View our
special offers

Discover the Quinta Real Oaxaca, which was originally founded as the Convent of Santa Catalina in 1579.

timeline icon

Quinta Real Oaxaca, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2012, dates back to 1579.


Built in 1579, Quinta Real Oaxaca was originally constructed as a stunning nunnery. It appeared at a time when Oaxaca itself was growing rapidly into a respectable metropolis. Commerce from neighboring colonial settlements mainly drove Oaxaca’s economy, which inspired droves of new Spanish pioneers to settle inside the town. As such, one Catholic priest—Bishop Fray Bernardino de Albuquerque—commissioned the creation of a new monastery in order to help provide the burgeoning community with religious services. The Bishop’s facility would specifically house an order of nuns who would help administer mass at the local churches throughout the week. Called the “Convento de Santa Catalina,” the nuns lived within the convent for generations until the political strife of the mid-19th century forced them to vacate the premises for good. Facing an uncertain future, the erstwhile monastery subsequently fulfilled a variety of roles. The building had most recently provided office space for several municipal bureaucrats when enterprising hoteliers acquired it during the early 1970s. They specifically began an extensive renovation process that saw the former convent transformed into a magnificent historic hotel called the “Real Quinta Oaxaca.” Work on the building began in 1972 and involved an entire group of diverse professionals. While a team of experts restored the frescoes on the historic walls, the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History) oversaw the interior decorations, including flooring and various ancient treasures. Today, the Quinta Real Oaxaca continues to be one of Mexico’s most prestigious holiday destinations. Its upscale accommodations and cutting-edge amenities have truly made it a luxurious vacation retreat. The Quinta Real Oaxaca is also centrally located in downtown Oaxaca, placing it close to such renowned cultural attractions like the Zocalo Oaxaca, the Museo de Sitio Casa Juárez, the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, and Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. A member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2012, few places in the region are better suited for a wonderful, historically-themed trip than this brilliant historic hotel.

  • About the Location +

    Officially known as “Oaxaca de Juárez,” the city of Oaxaca is one of Mexico’s most historic communities. Its heritage harkens back centuries to the time of the Zapotecs, a Mesoamerican civilization that once densely populated the region. (Amazingly, a total of 16 native people resided within the area, although the Zapotecs were the most populous.) The Zapotecs were an incredibly skilled society, developing technologies that made them avid astronomers and architects. In fact, the Zapotecs even managed to level the top of a massive mountain, where they constructed an ornate ceremonial center known today as “Monte Albán.” Their entire community was based around a sprawling metropolis remembered to history as “San José Mogote,” which the Zapotecs first inhabited sometime around 1500 BC. At its height, San José Mogote numbered nearly 18,000 people! Nevertheless, the powerful Aztec Empire eventually conquered the vicinity by the start of the 15th century (AD). Fortunately for the Zapotecs, the culture in San José Mogote nonetheless remained relatively the same. If anything, the standard of living in the city grew exponentially as the Aztecs endeavored to reinforce several trade routes that led directly into San José Mogote. Soon enough, massive Aztec cities like Tenochtitlán were regularly facilitating trade with Zapotecan merchants. But the Aztecs also left their own imprint on the region by developing their own unique communities across the landscape. Perhaps the most enduring was a military outpost atop a local hill known later as the “Cerro del Fortín.” The citadel guarded the surrounding Oaxaca Valley, guaranteeing that the Zapotecs remained well-connected with the rest of the Aztec Empire.

    The history of the region changed dramatically in the early 16th century, though, when the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés launched a successful invasion of the Aztec Empire. In the wake of his victory, Cortés dispatched numerous lieutenants throughout the neighboring territories that had yet to encounter the Spain’s colonial armies. One such deputy was another conquistador named Francisco de Orozco, who Cortés had assigned to seize the area around San José Mogote. After a brief military campaign, the Spanish claimed the region as their own and immediately set about constructing their own towns and villages. The place where the greatest construction occurred was at the former Aztec military outpost, which gradually grew into a city known as “Antequera.” Antequera itself soon evolved into a conventional Spanish settlement in the “New World” and functioned as an important economic center for the next 300 years. But a new wave of economic turmoil in the 19th century, when the community became a frequent battleground during the Mexican War of Independence. At the conclusion of the fighting, the residents decided to rename the city as “Oaxaca,” in honor of the Native Americans that once called the region home. (The town eventually added the phrase “de Juárez” several decades later after Mexican president Benito Juárez, who originally hailed from the city.) Oaxaca fortunately recovered swiftly in the years following the conflict and reemerged as one of Mexico’s most vibrant communities. Oaxaca has since maintained its status as a leading Mexican metropolis, as it is home to all kinds of thriving businesses and cultural institutions. The city and the nearby archeological site of Monte Albán are even jointly organized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations!

  • About the Architecture +

    Originally an ancient convent, the Quinta Real Oaxaca still displays the same Spanish colonial architectural aesthetics that first defined it years ago. Also known today as “Spanish Eclectic,” Spanish colonial architecture dates back centuries and is one of the most prolific design aesthetics seen throughout the Americas today. The form itself emerged when the first generations of Spanish colonists began arriving from Europe at the start of the 16th century. Seeking to establish similar settlements to the ones found in their native Spain, the pioneers began to essentially recreate European cities across Mexico. Many of the earliest settlers crafted buildings that combined elements of architectural motifs popular in Spain at the time, including Renaissance, Moorish, and Byzantine forms. Over time, though, those beautiful and extravagant styles were complemented by other, newer forms, such as Neoclassical and Baroque architecture. The amalgamation of all those unique styles eventually produced structures that were incredibly decorative and ornate. But despite the variety in their appearance, they mostly shared the same general layout and qualities. For instance, the buildings typically featured a central courtyard, as well as thick stucco walls that could endure diverse climate of both North and South America. Among the other recognizable features that they possessed included heavy carved doors, spiraled columns, and gabled red-tile roofs, as well. This new stunning architectural form soon defined the landscape of countless Spanish cities in the “New World,” such as Mexico City, Puebla, Guadalajara, and of course, Oaxaca. Many of those buildings still survive to this day, too, with some even preserved as recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites.