It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!
Recently I was in Queretaro and decided to take a look at some of the hotel options folks from outside Mexico might check out if they decided to visit this wonderful city. Founded by Spain in the mid 17th century, Queretaro played an important role in the Mexican Revolution.
Today, it is vibrant UNESCO World Heritage City of over 2 million people and, in my opinion, one of the best examples in Mexico of a city that values both its historic roots and its cosmopolitan present. The climate is wonderful, it’s close to San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato and the historic city center is one of my favorites in all of Mexico.
But before you can even begin to enjoy the area, you’ve got to have a base hotel.
I chose 6 hotels to check out. Each one different, but each one indicative of the different hotels you might find there. Like a lot of hotels in central Mexico, you generally won’t get air conditioning, but you will get ceiling fans, which on all but the warmest days, will keep you comfortable.
Each of these hotels are in the city center and all are within easy walking distance of each other and the entire downtown area.
Here’s my list, in no particular order…
La Casa del Naranjo… The small hotel screams boutique. It’s a little dated now, but still a wonderful property. Each room is unique, differently decorated and with its own charm and price. Depending on the room, your bed size will differ, so choose carefully. This place has a wonderful little courtyard, but like a lot of small hotels in Mexico, there is no elevator to the second floor, so be forewarned. Prices range from about $65.00 to $125.00 USD for the two bedroom unit.
Hotel Villa del Villar… This place is full of funk and charm. Perhaps that is best seen in the optional skylights. Optional because you can choose to open them or not with the old school bedside chain and pulley system . With only 10 rooms and an open courtyard, this hotel is a great place for a family reunion type gathering. As an added bonus, the rooms come with a Kuerig style coffee maker. A room here will cost you between $50.00 and $80.00 USD.
La Casa del Atrio… When you walk in here, you’re not sure you are even entering a hotel. From the outside you enter through a huge set of wooden doors into what looks like a local antique shop. And that’s what it is… in addition to a wonderful hotel! I loved the interior of this place. Stretching back a long ways, the rear rooms had wonderful views of the garden and patio area. These are large size rooms, perfect for a home base. But that space comes at a price. Rates here run between $100.00 and $175.00 a night.
La Casa de la Marquesa… This is a wild card hotel. Built in the mid 1700’s, the Marquesa is more like a Grand Dame. Older with a few quirks, and creeks in the ancient wood floors, this place smacks of Thurston Howell III. Here’s a good look at the rooms. One of my favorite finds here were the door locks. They’re certainly not the ones you open with those those ubiquitous cards. The Marquesa has a courtyard you must see, even if you choose to stay elsewhere. Rates start at about $75.00 and go up from there.
Casona de la Republica… The Casona is a beautiful hotel, excelling at understated elegance. Everything from the moment you enter the property is well thought out and perfectly placed. In fact, it is more like a resort than the boutique hotel it claims to be. This place exudes Mexican chic, even if nothing says Queretaro specifically. The rooms are all different, sporting hardwood floors and a variety of eclectic furniture. While offering discounts, a room here can set you back $150.00 or more a night.
Hotel Madero… Just a few doors from the Marquesa is the Hotel Madero. Housed in another mid 18th century building, the Madero compliments that history with a modern hotel feel. It’s clean, well appointed and in a great spot, opening directly onto one of the local plazas. While the rooms are not huge, they are clean and will work perfectly for a few days in this great city. And you can’t beat the rates, starting at about $55.00 a night.
Final thoughts… I would stay at everyone of these hotels. Some are better than others, but all have their strengths. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with any of these hotels, but if your budget is strong, go with Casona de la Republica. It’s just a notch above all the others.
As for location, don’t let the fact that these hotels are in the historic city center scare you. Even with the hustle and bustle of the streets outside, the rooms and most common areas were surprisingly quiet. In short, you will get a good nights sleep in any of these fine hotels.
Lastly, food options are pretty limited at all of these properties, except La Casona. But where ever you are in downtown Queretaro, there are plenty of places open early and late for coffee, snacks and even a great meal.
Planning your trip… You can fly into the small Queretaro airport, but it will cost you. The easiest way to get there is to fly direct into Mexico City and then get the Primera Plus bus direct from the airport. It’s cheap, $35.00, clean and fast… about 3 hours. And you can see a little of the countryside.
Queretaro is a great gateway city to this area of Mexico. San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato and Tequisquiapan, all beautiful cities, are within about an hour. This entire area is 100% drivable in a rental car, or accessible by taxi or local bus.