Light and color are two words that best describe Casa de Las Bugambilias, or House of the Bougainvillea, a bed-and-breakfast inn in Oaxaca's Centro neighborhood. Every bit of the house, inside and out, is vibrant, thanks to vividly-hued textiles, locally-made artwork and crafts, and, of course, bougainvillea. Guests are treated to a two-course breakfast each morning, with most fruits and vegetables coming from local producers who farm organically and value the fair-trade model. Service is exceptional, as is the location, convenient to some of Oaxaca's most iconic sights, including the Santo Domingo Church.
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Casa de Las Bugambilias fits perfectly within the Centro neighborhood, where reverence for Mexican culture is both evident and accessible to visitors. In the Centro, guests can see and explore colonial-style architecture at its finest; shop for handicrafts, especially textiles, that reflect centuries of traditions; and taste the depth and breadth of Oaxacan flavors. The state of Oaxaca is one of Mexico's agricultural hubs. Visitors lucky enough to be in Oaxaca during holidays will love being amid the Centro's action; in addition to more familiar holidays, like Christmas and Día de los Muertos, Oaxaca has some unique celebrations, including the Guelaguetza in July and Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) in December, when artists carve radishes and display them in intricate tableaus in the city's center.
Need to Know
Rooms: 9 rooms. From $80. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The on-site restaurant, La Olla, is headed by chef Pilar Cabrera, who specializes in contemporary regional cuisine, with locally sourced ingredients. The menu changes at least once a week and sometimes more often, depending upon what is available and in season. Chef Cabrera also offers cooking classes through her Casa de Los Sabores Cooking School. Spa and gym details: Casa de Las Bugambilias offers massage services and features the temazcal, a traditional steam treatment derived from indigenous history and culture. There is no on-site gym.
Who it's for: Travelers who enjoy bed-and-breakfast accommodations, personalized service, and gorgeous design and decoration. Our favorite rooms: All of the rooms are fabulous, but Violetas takes the cake, with its unique, brightly colored textile headboard made in Tehuantepec. Violetas also has a comfortable terrace balcony perfect for relaxing. Good to know: The Casa offers free long-distance calls to landlines in the U.S., Canada, Japan, England, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and France.