Elegant Casa Oaxaca (Garcia Vigil 407, tel. 951/514-4173, fax 951/516-4412, casaoax [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx, www.casa-oaxaca.com, $190 s or d for the four smallest, yet spacious units, $300 s or d for a larger suite, and $390 for a two-story apartment above the rear courtyard) is straight uphill four blocks and a world apart from the zócalo. Its sky-blue colonial facade reveals nothing of its singularly unique interior.
The lobby, which appears more like an art museum foyer than a lodging entrance, provides the first clue. Past that, you enter a spacious, plant-decorated courtyard, with the wall plaster artfully removed here and there to reveal the brick underlay. Continue to a rear courtyard, which centers on a blue designer pool and a temazcal. All six rooms, which border the courtyards, are luxuriously austere and uniquely appointed with antiques, crafts, and contemporary wall art. Rates include gourmet continental breakfast in the exclusive Casa Oaxaca restaurant; credit cards are accepted. Temazcal treatments, complete with native healer, run about $50 per person.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition