Historic Mexican Hotel Debuts Cocktail Collab With ‘North America’s Best Bar’

Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende’s new rooftop aerie is pure mixology magic.

Courtesy Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada

Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende, a historic luxury hotel made up of several centuries-old mansions in Mexico’s most beautiful town, recently debuted a cool new rooftop boîte in collaboration with one of the world’s best bars. The property’s Tunki Rooftop by Handshake is a partnership with Mexico’s Handshake speakeasy, which was just named the Best Bar in North America by 50 Best.

The locally carved timber-and-tiled bar only seats four on saddle-leather stools. Yet the expansive indoor-outdoor seating surrounding it looks out upon on that bustlingly magnificent city and the pièce de resistance Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel parish church.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

It is easily the most dramatic historical structure in the city. A neo-Gothic, 17th century treasure, La Parroquia is known for its pinkish hues, authentic trompe l’oeil spires, architecture, and intricate sanctuaries. It’s in the historic center of San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is consistently named the world’s best city by numerous prestigious publications.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

The steeple towers soar above the sundown-azure sky reflecting off Casa de Sierra Nevada’s artisan-designed terra cotta tiles. It is a beacon to the city itself, and from the bar and its suites it seems almost touchable. The peculiar pinnacles of Parroquia were designed in the 19th century. Yet the rest of the church dates from the late 17th century. Other detail work harkens back to the 16th. It’s all an homage to the famed Cologne Cathedral in France.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

Tunki, which opened in March on the site of the five-star hotel’s former Presidential Suite’s sprawling rooftop terrace, melds cocktails and cuisine with its Peruvian-Mexican emphasis. And the sprawl of furniture, all designed and made by local artisans, plays perfectly off all of it, with plenty of panache. Think ornate wrought iron and Torrean stone tables and chairs.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

To concoct the craft cocktail menu, the hotel collaborated with the mixologists at Handshake, one of Mexico City’s most discreetly hidden but loudly praised bars. The director of both outposts is Eric van Beek, who more than gives New York and Chicago’s retro-but-real speakeasies a run for their money with his Mexican operation.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

The difference is that he and his staff employs indigenous ingredients into classic drinks. You could say they are layered, but go down fine. Take the Matcha Yuzu, which is like a simple highball until you add, besides the hard pour of whiskey, things like matcha, vanilla, and yuzu. Somehow the Old Fashioned is taken to new levels by the addition of brown butter mushrooms. Not to mention the bar’s Manhattan, infused with sesame and mole.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

As 50 Best noted, van Beek and his team’s concoctions look simple enough at first glance, “but upon sipping, one is treated to an explosion of unexpected flavors. The surprising results are achieved through extensive work in the lab, clarifying juices, creating new syrups and infusing cordials.” No wonder the awards and accolades just keep coming. Tunki’s food menu meanwhile pairs the best of both region’s culinary culture. Deep flavors, just like its home city’s ancient history.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

“We are so excited to embark on our next adventure with the opening of Tunki Rooftop at Casa de Sierra Nevada, in the creative city of San Miguel de Allende” said Rodrigo Urraca, Founding Partner of Handshake. “Belmond’s individuality and dedication to genuine, unscripted service is something that we also deeply value at Handshake, and we are looking forward to blending our worlds together in this unforgettable location.”

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

Elsewhere there’s the romantic Blue Bar (sit by the log fireplace) and two other casually elegant restaurants in the hotel–which includes 23 suites and 14 rooms spread across six ancient mansions–besides a cooking school that guests can take advantage of, returning home with some earthy traditional Mexican recipes and contemporary takes on classic dishes.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

Guests and walk-ins can also enjoy lunch and dinner at Andanza, which features items such watermelon steak, short ribs, and sticky toffee pudding. Breakfast is served there daily as well. Regional favorites from Oaxaca and Puebla are given distinct takes in the airy Restaurant Del Parque. Try some of the more traditional items like enmoladas, and pescadillas zicatela or bring a group and have tableside preparations on the fun taco night. The adventurous can have crispy grasshoppers, a local specialty, served in a cup as a side to the homemade guacamole.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

These entertaining spots are just as unique as the hotel’s expansive rooms and suites, of which no two are alike. All feature antique furnishings in the Mexican colonial style, and paintings by local artists. Some have rooftop patios with plunge pools and working fireplaces. Characteristic of the city’s architecture, there are shaded courtyards, trickling fountains, vaulted archways and ancient stucco details. Blue and white fabrics and bronze bath fixtures are beautifully offset by handmade tile and ceramics.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

One of Casa de Sierra Nevada’s key features is its stunning swimming pool, a tranquil spot nestled between the Palma and Limon mansions. Taking its name from the the Laja River and Falls that cross the Sierra Madre mountain range in Central Mexico, the tranquil Laja Spa features a beauty salon, three Colonial-style treatment cabins for massages, an intimate gym, and puts to use various holistic treatments known for Mexican wellness rituals. The spa’s signature beverage is detoxifying water infused with bougainvillea: good stuff for strengthening the immune system.

Courtesy Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond Hotel, San Miguel de Allende

Casa de Sierra Nevada is one of the many iconic and world-spanning properties (more than 30) that the ultra-luxe Belmond hospitality brand has been pioneering for 46 years. “Authenticity, history, and adventure” are the touchstones on such one-of-a-kind destinations as the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the wow-inducing Venice Simplon-Orient Express train, getaways in Italy like the Belmond Splendido in Portofino, and Hotel das Cataratas, within Brazil’s Iguazu National Park. All are as storied the Casa De Sierra Nevada itself.

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