San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


Rates from (inc tax)$275.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD356.40), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Colonial goes creative


Mexican artists’ enclave

Hidden away among the cobbled streets of the colonial Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende, L’Otel is a four-room hotel that feels like your own private pied-à-terre. Each room has been thoughtfully decorated with local artwork and colourful Mexican handicrafts, and a terracotta-tiled rooftop terrace is your own picturesque hideout.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of Taittinger champagne in your room



Need to know


Four suites.


12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $275.00, excluding tax at 29.6 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD356.40), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include à la carte breakfast with fresh fruit, welcome drinks and afternoon tea.


We can’t get over the abundance of verdant outdoor spaces throughout the villa. The vine-covered pink walls and cosy alcove of the courtyard make for a perfect hideaway any time of day, and we could spend all day soaking up the sun on the terracotta rooftop terrace, its multiple levels connected by wrought-iron spiral staircase.

At the hotel

Rooftop terrace and pool, courtyard garden patio, bicycles to borrow, free WiFi throughout and film and music libraries. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, Blu-ray and DVD player, minibar, Côte Bastide toiletries and free bottled water.

Our favourite rooms

All four of the suites are spacious and bedecked with the colourful floral art that pervades the hotel. Each has its own fireplace, perfect for reading and relaxing in front of after a day exploring the town. The true stand-out, though, is the Owner's Suite, with its private balcony and Moroccan-inspired bathroom.


Set on a plant-lined, terracotta-tiled rooftop terrace, the plunge pool and surrounding lounge area offer awe-inspiring views out over the colonial city. Give the staff notice and they can turn the indigo-tiled pool into a hot tub for you.

Packing tips

A broad-brimmed sun hat for lounging on the roof, sturdy-but-chic flats for cycling around town on the hotel bikes.


In-room massages, facials and scrubs are available. Smoking is allowed only in the courtyard and on the rooftop terrace.


Small pets are welcome, for a refundable US$200 deposit. You'll need to bring your own food for them, though. See more pet-friendly hotels in San Miguel de Allende.


Although children are welcome, L’Otel is best as a romantic destination.

Food and Drink


Top Table

For the best views, ask to take breakfast on the rooftop terrace.

Dress Code

A stylish, colourful scarf for year-round cool evenings and to fit in with the relaxed elegance that L’Otel exudes.

Hotel restaurant

Decked out in elegant Trinitate Mexican ceramics and a grey trompe l’oeil wall of glassware, the intimate dining room hosts guests each morning for a sumptuous breakfast. Start with yoghurt, house-made granola and a fresh fruit spread that includes papaya, pineapple and guava, and sip a glass of just-squeezed grapefruit or tangerine juice while you peruse the menu of locally sourced cuisine. Try one of the colourful Mexican specialties such as huevos rancheros or enchiladas in mole, or opt for French toast with fresh bread from the neighbouring Cumpanio bakery.

Hotel bar

None, but the honesty bar is stocked with a range of high-quality spirits and wines.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 12 noon and tea is served in the afternoon.

Room service

The full breakfast menu can be delivered to your room (or wherever in the hotel you'd like) when it's offered, as can afternoon tea.


Calle Chiquitos #1A
San Miguel de Allende


The closest airport is Del Bajío International (BJX), under two hours’ drive from the hotel. Connecting flights are available from most major cities, though United (, American ( and Aeroméxico ( offer direct flights from Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles. Direct flights from most major international cities are available into Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX), around a three-hour drive.


Roads in Guanajuato are well-paved and safe enough, making rental cars a reasonable option. Most major car hire companies have outposts at the airport. Depending upon which route you take, the drive should take under two hours; the hotel offers free valet parking. Note, however, that you don’t need a car in San Miguel and will only want one for excursions outside the city, for which you could easily hire a driver.

Worth getting out of bed for

Much more than an average Mexican backwater town, San Miguel de Allende has been hosting culture-seeking expats since the 1930s. Step out your front door and you’ll find the well-maintained cobbled streets lined with red, blue and yellow walls, behind which flourish gourmet restaurants and cafes, boutiques selling local homewares and clothes, and galleries showcasing works by the town’s thriving artist population.

