Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Casa de la Noche ...

                                                           Reviewed  By  Nancy Snipper

For photos go to:
Artist transforms Mexican bordello into an exceptional Bed &Breakfast!
California-born painter, Barbara Edell Poole, has created the most remarkable accommodation - one that resonates a juicy past via its century-old meter thick walls and the amorous activities that went on between them.  Now called Casa de la Noche, this tranquil accommodation is like none other (just a stroll away from the central square: El Jardin) in San Miguel de Allende - Mexico's colonial gem known for its artistic zeal and enchanting ambiance and magnetic draw for adventurous tourists.
Barbara is one such artist who settling here in 2003, wasted no time in finding a new building project. It has been her passion as witnessed in her California homes. Her love of landscape painting and brilliant designing talents coalesce in this wholly hospitable Mexican bed & breakfast.
Once a bordello, it was run by a strong woman known as La Turka. All the action ended in 1962, and the property fell into disrepair. Not one to part easily with the past, Ms. Poole put her skills into high gear. She enlarged the four working girls' rooms - even giving them names: La Chiquita, La Pepita, La Rosita and La Jovita (named after her wonderful in-house cook).
These cozy rooms however are just part of Ms. Poole's penchant for expansion, recycling and quest for natural beauty. "I can see through walls. I'm a renovator and love to reinvent spaces with the environment and recycling in mind," said the gifted artist as she pointed out a beautiful set of terra cotta Saltillo steps, she kept them from the original building and repositioned them in another area leading up to one of the lovely suites. In fact, five spacious suites - each with its own kitchen and lounging area present the charming rustic hand-hewn craftsmanship in the objects and furniture inside the 7000-square feet of living area.
Art Terrace View
Colour, warmth and gracious charm infuse the setting. "It took me several years of renovating. I started seven years ago, and I opened Casa de la Noche's doors four years ago. I am still adding finishing’s and although the 14 rooms are complete, there is always a new idea I get percolating in my head. I am visual in conception, so I see the potential a space can have. I am very much a "door and window person", several of the original doors you will find here. The dining table is in fact a huge door from the original structure as are the mesquite leather weave chairs in the eating area.
Indeed, relaxing inside brings the eye to so many appealing paintings and indigenous crafts.  Native artist, Ruben Morales with his robust primitive figure paintings hang in a central gallery area. This space is used for local artists to display their work.
Original Art
Aside from the many interior spaces that organically flow into one another, many of Casa de la Noche's outside grounds are in fact private nooks with sweet stone fountains or planted areas surrounding your own room. Whether you choose a double or single room, each has its own vista of the town. Not surprisingly, terraces and ground-level rooms have their own unique floral surroundings to cocoon in. Yes, this place is enormous, after all there are three full kitchens for you to cook in, and yes this place needs a map (she has one) to fully appreciate the extensive beauty of this seemingly endless place. Nonetheless, Casa de la Noche is intimate, unshowy and completely comfortable in feel. Totally respectful of its unique historical past - most rooms bear female names and hints of historical of elements, Ms Poole has ingeniously integrated times gone by into the present.
Aside from the lovely hues colouring the walls, the stunning array of authentic Mexican adornments, and the sensational Mexican cuisine Jovita cooks up for Casa de la Noche's breakfasts, Ms. Poole is bringing something exciting and much needed into her vision. She has put in place a fabulous large workshop space for artists of all kinds: painters, sculptors, dancers, yoga practitioners, and actors to utilize to their hearts content. Workshops of all kinds will find a happy home here. What a great place for wedding guests and reunions! 
 Painters can even hang their works in the main floor gallery."I want it to be used by people who are stimulated by this environment so they can bring out their creative selves."
Casa de la Noche has been reborn out of its bordello past. Splendid in its present form (all amenities you’ll ever need), this is the place to stay in San Miguel de Allende.
The web site is: for beautiful guest lodgings
For more information and reservations (prices are very reasonable), email Barbara and leave your number at:
Mexico - toll free vonage from USA/ Canada: 831-373-8888
Local in San Miguel de Allende: 415-152-0732