The boutique hotel La Casa de la Marquesa is a landmark in Queretaro. It is one of the premium boutique hotels in the Colonial Highlands of Mexico, and it all began with a love story.
You can ask any local and they will give you a slightly different version every time, but the foundation of the story is the same. A duke, the Marques, fell in love with a beautiful nun, and because of her cunning, Queretaro flourished in the face of despair.
The Love Story
The love story behind Casa de la Marquesa begins with a powerful and rich Basque nobleman named Don Juan Antonio de Urrutia y Arana Perez de Inoriza y Chávarri, Marques de la Villa del Villar del Aguila (yes, that’s his full name). Don Juan Antonio was married, but that didn’t stop him from having a wandering eye. He fell in love with a nun, Sister Marcela, who also happened to be the niece of his wife. As much as he tried to woo her, she kindly rejected his advances, declaring that she was married to God.
Queretaro was a thriving and growing city in the early 1700s. Because of new construction, and poor sanitation, the river running through Queretaro that provided drinking water was also being dammed and contaminated. The nuns tried desperately to help the people of Queretaro, but without clean drinking water, the people became sick and were dying. Sister Marcela went to the Marques and asked that if he truly loved her, he would bring clean water to the city and build the most beautiful house anyone has ever seen.
He, thinking this could be the way to win her heart, provided the funds to build the aqueduct between a natural spring in La Cañada (the ravine) and the center of Queretaro. His vision can be seen today in the 74-arch pink sandstone aqueduct connected to fountains and water tanks around the city.
After the completion of the aqueduct, he again proclaimed his love and her response was a mere thank you. According to any local I asked, she did not fall for his advances, and stayed true to God.
Eighteen years later, he completed construction on the beautiful La Casa de la Marquesa. Don Juan Antonio’s wife, Josefa Paula Guerrero Dávila Moctezuma and Fernández del Corral would stay in this lavish Baroque mansion, but according to the story, he resided elsewhere.
Inside La Casa de la Marquesa
Beautiful Moorish decorations and lattice stonework decorate every inch of the magnificent courtyard within La Casa de la Marquesa.
Our room was a very spacious inside courtroom. Each of the 25 spacious rooms are decorated differently. The craftsmanship is stunning from each door knocker to the crown molding.
During the day, anyone can stop in and marvel at the beautiful antiques and architecture or enjoy a nice meal. At night, a city walking tour guided by characters dressed in 18th century fashions visit the hotel to retell the story of the resourceful nun who saved the people of Queretaro with the love of a cheating man.
Best choice: stay at the hotel, grab a bottle of wine and some glasses, and enjoy the show-and-tell for free.