Price Band: $
Tags: Historic, city, sightseeing, economical
Price Band: $
Tags: Historic, city, sightseeing, economical
In a nutshell:
Historic hotel with a fabulous location on the lively Jardin de la Union, close to the Teatro Juarez. Rooms facing the plaza are a delight for people-watchers. Great restaurant with tables on the plaza. Can be a noisy location, but worthwhile for the joys of exploring Guanajuato on foot.
Probably the oldest hotel in Guanajuato, and certainly the best known, the Posada Santa Fe is the place to stay in town. Not only does it house a venerable collection of the works of local artist and historian Manuel Leal, it also has the most desirable tables for soaking up the local atmosphere – right on the lively Jardin de la Union.
Enter the magnificent lobby and you could be in one of the finest hotels in Mexico. Lofty beamed ceilings, delicate chandeliers and antique chairs all fade into insignificance alongside the giant paintings dominating the walls.
The off-lobby restaurant has the same setting, as does the lounge, with antique chairs and couches perfect for pre-dinner cocktails.
Guest rooms at Posada Santa Fe are approached up a winding staircase, with a colorful tile surround. The rooms themselves vary from the high ceiling suites at the front of the hotel to simpler decor at the back. All have a certain charm, a slightly faded grandeur, yet updated with modern facilities.
Posada Santa Fe has been owned and managed by the same family for several generations, and although there are exciting plans for future improvements, the emphasis is on retaining the historic and the traditional. Meals served in the restaurants are as good as the setting, and the location is the best in town. Guanajuato itself is not short of attractions and your only problem could be trying to drag yourself away.
In contrast to the grandeur downstairs, the guest rooms are fairly simple. Wooden furniture and antique lamps project a timeless quality. Pictures on the wall depicting old fables of Guanajuato remind you that this building is part of the town’s history.
Book early for the few rooms with patio doors onto Jardin de la Union, or for those with a view down a pretty side street. Many of the rooms have only internal windows or no views, but we’re quite happy to spend as much time as possible in the lounge and restaurant or around the lively plaza, and then retire to a quieter room for sleep.
There is no heating in the rooms, but beds have blankets under the patterned bedspreads in preparation for the sometimes cold evenings in Guanajuato. A few rooms have fans, but these are rarely required. Many different arrangements of rooms are available, from standard rooms with one to three beds to suites with a sofa bed in the living area. The one suite on the fourth floor has direct access to the rooftop terrace, with its superb views over the city. Note that at the moment there are no elevators, and all other guest rooms are on the second and third floors.
Summary of room facilities
Cable TV, telephone, wi-fi
One double bed
One king, one queen, or two twin beds
Three twin beds or two doubles and a twin bed
Four twin beds or two double beds
Double room facing the Plaza
One queen or one king bed, view of plaza, step out balcony
King bed and sofa bed or two twin beds or king bed and two double beds
Junior Suite facing the Plaza
One king bed and sofa bed, separate sitting room, bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, view of plaza and step out balcony
Standard rooms for double occupancy can have either one queen bed, two twin beds or one king size bed. Some rooms are internal and face courtyards, others may look over colonial streets to the rear and side of the hotel. All rooms have satellite TV and telephone.
All rooms have a private bathroom with a shower. Only the Junior Suite facing the Plaza has a bathtub.
The Posada Santa Fe has six rooms on the second floor that face the lively Jardin de la Union. Five are double rooms and one is a Junior Suite. The double rooms facing the plaza have either one queen or one king bed – there are no rooms facing the plaza with two beds.
Every room in this category has double doors that open up to a step-out balcony facing the Jardin. These rooms are well soundproofed, but are noisier than the interior rooms, especially during fiestas.
One of the Junior Suites faces the Jardin de la Union and is perhaps the most sought after room at the hotel. Full length windows face the lively plaza, and the suite has a small step-out balcony. It has a separate sitting room with a double sofa bed and a refrigerator. This is the only suite to have a bathtub, and the tub also has Jacuzzi action.
It can’t be denied that the outdoor tables at the Posada Santa Fe are the place to be for an evening in Guanajuato. El Jardin de la Union is a gathering point for young and old alike, and the music drifting from its bandstand varied on our visit from a small orchestra playing there to the sounds of an impromptu disco.
Hence you’ll find the most popular tables to be those directly on the square, on all except very wet days. This does little justice to the beauty of the indoor restaurant, where heavy wooden beams and ornate chandeliers are perfectly in keeping with the historical paintings by Manuel Leal that dominate the walls.
At breakfast there may be a cook at work under the canopies outside, making tortillas and cooking Gorditas de Maiz and other specialties on traditional equipment. Forget toast and pancakes and try some.
In the evenings you can try Pozole – a dish native to nearby Guadalajara that is almost a soup, made from pork, chicken and maize, seasoned with oregano, onions and chilies. Of course, there are plainer options for those wary of spicy food, from steaks to fish al gusto.
The convivial bar is a nice place to end the evening. It also functions as an internet cafe, with computers having high speed connection available for guests use.
The official title of the hotel is “Hotel Museo Posada Santa Fe”; the word museum is included because of the significance of the collection of oil paintings by Manuel Leal displayed in the hotel. Manuel Leal was an artist and historian born in Guanajuato and his works are a documentary of the history and folklore of the town.
The hotel itself, founded in 1862, is featured in one of the paintings The Flower Feast of Passion Friday, displayed above the main staircase. Another painting in the lobby shows the inauguration of the Teatro Juarez (situated on the opposite side of Jardin de la Union).
Visit the restaurant to see two of the largest works; nearest the plaza is a depiction of the Image of Our Lady of Guanajuato taken on a procession through the town. At the far end of the room the story of the discovery of a new mining source is illustrated. Many of Leal’s contemporaries (and the artist himself) are shown in the scenes as onlookers or minor characters – look at the Inauguration of Teatro Juarez to see Leal as the gray-haired spectator turning to his left on the back row.
The closest airport is Guanajuato International Airport, also known as El Bajio, with airport code BJX. It is about 20 miles away, and the journey by car takes about 40 minutes.
Driving in Guanajuato is not recommended. The city is a maze of narrow, busy streets, and the subterranean highways make Guanajuato almost impossible to map clearly.
If you do bring a car, you will want to leave it parked and explore the city by taxi or on foot. We list driving directions below, but if you have any problems we recommended using the services of the many youngsters who will offer to jump in the car and guide you to your destination for a small tip.
Arriving from Leon, you’ll drive around several curves in the road and then see a Pemex gas station. Keep straight forward all over the main “Subterranea” or underground streets. Once the underground road ends, there’s a sign indicating Hotel Posada Santa Fe to the right. This 90 degrees turn will lead you to the street that will take you to the back of the hotel.
Just after passing the “Teatro Principal” on your right, you’ll see a square blue sign indicating “HOTEL 50MTS”. The parking lot will be on your left as the street bends to the right.