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If your clients haven’t visited Puebla in a while, it’s time for them to go back again. New hotels, attractions and transportation have changed how visitors can experience this fascinating city with a colonial heart.
About a two-hour drive from Mexico City, Puebla is the birthplace of many things uniquely Mexican, including mole poblano, talavera pottery and Cinco de Mayo festivities, to name a few. The city’s historic center, which dates to Puebla’s founding in 1531, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
AccommodationsUpscale travelers will find multiple new options for indulging during a visit. According to a recent report from Sectur, Mexico’s national secretary of tourism, two out of every 10 visitors to Puebla stayed at five-star hotels in 2018 — a jump of nearly 60% from 2017. In addition, hotel room inventory grew by 35% during the same time frame, with accommodations spread among multiple price categories. There are now some 725 new luxury hotel rooms in Puebla.
At the same time, according to a report from local newspaper "El Sol de Puebla," the occupancy rate at the city’s hotels continues to slide; in January, it dropped to its lowest level in five years. But the confluence of these two factors — more rooms and lower occupancy — can work in the favor of travelers who are looking to get more value for their money.
Among the newest luxury properties is Hotel Cartesiano, which debuted in January 2018. The 78-room hotel, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, is set in two 18th-century buildings — one is a former private home, and the other is an old tile factory. The property features a spa, a fitness center, a rooftop pool deck and a swanky namesake restaurant that specializes in elevated poblano cuisine.
Also relatively new is Rosewood Puebla, which opened in 2017. The 78-room property is rich in history, too, and features a central courtyard and a 300-year-old on-site chapel that’s available for weddings. The property also has a spa, a fitness center, a rooftop pool and Pasquinel Bistrot — a Mexican-European restaurant with a main dining room, a private dining room and a terrace.
AttractionsThe city’s newest large-scale attractions are located farther from the historic center. One of the most eye-catching is Museo Internacional del Barroco (International Museum of the Baroque). Opened in 2016, the museum is housed in a spectacularly modern edifice designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito. Inside, the focus of the space is a decided contrast from its sleek physical venue, with impressive exhibits of art, fashion and other baroque visual elements from the 17th and 18th centuries. The museum also has an attractive restaurant that serves contemporary Mexican cuisine.
A quick ride from the museum is Estrella de Puebla (Star of Puebla), which was awarded by Guinness World Records as the largest portable observation wheel on the globe when it opened in 2013. The giant Ferris wheel features 54 cabins that provide a panoramic view of the surrounding region — although the historic downtown is too far away to be spotted from the wheel.
Even Cholula — a city and district in the state of Puebla that is located about 30 minutes west of Puebla City — is benefiting from 21st-century innovation. The small, historic city is home to a pre-Hispanic pyramid topped with a Spanish colonial church. Now, it also touts the Tren Turistico Puebla-Cholula, a tourism train that links downtown Puebla with downtown Cholula.
Launched in 2017, the train is modern, fast and efficient. It offers three daily departures from Puebla on weekdays, and four daily departures on weekends and holidays.
In and around Puebla, modern-day technology, accommodations and attractions don’t ruin the destination’s rich history; they simply enhance it.
The DetailsSecretary of Culture and Tourism of the State of Pueblawww.puebla.travel