Published on January 14th, 2011 | by Mark Chesnut
Latin America’s Best Hotels of 2010, from Trans-Americas Journey
|Parador San Juan de Dios is infused with antiques and art in Chiapas, Mexico.|
In April 2006, photographer Eric Mohl and journalist Karen Catchpole packed up their truck and drove out of New York City on a five-year, 200,00-mile international journey that would take them to the far reaches of the Western Hemisphere. They share their travel experiences, reviews and tips on an excellent site, appropriately named Trans-Americas Journey.
It’s no surprise that this dynamic traveling duo has discovered a variety of interesting places. They spent nearly all 365 nights of 2010 in hotels, and have compiled a handy roundup of some of the best places where they have hung their hats — representing a variety of interesting categories that range from “best all-inclusive” to “best S&M hotel.” Here is just a sample, from one category that caught my eye (you’ll find more here).
Best unexpected hotel art collection(s): There’s an arty little secret lurking in Chiapas, Mexico and it’s all thanks to one man. Mario Uvence is an art and antiques dealer and a figure in the Mexican and international art worlds. He is also the owner of Parador San Juan de Dios hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas and Parador Santa Maria hotel, near Lagos de Montebello. Both hotels offer antique-stuffed rooms in meticulously restored buildings. But the real reason to visit is to gain access to the petite but powerful art collections at each property, both run by the Mario Uvence Cultural Foundation. The gallery at San Juan de Dios is appropriately called Eklektic and it features 17th- to 21st-century religious sculptures, paintings and other works of art from Chiapas, the Philipines and Europe. We saw pieces here (like a tiny baby Jesus carved out of ivory) that we’ve never seen in any other museum in the world. At Santa Maria’s Museo de Arte Sacro, religious pieces are on show in thoroughly modern displays inside the old bones of a renovated church. The collections, and their surroundings, are equally spectacular.
|A museum of sacred art graces the grounds at the Santa Maria Parador hotel in Chiapas.|
Many thanks to Karen and Eric for letting me share some of their great work!