Casa Oaxaca

Colonia Central, Oaxaca, Mexico Book from

Reviewed by Lucia Appleby
Stylish hotel with a pool and excellent cuisine in the heart of Oaxaca - Mexico's artistic centre
Casa Oaxaca comes with a designer label. Originally an 18th-century colonial house, it’s been completely remodelled by interior designers to create a minimalist and peaceful atmosphere, allowing the maximum amount of space and light. Bright white with a cacti-filled inner courtyard and a distinctly Mediterranean feel, it’s known as the 'art hotel' for the paintings and craftwork by local artists on display in each room.

The hotel has won accolades for its smart and stylish design: the inviting deep blue pool, set against ochre walls and surrounded by strategically placed sun loungers, looks like something out of a Hockney painting. But its biggest claim to fame is its first-class restaurant - arguably one of the best in Oaxaca - serving mouthwatering modern cuisine that will round off your sense of holistic wellbeing perfectly.

Highs

  • The rooms and suites are spacious and tasteful
  • Chic, artistic décor throughout
  • The courtyard provides a leafy oasis at the heart of the hotel
  • Service is personal yet very professional
  • The restaurant serves delicious nouvelle cuisine

Lows

  • Some rooms open directly onto the central courtyard, meaning they're less private and may experience some noise
  • It could get pricey for art lovers who can buy local works - take your credit card!

Best time to go

Come at any time of the year - Oaxaca has a blissfully moderate climate throughout the year. You might experience occasional downpours if you visit between May and September.

Our top tips

Aim for a morning swim in the pool - by the afternoon most of it is in the shade. And be sure to check out the library, which has a good selection of art and travel books with plenty of info on the local area.

Great for...

Foodie
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Over 12s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Junior Suite

Rooms

There are only 7 rooms at Casa Oaxaca, so the hotel has an air of exclusivity. The Master Suite is on the upper level, with a private staircase and terrace; the Large Junior Suite is spread over 2 floors, with a bougainvillea-filled garden that faces the pool. We stayed in one of the 3 Doubles in the main house - these, and the slightly larger Junior Suite, are elegant limestone-walled rooms with lofty ceilings that lead onto a pretty patio of pomegranate and sapote trees. There’s also a Small Double available for single travellers.

Decorated with eye-catching pieces by local artists - including wooden hand-painted bedsteads, and Oaxaca’s surreal fantasy creatures and famous tin animals (an owl in ours) - all rooms have satellite TVs, phones, ensuite shower bathrooms with stone tiled floors, and a separate area with a desk and chair. They also have WiFi, though we found this worked best just outside our room, at a wrought-iron table set at the edge of the courtyard with its tinkling fountain and pots of flowering cacti.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Casa Oaxaca’s restaurant is split across 2 locations, with a dining area at the hotel serving breakfast and dinner (from 6-9pm, reservations only), and another a 10-minute walk away in the historical centre, next to the cathedral.

Both serve excellent nouvelle Mexican cuisine (the first places in town to do so), with similar - but not identical - menus. They share a head chef - the charismatic Alejandro Ruíz, who makes regular trips to Europe to study wine and gastronomy and who has personally trained the kitchen staff, who all come from his home village north of Oaxaca. Ingredients used in both kitchens are fresh and organic: fish is brought up daily from Puerto Angel on the Pacific coast (6 hours away), and fruit and vegetables are bought from local markets every morning before the cockerel crows.

We ate dinner at the hotel in the central courtyard. Service was professional and personable - chef Luis Arellano came by our table to chat and explain the ideas behind his signature dishes, which include a mouthwatering seabass ceviche with passion fruit nectar and wild turkey breast with mole.

If you want to eat out there are plenty of other restaurants, cafés and market stands in Oaxaca. Try La Biznaga just down the road for delicious sopa sec (a casserole-like dish made with rice or noodles), and keep an eye out for the tasty pizza-like speciality of Oaxaca called tlayuda - at the open kitchen at Tlayudas Arely Huatulco they're made with blue-corn tortillas in a wood-fired oven.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Cooking classes
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze by the hotel’s pool, then have a traditional temazcal steam bath

  • Join a market tour and cooking class with one of Casa Oaxaca’s chefs

  • Explore Oaxaca’s churches, including the beautiful cloisters of former monastery Santo Domingo de Guzmán, and marvel at the treasures inside the Museum of Oaxacan Culture

  • Go shopping at one of Oaxaca’s famous handicrafts markets

  • Or add an arty element to your stay with a tour of local artisan studios

  • Head to the famous Zapotec ruins at nearby Monte Albán, Mitla and Yagul

  • Visit the mesmerising ‘frozen waterfalls’ (natural rock formations which resemble water tumbling over a cliff) at Hierve el Agua

  • Hire a car and tour the villages surrounding Oaxaca. Stop off in Santa María del Tule to see the oldest tree in the Americas - estimates of its age range from 1,200 to 6,000 years old

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Yoga

Kids

Only guests over 12 are accepted - this is a tranquil and stylish hotel.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Large Junior Suite has 2 bedrooms (1 double and 1 twin) so is ideal for families travelling with older children.

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
8/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for Casa Oaxaca