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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

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Casa Aurora Borealis

A magical home with unique history!

7 Bedrooms, 7 full baths, 2 half baths

Pool when combined for 10 bedrooms with Casa Borealis

$6,400 per week, $17,500 per month

Veranda

Casa Aurora Borealis is in the Centro, located on Ancha de San Antonio next door to the famed Instituto Allende. With 7 bedrooms, 7 Baths, 2 Half Baths and one-of-a-kind views, it can be combined with Casa Borealis next door to provide 10 bedrooms total including a pool.

Historians say that Casa Aurora Borealis is one of the oldest parts of the Solariega de la Canal, the huge "country estate" that was begun in 1733 by San Miguel's most prominent family -- today the main building is known as the Instituto Allende and the nearby Parque Benito Juarez was the fruit orchard for the estate.

This three story colonial home has recently been renovated by an architect/collector/antiquarian to provide modern amenities that carefully blend with the historical character and details of this unique casa. Behind the thick walls and rustic stone façade, you will find a very special home with a fascinating and colorful history.

Built by the illustrious Don Manuel Tomas de la Canal y Bueno de Baeza and his wife, Dona Maria Josefa de Hervas y Flores, the "country estate" was connected via a stone tunnel to the family's main house fronting on the Jardin (just 4 1/2 blocks away)! For the first 200+ years, this property was owned by successive generations of the same family, with fascinating "interludes" during the Mexican Revolution.

During the 20th century Casa Aurora Borealis was owned by another "famous couple", Pepe Ortiz and Lupita Gallardo. Ortiz (a renowned bullfighter turned film star) and Gallardo (an actress/film star who was noted for her warm hospitality) entertained celebrities from Hollywood and Mexico City and together with their friend Jose Mojica (renowned tenor/actor who owned nearby Villa Santa Monica), they helped to put San Miguel "on the map"! Some of their better known visitors included John Wayne, Ava Gardner, John Ford, Joan Crawford and Gary Cooper! In the major bull rings of Mexico and Spain, the matador Ortiz was celebrated for his spectacular "suits of light". At his nearby Rancho Atascadero, Ortiz raised fighting bulls and both he and Lupita starred in films during the 30's, 40's and 50's - watch their black and white film Celito Lindo (1936) while you are at Casa Aurora Borealis!

Garden

Casa Aurora Borealis's location has it all - Centro address (just 4 1/2 blocks to the Jardin), next door to the Instituto Allende (art and language school), numerous restaurants, coffee shops, take-out food vendors, antique shops, jewelry & gift boutiques, galleries and even a neighborhood grocer/fresh flowers - all on the same block! The long/wide block in front of Casa Aurora Borealis was prominently featured in the 2003 Antonio Banderas/Salma Hayak/Johnny Depp film Once Upon A Time in Mexico.

The friendly and accommodating staff at Casa Aurora Borealis includes a well-trained cook, a housekeeper and a gardener. Enjoy delicious breakfast and lunch "at home", and members of the staff can be hired after hours for evening meals and social gatherings.

A special opportunity for families and larger travel groups, combine with beautiful Casa Borealis directly next door (3 bedrooms/4 full baths & pool - same house ownership) and you have the Aurora Borealis (total 10 bedrooms, 11 full baths, 2 half baths + pool).

Casa Aurora Borealis's recent renovation was done with the concept of keeping history in mind while adding special features that enhance the comfort and enjoyment of visitors and guests. These "special touches" include: a large collection of antique tiles (azulejos) from Mexico, Holland, Belgium, France, England, Italy, Spain and Portugal; a unique art collection featuring respected Mexican, European and US artists; a creative mix of artisan crafts, antiques and comfortable furnishings; state of the art kitchen; variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for living and dining; stereo system with separate volume controls, high speed wireless internet throughout the house and an intercom system.

All rooms and outdoor living areas are named in honor of De La Canal family members and properties, with historical narratives in each of the spaces that give background information about San Miguel and the rich heritage of this extraordinary family.

One enters Casa Aurora Borealis through the Zaguan - a covered entry passage with boveda ceiling leading to an exotic courtyard with central fountain and huge lime tree, each said to be over 200 years old. The first floor rooms fronting on this courtyard include: a formal Comedor (dining room) that seats ten - the room is filled with antique tiles and has library cabinets with many books about San Miguel and Mexico, and the room is painted in the exact colors as those in Claude Monet's Dining Room at Giverny; two bedrooms, each with private bath (bedroom #1 with twin beds, bedroom #2 with a queen size bed; each bathroom has a shower); one half bath (Caballeros) and covered porch to the Entrada (stair hall) and the kitchen.

