This 17th-century hideaway swathes guests in sensory delight in this historic village

If there is magic to be found in Mexico then the Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende has found it and sprinkled it throughout this 17th-century jewel box property. This 37-room retreat has been delicately restored from its roots as a former convent, fort and residence of the Archbishop of San Miguel de Allende into an enchanting escape within this Baroque/Neoclassical city, a town which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Like the romantic village that surrounds it, the Casa de Sierra Nevada is an amalgamation of courtyards, stone archways, cloisters and charming passageways.

As to be expected from a Belmond property, the hotel’s approach to luxury is understated, authentic, and sublime, and the Casa de Sierra Nevadas is no different. An homage to artisans, this hotel has built mastery of craft into its bones through hand-carved headboards in the guest rooms, a rich selection of artwork around the property, and antique tapestries for its walls.

Dark, earthy hues are the backdrop of the Casa de Sierra Nevadas and frames its architecture at every turn. Prominent wooden beams line the ceilings while terracotta tiles are arranged in traditional square placements or striking, wide herringbone formations along the hotel’s floors. Even the wardrobe doors are hand-carved in a deep shade of mahogany. This rich, amber vibe is lightened through a palette of discreet creams woven throughout a dominant use of shades of blue which accent the property through patterns, prints, or solid incarnations. The lampshades and sofas in guest rooms are deep shades of lapis, while the jute-like rugs in the rooms are trimmed in cerulean. This theme is seen in different variations through drapes, throw pillows, rugs and chairs around the property where off-white pueblo patterns are highlighted with woven-in blues, or through terrace chairs finished in a light cornflower color spotted with subtle, abstract drips of red.

Although a hotel is much more than the plush decor it provides, it’s an experience to be savored and Casa de Sierra Nevada exceeds expectations. Bordered by the hotel’s fort-like facade on one end and an awe-inspiring stone fountain on the other, the pool is a literal garden of earthly delights. With its Euro-country vibe, the pool loungers sit atop grass and are casually surrounded by shade trees and bougainvillea. It’s hardly a surprise that in this region known for its cuisine, the hotel offers guests the privilege of cooking with their chef through the Casa de Sierra Nevada’s Sazón Cooking School housed in an 18th century mansion. It’s here where students will create elegant masterpieces of Mexican cooking after taking private tours of the city’s markets for ingredients. Given the town’s values towards art, the hotel also offers a variety of art workshops to help guests immerse themselves in the art heritage of San Miguel de Allende. When guests have had their fill of food and culture, there is always the hotel’s Laja Spa to turn to for tranquility and rejuvenation.

While the town is serviced by three airports—Del Bejioi, Mexico City, and Queretaro—San Miguel del Allende is one to three hours drive from them (Del Bejio is the shortest drive at one hour and Mexico City is the longest drive at three hours). Although this should hardly be a deterrent because private drivers are abundant and affordable—they range from $75 to $150. Besides, doesn’t it take a little more to uncover the most brilliant of gems?