It’s been a long time coming, but we finally got a writer (my associate editor Lydia) into the city of Cuernavaca to review the two best luxury hotels there. One of them, Las Mananitas, is an institution owned by an American family and has long shown up on many “best of Mexico” hotel lists in magazine readers’ polls.
The other, AnticaVilla Hotel, is newer, mixing a more contemporary, stylish look with a historic structure.
Las Manañitas is an interesting name for a hotel for it’s the song sung at birthday celebrations in Mexico and some other countries (including, in a quirk of history, the Philippines.) Their version of “Happy Birthday,” but a lot more poetic. The hotel does do its share of 15th birthday parties for those who can afford it, but it’s more often a scene for upscale wedding parties, thanks to its ballroom and extensive gardens: photo-op ready and complete with strolling peacocks.
Since the hotel is part of the Relais & Chateaux group, you know that meals will be memorable. The restaurant here is as well known as the hotel and anyone who is anyone in Mexico City has most likely dined at the tables of Las Mananitas at some point. With gardens good for strolling and an outdoor pool, the extensive property here is a popular escape from the capital. There’s a full-blown spa occupying what was once the on-site family home.
See our full review of Las Manañitas in Cuernevaca, Mexico.
While the traditional luxury hotel in town has U.S. roots, AnticaVilla Hotel and Spa is owned by Italians. That heritage is on display in the European sensibilities in design, as well as the restaurant dishes:
“Cocoa fettuccine with Gorgonzola sauce, classic spaghetti with wide, razor–thin slices of fresh Parmesan cheese and basil–infused risotto with mushrooms are a few of the menu’s tantalizing options. All the pasta and bread is made in–house and the hotel’s owners are particularly dedicated to maintaining the authenticity of their national cuisine, for which they were recently recognized by the Academia Italiana de la Cocina.”
There’s old-world gravitas here, as the main building was originally a 17th century convent. It didn’t look like this though, since “the arched passageways are populated with sleek, white chaise lounges and space–age white and red pedestal seats.” Each of the 12 suites takes its cue from a famous Italian painter, plus you’ll get ultra-modern amenities such as espresso machines, glass bathtubs, and Blu-ray players with movies to borrow.
For art lovers and creative types who don’t mind being a little further from the center, this is a stylish choice in Cuernavaca. See our full review of AnticaVilla Hotel and Spa.