Pasión de Viajar ~ Wanderlust: Hacienda de San Antonio
Interview with Hacienda de San Antonio
We were honoured to have the opportunity to interview Davis Gerber, photographer and marketing coordinator at Hacienda de San Antonio, and appreciate him taking the time to answer our questions.
1. Originally built in 1879, the hacienda has survived revolutions, volcanic eruptions, change in ownership and much more. The expression ‘if these walls could talk’ seems particularly relevant for the hacienda. Can you share with us how the hacienda’s unique history is reflected in the property?
Gerber: Speaking more to the present and how the property is now, no longer needing to support the foundational farming and coffee productions directly from the main grounds, Hacienda de San Antonio was transformed from an original working hacienda to an incredibly lush grounds for guests to enjoy. The hotel suites were actually built on to match the initial structure exactly, and one would never know they aren’t original. When James Goldsmith decided to restore it, Robert Couturier did much of the design work, and James’ daughter, Alix along with Armand Aubery, saw to the decoration of the entire hotel. Massive handwoven Oaxacan rugs were commissioned for every suite, classic paintings of horses and ranching like those of Francisco Icaza adorn the walls, beautiful antique ‘da faena’ sombreros are scattered throughout the hotel, and much more amount to endless and perfectly timeless details wherever one looks.
2. It’s evident the hacienda is in complete harmony with its surroundings. Deep in the highlands of Mexico, the hacienda is set at the base of Volcán de Colima next to El Cordobán river. How has the location shaped both the hacienda and the guest experience?
Gerber: Its overall seclusion is perhaps the most prevalent and rare feature, as one of the very few places left where cell service is nonexistent; birdsong, the running water of the river, streams and garden’s fountains, rainfall during the wet season, and crackling of fireplaces, are all blissfully heightened to the senses – nature’s song truly shines wherever one is in the grounds or hotel. With all the said the resulting guest experience is one of true peace and relaxation from start to finish.
3. Hacienda de San Antonio even has its own working ranch, Rancho Jabalí, which utilizes Biodynamic farming and yields 90% of all of the ingredients used in the hacienda’s dining experiences. Tell us a little bit more about the meals and food experiences and how they contribute to a memorable stay at the hacienda.
Gerber: From freshly roasted coffee, grown and harvested throughout nearly all 5,000 acres of the ranch being brewed and served every morning, to lunches by the pool with fresh salads harvested directly from the gardens that morning and unique spins on traditional fare such as tacos de jamaica for example, and ending the day with incredible cuts of meat from free range cattle or a traditional chicken mole recipes, everything is as clean, fresh and packed with nutrients as it is immaculately prepared.
4. The hacienda offers an incredible range of activities, like horseback riding, mountain biking, skydiving, hot air balloon riding, picnicking, and much more! If you could design the perfect day at the hacienda, what would the schedule entail? In other words, what are the ‘must-dos’ that you recommend most?
Gerber: Perhaps two of the most iconic experiences to start are a sunrise hot air balloon ride, where guests embark from a painterly field on the ranch, cool air pushes the balloon out over the lagoon where an experienced pilot skims the water’s edge before lifting out over the entire ranch valley, all directly alongside el Volcán de Fuego. Later in the day, riding horses to an epazote picnic is a must, nestled under the shade of 100 year old Higuera trees, afternoons go too quickly while dining on beautiful days with friends. At some point as well, guest should absolutely go and tour where the coffee, cheeses, jams, soaps, essential oils and more are all produced on site. Lounging by the 110’ pool hidden away in the gardens is a must of course. Later in the evening, a Mariachi dinner on the mirador terrace makes for one of the most unforgettable dinners possible, a pure authentic Hacienda de San Antonio evening under the stars.
5. It’s clear the hacienda is truly special and unlike any other destination. If you had to encapsulate Hacienda de San Antonio in 3 words, what would those 3 words be?
Gerber: Romantic, Timeless and Authentic.
Lexie & Katrina