Three New Design Hotels That Should Put Oaxaca on Your Post-COVID Travel List
The Mexican state of Oaxaca was a Mesoamerican powerhouse, produces much of Mexico’s finest mezcals and moles, is the most culturally diverse area in the country, is known for its incredibly beautiful pottery and handicrafts, and is home to a top international surfing competition. And yet for all its magic, it’s a highly depressed region whose economy is largely reliant on tourism, a sector that seemed to be growing exponentially until, of course, COVID hit. It’s because of that growth that several design hotels recently opened in Oaxaca’s two main tourist areas — Oaxaca City and the southern coast — and because of COVID’s devastation that we feel extra-compelled to encourage you to visit them as soon as you feel safe.
The newest is Monte Uzulu, which opened in July in a small coastal town just outside Mazunte, a favorite beach destination among many folks we know (and also incidentally the site of Francisco Goldman’s tragic New Yorker story The Wave, which has haunted us for nearly a decade). Monte Uzulu is an eco-conscious 11-suite boutique hotel designed by Taller LU ́UM, Mariana Ruiz from At-te, and Tiago Pinto de Carvalho, in collaboration with local artisans, and it offers full nature immersion, from the open-air bedrooms to the showers lined with indigenous plants.
Drive 6 hours north to the state capital, Oaxaca City, and after a day of visiting Pocoapoco, shopping for pottery and textiles, and bingeing on street food, you can bed down at the hip b&b Grana, which opened last October, or Escondido Oaxaca, which opened just before that. Grana was retrofitted into a stately 18th-century former mansion by owner Luis Carbonell and architect Andres Souto Vilaros, its tiling and epic red-clay tubs complemented by Rrres pillows and face vases by a famed local family of ceramic sculptors. Escondido is the urban sister hotel to Grupo Habita’s Puerto Escondido property, this one designed by architect Alberto Kalach with interiors by Decada and Carlos Couturier. Guests there will be thankful for all that concrete — Oaxaca City is as noisy as it is vibrant, and we can’t wait to return.
Escondido Oaxaca photos by Undine Prohl; Grana B&B photos by Camila Cossio and Nic Crilly Hargrave; Monte Alban photos by Elke Frotscher