Luxury travel can mean different things to different people. San Miguel de Allende is one of Mexico’s most well-known destinations for luxury travel. It offers a wide range of experiences and activities that can be interpreted in many ways.

Founded in 1542 and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, San Miguel de Allende offers a unique blend of old and new, traditional and contemporary. This is a place to explore history and traditions, to be sure, but it’s also a place to enjoy decidedly 21st-century style, service and amenities. It is rare to find a city with such a large number of luxury hotels in Mexico. This is especially true when you consider its small size.

San Miguel de Allende continues welcoming visitors back, and the city was awarded the World Travel & Tourism Council’s “Safe Travels” seal for its extensive hygiene protocols. Tourism officials continue to tout the destination’s wide range of luxury options, which I have personally experienced.

Luxury Hotels in San Miguel de Allende

During my most recent visit, I stayed at the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, one of the destination’s most sumptuous luxury hotels. It is no surprise that this hotel is a top choice for travelers due to its beautiful grounds, superb spa, delicious cuisine, and gorgeous accommodations. I stayed in a huge, four-bedroom villa.

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On a previous visit, I checked into another noteworthy upscale property, the Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende, which stylishly blends contemporary style with traditional architectural elements. There are many luxury hotels in the area that will suit every taste. I also toured the lovely Hacienda El Santuario San Miguel de Allende, where each of the 31 guestrooms has unique layouts (I was especially taken with the vaulted ceilings that graced some accommodations). Casa 1810 Hotel Boutique, meanwhile, is another ideal choice for travelers looking for unique boutique accommodations with upscale flair in the heart of the city. Many boutique hotels have a distinctive international design. The 10-room Hotel Casa Blanca 7, for example, mixes traditional colonial Spanish elements with Moorish decor. Trendy vibes are also provided by two members of Design Hotels in San Miguel de Allende: Hotel Matilda, which is known for its original artwork, culinary events and excellent spa treatments, and Dos Casas, which is partially set in two 18th-century former residences and offers six room categories, including a beautiful rooftop suite with mountain views.

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The pool at Hotel Matilda
The pool at Hotel Matilda

Credit: 2021 Mark Chesnut

Fine Dining Options

San Miguel de Allende is also a hot spot for diverse cuisine. Maria Xoconostle, for example, serves a variety of Mexican favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the large courtyard of a historic former home. Nearby, the aptly named The Restaurant wows with a sophisticated menu that includes tasty treats such as pork and shrimp pot stickers and Tandoori chicken tacos.

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For meals with a view, it’s hard to beat Quince, which draws a loyal following thanks to its rooftop setting, hip vibe, excellent cocktails and international menu. The Hotel Casa Blanca 7 has a rooftop bar and restaurant with great views. San Miguel de Allende’s hotels have excellent restaurants that should not be missed, even if they aren’t your hotel. Casa 1810 Hotel Boutique and Dos Casas both have excellent restaurants, for example, while at Hotel Matilda, Moxi offers an imaginative international menu created by Australian chef Paul Bentley, with Mexican, French and other international influences.

Dessert at The Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende
Dessert at The Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende

Credit: 2021 Mark Chesnut

Customized Adventures

Culture, cuisine and luxury accommodations may be central to San Miguel de Allende’s appeal with upscale travelers, but the San Miguel de Allende Tourism Board is also promoting more active pursuits, including ATV excursions, hiking and horseback riding, to name a few. A hot-air balloon ride is one of the most luxurious adventure experiences. It offers a unique way to see the sunrise and starts the day. A company called Globo San Miguel offers a variety of excursions; for the most exclusive experience, book a private flight, which includes at least 45 minutes in the air, and a breakfast downtown.

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Art and Shopping

There’s no need to feel stuck with run-of-the-mill, predictable tourist souvenirs in San Miguel de Allende. Artists from all over Mexico are attracted to the town, with their work visible in shops, galleries and restaurants throughout the city.

Fabrica La Aurora, an arts center set in a former factory, is an excellent place to discover the city’s creativity. Original artwork, home decor and jewelry are a few of the finds here, and the artists themselves are often present to discuss their work — like Merry Calderoni, a Texas-born artist whose large-format artwork (including a series painted with whips) has garnered lots of praise.

Clients can sip wine at Vinedos San Lucas, a winery near San Miguel de Allende.
Clients can sip wine at Vinedos San Lucas, a winery near San Miguel de Allende.

Credit: 2021 Mark Chesnut

Spirited Getaways

San Miguel de Allende is located conveniently close to one of Mexico’s largest wine regions, and it’s easy to savor local varietals at venues such as Vinedos San Lucas, a beautiful winery that offers guided tours and tastings. A beautiful restaurant overlooks the vineyard and a polo facility offers classes on a designated polo field. Biking, spa and yoga classes are also offered, and the 14-room on-site hotel provides accommodations close to all the activities.

The Details

San Miguel de Allende