The hotels in Oaxaca know how to remain unique

In 2002, there were plans to open a McDonald’s in the historic central square of the Mexican city of Oaxaca. Legendary Oaxacan artist Francisco Toledo wasn’t having it – not in the beautiful, 500-year-old Zócalo of his beloved hometown. He promised to stand naked in front of the site, hand out free tamales and remind locals of the importance of their own ancient culture and the tourism it inspires. “The presence of McDonald’s would homogenize and distort the unique,” ​​he wrote.

Hundreds of people joined his protest, which was ultimately successful. City officials rejected the restaurant. And in the end, no one even had to take off their clothes.

Toledo understood that authenticity is the strongest form of cultural currency. Enlightened travelers are constantly looking for destinations that defy globalization and creeping mass commercialism. Places like Oaxaca. You probably know that Oaxaca is the birthplace of mezcal and mole. Maybe you also know its iconic Dia de los Muertos parties and are colorful alebrijes sculptures. What you may be less aware of is Oaxaca’s growing reputation as a hotspot for architecture and design.

We’ve collected some of Oaxaca’s most attractive hotels below. Among them you will see groundbreaking concepts and bold ideas that are strongly in line with the traditions of the region (along with a lot of concrete). Progress and change are not bad, but we must insist that they occur as authentic cultural expressions that preserve and promote local heritage. Here they do that.

Boutique hotel Monte Uzulu

San Agustinillo, Mexico

You wouldn’t mistake the Monte Uzulu Boutique Hotel for a large all-inclusive resort. The buildings, by architects At-te and designers Taller Lu’um, are a contemporary take on traditional thatched-roof palapa structures, and the experience perfectly balances sensitivity to surroundings and surroundings with the demands of modern boutique hospitality.

Book Monte Uzulu Boutique Hotel via the MICHELIN Guide →

Casona Sforza

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

There’s nothing on the Oaxaca coast – or anywhere else – like Casona Sforza, an eleven-room luxury boutique hotel whose unmistakable curved volumes stand just meters from the beach at the south end of Puerto Escondido. Architect Alberto Kalach designed these distinctive structures, which are positioned to maximize their views, their privacy and their exposure to the wind.

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Flavia Hotel

Oaxaca City, Mexico

The archetypal Oaxaca City luxury hotel is a colonial palace in the historic center, but everything about the Flavia Hotel is unconventional: its mountainside location on the edge of the city, its monumental brutalist construction and, perhaps unexpectedly given its exterior silhouette, the extraordinarily warm atmosphere. and livable.

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Casa Silencio

San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Mexico

Casa Silencio is located in the rugged, mountainous mezcal-producing lands east of the capital. What was previously just a working distillery, owned by the El Silencio mezcal brand, is now one of the most extraordinary hotels in all of Mexico, a spectacular complex of modern buildings constructed from rustic stock, wood and tiles.

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Hotel Terrestre

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Puerto Escondido is an established destination, but it has never seen anything like Hotel Terrestre. But then again, neither has anywhere else. Located between the mountains and the sea on the green coast just west of the city, it is a dramatic structure, a spaceship made of simple, locally sourced brick and concrete by architect Alberto Kalach.

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Hotel Escondido

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Hotel Escondido is ‘barefoot luxury’ at its peak, a kind of impossibly stylish version of beachside living, with sixteen bungalows that are small and bare, but perfectly formed. The restaurant serves local seafood not to be missed, the bar shows off Habita’s talent for hospitality and the pool lounge combines modern design with the most primitive elements, to the greatest possible effect.

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Hotel Escondido Oaxaca

Oaxaca City, Mexico

The historic center of Oaxaca City is a wonder: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fantastic tapestry from every era, from the 16th century to the present. Hotel Escondido Oaxaca is a blend of itself, a 19th-century house and an adjacent neo-brutalist structure, which together create a contemporary boutique hotel designed with an eye to blurring the distinction between old and new.

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House TO

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

On the southern edge of Puerto Escondido, along Oaxaca’s Pacific coast, Casa TO is an architectural statement: an austere beauty composed almost entirely of raw concrete, designed by architect Ludwig Godefroy with just a few economical gestures toward luxurious comfort and Oaxacan- tradition.

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Pug Oaxaca

Oaxaca City, Mexico

Pug Seal’s inventive boutique B&Bs feel like perfect little secrets in the expanse of Mexico City; in the compact historic center of Oaxaca City, a 20-suite boutique hotel looms larger. Don’t worry: Pug Seal Oaxaca is just as tranquil and just as residential in atmosphere as its cousins ​​in the capital, designed around a central courtyard decorated with colorful murals.

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Otro Oaxaca

Oaxaca City, Mexico

With Otro Oaxaca, Grupo Habita and local architect João Boto Caeiro have masterfully mixed traditional Oaxacan textures and materials – and overt references to Zapotec archaeological sites – with modernist geometries and minimalist interiors. The result is both unmistakably Oaxacan and very different from anything else in the city.

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Zoa Hotel

Santa Maria Tonameca, Mexico

They call Zoa a ‘hotel secreto’, and that’s not really an exaggeration; it sits on a hill above the coast, between the two beaches, and its height offers not only privacy but far-reaching views. With just five thatched bungalows, the company keeps its footprint small, as do its environmentally responsible practices, from its own vegetable garden to its biodegradable bath products.

Book Zoa Hotel via the MICHELIN Guide →

Top image: Casa TO — Puerto Escondido, Mexico