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“A Very Special Place”

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Hacienda Las Trancas
Reviewed April 5, 2008

There's simply too much to say about our stay at Hacienda Las Trancas. It was highly recommended by friends who had stayed there before, so we checked out the Web site and immediately started making plans to visit. After further research, checking TripAdvisor, talking to Kelley (the owner, with husband Stephen), etc., we were still amazed when we arrived. As Kelley showed our group around, we were all giggling like kids as we toured the property that would be ours for the week.

Arriving in Léon, our transportation (a driver with large van prearranged by Kelley) met us in the airport lobby and had us in Trancas in less than an hour. Although the town of Dolores Hidalgo is only another 15 minutes away, Trancas is definitely a small village in the Mexican desert, but being right off of a major highway makes it easily accessible. A single road runs through the village from the highway to the dusty (you're in the desert) village plaza where the 400+ year old hacienda stands.

The outside of this old fort is massive and was a bit imposing as we drove up to the relatively small entrance. Tired and not sure of what awaited us, we were warmly greeted by Kelley, then stunned at the garden and central courtyard waiting just inside the doors – a true oasis. (The hacienda recycles its gray water to use in the gardens.) Kelley gave us a tour so we would know our way around, which takes a little while in a place this size. Each bedroom was unique, all large and beautiful, with some of the suites bordering on huge. The kitchen/dining, back courtyard/stables and pool areas were just as nice. Like the first day in a new school, I felt like I needed a map or I'd never get to class on time!

As the week progressed, we enjoyed our wake-up calls from neighboring burros and roosters, attention from the hacienda's dogs and cats, exploring Trancas by foot, horse and bike, day trips to San Miguel and Gaunajuato, pitchers of margueritas, time relaxing (in the pool, hot tub, hammocks, on the rooftop patio, on the sofas along the portales, etc. – it's a big place), and jockeying for both time in the saddle and time on the massage tables. But time in the dining room topped it all. The cuisine prepared by Yolanda and her staff is Mexican as few Americans have experienced. Light, fresh and delicious.

Although day trips with a group of 12 was challenging, that many people staying at the hacienda almost seemed small, even in the dining room.

All that said, be assured this is not a resort or luxury hotel. This is Kelley and Stephen's home, which they offer as a rental property – albeit with additional great services. Kelley mentioned several times that she tries to be as available to her guests as they need her to be and always checks in at least a couple of times a day, but there is no concierge. Guests should be organized, yet flexible, and a bit adventurous and self-sufficient. Most of the staff speaks little English, so knowing some Spanish is helpful, as well as polite.

Like staying in any ancient fort or castle turned accomodation, the hacienda has a few drafts, leaks, architectural oddities, etc. That's a very large part of its charm. Its present owners have done an unbelievable job restoring and renovating it so far, but it is also a work in progress. In addition to a sizable staff that tends to the day-to-day, there are also craftsmen about, taking care of ongoing renovations. By employing so many locals, Kelley and Stephen have not only brought a magnificent building back to life, they are doing their best to keep the village alive by giving back.

Hacienda Las Trancas is a great destination for a group of family and/or friends. The memories of the hacienda, our new friends there and the quality time we spent with people we care about will last the rest of our days.

Note: There was a particularly negative review of Hacienda Las Trancas recently posted on TripAdvisor. Based on those comments and complaints, I can only assume that this person had unrealistic expectations. This is a very old building and a rental property located in a rural Mexican village. Considering all that, it surpassed my expectations in every way.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled with friends
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2  Thank CMLN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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78 - 84 of 93 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2008

I don't think I have ever been more enchanted with a place than with this Hacienda and its village. Our group of friends experienced some of the most amazing hospitality - and food. The food was cooked by locals using farm grown produce - I still dream about the meals!

I was impressed with the owner's sensitivity to the local culture. The Hacienda’s contributions to the economic development of the village are clear and quite wonderful! We were happy to find that their philosophy of sustainability also included a gray water recycling system. It was refreshing to vacation in a place that honors and supports the local environment and culture.

Trancas, the Hacienda and all the people (and animals) we were fortunate enough to cross paths with made our stay interesting, wonderful and most importantly magical. It is a great place for adventure and relaxation. Visit Hacienda Las Trancas for an exceptional experience!

