Photography and Text

By Ann Conway and John Do

La Joya Hotel San Cristobal

San Cristobal de Las Casas

Chiapas – Mexico



Original wooden doors that protected the property.




La Joya Hotel San Cristóbal

Discovering A Jewel – Chapter One




La Joya Hotel is an elegant home for travelers. Only two blocks from the center of San Cristobal de Las Casas, it is close enough to explore this magical town and far enough away to enjoy the serenity of the patios and beautifully appointed suites. Each of the five rooms boasts fine linens, original art, and bouquets of fresh flowers. Ann Conway and John Do created this oasis in Chiapas, Mexico, after traveling the world. They chose San Cristobal for its perfect combination of natural beauty and cultural riches.


L.J. Hentry Shadows

First glimpse of the secret garden patio of La Joya Hotel San Cristobal.


There’s no name on the wall. Nothing to indicate that there is something hidden behind it. Silver numbers and a silver logo above two dark heavily carved doors suggest something, but not a whisper that there’s a secret garden within, Brunett’s walled oasis of flowers and trees, a place to escape the energy of the streets and allow the quiet to seep in and find relief. A gentle “Whew.”


Front Patio

Walled oasis with cascading water into an espejo de agua.


La Joya Hotel began as a stretch of grass, seen through two small holes that supported chains on the doors to keep intruders out. On the wall it said “Se Vende,” and the two holes in the door allowed the future owners to peer in and dream that this property could be theirs. They saw a view to the hills surrounding San Cristobal de Las Casas. They saw that there was nothing to tear down, allowing them the freedom to create. And so they did. Idea by idea. Piece by piece. A bed and breakfast on the first level and their home on the second.


Dining Room

Dining room with view of the garden patio.


Decades of design magazines offered ideas that took on their own lives and became only distant cousins to the originals. Like painters, the owners started with broad brush strokes, outlining the forms. Then finer details, colors, textures, and the freedom to erase along the way.


Breakfast Patio

Breakfast patio and outdoor living room of La Joya Hotel San Cristobal.


They collected from countries where they lived, antique stores, and open markets in Mexico. In Puebla they found a Virgin with a stone cape embroidered with crescent moon, flowers, and stars. She’s the Virgin of Zapopan who wards off storms and lightening. The Virgin sits atop trickles of water cascading into an emerald espejo de agua. She creates and guards their tranquility.



La Joya Hotel’s walkway to luxurious suites.


Two twentieth century lanterns hang like sentinels on either side of the Virgin. Though originally designed for gas as they hung in a hacienda in Tlaxcala, they are now fashioned to cradle candles that flicker reflected stars at night.


Virgin at Night

Virgin with candles flickering reflected stars at night.


The garden explodes with the seasons. Red and pink impatience thrive in the winter. Red, white and variegated amaryllis burst into bloom in the spring. Pink and blue hydrangeas and blue and white agapanthus celebrate the summer. Azalea trees flower year round.


Virgin Front Patio

Virgin of Zapopan protecting the tranquility of La Joya Hotel.


La Joya Hotel, the jewel, waits for the curious to discover its secrets.


Blue Virgin

Mexican virgin at La Joya Hotel San Cristobal.



Patio Buena Vista

La Joya Hotel’s Patio Buena Vista, a place to relax with a glass of wine.



View From Patio

Sunset over San Cristobal de Las Casas enjoyed from Patio Buena Vista.



2 Responses to “JL TRAVEL EXCLUSIVE – La Joya Hotel San Cristobal: Discovering A Jewel – Chapter One”

  1. Susan Stark | 06.26.15 at 7:39 PM said…

    The photo of patio Buena Vista reminded me of a New Year’s eve we spent at La Joya hotel. We had a 360° view of the surrounding communities, each one with its own fireworks. Ann and John know the area very well and can give expert advice on what to do and see. John makes a fabulous breakfast. It’s hard to leave such a beautiful hotel, but when you do, it’s only a short walk to the historic district of San Cristobal. It’s a delightful and beautiful city and very walkable.

  2. Andrea Goicoechea | 06.26.15 at 6:51 PM said…

    Our family has had the pleasure of staying at La Joya Hotel San Cristobal twice in the past two years. The hotel’s location two easy blocks from the heart of San Cristobal allows for convenient forays to the lively walking streets and plaza full of restaurants and shops. Ann and John’s fine collection of art is tastefully displayed in the lush and tranquil setting they have created. They are attentive hosts, so gracious and accommodating. We love San Cristobal de las Casas and La Joya Hotel is our home when we are there.