Photo Essays

Quinta Real Hotel, Pueblo

I checked into the Quinta Real Hotel in Pueblo, Mexico and was surprised to see a plaque saying that it was a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. This was my maiden experience of being a guest at a heritage hotel, so I was piqued to explore more historical details about the hotel, which I would like to share here.

The hotel building has a very traditional Spanish architecture. While wondering about looks and feel of the place it reminded me of images of Mexican hotels as seen in some old western movies.

Inquiring about the structure and the building, I discovered that it came to existence as a nun’s convent named “The Immaculate Conception” by Pastor Leonardo Ruiz de La Pena of “Xonotla” in 1593. The original building was constructed 62 years after the founding of the city of Pueblo, with an aim to preserve “the purity of Spanish blood in the aspiring nuns”. The location is right next to the church of identical name from the same denomination. The church building was built in 1585 and the nuns in the convent first arrived in 1593 from Mexico City. This order was originally founded in 1484 in Toledo, Spain by Saint Beatriz of Silva.

In 1863. during the tenure of President Benito Juarez (1861 to 1872), reforms were introduced, with an aim to curtail the immense power of church and to provide education to all children. The convent was evicted, and the premises were occupied by the Mexican Army, who used them as barracks. It was during that time the Second Battle of Independence was fought against the French invasion on 5th May 1862, which the Mexican won. It is also known as the Second Franco-Mexican War. It was a military invasion of the Republic of Mexico by the French Empire of Napoleon III, to force the collection of Mexican debts in conjunction with Great Britain and Spain. The Mexicans under General Ignacio Zaragoza repulsed the attackers, who lost about 1,000 men and then retreated to the coast. That victory is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo and considered as a national holiday there. Its celebration is spreading in other countries with significant Mexican immigrant population.

In 1903 the property was returned to the convent named “The Immaculate Conception”. Because of damage during the war period and subsequent time related deterioration, the property was not restored as a convent, but was being used by the families as their primary residences. Finally in 1988, the investors decided to renovate the property to bring it back to its original pristine glory. In 1996 the Ex-convent was purchased, repurposed as a hotel after modifications and christened as “Hotel Camino Real”. This reincarnation lasted about 15 years.

In 2013 the building was rechristened as “Quinta Real” as it become part of the properties of a chain of hotels bearing that name. The hotel’s extraordinary architectural beauty and its checkered history of starting out as convent, is preserved there on its walls, paintings, décor, and furniture. Even the dead bolts of the hotel rooms carry the old feel of yester years. Open terraces and cozy corners inside the building provide outdoorsy experiences right in the downtown area of Pueblo. Its unconventional architecture in old traditional style brings out nostalgic memories of days past, creating for the guests a memorable experience of the stay there.

1. Cinco-de-Mayo 
2. Battle of PUebla 

Images by the author


More by :  Bhupinder Singh

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Views: 474      Comments: 3

Comment Bhupinder Ji had very well articulated the history and character of this historical building.

Ramesh Bhutada
11-Apr-2024 14:46 PM

Comment This is a very well explained, fascinating, historical description of the UNESCO site.
We stayed at the same hotel. Very walkable and centrally located!
The aura & the hospitality were truly charming!
Neelam Sethi

Neelam Sethi
09-Apr-2024 18:54 PM

Comment Bhupinder jee
We all together spent several days of popular México Cities . Poebla Wes the best experience. Mexico City and Oaxaca were very similar in culture ,atmosphere, tourist sights and authentic cuisines. After reading your article now I can understand why Puebla was most enjoyable. Well explained and written.

Harpal Soni
07-Apr-2024 11:25 AM

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