The Travel Advisory

Places to Stay

By Martha Spaulding

PLACES TO STAY
San Miguel’s many convenient hotels range from luxurious converted haciendas to art-laden B&Bs. Visit www.portalsanmiguel.com or www.sanmiguelguide.com to view dozens of them, along with private homes for rent.

PLACES TO EAT
The rooftop terrace of La Capilla is glamorized by dramatic lighting on the stone walls rising on two sides.

La Capilla
Cuna de Allende 10
011-52-415-152-0698

The decor is as delicious as the food at Tío Lucas, where three-foot-tall iron statues of “la calavera catrina,” José Guadalupe Posada’s seductive skeleton in a broad Edwardian hat, look up at agave-shaped cane chandeliers ringed by monkeys and alligators.

Tío Lucas
Mesones 103
011-52-415-152-4996

For first-rate traditional Mexican food, go to Olé-Olé (Loreto 66; 011-52-415-152-0896), or take a short taxi ride out the Dolores road to La Cruz del Perdón (weekends only).

THINGS TO DO

It’s easy to get by in San Miguel without Spanish, but why would anyone want to in a town whose residents are so warm and courteous? Take a drop-in class or an intensive two-and-a-half-week course in “Power Verbs” at Warren Hardy Spanish (011-52-415-154-4017; www.warrenhardy.com), designed, in the words of the amiable Warren Hardy, “to get all your basic needs and wants met.” His approach uses workbooks, flash cards, and student partnerships to facilitate learning in the over-forty mind.

Take a taxi or bus to La Gruta (011-52-415-185-2099), a mineral spa within walking distance of Atotonilco, with two thermal pools surrounded by greenery and an artificial grotto where you can stand under a waterfall for a powerful natural massage.

If you can tolerate crowds, join one of the Biblioteca Pública’s Sunday house-and-garden tours. Some of the houses on the tour are also on the market; people under the spell of San Miguel may find a future home.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/11/the-travel-advisory/305289/