Price Band: $$$
Tags: Historic, experience, sightseeing, gardens
Price Band: $$$
Tags: Historic, experience, sightseeing, gardens
In a nutshell:
Stunningly beautiful luxury hotel housed in a historic convent, courtyards decked with bougainvillea, restaurant serving Oaxacan specialties, regular Guelaguetza dance shows. Swimming pool and courtyard gardens. A must-see in Oaxaca.
Oaxaca is one of the most delightful colonial cities in Mexico, and a visit to this unique hotel offers the chance to experience the magic of the city from within the walls of one of its landmarks. It is one of a very small number of hotels in the world to be designated a national treasure. Formerly the 16th Century convent of Santa Catalina, the hotel is a beautiful combination of the historical, together with the excellent facilities and services of the prestigious Quinta Real Group.
In one of the bougainvillea decked courtyards is a stunning swimming pool, surrounded by ancient stone walls, restored frescoes and flowering shrubs. In another, tables from the restaurant spill out under colonnades, and echoes of Gregorian chants drift in the breeze.
A further courtyard houses La Lavanderia (the ‘laundry’) where the nuns washed their clothes in carved stone bowls fed by an ingenious hydraulic system.
The restaurant at the Quinta Real Oaxaca is also strongly recommended. In addition to the breathtaking setting, the opportunity to savor some of the finest regional cuisine should not be missed. International dishes are also available, but we suggest that you try the local dishes with mole orpipian sauces. Don’t miss the delicious tamales included in the breakfast buffet too.
The hotel is ideally situated on one of the city’s delightful cobbled streets, close to the stunning 16th Century church of Santo Domingo and a short stroll from the zocalo. Oaxaca, with its colorful houses, shady squares and relaxed atmosphere, is a dream for walkers. All the main sights of the city (including the 27 churches) are accessible on foot, and the streets are busy even at night time. To fully appreciate the charms of Oaxaca, we’d strongly recommend staying in the town itself. The Quinta Real will give you all the luxuries you require right inside one of the finest national treasures.
Rooms are arranged around the beautiful courtyards which offer a very tranquil and relaxed setting. The rooms follow the original layout of the old convent and therefore no two rooms here are identical. Exterior Rooms overlook the colonial streets of Oaxaca. Interior Rooms have views of the picturesque courtyards of the hotel and are often preferred for their tranquil outlooks.
The standard Suites are full of character yet have modern amenities such as minibars and hairdryers. Master Suites are more spacious, often with a sitting area, and have particularly nice views. Grand Class Suites have special features such as a separate sitting room, or maybe a dressing room or terrace.
Summary of room facilities
Air conditioning, room safe, minibar, hairdryer, clock radio, wireless internet access (extra charge applies).
29 suites (14 with two double beds and 15 with one king bed), face the streets of Oaxaca’s historic downtown.
9 suites (4 with 2 double beds, 1 with a king bed and 1 with a queen bed), face the gardens and courtyards of the hotel.
Master Suite (Exterior)
20 suites (15 with 2 double beds and 5 with a king bed), face the streets of Oaxaca’s historic downtown
Master Suite (Interior)
25 suites (15 with 2 double beds and 10 with a king bed), face the courtyards and gardens of the hotel.
Grand Class Suite
8 suites, all with one king bed, can be exterior or interior view.
Have you ever spent the night in a historical monument? Here you can be sure that the three foot thick stone walls will keep you cool, and that the high beamed ceilings will remind you of the gracious history of this magnificent building.
Vibrant Mexican fabrics are used for bedspreads and curtains, whilst oversized lamps and ornate mirrors add to the authentic charm. Original fixtures such as heavy wooden frames around doors and windows have been retained wherever possible.
Although the rustic furnishings and uneven, white-washed walls will give you the atmosphere of the 17th Century, you will be pleasantly surprised to find modern conveniences such as a TV, servi-bar, telephone and hairdryer have been subtly introduced.
The Master Suites are generally a little larger than the Suites and are especially charming. They can face either the colonial streets of Oaxaca or the picturesque courtyards of the hotel.
