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Anticaville Hotel & Spa - a chic, upscale oasis in Cuernavaca, Mexico

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Anticaville Hotel & Spa - a chic, upscale oasis in Cuernavaca, Mexico

The gracious grounds of the Anticavilla Hotel

photo courtesy of the Anticavilla Hotel
Just a 90-minute drive or bus ride south of Mexico City, the charming, mid-size (population 350,000) city of Cuernavaca is a favorite weekend getaway with residents from the capital, and one of the most attractive cities in Mexico. Nicknamed the City of Eternal Spring and endowed with a fabulous climate (year-round sunshine, and temperatures in the 70s and 80s), Cuernavaca is perfect for a quick and relaxing getaway - the downtown area has a handful of very gay-friendly cafes and bars (here's a guide to Cuernavaca Gay Nightlife), and more ardent revelers will find some gay clubs in the city's outskirts, easily reached by cab. One big draw here that you shouldn't miss is the Robert Brady Museum, which houses the incredible art collection amassed by Robert Brady, a gay man who lived in Cuernavaca from the 1960s until his death in the '80s.

An especially serene, elegant, and beautifully designed lodging, the Anticavilla Hotel & Spa (Rio Amacuzac 10, corner of Chilpancingo, Col. Vista Hermosa, Cuernavaca, 777-313-3131) is situated in a peaceful, upscale, somewhat residential neighborhood a 10-minute cab ride east of the city's historic and culturally rich downtown. The hotel is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) as well as the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels group. The hotel's staff are kind, efficient, and helpful, and the grounds and rooms meticulously kept.

This boutique resort comprises 12 guest rooms, a business center, a full-service spa offering a wide range of treatments, a high-ceilinged open-air Italian restaurant and cocktail bar, a spectacular Semi-Olympic-size infinity-edge pool and Jacuzzi tub, with each of these areas encircling a neatly manicured green lawn fringed by palms and colorful tropical flowers. Rates start around US$200, and all rooms have Bulgari bath products, iHomes, complimentary minibar and Wi-Fi, and beautifully designed walk-in showers with multiple rain jets. Linens are plush, the beds wonderfully comfortable, and although the hotel building was constructed in the 1950s using materials from a colonial convent (so that the exterior, walls, and ceilings feel richly ancient), it was completely redesigned with a stylish, contemporary look. Each room is named for a prominent 20th-century Italian painter (Modligliani, Carra, Clemente, etc.) and contains a huge full-wall painting of that artist. Huge LED TVs, sleek bathroom fixtures, and a chic, unfussy style contribute to the serene aesthetic. For a romantic retreat, this is a pretty wonderful place to spend an evening - and if it's s truly special occasion, you might opt for the Master Suite (which has a fireplace in two rooms and a fabulous glass-walled spa tub) or the Presidential Suite, with its own Jacuzzi and fireplace on a private terrace.

Whether or not you stay here, it's worth stopping by the bar and restaurant, VerdeSalvia. If you stay at the hotel, an extensive full breakfast is included. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner and is noteworthy for its impressive collection of Italian, Mexican, Spanish, and Argentine wines, as well as a vast selection of fine spirits. The food is mostly modern Italian: octopus carpaccio, tuna tartar layered with basil and parmesan, fusilli pasta with mussels and broccoli, ravioli with veal and mushroom ragu, caper-crusted salmon with mustard sauce, stewed fennel, and Provencal-style tomato. But there are a few Mexico dishes offered, too, and some fusion-inspired fare.

On the chance you're combining your trip to Cuernavaca with a coastal adventure in the gay resort city of Puerto Vallarta, here's a look at one of the loveliest places to stay there, the gay-friendly Casa Cupula.

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