San Cristobal, the capital city of Mexico’s Chiapas state, is a blend of cultures, languages, color and sound, filled with strangers from around the world and even from nearby villages, all weaving and mixing among the cafes that dot pedestrian streets, local market stalls and the city’s wide plaza and central garden.
The Plaza Gallery hotel greets you with the whimsical glass artwork of Carlos de Anda in the hotel’s main lobby. A life-size metal and glass peacock, a cluster of metal butterflies landing on crystal glass bubbles. The main lobby is small with an intimate sitting room attached with views of the next door sweeping Plaza de la Paz and San Cristobal’s Cathedral on the other side of the courtyard.
The hotel is located inside a commanding building constructed in the 1940s, highlighted in the evening by silver spotlights that make it even more impressive. It’s gorgeously restored neoclassical facade once held a pharmacy, than another, then a shoe store until it was converted into the hotel in 2009. The location can’t be beat, as you are just steps from most of the main tourist streets with shops, cafes and bars all nearby. San Cristobal is a walkable town and Plaza Gallery makes a good base, especially for first-time visitors to the city.
Rooms are well-outfitted with quality bath products, flatscreens, Nespresso machines (included in the price), VOSS water and thick slippers and robes. Most are standards and feel a tad tight on space, but many have a small balcony space that gives you a little more room to stretch out – Unfortunately they are all walled in high enough that you don’t get much of a city view. If you want more space and a better look at San Cristobal pop for the Master suite on the upper floor, with a separate living room area, couches, a minibar (included) and nice big windows that face the hotel’s main corner.
The attic suite is also nice for its coziness on the top floor. This suite has a separate sitting area, and the slanted, open-beam ceilings give it extra charm. The Attic suite also includes a free minibar.
While the eclectic artistic style of de Anda won’t be for everyone, several service touches add to the Plaza Gallery experience – a tiny welcome brownie on your pillow, a welcome cocktail of hot, spiced red wine for cool San Cristobal nights, and a friendly and helpful staff. Deluxe Juniors and Junior Standards are around 140usd, the attic suite is around 215usd and the master suite will cost you 240usd a night.
A few disappointments were that due to the size of the hotel’s kitchen, the complimentary breakfast was serviced in a ho-hum space across the plaza instead of the charming front tea room. Also, probably a result of the age of the building, the walls were relatively thin and I could hear my neighbor’s TV next door.
Overall, the hotel’s location and its higher-end rooms are its biggest selling points, definitely pop for the upgrade if you can afford it. From there you can explore the city, arrange local tours, and take in the culinary and cultural offerings of San Cristobal de las Casas.
Disclaimer: The Plaza Gallery Hotel hosted me but the opinions and observations in this review are 100% my own.