Banyan Tree Puebla
Authentic, original, high-design
Calle 10 Nte. (52) 222 122 2300 www.banyantree.com/
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At a Glance
Banyan Tree Puebla, formerly Azul Talavera Hotel, has established itself as a modern classic, mostly because every inch of the hotel is a thoughtful celebration of the city that surrounds it.
- The view from the infinity rooftop pool: the perfect place to savor a margarita (or two)
- The artfully designed guest rooms
- The location, which is steps from Puebla’s most appealing sites and neighborhoods
Set in a series of 17th-century restored private homes, the 78-room property is a veritable historic marvel and thus carried with it lofty design restrictions from the preservation society. But thanks to the efforts of architect Eric Meza Leines, a rising star known for his passion—and razor-sharp talent—for restoring historic structures, the resulting design is flawless. Puebla’s tapestry of influences is on full display at Banyan Tree Publa: think ancient stone walls framing contemporary local artwork; 17th-century frescoes complementing sleek furnishings; and traditional Mexican buildings decorated with ultra-modern sculptures.
The hotel’s wow factor is not limited to aesthetics, however. Puebla is fondly known as the Kitchen of Mexico (just ask a local) thanks to its status as the birthplace of mole, a 40-ingredient sauce used in myriad Mexican dishes. So it was only fitting that Banyan Tree Puebla follow suit with a fantastic roster of eateries. Helmed by Chef Jorge González, who began his career working in Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and Mexico, the hotel’s dining program marries sophisticated European cuisine with a heavy dose of Mexican flare. Guests have a choice of Pasquinel Bistrot, an all-day eatery—brunch here is a grand affair of breakfast classics as well as a pasta bar, oysters and pastries—and dinner means gourmet delicacies like salsa verde sea bass and yellow fin tuna poke. For a more casual meal, there’s Cello Italian Cuisine, featuring an impressive local wine selection paired with classic Italian dishes. Cocktail fiends should head straight to Bar Los Lavaderos, a handsome lounge decorated with sumptuous oriental carpets and colorful furniture that offers views inside an adjacent 19th-century communal wash house. In addition to charcuterie and light snacks, the bar serves cocktails mixed from its extensive collection of premium tequila and mescal. The hotel’s pièce de résistance is a sleek rooftop bar that overlooks Puebla and fronts a bright yellow church.
In Puebla, days are spent exploring the city’s endless historical sites (of which there are 2,600, to be exact). A tour of the colorful downtown district is a must; the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and boasts such attractions as the first library in the Americas in addition to several stunning cathedrals and modern art museums (Read: The Up-And-Coming Mexican Town You Should Know About for more). Not to be missed is a visit to the boho-chic artists quarter, where twinkling lights hang above bountiful open-air markets selling artisanal crafts and pottery (Puebla is known for a special type of talavera ceramics). Beyond the city limits, travelers can tour a number of colonial towns including Cholula, where a giant hilltop church overlooks a lively street market. It is also possible to do a day trip to Mexico City.
Afternoons should be spent decompressing with spa treatments at the hotel’s signature spa. The rooftop oasis offers therapies based on ancient healing rituals and a number of ‘spa journeys,’ which are curated spa sessions lasting up to five hours. After a treatment, guests can cool off in the rooftop pool. The best time to do so is at sunset, when visitors can savor a mescal and the stunning view of the cathedral-topped city, which is illuminated in a deep ocher glow.
Who Should Stay: Culture hounds and travelers who appreciate up-and-coming, non-touristic locales. Those interested in Michelin-starred restaurants, full days of cultural tours and adventure activities should combine Puebla with Mexico City or a nearby beach destination. Read Mexico’s Best Beach Resorts for inspiration.