There are certain places—show-stopping hotels, Award-winning restaurants or local dive bars, incomparable vintage shops—that are worth planning your whole trip around. The Hotel Cartesiano in Puebla, Mexico is one of those places.
The front door of the Hotel Cartesiano in Puebla, Mexico is 11 feet tall and 8 feet wide, and glides open when you nudge one side. Behind the wooden expanse, an intricate lobby filled with creations from the country’s best modern artists, including Virginia Chevez, José Rivelino, and Marisa Torres beckons you inside.
Much like its surrounding city, Hotel Cartesiano is a display of Mexican art and gastronomy, though it’s certainly a modern take on the nearly 500-year-old architecture of Puebla, which was founded in 1531. The city is known for its 365 churches (one for every day of the year, as any local person will proudly tell you), and for being the birthplace of mole, a sauce made with chili peppers and chocolate and invented by nuns—some of whom could have lived inside the restored 18th-century colonial mansion inside the hotel, which was formerly a convent.
Why it’s worth traveling to: Opened in November 2017 after four and half years of construction, the luxe Cartesiano is one of the first of its kind in Puebla. Designed by Felix Blanco, the hotel is made of three structures (one of which was a former Talavera tile factory, opened by a German family in the 1920s, and still features colorful ceramic details), woven together by courtyard gardens designed by Ing. Pedro Pablo, creating a surreal campus. Take the elevator all the way up, and a rooftop pool (with kaleidoscope tiles designed by Blanco), world class spa (with siempre viva flowers covering the ceiling), and the Centena Cuatro restaurant with sweeping views of the Puebla’s churches mean you don’t have to leave the hotel to experience all that the city has to offer.
You’ll like it here if: You like luxury experiences but don’t want to forgo local culture.
The price: Rates start at $300/night.
The crowd: International tourists, but also a solid amount of local people who are taking advantage of Cartesiano’s modern restaurant offerings and programming. During a recent visit, the hotel was hosting a photography show from Paris in the lobby, and held an opening cocktail reception for Puebla’s art collectors.
What should you bring or wear? How do you prepare? Pack your swimsuit to take advantage of the rooftop pool, and bring a nice outfit if you want to fit in with the chic crowd that gathers at the Centena Cuatro restaurant for cocktails.
Any pro-tips? The spa is not to be missed.
What else should you do around the area? In Puebla, eat dinner at El Mural de los Poblanos, and grab churros to-go from Antigua Churrería de Catedral. Take an Uber to the Cholula neighborhood, and walk to the top of the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, a bright yellow building with tiled domes, which rests on top of the city’s Great Pyramid. Afterward, head to Casa Nueve and order the burger.