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled with friends
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Thank mountainmanjohnny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2008

Just a few months ago I went to the Hacienda Las Trancas with 40 of my closest friends and relatives to have a week of vacationing that would culminate with my wedding. It was quite an undertaking orchestrating our guests from places like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, to name just a few, to the tiny town outside of San Miguel de Allende in which the Hacienda is nestled and not without some complaint I must admit! But once everyone arrived and were immediately served delicious margaritas and the homeade chips and guacamole thus began a week, in which all bother of the outside world was a fleeting memory and people immersed themselves in the majesty of the surroundings and into the loving care of Kelley and Steven and their nurturing staff. The wedding week was in February but I had started the planning with Kelley in May. I can not overstate the generosity of which she gave of her time in the many months before our arrival! And that she gave to every detail of our week and wedding plans! She herself oversaw the music, flowers, table settings, wedding meal as well as helping me to plan outside excursions for our guests and did it all for no additional charge! Absolutely unheard of! An added plus being that Kelley is a gifted artist and I welcomed her attention to detail and her suggestions which elevated everything. The wedding, and the week that I had envisioned were to be 'magical, full of surprises, meaningful, and with a childlike atmosphere free of pretense and full of play'. I tell you dear reader that it was more than I could've imagined on every level! The musicians, the horses, the food, the Mojiganga puppets (Kelley had recommended), the fireworks, the morning coffee, the tents, the flowers, basking by the pool, the gorgeous rooms and bathrooms, the verdant gardens, the margaritas and the lovely familial meals around the grand dining room table! All was superb and not just for the wedding but throughout the entire week. The service was seamless and so understated. Several of my friends and I had traveled with infants and toddlers and had clothing that needed to be washed daily. All we had to do was to put the basket of dirty clothes outside of our doors with a note and when we returned a few hours later the baskets were returned with everything cleaned and folded. The same with the massage services and scheduled horseback riding-We simply signed up at the desk the day or evening before and when the time came the massage therapist or the horses would be ready and waiting for us. I believe that this is characteristic of Kelley and Steven's intent for their guests, that while they and the staff work quietly and tirelessly in the background, the guests feel that they themselves are the proprietors of the Hacienda for the time they are there and we did! And it was a joy! A pure joy! If my guests and I have one complaint it would be that it was difficult adjusting to being back in the real world after such a sublime experience. My husband and I have received so many phone calls, cards and emails thanking us for having them to (most have said) 'The best, most memorable wedding I have ever been to!'. The enthusiasm for Trancas being thus, my Father is planning to bring the entire group back for another week in two years and we couldn't be more thrilled! One last thing I would like to add is that while I put a few photographs here, I am amassing all of our favorite photographs from this week and will revisit this site to add the site for all viewers to see and share in some of the images. Also, I would be pleased to speak with anyone who is planning to visit Hacienda Las Trancas or even better to have their wedding there and my email is candace@mocean.tv.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled on business
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1  Thank ParkSlopeCandace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2008

I originally chose Hacienda las Trancas as a place to celebrate my 50th birthday because it was an easy way to plan a foriegn party. I could reserve the whole place with only 8 people, then invite up to 30. If only 8 showed up, it was still mine for the week. The web site looked appealing, quiet, and relaxing.
When I wrote to Kelly to ask about booking that week, she responded "We would love to host your 50th. Let us know what you would like, tres leches cake, mariachis, fireworks?" I knew then that this place just might be something special.
It was.Seventeen of us enjoyed a week filled with magic, laughter, and warmth.
Arriving at the Hacienda we were overwhelmed by beauty of the inner courtyard and rooms. Each of us ran from room to unique room, oohing and ahing and trying to decide which one to pick.
Welcome margaritas and guacamole awaited us. We had arrived in a kind of paradise.
Kelly greeted us, oriented us, made sure we were settled, and (as she did all week) made sure we were comforatable. She was the perfect host, always available when needed,but never obtrusive. She and the staff took care of our every need; arranging tours or transportation, giving tips on what to see or do, calling the airport to find lost luggage, arranging pedicures, and making sure that we wanted for nothing.
And the food.... ah, the food. How can you describe having one incredible meal after another after another? Heavenly, I suppose. It was heavenly.
Each day we read, swam, rode bikes or horses, wallked in the hills, were massaged, or played volleyball. Each night we sat in the hot tub, looked at the stars, and were lulled to sleep by the sounds of the village.
The highlight, though, was my birthday. Kelly arranged everything to make the day very special. All I had to do was show up. I will never forget the delicious cake, the staff singing the Mexican birthday song, the mariachis sweeping into the dining room, the dancing, and, of course the fireworks. When a flaming five-oh appeared on the firework structure, I knew I had made it.
This is an amazing place, beatifully restored and thoughtfully run.
During the planning of my trip, Kelly told me "This is a magic place. Those that come will have a great time and those that don't will be sorry they missed it." Its true. Its just as simple as that.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with friends
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Thank traveljoey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2008

This place is just so stunning. I went here for my friend's wedding and one of her friends said it best, "the space here is so vast, that you just feel expansive inside." For two weeks afterward, I just felt like I was still on vacation -- such was the feel of both the Hacienda and the not far off town of San Miguel de Allende.

