By: Carlos Dragonné
More than 15 years had passed since I last visited San Cristobal de las Casas. The last time I went I was a little disconnected from my immediate surroundings as I walked through its streets and corners. I tried to capture all the essence that it offered me while I imagined and made notes in a notebook for what, later, would become my first book. Today, with that book already in the past and 15 more years of stories, I returned to the Altos de Chiapas to rediscover a place that not only remains magical, but has more to offer than I imagined.
The reason for my trip was the opening of the Hotel Bö and its Restaurant Lum, which Ricardo Muñoz Zurita produced the menu for. I have to be perfectly honest; the first time I heard of the hotel project, I did not give the visionary Carlos Gutiérrez enough credit due to my predispositions of the tourist market in the southeastern part of Mexico. In my mind, I kept thinking: “San Cristobal is not ready for a hotel with those characteristics.”
Fortunately, I was wrong. And my mistake went two ways. First, San Cristobal has ceased to be a seasonal destination. The streets are now always full of domestic and foreign tourists who come to this city surprised by the huge range of tourist services that exist. From restaurants and bars, to art galleries, boutiques, and the never-ending places to have access to the craftsmanship of this area of the country. One can lose hours not only by observing the churches and historical sites, but also at coffee tables or street shows that paint the streets with that liberal cosmopolitan feeling. The second part of my mistake I discovered when I went through the doors of Hotel Bö and discovered what they had achieved. Allied with the extraordinary architects and designers of Muro Rojo, the atmosphere of the place catches you from the moment you step food through the door. It has the intelligence and elegance of a place that is shaping up to be a small oasis of tourism in Chiapas.
Talking with its creators, I discover the most important element that captivated me more than anything. Muro Rojo and the hotel owners have created a cycle of economic outreach and support for local producers that many hotels and tourist developments should begin to replicate in their projects. Through a search for the best artisanal resources, Germán Velasco contacted producers of traditional textile crafts to complement the decoration not only of the rooms, but of the whole place, including Restaurant Lum. In addition, Restaurant Lum uses ingredients from local producers to create dishes for the menu approved by the great Ricardo Muñoz Zurita. The menu has several of the star dishes of the Chef, such as Buñuelos de Pato with Mole Negro, or the already stellar Fish Tikin Xik that join new dishes such as bread soup to give a chiapaneco touch to the menu.
The rooms have, of course, that touch of intelligent and subtle design that reminds us not only of the luxury, but also of the origin of the idea. Colors and shapes that complement each other in the right way create a room that can be enjoyed with natural lighting or intimately by closing the doors that separate the bathroom. However, we did notice a lack of amenities, which is not justifiable in a hotel of this category and with this ambition. We understand that it does get cold in the highlands of Chiapas, but we really found ourselves wanting a controlled temperature inside the rooms. Although they assure us that soon they will be installed and as we already have plans to repeat the visit, spending the summer, we will tell you.
Returning to the hotel, anyone will enjoy sitting in the gardens of the Hotel Bö, taking in not only the nature of San Cristobal, famously filled with people from Tuxtla Gutiérrez because the weather is drastically different only 40 minutes away, but the colors and textures in harmony with the environment itself.
It’s hard to leave the hotel to walk the streets of San Cristobal, because Germán Velasco, Jorge Medina, and Elizabeth Gomez, the geniuses behind Muro Rojo, have created a space that welcomes you with open arms, proudly boasting its Mexican origin and essence. Chiapaneca, where a tribute is paid not only to design and elegance, but to the creative intelligence and the nature of the area. Fernando and Carlos Gutiérrez have hit the nail on the head creating a place that breathes, lives and transpires Chiapas in the midst of an elegance that does not compare to any boutique hotel that we have come across. Creating a true productive chain that thinks about the local producer, the craftsmen and that respects the traditions of the area, Hotel bö, without a doubt, will turn San Cristobal into an absolutely unmissable destination for the true lovers of comfort , lifestyle and Mexican cuisine.
To book visit Hotel Bö where you will find the best rates.
Do not miss our note San Cristobal de las Casas: Rediscovering Corners
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