The jewel in the crown of the Western Highlands is Guadalajara, and arguably one of the coolest, most historic places to visit in the city itself is the historic center. Dominated by the famous dual-spired cathedral, a mix of Gothic, Baroque, Moorish and Neoclassical architecture, the historic center is the oldest part of what is now one of Mexico’s most densely populated municipalities. Of course, its size means the hotels on offer in the historic center are often fantastically cultural; check out our top ten below.
Casa Pedro Loza Petit Hotel is something special. Featuring eight guest rooms, three master suites and one luxurious honeymoon suite, no two rooms are the same at this sumptuously decorated spot in the historic center of Guadalajara. Interior designer Diana Bon, while respecting the original layout and feel of the old mansion house in which Casa Pedro Loza is situated, has added tasteful contemporary touches which bring this boutique hotel right into the present day but without losing that which makes it special. In fact, her design work has made it only the more unique with some suites decorated in muted colors, and others absolute riots of color. It has to be seen to be believed.
Hostel Tequila Backpacker is not your typical budget accommodation, although it does boast many of the great features so often found in backpacker hostels – most notably a vibrant atmosphere and a wealth of interesting people to befriend during your stay. However, there is a no-noise policy in the late evening, so getting to sleep isn’t a worry. Perfectly located on a main street, Hostel Tequila is set back from the road by a small courtyard and looks impressive when you walk in: spacious, modern and comfortable. If you don’t fancy wandering the ten minutes it takes to get to the center of the city, then you can relax on the terrace or in the pool, or play ping pong.
If you’re traveling on a budget and looking for the perfect traditional Mexican lodging experience, Casa Vilasanta is perfect for you. Excellently positioned between arguably the two most important areas of Guadalajara – the party avenue of Chapultepec, which boast great restaurants and bars, and the cultural, historic center of the city, replete with impressive architecture – Vilasanta is bright and welcoming. Make the most of the spacious central patio to hang out with other travelers and soak up the vibrancy of this casa. As if that weren’t enough, if you’re planning on staying long term, they have great monthly rates on offer too.
As charming as it is comfortable, Casa Alebrijes is a boutique hotel for “gay men and women and friends,” and is marketed as an inclusive, welcoming and incredibly well-located hotel in Guadalajara, known for being one of Mexico’s most gay-friendly cities. Situated in a converted 19th century house, the existing architecture has been maintained and respected beautifully, but there is nothing dated about it. Instead, the tall ceilings and two-foot thick, brightly painted adobe walls are lavishly decorated with colorful Mexican artesanías, including the alebrijes (colorful Mexican sculptures of animals) from which the hotel takes its name. The central courtyard is the focal point of the property, around which all the rooms are arranged. For those looking to experience the gay scene in Guadalajara, look no further.
If you’re in Guadalajara specifically to soak up the architecture and history of the city, there is no better place to stay than Hotel Morales, which is located no less fewer than three blocks from the imposing and famed Guadalajara cathedral, with its tiled yellow roofs and signature spires. Aside from its location, the name says it all about the breathtaking architectural prowess you can expect to find at this downtown hotel, in which each room has its own style and classical furniture. The building itself dates from the 19th century but was first converted into a luxury hotel in the 1930s. Without doubt, those wanting to stay both in the historic center of Guadalajara and in a building with such history really need look no further than Hotel Morales.
If you’re simply looking for a budget base from which to conduct your cultural investigations of this magnificent city then Hotel Casino Plaza may just be the one for you. It’s clean, comfortable, and extremely well located – just a few blocks away is the cathedral and El Teatro Degollado. As well as that, all the furnishings are in good condition, plus the staff are great, always on hand to help and give advice about what to see and do. While from the outside Hotel Casino Plaza may leave a lot to be desired, particularly if you’ve got your heart set on staying in a colonial old building while in the historic center of Guadalajara, the interior and the excellent value for money more than make up for that.
Perhaps the description of the Del Carmen Concept Hotel offered on their website will give some indication as to what you can expect from this quirky gem in downtown Guadalajara: “eclectic as the lost labyrinths in the lines of one’s hand.” Situated in a restored neo-classical hacienda, Del Carmen is sleek and imposing from the outside and artsy on the inside. This is to be expected given that the concept driving this hotel is a celebration of the greatest Mexican surrealist artists. Del Carmen is fantastic as it offers Mexican history, art, and culture all rolled into one quaint bundle, with an excellent historic center location. Not to mention the staff are friendly and the amenities are first-rate.
Another excellent option in the historic center boasting old world charm, Hotel de Mendoza similarly offers colonial architecture and décor which will please even the most cultured of culture fiends. The ample nature of the communal spaces in this decadent spot is also reflected in the spacious, albeit a tad dated, rooms at Hotel de Mendoza, which are clean and comfortable. Anyone worried about the language barrier, which can often be a problem in Guadalajara, shouldn’t be concerned about stopping at Hotel de Mendoza as the level of English spoken by the staff is excellent. Plus, they are always on hand to help you out with navigating your way around the city.
Hotel Roma makes a great budget option with an optimum location in this culture-packed city. Getting stuck into the action is what Guadalajara is all about, and you’re halfway there if you’re already lodging in the historic center. Our top tip is to try and get your hands on a room with a view, to make the most of your architecturally impressive surroundings. Simple, clean and super cozy, the bedrooms are perfect for short stay visitors. Do take advantage of the temperate Guadalajara climate for a quick dip in the pool or enjoy a drink on the terrace with its stunning views out over the cathedral. The buffet style breakfast is also a nice additional touch.
This boutique bed & breakfast is situated a few blocks outside the historic center but is a fantastic option that we just had to include. Still easily within walking distance of all the major sights and sounds of the historic center, but with the added bonus of being closer to Avenida Chapultepec too, La Perla is an upscale hotel. What’s more, it has a unique theme which sets it apart from the competition; rooms are categorised as radio, TV, or film, and the aim is to make you feel like a movie star from the golden age of Mexican cinema. You are truly transported back to the past in the Moorish mansion aesthetic of La Perla.