Published On: Thu, May 18th, 2017

Valle de Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende and Tulum attract Hollywood celebrities

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VALLE DE GUADALUPE.- Rihanna was the biggest thing to happen to this village, about a five-hour drive from L.A., when she visited the formerly sleepy ranchero-filled wine-producing valley.

It’s been steadily gaining a reputation as a south-of-the-border mecca for adventurous foodies and wine lovers, but since the singer took over the luxe-minimalist Encuentro Guadalupe “anti-resort” (rooms from $380) in 2014, the area has seen industry visitors including Diego Luna, Drew Barrymore and Emily Ratajkowski.

“The new Baja food scene blended with extraordinary wines is a combination that is hard to find in other regions,” says Fernando Castro Perez, owner/winemaker of La Lomita winery and TrasLomita restaurant, of the appeal. He’s also seen Gael Garcia Bernal, Ricky Martin and Karla Souza around. “It’s very reclusive. We cannot forget it is a rural Mexican village with people who are working in the field or minding their own business, so out here Hollywood celebrities are treated like anybody else.”

Rihanna’s favored property boasts a private wine cellar where guests can request a secluded farm-to-table, wine-paired dinner for two. Revered El Cielo Winery (which boasts pristine valley views) just opened the first couple of luxury villas (from $430) — secluded among grape vines — for its future boutique hotel, open fully by the end of the year. And by popular demand, the intimate, sustainable, Alejandro D’Acosta-designed Clos de Tres Cantos winery debuts two guest rooms in May (from $250), which come with a bottle of vino and private behind-the-scenes wine tour. Bruma Valle de Guadalupe winery, too, launches its first restaurant this summer, and for accommodations, two private pool suites at Casa Ocho (from $285).

The cuisine scene is headed up by chef Diego Hernandez of the hyperlocal gastronomical gem Corazon de Tierra, who this March opened Verlaine in West Hollywood. His ever-changing menus are informed by the season and improvisation, and the kitchen is sympathetic to nitpicky diets or even vegans. “We have a lot of people coming from L.A. to the valley, from both the entertainment and restaurant industries,” says Hernandez. “Most drive, but some also arrive by helicopter.”

A further local attraction: a wave of food trucks that feel fresh and modern, like the torta-serving Airstream at favorite eatery Finca Altozano, and Telefonica Gastropark, a culinary commune from Tijuana that just opened a weekend-only location in the Valle. Adds Perez, “One of the main attractions is that it doesn’t feel like a tourist destination. You don’t feel forced to follow a pattern; you are on your own. I guess that is one of the most valuable things to have when you are a celebrity.”

San Miguel de Allende

Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images San Miguel de Allende

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE.- The charming colonial town (a seven-hour flight plus 90-minute drive from L.A.) has drawn in Eva Longoria, Antonio Banderas, and Elizabeth Banks and her producer husband, Max Handelman, among many others. “I’s a magical, enchanting place with about 17 colonial period churches and cathedrals,” says international interior designer Michelle Nussbaumer — whose former L.A. shop was a go-to for Sharon Stone and Robert Downey Jr. — of the place where she owns a second-home hacienda, the site of many a fabulous dinner party.

Her top tips: margaritas at sunset on the Rosewood Terrace, and a private bath at the grotto, with tequila and local artisan cheeses. Her biggest piece of advice: “If you’re lucky enough to know the right people, there are many beautiful haciendas to see and enjoy.”

Rosewood San Miguel de Allende (rooms from $430) is a draw for creative types escaping Hollywood: Writer/producer Marta Kauffman, Warner Bros. exec Sue Kroll and Diego Luna have stayed. Just this spring came the opening of Los Pirules Kitchen + Garden Bar, an expansive, colorful venue boasting two outdoor kitchens where guests can book cooking lessons. For VIPs, the property’s new art concierge, Alexandra Long, will provide exclusive, customized tours of the area’s creative hubs (like Fabrica La Aurora and Bellas Artes) and local artists’ studios.

The popular property and the Edenic art-filled Hotel Matilda (from $409) — where Lorde and her entourage have crashed — are co-sponsoring a dynamic new arts and food festival July 13-16 called MAG, Market of Arts & Gastronomy, featuring dozens of tasting booths, events and chefs including top toque Enrique Olvera. Based in Mexico City, he says San Miguel is close enough to visit on weekends, but “it gives me the feeling of being in a totally different and faraway place.” The executive chef of Matilda’s popular Moxi restaurant adds of the town, “It’s small, quiet and relaxed, and an environment with great local and organic produce.”

San Miguel is also home to Casa Dragones, the premium tequila label based in a 17th century stable turned exclusive tasting room where Martha Stewart and Ryan Seacrest have sipped the pricey spirit. (Tastings are by request.) In the same tony neighborhood, L’Otel opened the sustainably minded Doce 18 Concept House (from $375) in November, with 10 bright, singularly designed suites, a pool and amenities designed in partnership with local beauty brand Ablu Botanica.

Click here for full article on hollywoodreporter.com
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