You could easily while away the hours exploring, wandering from El Jardín, the town’s central square, and its towering La Parroquia church to the leafy Parqué Juarez on the southern side of town, but we’d recommend getting involved in the vibrant local culture. Go on guided market tours with chefs and take cooking classes at Sazon and Petit Four. Pay a visit to the public library at 25 Insurgentes for a tour of the city’s restored historic homes and to buy tickets to local concerts. Peruse art galleries like the sprawling Fábrica La Aurora design centre. Follow in the footsteps of countless visitors and take a class at the Instituto Allende; it’s best known for its Spanish classes, but offers plenty of other options, from jewellery-making to photography. If you come in the summer, be sure to catch a film at the popular Guanajuato International Film Festival, held every July.

Although there’s more than enough to keep you occupied in San Miguel – you might even find yourself tempted to just stay, as others have done – a quick jaunt out of town will prove rewarding. Swim in the hot springs at La Gruta, five miles away, and marvel at the bizarre and impressive frescoes at the Santuario de Atotonilco, six miles from San Miguel.

Local restaurants

A manageably sized city of food-lovers, San Miguel has more exceptional restaurants than you’ll be able to visit. Prepare yourself for a trip full of fresh, local cuisine, where the blend of flavours is as diverse as the population and the quality beats that of many major cities. If you can tear yourself away from L’Otel’s abundant breakfast, skip down the street to Cumpanio (+52 415 152 2984), a bakery/café/restaurant with baked goods you’ll dream about. One of the city’s longest-running and consistently highly-rated eateries, The Restaurant (+52 415 154 7877) is run by an expat Californian chef and serves up elegant, locally sourced ‘global comfort food’ in a romantic courtyard; be sure to book in advance.

If you’re craving a burger, either find the hamburguesa stand in El Jardín – seriously, just ask any locals and they’ll point you in the right direction – or head out of town a few minutes to La Burger (+52 415 114 0073), frequented by expats and discerning Mexico City weekenders alike. Indulge in Mexican haute cuisine specialties like ceviche and mole at Moxi (+52 415 152 1015), at 53 Aldama, captained by one of Mexico’s hottest chefs, Enrique Olvera. Or let another national favourite, Dina Butterfield, customise your menu for you at Dos Casas (+52 415 154 4958), where she serves up only the freshest local, organic cuisine in innovative ways. La Cartuja (+52 415 152 2057), hidden away on a side street at 107 Hernandez Macias, is a more low-key family-run café that’s especially popular for lunch, boasting house-pickled vegetables and a welcoming Spanish expat owner-chef.

Local bars

Sip cocktails and demolish small plates atRosewood’s Luna Tapas Bar (+52 415 152 9700), a rooftop affair with access to one of the area’s most impressive tequila collections. If a more traditional night on the town strikes your fancy, long-time favourite Berlin Bar & Bistro (+52 415 154 9432) draws a cool, artsy crowd for late nights and well-mixed drinks.



Anonymous review

Mr Smith and I were in San Miguel de Allende for a wedding. Not ours (not just yet) but a good friend’s who claimed the UNESCO World Heritage Site was the most photogenic place he’d ever been to. And he should know – he’s a globe-trotting photographer.

The local government shared our friend’s enthusiasm, judging by the huge sign at the city’s entrance: ‘San Miguel de Allende – Mexico’s present to the world.’ As it happened, Mexico’s gift was a very hilly one, and our driver took the wrong route, so we were left, laden with suitcases, to huff and puff our way up a cobblestoned street  to L’Otel, our centrally located boutique bolthole.

A carved wooden door opened to reveal a sanctuary of cool in soothing tones of creams, greens and pinks. This 16th-century building was once the home of a wealthy candlestick maker and is now owned by interior designers Roy and Sally Azar, who clearly have a passion for flora. Lilies burst out of vases at reception (and everywhere, really), matching Leigh Hyams’ big botanical canvases.

