Last week I had the pleasure of spending a few days at the impressive Casa de Sierra Nevada hotel in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. While there are a lot of great small inns in this popular tourist and expatriate town (I’ll highlight one of them in the next post), there’s only one sizable one that can offer all the perks of a full-blown upscale hotel.

Casa de Sierra Nevada has long been the best hotel in San Miguel, with a collection of separate converted grand homes taking up much of one block, but things have gotten even better since Orient Express acquired it two years ago. The company has been busy sprucing, upgrading, and adding on, with more to come. I stayed in the revamped Casa Limon section which has a beautiful swimming pool surrounded by a lawn and gardens. Several of the suites have their own whirlpool on a terrace as well and two have fantastic full-on views of the church in the main place. The building next to this is about to become part of the hotel, adding six new suites.

The main Andaza restaurant and bar across the street have been revamped as well, but not without retaining the air of elegance in what was originally the home of the local archbishop. (The bar was his bedroom.) A separate restaurant is about a five-minute walk away, on the other side of a leafy park. Two blocks away is the hotel’s own Sazon cooking school, with special handmade pottery to buy for your own kitchen on the way out.

Casa de Sierra Nevada is larger than most local hotels, but don’t expect boxy standardization. Rooms vary greatly in size and layout. All are filled with delightful touches and attention to detail, with the kind of quality amenities and materials you would expect from Orient-Express. We’ll be posting a full review with photos soon, but here is a video tour of Colonial Suite 444 in the Casa Limon building.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2n9yMyGtc8]