Colorful colonial townhouses lining cobbled streets, leafy plazas ringing with bells from baroque churches – Puebla city feels quintessentially Mexican. There are excellent restaurants and a lively cultural scene – and it’s easy to reach (in about two hours from Mexico City international airport.) Yet, despite a wealth of handsome hotels – many sitting in palatial buildings – the city remains relatively peaceful. Come before it’s heaving with tourists and stay at one of these top hotels in Puebla, all bookable on Culture Trip.
With rooms set in a 16th-century Spanish colonial convent, furnished with antique furniture and art, and with cloisters set around a central atrium with a tinkling fountain, Quinta Real epitomizes the romantic feel of Puebla. And, a block from the main square in the downtown district, this hotel in Puebla couldn’t be better situated. The hotel staff are helpful, ready to give local recommendations, and can organize tours.
Casona de los Sapos fuses the grand with the intimate: it is set in a renovated 17th-century cloistered mansion two blocks from the city center, yet it has only 16 rooms. All are individually decorated and elegantly appointed with exposed beams, polished wood floors and a mix of neocolonial and modern furnishings. Amenities at this Puebla hotel include a rooftop terrace with skyline views, a jewel-blue heated indoor pool and a small contemporary art gallery.
Rooms with black leather lounge chairs, quilted bed heads, gray velvet ottomans, glass stairs and a giant chandelier suspended in the atrium – Quinta Esencia may inhabit a colonial-era townhouse (a block from the Zócalo), but it’s refitted in a delightful late-1980s New Romantic retro style. You can imagine Duran Duran posing for an album cover on the Neo-Baroque balustrades.
Casa Monarca fuses the traditional with the trendy: walls in the rooms at this hotel in Puebla have been stripped back to reveal ancient raw stone, yet they sit over modern laminate floors and beds draped in white linens and muted lilac and beige scatter cushions. Public areas are adorned with Neo-Rococo murals etched onto artily cracked and distressed colonial-era plaster and whitewash. The location is excellent – a 10-minute walk from both the main square and the Paseo Bravo gardens.
Housed in a colonial mansion and two adjacent annexes, and with rooms whose warm woods, neutral shades and mood-lighting are set against ancient raw stone and brick, Cartesiano mixes old- and new-world elegance. Most come for the spa, one of the best in Puebla, for a wealth of treatments, from hot-sand therapy to binaural sound baths. The rooftop infinity pool has wonderful cityscape views.
Another superb example of design-inspired hotels in Puebla from the Mexican Grupo Habita, La Purificadora is the height of sleekness and chic. Enjoy the neutral-toned but richly decorated rooms and a see-through swimming pool akin to a human aquarium. The rooftop cocktail bar is a great place for city views, while the hotel restaurant has traditional Poblano dishes served with flair.
Kitschy and colorful, this hotel in Puebla has a pink courtyard, golden doors and over-the-top canopy beds with gold frames. It is located next to the Mesón Sacristía restaurant, a local favorite. The intimate setting of the hotel is balanced by its larger-than-life decorations and the hundreds of antiques scattered about the place. If nothing else, go for the color!
Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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