As Martin the manager handed us an ice-cold melon juice, a curtain billowed in the breeze. Behind it was a pretty courtyard with dusty pink walls covered in bougainvillea and in the corner we spied a cosy alcove lined with cushions. Heady scents of orange blossom and jasmine wafted on the breeze. Soon enough, the Mexican midday heat outside seemed like a figment of our travel-fatigued imaginations.

There are only four rooms, making this feel more like a super stylish friend’s house than a hotel. Ours was the Junior Suite on the ground floor, a room with a regal air and French-chic style. By the fireplace, a patch of exposed brick wall revealed itself, and above us, the afternoon sun poured in from a horizontal skylight. A crown-shaped lamp sat regally on an antique desk.

However, commanding all of the attention from the centre of the suite was a high four-poster bed fit for a king and queen – or rather, a Mr and Mrs Smith. Unable to resist, we stepped on the foot stools (for the vertically challenged) placed on either side of the bed, sunk into a mountain of marshmallow pillows and practically purred.

Light-headed from all this loveliness, we then followed a wrought-iron spiral staircase up to the terracotta rooftop, complete with a tiled Jacuzzi pool, potted palm trees and sun loungers. We sipped a velvety cabernet sauvignon and watched as the setting sun cast its tangerine light onto the city’s pastel spires and domes. Church bells tolled and the faint sound of a Mariachi band played in the distance. Sound cloyingly perfect? It was.

That’s the thing about San Miguel de Allende. It’s stupidly romantic. It’s the Mexico I dreamt of before I’d ever been – a city with a revolutionary past and an artistic present, where white-shirted men in sombreros lean against cayenne-coloured walls. Yes, stereotypes are alive and kicking in this city so picturesque that it’s hard to believe it’s not a film set.

The next day, the breakfast huevos divorciados (‘divorced eggs’) covered in green and red salsa, seemed like the perfect antidote to all this romance. Melt-in-the-mouth French pastries, organic coffee, creamy homemade yoghurt and granola preceded the eggs, as did an education on Mexican fruit and flower juices I’d never heard of (flor de Jamaica, anyone?)

Refreshed and revived, we headed into town, passing perfectly preserved colonial houses in bright yellows, reds and blues. The main square – just two blocks from L’Otel – was a hub of activity: lovers canoodled on benches, women sold knick-knacks and moustached men gossiped on street corners. Nearby, an artisan market had the world’s best selection of Day of the Dead earrings and more Frida Kahlo handbags you could shake a chili at. At the other end of the price spectrum was La Aurora, an art design centre housed in a former textile factory that Martin had recommended. I tried on vintage sunglasses and peered at quirky paintings before rumbling stomachs dictated it was time for our daily dose of guacamole.

For dinner that evening, we ignored the tourist office’s recommendation (an Irish pub) and went for ever-reliable Martin’s suggestion instead (a trendy bar-restaurant). Around the corner from the hotel, slick La Mezcaleria served up tapas-style dishes, such as spicy grilled octopus with mint pesto and mango, and a lemony tuna tartar with olives and habanero chili. Bless you Martin, bless you.

Another night at L’Otel meant another sleep in that four-poster. I don’t know whether it was the crisp Italian bedlinens, the goose-down duvet or simply last night’s (moderate) abstinence from margaritas, but this was one of the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had. Mr Smith woke up feeling jovial too; although his good mood had as much to do with the Six Nations match on that morning as it did the perfect night’s sleep he’d had. At Martin’s insistence (‘están en su casa’), Mr Smith made himself at home in the pink living room – surrounded by more fresh lilies, floral cushions and feminine motifs – to watch the rugby.

But for me, the rooftop called. ‘Would you like the plunge pool heated?’ Why yes, Martin, I would. As I soaked up the Mexican sun in preparation for the wedding that afternoon, I thanked the Mayan gods for Mexico’s gift to the world, for that four-poster bed and for marvellous Martin. 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in L'Otel’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The room, the decor, the amazing breakfasts! Must check out Casa Dragones and do a tequila tasting there.


Stayed on 2 Sep 2016