Hacienda El Carmen in Jalisco, Mexico was built by orders of the church in 1705 and given 22,000 hectares, with the main purpose being to cultivate the land to produce wheat and sugar cane. Considered a unique gem of the 17th century, the Hacienda was highly productive, and due to this success it was able to fund the church of El Carmen in Guadalajara.
Throughout the centuries, Hacienda El Carmen has held a plethora of names and owners. It was not until 1961 that it was renovated, and for the first time, turned into a luxury hotel and Spa by doña Marta Serrano Zermeño and her husband Dr. Joaquín Baeza del Monte. Today, the restorations of the different annexes are a medley of renovations made across the centuries. In it’s austere co- lonial style – which is characteristic of the area – hand- laid floorings and ceramic tiles remain, and anonymous paintings from the same period, as well as decorative watercolours of distinct dimensions and styles, cover the walls. Sculptures of quarried rock date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of the curtains and bedcovers are entirely hand made.
In 1996 the Hacienda was refurbished one final time by the Baeza family, and this is how it stands today, with 26 rooms exhibiting an immense attention to detail in a beautifully decorated old Mexican style. The current furniture is the result of an eclectic collection that spans many ages, styles and origins. It has a pool, a jacuzzi and a temazcal too, all carefully integrated in its surroundings.
Experiencing el Carmen is like travelling back in time, to a Mexico that existed long before us. It feels like a glimpse into past centuries; offering the chance to fall
in love with old Mexican traditions and gastronomy. Monica Baeza, the current owner, is a unique entrepreneur. Her passion and love for the culture and socio- political history of the region are personal values that infinitely enriched our experience. She told us about childhood memories, regaling us with stories of grow- ing up at the Hacienda and her dad teaching her about agriculture.
As throughout history, El Carmen is still cultivating sugar cane and wheat to this day, as well as organic vegetables mainly used for its restaurant. It’s agricultural and lodging business is executed with a strong sense of sustainability. Working together with the local community and being environmentally conscious are paramount to Monica, who earnestly believes that “preserving the traditions and cultural life reassuring a legacy for generations to come”.
For all of these reasons, and so many more, the Hacienda el Carmen is much more than just a place to stay.