Monday, January 24, 2011

Hottest Travel Destinations of 2011

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Catesby Holmes of Travel + Leisure
January 2011

With its colonial architecture and cobblestoned streets, San Miguel de Allende may be a model for historic preservation, but a recent influx of innovative restaurants, art spaces, and hotels is adding a vibrant modern edge to this unesco-protected city. The most telling sign of the city’s evolution? The new Rosewood San Miguel de Allende (doubles from $295), the first international luxury resort, tucked away on four palm-studded acres near the historic center. Hand-carved furniture from Guadalajara decorates the 67 guest rooms, some of which have verandas facing the Gothic-inspired La Parroquia cathedral, while public spaces evoke a hacienda with arcaded walkways and courtyards. Design aficionados will fall for Fábrica La Aurora, a 1902 factory turned art center a 10-minute walk from downtown, with more than two dozen contemporary galleries and boutiques that showcase the region’s best artisans. Stop in at Superficie for colorful tiles made in the nearby town of Dolores Hidalgo, famous for its pottery. At creative Café Rama (lunch for two $17), a bustling downtown lunch spot, try international dishes (Andalusian pulled-pork sandwich) with indigenous ingredients (crunchy jicama). After dark, follow well-heeled locals to the laid-back terrace bar La Azotea (drinks for two $13) and try the signature cactus martini, a tequila-and-vodka concoction blended with Cointreau, lemon, and cranberry.