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The Haciendas, Volcanoes and Magical Towns of Colima StateMay 19, 2015 By: Ana Figueroa
Mexico’s haciendas are as varied as the country itself. They’re an enticing alternative to traditional resorts, especially for family groups, weddings and other celebrations. Located throughout Mexico from the Yucatan to Jalisco, each has a unique — and often colorful — story.
Hacienda de San Antonio in the Colima highlands is no exception.
It was founded as a coffee plantation in the late 1800s by Don Arnold Vogel, a German immigrant. He managed it successfully with his Mexican wife, Doña Clotilde.
In 1913 the neighboring Volcano del Fuego (Fire Volcano) erupted. Dona Clotilde prayed to St. Anthony (the patron of lost causes) to spare the hacienda. When it emerged unscathed, she built a chapel on the Hacienda grounds in his honor. She also changed the name of the property to Hacienda de San Antonio.
“The hacienda fell into disrepair after Don Arnoldo died. In the 1970s it was bought by Antenor Patiño, the Paris-based jetsetter who built the famed Las Hadas as well as the Maria Isabel in Mexico City,” Hacienda de San Antonio spokesman Wayne Hudson tells Travel Agent.
Patiño began a major restoration project, but died before it was finished. His former son-in-law, Sir James Goldsmith, then bought it and began to expand the property. When Goldsmith died, his daughter Alix Marcaccini converted the Hacienda into a 25-room luxury boutique hotel.
Today, the pink colonial estate is known for its trademark arches, colonnades and rolling lawns. Guests stay in sumptuously-decorated bedrooms and dine on organic cuisine supplied by the Hacienda’s farms.
“The property is one of those mystical, magical places. The analogy I use is ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ when Alice gets small and everything gets big. It feels larger than life. It’s the most spectacular hacienda in all of Mexico,” Zach Rabinor, director general and CEO of Journey Mexico, tells Travel Agent.
The closest international airports to Hacienda de San Antonio are Manzanillo (a two hour drive) and Guadalajara (a two and a half hour drive). Colima’s airport is 40 minutes away, and has service from Mexico City.
The Colima highlands area surrounding the property is worth exploring as well. The Pueblo Magico (Magical Town) of Comala is only about 14 miles away, just north of Colima City. Comala’s quaint whitewashed buildings and red tile roofs have been immortalized in both poetry and prose.
The Fire Volcano itself is located within a National Park. Volcano hikes are popular, though the smoke plumes are often hidden in the clouds.
“I like to suggest Hacienda de San Antonio as an adventure honeymoon that can be combined with other Costalegre properties, such as Cuixmala or Las Alamandas,” Rabinor added.
Hope Smith, owner of Born To Travel in Sierra Madre, CA, notes that adventure is key for many high-end travelers.
“I’ve been to the Hacienda three different times. It’s the jewel of Colima. But the adventure aspects make it especially appealing. You can take hikes on their property, which is extremely vast. There are great horses on the ranch with lots of riding trails. There’s an organic farm that produces herbs and vegetables for the kitchen. And they also produce coffee and some amazing cheeses,” Smith tells Travel Agent.
Adding to the adventure is the near-constant smoke plume from the volcano.
The locals aren’t taking any chances about that. Ever since Dona Clotilde’s time, they’ve held a yearly festival on St. Anthony’s day.
“The festival is held on the grounds of the Hacienda. It’s an unusual mix of Catholic religious procession combined with indigenous costumes and dancing along with music, food and fun. The Hacienda is offering a special promotion for the festival weekend, June 12-14,” said Hudson.