24 Hours at Hotel Cartesiano, Puebla
After a few exciting days in Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende, it was time for me to discover another gem of Mexico. Puebla is situated one hour and a half south of the capital, and I did the hop on a bus which was easy, fast and very reasonable. Even though I arrived with a delay, once I stood in front of the massive entrance gate of the Cartesiano Hotel, I knew I was in good hands. What I actually expected was a solid five-star hotel with average service and clean rooms. Was it what I got? Not really to be honest. So I checked in at what seemed to be a perfect front desk with table lamps and comfy chairs to sit and calm down. Generally, I was blown away by the interior design from the very first minute - everything in light brown and beige colours with lots of wood — a very Contemporary Mexican style to sum it up. Yes, Rosewood was also an option for me, and even though I only had a night in Puebla, I was going for Hotel Cartesiano purely because it looked more exiting on the pictures and is managed by another upcoming Mexico-based hotel group that has super exciting hotels in the pipeline.
Already at check-in, a welcome committee was waiting for me consisting of the general manager, PR Manager and the hotel manager. It’s nice to see that the management cares about its guests and ensures a personal touch which is often missed out in international branded hotels. I was shown the way to my suite by the bellman who helped with the luggage as well. Situated in the second courtyard in the back of the hotel, my suite had a window next to the entrance door which enabled a bit of sunshine. While I liked the idea of not having the usual room layout, some might find the views a bit disturbing as everyone can look into the room when curtains are open. For me, it worked well as I absolutely loved the ancient style of the building, which doesn’t offer any other option. Furthermore, I really liked the room interior design as well. The reception staff asked me what smell I would like to have in the room and when I chose Lavender, a light scent of such was actually in the room in the evening. As a welcome gift, I was offered a booklet on the first night and small lavender oil on the next evening.
All these small touches made my stay at Cartesiano standing out from the rest of the hotels I have seen on this trip. My room was split up into bedroom and actual bathroom, latter one came with double vanities, walk-in shower in cool beige marble, separate toilet as well as plush towels and a selection of different bar soaps. All the toiletries such as shampoo, shower gel and body lotion were by Italian brand Ortigia - a personal favourite of mine. Am I allowed to call the bedroom the highlight of the room? Not quite sure as the bathroom with ancient walls was terrific, but the bed was just too heavenly not to mention it often enough. Posh pillows, a fluffy blanket and a superb mattress, was all I needed for one of the best nights of sleep on this trip. Plus: there was not a single noise all night - totally amazing considering that one of the busiest streets lies directly next to the hotel (that’s why most rooms face the courtyard perhaps). Inside the bedroom were two chairs, a desk, two night tables and a sideboard with a flatscreen television plus access to Netflix and Youtube. Soon after I unpacked and settled in the room, another staff member arrived with a fruit plate and a welcome letter - a lovely touch.
Why did I even go to Puebla in the first instance? Since we are not affiliated with VW or Audi who have their Latin America production sites here, our main motifs were the cultural sites and hotel offer. So after I was all set in the room, I went outside on the streets of Puebla and discovered the cathedral with its Zocala (main square that every Mexican city has), the famous Amparo Museum as well as the local handicrafts market. Puebla is a beautiful city, and there is for sure a lot to do on a two-days stay. Once I came back to the Hotel Cartesiano, I checked out the beautiful rooftop pool where they played cool lounge music. Thanks to this, I got the soundtrack of my Mexico Trip. Always reminding me of this picture-perfect rooftop spot - one of the most relaxing in the world and only comparable to the one at Kempinski Gran Hotel Manzana in Havanna. So there was I, chilling on that comfy lounge bed overlooking the pool and another church of the totally 360. How could this day end in any better way? Well, dinner at Hotel Cartesiano’s rooftop restaurant with a good company of course.
At around 8 pm, dinner was set, and I felt it was a perfect time as the sun has slightly set and the churches somewhat began to turn into mini versions of Disneyland. Without having tried many restaurants in town, I can assure that the hotel’s restaurant is forming the absolute pinnacle of food offerings in Puebla. According to the F&B manager’s recommendations, we went on ordering all the daily suggestions. From best tacos, Italian style cheese with tomatoes to lamb and stews - basically the best of Puebla’s cuisine. Dinner at the Hotel Cartesiano’s restaurant is the right way to end a day in this culturally diverse city. When in Mexico, you have to try Mexican wine, which is becoming to get a big thing here. We had a lovely Merlot that tasted a bit young and fresh but surely has even more potential in the future - I was told that it was specially made for the hotel. I know it might sound unfair as the mains were just mouth-watering, but my personal highlight of the dinner were the two desserts. A chocolate mousse cake (OMG so amazing), as well as a baked biscuit cake with coconut ice cream (not sure if I remember right but it was so refreshing and soft that I could even remember the exact taste). If you want to indulge in the real Mexican experience, skip your Espresso and go for the coffee-based cocktail on ice - a real delight after such a beautiful and sumptuous dinner.
The best thing about Mexico? That they make breakfasts till noon! So without rush, I went to the beautiful spa area situated on the top floor with glass ceilings and light-filled indoor pool and jacuzzi, as well as a gender-separated sauna and steam bath. As my treatment was scheduled for 9.30 am, I went there at 8.30 am sharp, so I could enjoy the facilities a bit before indulging into the real luxury. Not wanting something too specific, I decided to book a 60-minute massage with a selection of natural oils. All treatment rooms are wonderfully designed with curtains in front of the walls so that you feel like on clouds. My therapist did an excellent job and made sure I feel comfortable. I want to highlight the professionalism of the spa manager Miriam who personally welcomed me, showed me around, explained the spa concept and even allowed me to use the spa on the day before the actual treatment as she knew I have a booking for the following morning.
Overall, the entire hotel staff was very professional, and you can feel that there is an excellent training behind the management. Everyone is genuinely friendly and tries to ensure a perfect time for you - most of the staff members enjoyed a training by Rosewood as I was told many of them worked in San Miguel de Allende before. Being a member of the Leading Hotels of the World sets the bar quite high. However, my expectations were all exceeded during the time spent there. Never would I have expected that a hotel in Puebla would impress me most on this trip with a very professional approach delivering a real luxury hotel experience. I can gladly say, I highly recommend Hotel Cartesiano and can’t wait to stay at another Saliak Hotel in the future when coming back to Mexico - or even abroad if they expand their portfolio.
Disclaimer: During my time in Puebla, I was guest of the Hotel Cartesiano for editorial purposes. Opinions are our own as usual and have not been influenced. Luxury Executive is a blog published by tourism experts and all reviews purely focus on the hotel and destination.