The place itself is ancient and authentic, so this is best for those who appreciate that sort of thing, not for those who want a walled off Cancun like experience. It's in a very small town, but close enough to San Miguel de Allende that you could drive within 45 minutes. It's phenomenal for weddings, big family reunions, artist retreats. There's horses and hot stone massages. There's a pool and hot tub that are beautiful. The owners have a remarkable eye for color and decor, the food is incredible, and there are nice little touches like bath robes, and nice soaps, little chocolates on your pillow. It's a blend of rustic and luxury, and for the adventurous at heart who are looking for stories to tell, and something out of the ordinary, this is the place...

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank seattlelulu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2008

I learned of the negative review of the hacienda from friends of ours who had joined us on our weeklong stay to the hacienda last year. Curious, I browsed to TripAdvisor and read, flabbergasted, the review from "longwinding".

We came to be friends with Kelley and Stephen while guests at their hacienda ("ours" for the week) and I could only imagine what they were feeling as they read this, as only the purely objective points had any factual basis that I could recall. (ie; yes, there were speed bumps on the road to the hacienda)

While I could, and am compelled to had I the time, write a refutation of almost every point raised in longwinding's review, please let me suffice it to say this: Everyone in our group of twelve that week are seasoned, experienced travelers. All of us have experienced a range of service while traveling from five-star to "I would never wish this on my worst enemy".

To a person, every one of us was enchanted by the hacienda, its staff, its amenities, and the unique charm of the experience. Don't make the mistake of believing that by "charm" I'm being diplomatically euphamistic. It was absolutely outstanding.

It was, in fact, so great that plans are already being made for our return.

Not knowing the reviewer or her group, I have no idea why they had such a reportedly abysmal time. The only possible reason, short of aliens having come down and abducted the owners and staff, is that they brought that experience with them in some shape or form.

Sometimes all it takes is one small inconvenience or unexpected triviality to start the inevitable slide towards the realization of a self-fulfilling prophecy.


In plainest terms: if you're considering a visit to this wonderful, wonderful place, then by all means GO! It's an amazing getaway that you'll remember fondly the rest of your life.

Feel free to contact me personally if you have any questions about a first-timer's visit to the hacienda. I would relish the opportunity to dispell any negative connotations that the previous review may have planted.

-David Johnston, Raleigh NC
dsjohnston@detailz.com

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled with friends
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1  Thank dsjohnston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2008

I went to a destination wedding at the Hacienda. Everything was so incredibly charming and fabulous. I have been raving to my friends about it since I got back. Frankly, I think it is the best wedding I've ever been to. I'm surprised at longwinded's review. I think the Hacienda was a labor of love for these owners. And yes, a Hacienda opens inward by definition. I didn't find it dusty at all. I can still see those stars overhead and hear the music...like a movie, really. Just luscious.

Stayed: February 2008
1  Thank whitianga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hacienda Las Trancas

Address: Plaza Tres Estrellas 50 | Trancas, San Miguel de Allende 37286, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Central Mexico and Gulf Coast > Guanajuato > San Miguel de Allende
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 153 B&Bs / Inns in San Miguel de Allende
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hacienda Las Trancas is the perfect setting for romantic getaways, destination weddings, family reunions, workshops, birthdays, special events, or vacation with friends. Book a single suite for a night or a week. Or rent the whole place. Why rent a house when you can rent an entire hacienda? Step back in time and experience the elegance of another era, to a place filled with romance, tranquility and laughter. Authentic, romantic 450 year old ex-hacienda located in a friendly village outside of San Miguel de Allende. Horseback riding is available twice a day from our stables. The solar heated pool, jacuzzi, fitness center with full circuit Cybex equipment, mountain bikes, satellite TV, 10 Mbps internet throughout the hacienda, ping pong, and PickleBall court are available to your guests throughout the day. Hot springs nearby. Luxury Linens, down bedding, fireplaces, private terraces, purified water, beautiful gardens, robes, chocolates, fresh flowers in all rooms. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hacienda Las Trancas Hotel San Miguel De Allende

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