By Lauren Jones
Photography by Pepe Molina
“We’ve always felt like the energy of the building is really warm and welcoming,” remarks Laura Kirar. The American-born designer, who has been living in Mexico full-time for the past three years, is the owner of Mesón Hidalgo, a guest house and boutique in San Miguel de Allende.
Built in 1693, it was rumored to once have been home to a priest who “healed people and performed miracles,” hence its aforementioned good juju, but today it’s been transformed into three distinctive guest suites and a retail spot, a model that is unlike anything else in the colorful tourist town.
“The first time I visited, I was smitten,” Laura says of San Miguel de Allende. “I fell in love with the people and how beautiful it is.” It is indeed picturesque, and Mesón Hidalgo perfectly captures that same spirit through its whimsical design schemes and hand-crafted furnishings. The best part? Everything is for sale: “Whether it be vintage lamps I have collected and put in one of the guest rooms or things made in the Yucatan, everything can be taken home or made-to-order,” says the designer.
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Laura, who has worked as both an interior and product designer for clients such as Baker Furniture, Kallista faucets, and Sheraton Hotels, always wanted a place of her own and couldn’t deny the charms of the nearly 350-year-old building. Mesón Hidalgo opened in November 2019, around San Miguel’s Day of the Dead celebration, and interest in the hotelito has continued to rise even amid travel restrictions due to COVID-19. “We’ve been lucky to have guests from Mexico City, Merida, and even the U.S.,” she adds.
The three guest suites—Chana, Juana, and Su Hermana—come from Mexican slang and are another way to incorporate local culture for those who visit. Furthermore, each of the suites has its own personality, which is evident in the color palette and furnishings.
Chana, the only guest suite on the ground floor, features colors tied to tradition. The pale blue stripes reference the blue skies, while the rusty red, typical of classic Colonial-era buildings, “pays homage to the age of the building but in a contemporary way,” she says. The massive hand-carved armor is another nod to history, as Laura worked with a local expert carver. The textiles are Laura Kirar originals, while the fireplace is Cantera stone, a local volcanic rock that can range from pale gray to rose to charcoal.
Juana, one of the two upstairs rooms, includes one of Laura’s favorite colors: coral pink, the color of the sky in San Miguel during the sunset. With hand-painted detailing by a local muralist, based on the Mayan representation of Venus, the room also has a private balcony with a hammock, climbing vines, and a lemon tree, making it a “very sweet place to stay,” she says.
The last of the three suites, Su Hermana, also includes a colonial color—yellow ochre. “At the time, paints were generally made from calcium and natural pigments, so this olive-y yellow would’ve been a color back then,” Laura says. The black-and-white zigzag detailing on the walls also shows up in the custom headboard trimmed with sansevieria, a natural fiber found in the Yucatan and an atypical choice as a textile.
While a trip to San Miguel de Allende is already on many people’s bucket list, Mesón Hidalgo offers an exclusive taste of the town’s history—plus purposeful, intimate design and fascinating antiques.