Reading the Room: Casa de Sierra Nevada

Words by Belmond Editors

Reading the Room: Casa de Sierra Nevada

View over Casa Limón's courtyard with fountain alcove and ivy-clad walls, and the spires of Parroquial de San Miguel behind.

At Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende, hidden gems of Mexican craftsmanship are nestled in every corner. Made up of six individual casas dating back to the 17th and 18th-century, step inside and discover the history and handicrafts hidden inside.

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Crown Jewel

Within Casa Palma is the Cantera Suite, the most lavish accommodation in the hotel. Inside hangs an easel painting depicting what are known today as ‘crowned nuns’. This painting was common in the viceregal era, as many families had daughters who entered nunneries; because they were cloistered, they never saw their family members again. For this reason, on the day they professed, they dressed in the habit of their congregation and wore precious crowns, scepters made of flowers, and posed to be painted.

Close-up of a portrait of a regal woman wearing a cloak and floral crown

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Off the Wall

As you stroll through the main courtyard of Casa Fuente, take a moment to admire the exterior walls of the casa, where the architectural term “cal y canto” or “calicanto” is in full display. This construction technique, in which stones are joined together with mortar without any order or size, is a unique masonry skill.

Flanking this piece of history are several orange trees that produce azahar – Mexican orange blossom – fragrant flowers that are revered as a symbol of love. They form an important ingredient in Pan de muerto, a type of sweet treat traditionally baked in Mexico leading up to the Día de los Muertos.

View over the patio at Casa Fuente to an exterior staircase with iron railings, tucked between the ivy-clad stone buildings.

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Horsing Around

Local legend says that Casa Caballo received its name because the building originally housed the horses of travelers to the city (caballo is Spanish for horse). For this reason, you’ll find horses represented in different areas of the house: from wooden and metal horse-head sculptures to equine doorknobs and in-room figurines.

Shot of Casa Caballo's exterior, with white walls, tiled passages and arches dripping with giant monstera, alocasia and ivy.

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Still Waters

Historically, it’s said that houses that had fountains belonged to wealthy people, since water was scarce. The preserved fountain at the entrance of Casa Limón has been decorated with hand-made artisanal ceramics from Guanajuato, just one hour from where the hotel sits in San Miguel de Allende. Mirroring this craft, some of the ceramics were also used for the sinks in the guest rooms.

With a portico frame, the pretty fountain at Casa Limon has a repeat geometric pattern in white and deep blue ceramic tiles.

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Code Red

Majestic Casa Parque is built in the “fortress” colonial style, and is located a stone’s throw from a site where, according to a commemorative plaque, the city was founded in 1542. Like other buildings surrounding Casa Parque, it is painted red to give a sense of unity and cohesion to the area.

Locals say that the house was once home to a Spanish family named Lanzagorta, who were in charge of collecting, receiving and storing precious metals and grains that were part of the Quinta Real (a tax established in 1504 on gold and silver).

The ancient façade of Casa Parque, just one of the heritage buildings forming Casa de Sierra Nevada

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