While there are a lot of advantages to be right in the center of the action in historic Oaxaca in Mexico, if you’re looking for a more serene and relaxed experience, head straight to Los Laureles Hacienda Hotel. Situated in the ritziest part of town, with the governor a couple blocks away in one direction and gorgeous mountains rising above in the other direction, this small hotel with pristine gardens offers a special setting for relaxing in style.
The UNESCO World Heritage City of Oaxaca is a true Mexican gem. With some of the best food in a country filled with great food, it’s also one of the best handicraft centers in the country and is also a great base for visiting the impressive Monte Alban ruins and villages that make artisanal mezcal.
The central historic district can be a bit too gritty and noisy for some though, so if you’re looking for a serene place to sleep well and eat well each evening, it’s worth taking the $5 cab ride to lovely Los Laureles and enjoying the spacious grounds. Some of the buildings here date back to when this was a hacienda on the edge of town, when most of the surrounding land was owned and farmed by the owner of this property. As the city grew, nearby lots got divided up and sold when ownership changed.
Los Laureles still has a good bit of land though, with lovely, well-tended gardens hosting giant mature trees, flittering butterflies, and beautiful flowers. The glass-walled and open-air restaurant offers a view of these gardens from every table. It is awash in natural light in the daytime, a romantic spot with soft lighting when the sun goes down. There’s a set menu in the evening with several courses, or you can choose from a variety of Oaxacan and more familiar dishes. Breakfast and lunch also offer a wide range of choices and in our experience at all three meals, the chef consistently delivered well-crafted and nicely presented plates. Partly because of this, the restaurant here is often a who’s who of local politicians and business tycoons who live in the neighborhood. If set up in advance, the chef will also do an Oaxacan cooking class, including a trip to the market first for shopping.
The former owner was a woodworker and furniture maker, so the hotel is outfitted with some very impressive carved pieces with a lot of detail, including a large cabinet behind the reception desk where you check in and get a welcome drink.
The rooms are all a bit different and the configurations depend on which building section they’re in. The closest ones to the lobby and restaurant, numbers 102 to 107, are on the first floor facing the gardens. Rooms 103 to 108 have a small sitting area outside the doors in a shared covered porch area, which those above these on the second floor have a private balcony. The smallest standards are shower-only and don’t come with robes, but the rest do. The Master Suite has an extra living room area on another level and two separate sinks in the bath, while the Junior Suite Deluxe comes with whirlpool tub and is on a corner with lots of light. All rooms come with turndown service, quality toiletries, a safe, and complimentary Wi-Fi, while some have a minibar.
There’s a nice swimming pool for lounging around, though with the nights getting cool here most of the year, the water can be chilly.
This peaceful refuge is the only hotel in Oaxaca that has gotten the AAA diamond 5-star designation and the foreign ownership makes it noticeably more attentive and efficient in the service than many other hotels in Oaxaca. See more info and book directly with Los Laureles Hotel or check with Priceline.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was a guest of Los Laureles while researching a Oaxaca travel story for another publication. See more of the best luxury hotels in Oaxaca.