Puebla’s colonial charm and history are the backdrop for El Sueño Hotel + Spa‘s artistic take on the lives of 20 women that dreamed their way into infamy in Mexico. Painters, artists, musicians and poets whose suites are decorated with their styles, art and je ne sais quoi in mind. Romance reverberates through the hotel in little intimate spaces and rooms that stack one on top of each other in a kind of stone-walled labyrinth.
Each room is unique, with some that feel subdued and others over the top. The Tamara suite, named after painter Tamara de Lempicka has several balconies with dreamy views of the street, a massive reproduction of one of her paintings, a purple velvet couch and burnt-orange lamps. The Ignacia, named after Ignacia Rodriguez, one of Mexico’s famous lovers, has a black s-shaped loveseat and a silver horse’s saddle dominating the center of the room. The poet and scholar Sor Juana’s room has Colonial-era tapestries and a wooden writing desk.
The rooms ranges from opulent, to antique to kitsch to sometimes, pretty plain – the suite that waits for you definitely depends on your personal style. The Junior and Master suites are worth the price bump if you want to stretch out as some of the smaller, standard rooms can feel a bit cloistered and dark in that Spanish mansion kind of way. The lower the category of room, the more subdued the décor. Juniors and Masters also have whirlpool tubs, Nespresso machines and amenities including slippers and robes. All rooms include breakfast in their rate.
The hotel has several pet-friendly rooms, in particular the junior suite on the rooftop, where your small dog or cat would have its own large balcony to roam around on. The common spaces are each just as eclectic as the rooms, with waterfalls that trickle down previously functional stone staircases, an indoor pool (a tad too shady for my taste) accented by a massive chandelier, and the tiny hotel bar all stone and dark wood.
The most pleasant spaces are the outdoor breakfast nook (why would you ever want to sit inside and miss the glory of a sunny Puebla morning?) and the upstairs patio with a Jacuzzi, temezcal (a Mexican sweat lodge), a handful of lounge chairs, and plants in every direction. You’ll get much more sun up there than at the downstairs pool, but the pool does have a powerful swim current if you want to do something besides lounge. The upstairs sauna and Jacuzzi are open to any guest (you just need to tell the front desk a few minutes in advance so they can set them up), but only until 8pm. The spa has a range of treatments that must be scheduled in advance.
I travel to eat, so a huge bonus for me is that the breakfast included in your rate is a FULL breakfast, with all kinds of tasty options, each dedicated to one of the female dreamers. Chilaquiles, molletas, tacos de barbacoa, and even a salmon and caper bagel. That’s in addition to sweet bread, coffee, juice, and fruit. It’s rare to get such a full and varied menu for free at any hotel, I was pleasantly surprised.
Because the hotel is small you ending up getting to know the staff on a first-name basis and the staff at El Sueño was friendly and personable. The cruiser’style bikes for borrow (those too are just until 8pm) are super fun, but El Sueño is also walking distance to most of the Centro’s main attractions including restaurants and bars. There’s even a craft beer bar just steps from the hotel on Avenida 9 Poniente.
Disclaimer: I was hosted by this hotel but all opinions in this review are my own. Photos courtesy of El Sueño Hotel.