Because the city of Oaxaca has become so very popular in recent years with both Mexican national and international tourists, the city itself has become a lot busier. Although still as beautiful as it ever was, there’s more of everything, including more crowds and more traffic.
Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles, located in the section of San Felipe del Agua, just ten minutes out of town, offers a beautiful and quiet alternative. Opening in 2000, this authentically restored 18th century hacienda offers fine amenities and luxurious accommodations in 23 individual guest rooms, with unusual attention to every detail.
It has not only a 5 star, 4 diamond rating, but is the only Green Hotel in Oaxaca. The beautiful and spacious tropical gardens are nourished by recycled water in addition to rain water and compost from the kitchen. Built in the traditional hacienda style, all the rooms are located around the large, treed and landscaped interior garden, much more than just a courtyard. Bird song fills the air and the flitting butterflies seem to be constantly at work pollinating the lush gardens and their many flowering plants. Each room is different in both décor and size, offering unique and spacious suites, many with Jacuzzi tubs.
If you enjoy those touches of luxury, the owner, Peter Kaiser has provided them all. Having had a lifetime of building and running fine boutique resorts throughout Mexico, this hotel represents his own private vision. He knows where to buy the best in bathroom fixtures, the finest in linens and towels and each room reflects this careful attention to detail. The hotel not only reflects his decades of management, but is really a manifestation of a dream to provide a special place that can offer people access to the excitement and discovery of the city of Oaxaca with the escape to the restful atmosphere of a country hacienda.
From the fine linens to the plush towels and robes to the ample lighting (important to a bedtime reader), everything has been carefully chosen with the client’s comfort in mind. The beds are turned down at night with the chocolate left to remind you that your night should be sweet. And, with only 23 rooms and suites, the atmosphere is exceedingly personal. The rooms are all spacious and airy and the large bathrooms exude the feeling of luxury. Ample towels and beautiful products are also provided.
Beauty is the working word to describe Los Laureles. The accommodations are furnished in a way that provides an elegantly perfect atmosphere and the gardens surround the guest with delightfully fresh, clean, fragrant air. The pool is located at one corner offering privacy and lush landscaping as well as being situated far enough away from the rooms so there is never intrusive noise. And, the staff are smiling, friendly and helpful. They seem to genuinely enjoy being there which makes it even nicer for the guests.
Many restaurants take pride in their dining rooms, but the owner of this hotel goes beyond that. In addition to the accomplished chef, Horacio Reyes, there are several apprentice chefs that have been recruited from culinary arts schools. Because the chef has such an expansive view of offering the finest of international cuisine, the apprentices are encouraged to create their own specialties. They go to the market and carefully choose only the finest of fruits and vegetables and meats. Desserts can be a theatrical presentation where the chefs prepare new and exciting sweet delights. Oaxaca is known for its food, especially the various moles from the seven regions. Here, however, the versions are lighter and a represent a departure from the heaviness of the traditional foods.
Another Oaxaca tradition is the temazcal which is the indigenous steam bath. This is a service that is offered to the guests of the hotel and includes complete instructions for what to eat and drink both before and after the treatment which is done in the traditional way, as has been performed for millennia. It is an alternative method of healing through the cleansing of the body through steam, something practiced by indigenous cultures throughout the world in various forms.
According to the owner, Peter Kaiser, this hotel represents his last building project and his own personal one. Seeing him pick up a hose to water a specific plant he thinks needs attention or stroll through the dining room glancing at the tables are evidence of his commitment and concern for details. As in any other type of art project, the joy comes in sharing the creation. For those people who want to experience the magic of Oaxaca but also have a special place to retreat to, Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles in the quiet area of San Felipe del Agua could be that special place.
If You Go:
There are direct flights from Houston TX to Oaxaca on United
Tourism Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
Hacienda Los Laureles
Mexico Boutique Hotels
More of Susanna Starr’s work can be found at SusannaStarr.com