Thursday, June 20, 2024

Need a venue in San Miguel de Allende? Retreat to Agua Bendita

In the market for a venue near historic San Miguel de Allende? Look no further for the location of your next corporate or wellness retreat, family reunion, party or wedding, or film location. Agua Bendita, just minutes away from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a slice of magic.

This centuries-old family ranchito has recently been converted into four exquisitely tasteful modern cottages, surrounded by verdant lawns, lavender beds, freshwater lakes, walkways and bridges, quiet reading nooks, and orchards. The grounds are even graced by the occasional peacock! 

Agua Bendita venue
Agua Bendita makes a stunning wedding venue. (Courtesy/Agua Bendita)

Gone are the days of stuffy, windowless conference rooms, the charmless hotel with the long corridors and airport-style dining room. Here, you’ll find the artistic touch of Isabella Castro and Luz Marcela Vera, fourth generation women from a legendary hotelier family, who own and manage the property. You’ll also be greeted and tended to by a staff that exudes personalized care, generosity and warmth. This welcoming family ambience is a key feature of their four hotels in the area.

And don’t worry if you don’t want to lift a finger! Agua Bendita offers a menu created by personal chefs, who will deliver your preferred cuisine, or come and cook in your state-of-the art kitchen. A wedding, festival or fiesta can be catered under a marquee for up to 500 people, and at night, the tree lights reflecting in the surrounding lakes imbue the gardens with romance.   

The largest of the four homes on the property is Casa Lago, with five bedrooms. A stand-out feature is the master bedroom with a wall-sized window overlooking a lake. There is also an ample salon and dining room for 10, and a beautiful library.

The cozy one-bedroom cottage covered in vines is called Casa Gloria, and has a slightly whimsical English charm, complete with a rocking chair, white wood floors and antiques. 

Casa Gloria
Charming cottage “Casa Gloria” on the property. (Courtesy/Agua Bendita)

All four houses have shaded terraces with gorgeous views over the gardens, and of the mountains in the distance. In total, there are eleven rooms that sleep up to 22.

Ambling between the properties, through box hedge gardens and over bridges, it’s easy to envision film industry “writers rooms”,  business execs breakfasting on the patio, or urban escapees lounging on the lawns and enjoying a candlelit soiree under the pink pepper and mezquite trees.

Even the 15-stall bathrooms in the garden are eye-catching and roomy.

“We invited Paloma Padilla and Pedro Pérez to design the restrooms for caballeros and damas. They’re some of the top fashionable Mexican designers right now, and we love to support emerging artists”, says Marigel Piquent, the director of sales who is on hand for any questions.

Bathrooms at Agua Bendita
Even the restrooms at Agua Bendita are exquisitely designed. (Courtesy/Agua Bendita)

Grupo Mexico Real’s 45 year-old hotel, complete with bull-ring, Real de Minas de San Miguel de Allende, is still the largest and one of the most popular in the state. Along with the award-winning El Santuario, it’s centrally located in San Miguel.

Their most recent addition is this countryside retreat, Agua Bendita, found near natural hot springs, outside the town of Atotonilco. A three minute walk away, La Gruta offers thermal pools, a restaurant and an enticing tropical grotto that’s best visited early morning before the crowds.

“We grew up here!” says Castro. “It was a working ranch, and the whole area is not only renowned for its healing thermal spring waters, but also for the supposed health benefits of the quartz in the ground. It sounds a little crazy, but my mother genuinely believes people get healthier here, and now we’ve opened the hotel, we joke that our staff seem to be getting younger by the week! Atotonilco has a special place in Mexican history also; it was here Hidalgo gathered his men, and launched the war for independence.”

Bedroom at Agua Bendita
The beautiful master bedroom overlooking the lake in Casa del Lago. (Courtesy/Agua Bendita)

A short stroll down the cobbled road takes you to Atononilco’s church, which appears more like a medieval castle. Visitors flock to see its frescoes, as well as to enjoy a stroll through the markets and catch “the best family-run quesadilla stand in San Miguel”, according to acclaimed local chef, Jorge Avendaño.

“We’ve been popular with Mexicans from the big cities all over the country for decades,” continues Castro. “And we’ve adapted and evolved the features, design and amenities over the years, keeping up with the times, and particularly the influx of new visitors from around the world.”

“We realize that people aren’t only coming here for tourism, but for business, retreats and culture.  And many people are relocating here from different countries. There’s a lot of younger families and entrepreneurs, who are looking for a sustainable way of life. We created Agua Bendita with the discerning foreigner in mind. It’s like a template for how to live an abundant, healthy and wealthy life here in Mexico!”

Agua Bendita
Casa del Lago, one of four houses on the property, has 5 bedrooms and a serene view. (Courtesy/Agua Bendita)

Right next door, you can visit another part of their former family ranchito, Tierra y Amor. A feast for the senses, it’s replete with art installations, private party rooms, cabins, a working flower, fruit and lavender farm, a honey bee sanctuary and the Museo de Miel (honey museum).  

“My parents were committed to preserving the beauty of the natural world, and learning how to live happily within it. I think Agua Bendita speaks to that; it’s an upscale version of Tierra y Amor,” Castro tells me.

“It’s definitely a unique spot for weddings, photo shoots, yoga retreats, or a small arts festival. It would be my first choice out of all our hotels for a family reunion that lasts for days, Mexican style!” she laughs. “You will feel secluded and private in this beautiful natural sanctuary, but you’re still close to the city with all its markets, restaurants and culture.” 

Wedding venue
Agua Bendita makes a romantic setting for a wedding in San Miguel de Allende. (Courtesy/Agua Bendita)

Agua Bendita may not be a “hidden” gem for long, but it will certainly feel like you’ve found the city’s best kept secret.

Perhaps it’s all that quartz and thermal water under our feet?

To learn more:
RESERVATIONS: +52 415 156 1001
EVENTS: +52 415 158 0752
[email protected]


Henrietta Weekes is a writer, editor, actor and narrator. She divides her time between San Miguel de Allende, New York and Oxford, UK. 

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