Bathrooms generally feature a beautifully tiled vanity area and a shower. Although the character of the majestic building has been maintained, the rooms have modern amenities such as hairdryers, airconditioning and wireless internet access.
Each room at the Quinta Real is unique, so it’s difficult to categorize them. Grand Class suites have some special feature to distinguish them from the Master Suites – maybe a particularly attractive view over pretty courtyards, or a separate sitting area that’s beautifully furnished with lots of colonial charm.
Some Grand Class Suites have a smallish bedroom, with a separate sitting room (see photos). One has a large walled terrace with outdoor seating and even two sun loungers.
For a taste of the real Mexico, try some of the famous Oaxacan specialties at the Quinta Real. Dishes such as mole and pipian sauces originated in the region and are often featured on the extensive menu.
The appetizers menu usually includes a sampler plate of local favorites which makes a great introduction to this renowned cuisine. Continental specialties plus a good selection of national and international wines are also available.
The restaurant tables are arranged in the lofty beamed chambers of the former convent and also beneath the colonnades of the central courtyard. In the evening the soft glow of candlelight warms the ancient walls, an enchanting setting for a lingering meal.
One of the prettiest swimming pools in Mexico can be found in the sunny southern courtyard of the Quinta Real. Surrounded by noble stone walls and colorful trees and shrubs, this is a tranquil spot for sunbathing or relaxing in the shade.
It’s very rare to find such an enticing pool in a central town location, and it is very much appreciated after a morning spent exploring Oaxaca’s sights.
In the evening the pool and gardens are illuminated, created a delightful outlook for the adjacent Novicias Bar.
Construction of this noble building began in 1576, when foundations for the Santa Catalina Convent were laid. The convent was claimed to be only the second in Mexico to be founded for the order of Dominican nuns. The most prominent reminders of the original purpose of the hotel are the impressive chapel and the beautiful octagonal “wash fountain” in the north east courtyard of today’s hotel. The wash fountain features twelve stone bowls, in which water is kept at a steady level by an ingenious hydraulic system.
It is also possible to visit the “Antique Bedroom” claimed to have been used by Bishop de Albuquerque, who was instrumental in the construction of the convent. When funds became scarce the furniture was pawned, but is now restored and on display on the first floor. Guests can also see the “Holy Place”, where priceless antique furniture with incredible baroque carving is displayed.
After its foundation, the convent evolved with the turbulent history of the period and became a vital part of the community. During the 17th Century, open religious services were held in the chapel for the first time and the convent’s wash fountain became available for use by the public.
After the suppression of the Church and nunneries by the Reform Laws of 1862, the convent assumed a variety of new roles. First a government “office” and then a municipal jail. Later it was used as a school. In 1975 FONATUR (the Mexican Tourism Office) made the convent available as a hotel. Beautifully restored in keeping with its history, the hotel provides a most appropriate base for exploration of the rich treasures of Oaxaca.
The airport in Oaxaca has some international flights and many internal flights. It is about 6 miles away, and the journey by car can take about 30 minutes.
Arriving from Mexico City via the toll highway, as the toll highway ends you should continue straight ahead (the road is signed to Oaxaca). After about 8 miles there will be a left turn but you should again continue straight ahead. You will then enter the city on Calzada Madero and after about 2 miles you will arrive at downtown Oaxaca and the road name will change to Avenida Independencia (though it is the same road). You will pass the Alameda (main square) and you’ll see a large park and the Cathedral. Once you pass the Alameda count the number of junctions – you should take the 3rd turn right (Av. Reforma) and there is a very small park on the corner.
Once on Reforma, take the 3rd left (the street name is Abasolo). You are passing the rear of the hotel building. On Abasolo, pass the first street (Calle 5 de Mayo) and turn left at the next corner (the street name is Macedonio Alcala and there is a church on the corner). On Macedonio Alcala make an immediate left on a narrow street. At the end of the street you’ll see the front of the hotel. Make a right turn and you’ve arrived at the entrance.
The hotel does not have parking but the staff can direct you on check-in to a private parking lot one block from the hotel (valet parking is also available).