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Hiding Out in
San Miguel Allende

by Lou Chistrine

The colonial town of San Miguel de
Allende, renowned for its tradition and round-the-clock fiestas with plenty of fireworks and merriment, is a great place to "get away from it all." The city is host to numerous religious and cultural events characterized by colorful street parades and all-night festivals: San Miguel de Allende is a place where something interesting is always happening. Whether visiting for the fiestas or to search through the town's myriad of antiques and crafts, visitors to the old colonial town have a wide selection of fine hotels to relax in after the day is done. One such serene hideaway is the Hotel Villa Santa Monica.
Shielded from all the hustle and bustle
of the town, this quaint posada is located across the street from the picturesque Benito Juarez Park. Villa Santa Monica has 15 suites - all tastefully furnished in varying styles - with king-sized beds, garden views, private patios, jacuzzis and cozy fireplaces.
One is taken by the quiet serenity of Villa Santa Monica. Guests don 't often ron into one another, with the possible exceptions being while dining at the Villa 's fine open-air garden restaurant or while strolling the lush grounds before retiring around the private heated pool to sip a relaxing cocktail. It is easy to understand why Harper's Hideaway Report recently called Villa Santa Monica "one of the most enchanting small resorts in the world."
Villa Santa Monica also boasts of an
interesting human legacy, as rich and refreshing as the delightful town which surrounds it. One such person is Señor Jose Mojica, who opened Villa Santa Monica in the mid-twentieth century.
Mojica, who originally hailed from the state of Jalisco, was a tenor with the Chicago opera during the first half of the
1900s. As his career was skyrocketing, he packed his bags and headed off for Hollywood to try his luck acting. He moved to Santa Monica, California and was soon starring in Mexican films with famed actors such as Dolores Del Rio. Yet, to the south, Mexico and family beckoned.
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato was fast becoming a haven for international artists and seemed to be a natural place for the multi-talented Mojica to choose as home. Moreover, he was also in search of an appropriate place for his aging mother, and the tranquil city seemed perfect.
While wandering San Miguel 's narrow cobblestone streets one day, he stumbled upon a dilapidated old hacienda. He thought the spot would make a ideal home. With much care and planning, Jose resurrected the ruins and lavishly
decorated the expansive hacienda. He named the villa after his adoptedAmerican city, Santa Monica, a town he had enjoyed so much during his acting days. The restored structure proudly equaled the other grand haciendas of San Miguel.
That effort wasn't the end of the saga of opera-and-movie star Jose Mojica. At the age of 48 he experienced a spiritual calling. He shed the mantle of his riches and secluded himself in Franciscan seminary and eventually became a Roman Catholic priest. He went to work in Peru to serve his Church, never to retum to San Miguel.
One might wonder if the tranquil atmosphere he created at Villa Santa Monica had anything to do with his spiritual calling. These days, under the management of Jose de Jesus Magallanes, the same feeling of harmony is being preserved, if not refined. During the last
few years this lovely resort has been upgraded to further maintain the hacienda 's distinct touch and spirit.
Gold-Ieafed sideboards and parsons' tables with ums and vases line the arched portals while strategical1y placed bird cages grace the garden's restaurant, their colorful occupants chirping away at the beauty. Water gently cascades down the omate fountain in the center of the patio. There 's no hustle or bustle, and one cannot see any stress exuding from a Fortune Five Hundred CEO, many of whom make Villa Santa Monica that special place to "get away from it all."
Villa Santa Monica is a rare and splendid small hotel, where the rumblings of outside world stop. Come enjoy the
royal treatment where the friendly staff help bestow the getaway with a warrnhearted ambience.