PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT HANS FONK

The complex lies in the heart of the Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende, which has enjoyed the status of Unesco World Heritage site for some years now. The town’s history goes back a long way. Nowadays it attracts tourists with its neo-colonial buildings, which are also popular venues for artists and musicians. One of those historic buildings was recently given a thorough makeover by the architect Roy Azar: from its leafy patio at street level to the sumptuous swimming pool with lounge area on the roof.

The building is in the old centre of San Miguel de Allende, a town in the mountains north of Mexico City. The town derives its name from Ignacio Allende, a hero of the Mexican War of Independence. It is also well known for its traditional Mexican fiestas.

The complex that Roy Azar worked on has the typical layout of historic buildings of this type: a patio with living accommodation arranged around it. The large windows have stone frames, and on every floor large double doors open onto balconies. Stone stairs lead straight from the patio to the roof with its terrace overlooking the city.

In this building Roy Azar designed four suites, each with its own ambience and décor. Each room has an individual colour palette in keeping with its furniture and interior design. The bedroom floors are tiled with hand-painted terracotta tiles; soft furnishings have been sourced from the Designers Guild collection.

The owners’ suite has the most luxurious furnishings. Here, it is all about tranquillity and intimacy, with capacious furniture, a striking daybed, a chaise longue facing the fireplace, and an oak writing table. This suite has its own terrace and a large bathroom, the walls of which are clad with hand-painted blue tiles. Here, light enters through a skylight.

Roy Azar placed a fireplace in the large sitting room, as well as a bar. The eye-catcher is a writing desk with a bright magenta interior. This item was designed personally by Azar and made in a series of 20-signed pieces, each with a different inner finish.

The pièce de résistance is the spacious dining room with dark wall covering by Pierre Frey. The style is a combination of authentic Mexican and the modern chic that scores well with Americans. Tables were made from recycled wooden beams encased in metal frames and topped with glass.

Throughout the building Azar has placed artworks by two of his favourite artists from San Miguel de Allende: Leigh Hyams and Marisa Bullosa. He asked them to help in the restoration and remodelling process. The building is currently in use as l’Ôtel, a hotel in the group of the same name, offering its Limited Edition Experience here.

The architect Roy Azar was born in Beirut in 1962. He studied in Mexico and opened his own design studio in 1984. More recently his studio has started focusing on hospitality projects.