Surprise. The best of Mexico exists in one place. Welcome to Oaxaca City.
“Vibrant. Authentic. Folkloric.” When Etienne Simonin, manager of Escondido Oaxaca, talks of Oaxaca City, those three words are not unique to just his experience. There’s an undeniable magic the city holds, fueled by a rich culture and tradition that is deeply nourished and protected by the community. It stays with you long after you leave it, though ideally you don’t, and while you’re already planning your return after a day wandering the city and its diverse surroundings, Escondido Oaxaca lets you fully immerse yourself in that feeling.
The journey starts the moment you arrive. From there it’s chose your own adventure. Walk around the historic downtown, wandering the streets and weaving through the markets, tasting and smelling the food you pass along the way. (Tlayudas really keep you going, especially paired with mezcal.) Have a moment in front of Templo de Santo Domingo. Take it in. Try one of the seven famous moles of Oaxaca. Stop into the Contemporary Art Museum, then walk a few blocks to the Textile Museum and learn about the textiles of the region. That’s just downtown, and that’s just day one.
When Grupo Habita decided to open its next location, there was one thing that was certain from the beginning: they wanted to create something that truly honors and integrates the city into the vacation experience. And then they found the house that acts as the perfect canvas for it. Right in downtown, the house had been part of a family for generations, carrying the stories of the city with it. Rather than strip it, Grupo Habita enriched it.
There’s little transition between the hotel and the streets. Oaxaca doesn’t fade into the background when the door to the hotel room closes; it pulses. Every corner. Every detail. It’s all informed by the city and its surrounding, and the people who inhabit the vibrant land. Without expecting it, you are surrounded by Oaxaca throughout the entire stay. From the green glazed pottery from Santa Maria Atzompa in the rooms, to the dishware crafted in San Bartolo Coyotepec in the restaurant, and the fabrics woven in Teotitlan del Valle found on everything from the laundry bags to the uniforms – the richness of the crafts people is not just part of the experience. It IS the experience. Because it is Oaxaca.
All of those small towns, and all of those artisans can be visited, and learned from. A reflection of the culture is the openness in its community. Teotitlan del Valle is 40 minutes from the city, and along the way you can stop in and meet different mezcal producers and distilleries that often line the road. And while Hierve el Agua is not crafted by people, it is crafted by earth (yes, Hierve el Agua is the best view in Oaxaca – a natural springs atop rock formations overlooking lush greenery), and the perfect addition to a day spent slowly taking in the famous weaving village and sipping (excuse us, “kissing”) mezcal.
“I remember walking down the streets of downtown when we first started developing the hotel and actually thinking, “Wow, I’m actually going to live here.” Etienne says. “I couldn’t believe it. And that hasn’t changed. I’ve been living here for a year now and that sense of amusement, of really enjoying and loving being here, and rediscovering what Mexico is through Oaxaca has been quite a journey for me. And I think it’s still going for me. It’s going to keep going for a while.”