The Entrada's staircase has original 18th century talavera tiles from Puebla and another half bath (Damas). Beyond the entry is one of the most beautiful rooms in Casa Aurora Borealis, the Sala (living room). This large room has high ceilings with beams, a grand piano, two seating areas, original cantera fireplace and large doors/windows leading to the second courtyard patio. Four hand carved wooden brackets from a 17th ct. home in Puebla support the Moorish arches. The Sala has a TV, VCR, DVD, and stereo with an iPod connection.

At the heart of the house, the Cocina (kitchen) is located between the front and back courtyards - and unusual for an old house in Mexico, the kitchen is quite large and has a breakfast area for six. The kitchen combines "old San Miguel" charm with modern appliances and was planned with in-house cooking classes in mind! A Wolfe professional cook-top blends comfortably with Queretaro white marble countertops and blue and white tiles from Dolores Hidalgo. From the Kitchen and the Sala, guests enter the Guadalupe Patio which features a covered dining area, tile bar, wall fountain and huge stone fireplace that is used for cooking! Lush plantings in both patios and all terraces are colorful year round with bougainvilleas, geraniums and seasonal flowers.

The aromatic landscaping was designed around fragrant flowers including various jasmines, honeysuckle and lavender. Butterflies and hummingbirds love the courtyards!

The second floor has four bedrooms and for full bathrooms, a large terrace and tremendous views! At the heart of the second floor is a stair landing with a convenient coffee/snack bar equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. The original master bedroom (#3) has a queen size bed and a sitting area with TV, private bath with tub/shower glazed with 18th ct. talavera tiles and large windows/balcony with a fabulous view of the castle like spires of the Parroquia church. An even larger bedroom (#4) with fireplace and balcony overlooking the Guadalupe Patio has two queen size beds, sitting area, TV and large bathroom with a huge tile tub/shower. A covered "pasillo" leads to two smaller bedrooms with cupolas, large nichos and lots of character. Bedroom #5 has an antique full size bed, private bath with shower and views of Las Monjas church (this bedroom is named in honor of SOR Josefa Lina de la Canal y Hervas who was born in this house and who later funded the historic Las Monjas Church and Convent). Bedroom #6 has a twin/trundle (two twin beds) and private bath with large tile shower - this bedroom has beautiful views of both the Parroquia and Las Monjas churches. A large sun-filled terrace with lemon trees, succulents and night blooming cactus specimens overlooks Ancha de San Antonio, allowing "reserved seating" views of the many parades that pass by on the way to the Jardin (the colorful "Locos" parade being the best known)!

Casa Aurora Borealis is famous for its third floor ... and we can imagine the champagne corks popping during evening gatherings when Ortiz and Gallardo entertained Hollywood "royalty" on the fabulous third floor terrace! The large "Don Pepe" Master Bedroom (#7) has a domed boveda ceiling, a stone fireplace with comfortable sitting area/TV, antique desk (hard wire and wireless internet connection) and original unplastered stone wall. The headboard for the king size bed was made from a pair of ancient "carriage room doors" found in the house. Views of the Centro at night and the orange/pink morning skies are magical. The master suite includes a large "his and hers" bathroom that features a huge tiled tub (for two!) with separate shower, both with great views of the dramatic Centro skyline. A generous dressing room is outfitted with custom cabinetry, a refrigerator and a doorway that leads to the private Las Trancas terrace - and this large terrace truly is "the room with a view"!

The panoramic vistas from this terrace are amazing - all of historic San Miguel in the center, the lush Balcones hillside to the east and the larger mountains on the western horizon in the direction of the historic Hacienda San Joaquin de las Trancas, one of seven extensive De La Canal estates. A jasmine and bougainvillea arbor provides mid day shade and comfortable outdoor furniture makes this terrace the perfect place to spend quality time - morning, afternoon and evenings... daydream (or nap!) while listening to the church bells, sip a margarita at dusk ... this terrace is a spectacular setting to enjoy the many fiestas and fireworks displays that San Miguel is famous for!

Enjoy Casa Aurora Borealis.... a magical home with unique history!