Bethany Platanella  
Publicado originalmente en
    “I keep dreaming of Molino.” That was the message I received from my good friend Melissa a day after we returned from our girls’ getaway. The heaviness of Zona Maco and its swarming crowds effectively drove us out of Mexico City and into the leafy, peaceful enclave of Tlaxcala in February. It had been months since I first visited Molino de los Reyes and I’d been hankering to spend a full weekend there ever since. I’d booked us a room within minutes.

Tlaxcala or Tuscany? This magical mill-turned-hotel is straight out of a fairytale.

  When we arrived at the hotel, the manager Juan and two of his staff met us at the entrance. I felt like total royalty and loved it. Juan led us to a couch to relax for a moment while he told us a brief but fascinating history about the creation of the establishment. The magical mill-turned-hotel’s unique origins were quite literally born out of a love story. If I’ve piqued your interest, you’ll have to head to the website and book a few nights, as the telling of its fairytale history is an indulgence reserved only for guests. We were then treated to a relaxing 10-minute head and neck massage. When it was done, we floated back to the couch to test out a variety of unlabeled scents and to select a favorite for our rooms. The in-house spa’s menu has been specially curated for Molino de los Reyes and all its products are vegan and allergen-free. We opted for a little tour of the property. Once a wheat mill, the gritty stone edifice is now flush with bright bougainvillea. If it weren’t for the cornfields surrounding the property, you’d think you were in the heart of Tuscany.  

The welcome massage and handpicked room scent will have you feeling like royalty at Molino de los Reyes.

                                    Molino’s award-winning restaurant is perched above a waterfall whose calming sound elevates your dining experience. The interior decor is quirky and vibrant, bursting with eclectic antique furniture. Loveliest of all was not the magenta accent wall or the custom-built indoor temazcal, though; these details come in a close second. It’s the staff. By day two, my preference for lemon water had been noted, and it was waiting for me in the morning. The polite masseuse painstakingly removed cactus needles from my friend’s hand after a scrape with the pesky plant during a short hike. Management, including the owner and her family, took the time to speak with each and every guest during dining hours. It felt safe, comfortable and – dare I say it – full of love! The family feel of Molino de los Reyes makes total sense: what started as the weekend home of owner Erika Cisneros’ grandparents eventually turned into a family business.     Fragments of the clan’s history are sprinkled throughout the property: Erika’s father’s artwork hangs on the walls, furniture once belonging to her aunts and uncles fills the sitting areas and family recipes straight from the kitchens of her grandmother and great-grandmother are on the menu. When I asked Erika her thoughts on taking over such a precious heirloom, her response was clear. “I’m happy, I’m thankful and I’m committed. When we decided to open this up to the public, our objective was to share what we had always enjoyed, to share the love story of my grandparents, and to share my family recipes. I want everything to be great: the hotel, the food, the staff; everything has to match the quality of the space.” It’s a space you might not want to leave. But you should, since the hotel is just a 15-minute drive from the center of Tlaxcala, which is itself very charming. The biggest draw, I found, was the lack of foreign tourists. There were certainly visitors, but the visitors were Mexican, and we felt as if we had stumbled upon a hidden gem. As a history nerd, the second biggest draw for me was being where the Indigenous Tlaxcaltecas forged the pivotal alliance with Hernán Cortés and Spain that would eventually lead to the defeat of the Mexica (also referred to as Aztecs) — a decision whose consequences last well into the present day. The Tlaxcaltecas not only helped Spain defeat Tenochtitlán but would help them invade northern Mexico, Central America, and places as far away as the Philippines, earning privileges that they would keep throughout the colonial period. The town square is tiny and, like one would expect from a quaint Mexican pueblo, brilliant and energetic. We perused an outdoor market, popped in to several lovely churches, stumbled upon a live saxophone concert and snuck pictures of our fair share of quinceañeras. (All my favorite things!) There were plenty of restaurants where we could have dined and people-watched at our leisure, but the restaurant at Molino was so excellent it felt like sacrilege to skip a meal there.

Simple roasted shrimp at an upscale dining event at Tlaxcala’s Molino de los Reyes.

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