If you want to spend the night in a place that’s as evocative and mysterious as a ghost town, check out Mineral del Cielos boutique hotel on the edge of the Mexican “magic town” Mineral de Pozos on your tour of Guanajuato state.
In central Mexico, mining towns are scattered around that were lively places during Spanish colonial times, when much of the world’s silver came from this region. When the ore ran out or some catastrophe struck, everyone left and the vegetation started taking over. Some of the towns were eventually resettled, but more of them stayed abandoned, which is a the case with a lot of the Mexican ghost towns you can visit. Since the buildings were made of stone, they’re crumbling, but not gone. One place to explore several of these pueblos fantasmas in one day is Mineral de Pozos in Guanjuato State.
For the right kind of guest, this interesting lodging option is the best place to stay in Mineral de Pozos. This unusual hotel is the quietest one I’ve ever slept in during all my years in Mexico, first of all. If the wind is blowing hard you’ll hear the old metal windmill turning, which is a comforting sound really. Otherwise, there’s the kind of silence you rarely experience in this country.
It’s a visual delight at different times of the day as the sun moves across the sky. There are mountains in the background, reflecting pools, and nature all around. The landscaping on site is simply stunning. It seems almost too nice really for a place where there are only three guest rooms. Everywhere you look there are carefully chosen desert plants, rock gardens, and stone paths. I spent a lot of time wandering and sitting outside, just taking it all in.
In the middle of it all is a stone labyrinth–really! Normally an owner would build the basics and a few rooms, then the next priority would be more rooms or facilities before thinking about the whimsical add-ons just for aesthetics. This place started with the whimsy: a beautiful labyrinth built of stone blocks that must have taken a crew many months to build.
The three accommodation choices are all quite different. The largest one, Casa Arrebol, was built from the remains of the administration building of a small mine that was located nearby. So it has a kind of hacienda look in the front, but with the addition of a reflecting pool, daybed, outdoor sitting area, and sculpture by famous Mexican artist Jorge Marin. Then if you go around the back of the building, you find that there is a wall of glass in between the buttresses, filling the interior with natural light.
Inside, the architect followed the design of original stone work style, with small rocks in between the large ones, all left exposed except some spaces where the original stucco is still in place. This is a the largest unit, taking up the length of the building, with a desk, living room, dining room, and kitchen area in addition to the bedroom. It’s a warm and natural space with lots of leather, wood, stone, and soft lighting.
Casa Cielo is a vertical loft, with a living room and kitchenette downstairs, a loft bedroom upstairs. A wall of glass reflects the surroundings when viewed from the outside, but the tinted mirrored glass provides a great view and lets in sunlight all year long in this dry region.
We stayed in Casa Nube, a horizontal stand-alone building that has more of a traditional hotel room layout, with two queen beds. There are chairs by the glass wall for taking in the view, plus an additional table and chairs. A kitchen area at the end has a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. Dishes, silverware, and glasses are ample for two people.
Toiletries are provided in the bathrooms for guest of Mineral del Cielo Lofts, as well as ample purified water. Staffers gather wood for a fire pit area if you want to sit outside by a fire at night. There’s also an outdoor sitting area between Casa Cielo and Casa Nube to enjoy, as well as a place to sit out in front of the unit.
There are no dining or drinking outlets here, thus the kitchenettes, but staffers will arrange food delivery for you from a local restaurant with a bit of advance notice. We didn’t bother since we had a car because it’s only about a five-minute drive into the center of Mineral de Pozos town. You’ll find a variety of restaurants available there.
An event space was going up on site while we were there though, so that could enable more food and beverage options from a new kitchen down the line.
Just be advised that Mineral del Cielo Lofts Boutique is not a place you come to get a lot of online work done and stream video. We were able to get a cell phone signal, but there’s no Wi-Fi on site. Bring a book and unplug for a while.
While the owners don’t categorize this place as an eco-resort, they have taken some steps to reduce their impact. The hot water heaters are solar and that whirring metal windmill is actually pumping water up from the ground for irrigating the plants and other needs. The landscaping utilizes native plants that are suited for the dry climate, like various kinds of agave, cacti, and mesquite.
When you make your reservation, someone will get in touch about arranging activities if you wish. They can set up horseback riding, ghost town tours, or visits to a local mezcal distillery and lavender farm. But if you want to just chill out and drink a glass of wine while gazing at the stars, you’re welcome to do that too.
The magic town of Mineral del Pozos is only about an hour and a half from the popular tourist city of San Miguel de Allende, so it’s easy to add this on to a trip there for a night or two. It’s also relatively close to the larger city of Queretaro, one state over.
Rates generally run $100 to $330 at Mineral del Cielo including taxes. Book direct with the hotel (in Spanish) or via Hotels.com. This is a pet-friendly property, but an additional deposit is necessary if you bring a four-legged friend.
Review and photos from editor Tim Leffel, who was a guest of Mineral del Cielo for one night when researching articles on Mineral de Pozos in Guanajuato State for other publications. As always, all opinions are his own.