mexican chef Olivier Deboise. Both the à la carte and tasting menus are a treat, with the fish and seafood held in particular high regard.
The bar at Dôce18ConceptHouse is a lively place for an aperitif, manned by mixologists who know and care about their craft.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in San Miguel de Allende and unpacked their ceramics from the local markets, a full account of their baroque city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Casa No Name in San Miguel de Allende…
Shaded by stirring palms, embellished with an 18th-century mural and crowned by a set of Indian arches, Casa No Name certainly isn’t lacking in character. Among its many artistic flourishes is a brass plaque, set above a thick, wooden door in its ivy-wreathed walls. Etched into the metal are the words ‘Door to Nowhere’, telling you that there’s a game afoot – this is an invitation to conjure up a world on the other side.
In many ways, the door that goes nowhere is the perfect emblem for the hotel without a name. From the street, the old mansion looks like many of the other buildings in San Miguel’s centro histórico – stately and romantic, but still quintissentially Mexican. Cross the threshold, however, and you find yourself stepping out of place and time. The lush greenery, splashing Tibetan fountain and paint-swirled walls add a dreamlike quality to the courtyard, which seems at once here yet far away. Once you’ve stepped into one of the rooms, you'll see that it's only logical that fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville once called this place home – the art and antiques strewn throughout the hotel speak of a worldly character disposed to travel, artistry and beautiful things. If that sounds like you, or you’re the type that likes to be carried off by a story, then Casa No Name could well be your next home, too.