Hotel Casa de la Real Aduana

Patzcuaro, Central Highlands, Mexico Book from

Recommended awaiting i-escape review
Art, music, greenery and 5 perfect rooms come together in an enchanting colonial mansion in the heart of Patzcuaro
The first Royal Customs House of the Pacific Coast was built in Patzcuaro, in the 1540s. In perfect hacienda style, with a wraparound veranda and a sunny central courtyard, it's a gem of colonial architecture. In 2004 it opened as an intimate hotel - one of the best in Mexico, thanks to its artist owners Gemma and Didier. All who stay are captivated by the art, which ranges from a funky collection of Mexican dolls to an exquisite carving of the Virgin and Child. From the lemon verbena tea brought to your room in the evening to communal breakfasts at the long table by the open fire, the attention to detail is enchanting. The casa may not be open to children, but this is in no way a precious period piece.

Time your visit if you can to coincide with a recital - perhaps rousing classical guitar on the candlelit patio, or a piano solo in the hotel's music room. The situation, too, cannot be faulted, a step from the Plaza Grande. Best of all, you're made to feel at home from the moment you arrive.


  • Warm, gracious and artistic owners
  • Exquisite restoration of a listed house
  • Fascinating collection of art and crafts from all eras
  • Enchanting patios and a central courtyard garden
  • Regular concerts in the music room or on the veranda
  • Loving attention paid to every detail


  • Children aren't welcome
  • There are noisy firecrackers when religious festivals take place in town - a small price to pay!

Best time to go

It can get chilly in the mornings and evenings between October and April, as Patzcuaro is quite high up in the mountains. Bring layers including warm clothing year round. The rainy season encompasses the summer months, but most days have a warm spring-like climate.

Our top tips

Some of the largest and best-known Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico take place in Patzcuaro. Visit on 1-2 November and you'll see chanting and prayers, colourful processions and traditional games whereby children 'steal' food from houses for a large community dinner.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ dinner on request)
  • Over 18s only
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service


Each spacious bedroom is named after an artist or composer, who dictates a style and character in harmony with the history. Original wooden doors, chunky beams, polished terracotta or wood floors and beautiful antiques combine with modern touches like plasma TVs and drenching showers; Paniagua, the twin room, opens to one of 3 patios.

As you recline on your beautifully dressed bed in the La Folia Suite, the eye is drawn to the domed and luminously frescoed ceiling of archangels - inspired, some 400 years ago, by the ceiling of a nearby church. Furnishings in this very romantic room range from a Persian Tabriz rug to a set of Peruvian paintings to stunning framed photographs on the wall.

In all rooms, there are CDs (an unusual, eclectic collection) and DVDs, slippers and robes, handmade organic soaps, luffa sponges and more. Beds are kingsize, sheets are finest cotton, duvets are filled with down, and unusual tilework lines bathroom walls and floors. The suite has double antique doors leading to a bathroom with his and her showers.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Hairdryer
  • In-room DVD and CD collection
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


We hear good things of breakfast: a gorgeously presented spread of fresh fruits, yoghurt, granola, guacamole, eggs, homemade breads and croissants, plus a savoury regional dish like corundas or tamales, served at the long table before the big fire. Chairs are topped with woven cushions, the sunlight dances on the terracotta tiles, atmospheric music plays - perhaps a touch of French baroque - and your lovely hosts help you plan your day.

Dinner can be arranged with 24 hours' notice. The owners describe the cuisine as "international and served with candlelight, music and wine". You may be offered a glass of mezcal (like tequila only stronger!) as a nightcap.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Find a quiet corner in one of the delightful courtyards and settle down with a book

  • Explore Patzcuaro - an enchanting highland town built on the lake of the same name. It's a living museum, with steep winding medieval streets and moss-coated walls that still carry the rough markings of the 16th-century stonecutters. The hotel is just round the corner from one of the loveliest squares in Mexico, the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga. You can also visit the lovely Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud up the hill (a pilgrimage and miracle centre built in 1540), buy herbs and small crafts from the street vendors, and meet Purepechans in their traditional dress - not for the tourists, just their daily wear

  • From little San Juan Viejo you can climb the (extinguished!) volcano to the church tower at the top of old San Juan Parangaricutiro, half-buried in lava - an exciting adventure on horseback or on foot (go with a guide)

  • Copper was mined in the area of Santa Clara del Cobre long before the Spanish came, so drive up into the mountains and discover craftspeople still creating beautiful - and practical - goods for sale

  • Visit the pyramids at Ihuatzio and the 16th-century TzinTzunTzan Franciscan convent

  • Back at the hotel is La Folia Arte where concerts, exhibitions and workshops are organized, along with a permanent international exhibition of photography

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures


This is an adults-only hotel.

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