2012 Mexican Roadtrip: Our Three Month Accommodations in San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

We rented a 3550 sq. ft. house in a gated community 13.5 km outside of San Miguel de Allende. The development was new but the infrastructure was complete (unlike many other developments around San Miguel that were started before the financial meltdown). Los Labradores (www.rancholabradores.com) is a retirement community with cultural activities, a lap pool, a gym another pool and a Jacuzzi. It also had a shuttle into town. We actually had 2 houses to chose from at about the same price--US$1600 per month (with all utilities, cable TV, Internet, gardener and maid once a week included). One of them I called the baronial house because of the scale of the fireplace and mantel in the living room and dining room that overlooks their backyard with a Jacuzzi in it.

The other house was more to our taste (that’s the one we rented) but was actually larger with 3 bedrooms, as well as a TV viewing room, a closet room (yes, a closet room), 2 terraces and a yard with all kinds of sitting areas overlooking a common area and a man-made lake.

One of our sitting areas in our yard where Dimitri is having coffee
The view from our kitchen was lovely. It had a huge kitchen with a breakfast room and an area outside the kitchen for dining with a grill. 
Part of the huge kitchen with the over-sized hammered copper sink
Another view of the kitchen and breakfast area

There was a big dining room table in a dining area and other tables here and there.
Audre having breakfast in the dining room

It did not have air conditioning. It was been breezy inside, fortunately. We decided on a place outside of town in a quiet neighborhood because no accommodations we had seen had air conditioning (except for one). We needed to keep the windows open and we hoped that our new house will be quiet (certainly no traffic but hopefully no dogs—particularly no Labradors, and no chickens) and it generally was. Our house was just beautiful with wonderful sculptures and signed art on the walls all around. For the first time in ages we actually had "house pride".
The living room and some of the sculptures
There were 4 full bathrooms in the house and we shared one! Our bathroom had the Toto toilet that had many more features than I originally noticed. The seat was heated and we could change the temperature of it. Also, on the wall was a panel and you could chose a rear spray (soft or regular) and make that spray oscillate or pulse. Now that is nice! We were amazed that the spray is perfectly directed for the two of us (and obviously for our big landlords). There was also a front (lady) spray which oscillates or pulses. The piece de resistence was the blow dryer. Is this what Japanese people think is a blow job? Wow what a toilet!

The houses in our section of Los Labradores were built generally from 4 different plans. We were on the common area where there are ponds running one to another with little cascades. 
Dimitri sitting on our patio overlooking the ponds
There were lots of trees with beautiful landscaping. There were many birds singing and at least 4 gardeners taking care of everything.
Another view of Dimitri on our patio
Next to our house on one side was the gargantuan house of Sergio Chazaro, one of the developers (who wasn't around much). Next to Sergio’s house was a house of the same model as ours.

We had a front portico and a good sized entrance hall with a table on one side and a wicker 2-person seat on the other. As you entered on the right was a bedroom with twin beds. In front of you were stairs going up and beyond was the living room, formal dining room and the space in between.
Audre in the living room having apertivo
To the left of the entry hall was a bodega. Next to it was a full bathroom. And finally a double-bedded room with its own bathroom. It had a built in desk that Audre used.

This is what a real estate brochure says about the Golden Corridor, the area of Los Labradores: "The word 'golden' awakens a feeling of grandeur, importance and prosperity, added to terms such as history, peace, art, architecture, health and exclusivity. The heart of the Golden Corridor played an important role during the war of Independence, already forming a part of the mystical places of Colonial Mexico. It was precisely from the Sanctuary of Atontonilco that Father Miguel Hidalgo coming from Dolores Hidalgo at dawn of the 16th of September 1810 took the standard of the Virgin of Guadalupe which since then became the symbol of this country.

"Almost two centuries later the Golden Corridor presents itself again as one of the most exquisite places to live. Factors such as the climate, the thermal waters and the incredible panoramic views offered by this semi desert climate and the mountain ranges which cover it, have attracted the interest of visionary investors, both Mexican and foreign.

"That is the case for example of the Rancho Los Labradores, a real estate project of Mexican investment, which within its development has taken into account its social, cultural and ecological aspect. Forming a part of the heart of the Golden Corridor, Rancho Los Labradores is creating the Cultural Center Miguel Z. Cházaro, which promises to become a space of light within the global artistic community. The project includes the construction of the most ambitious and innovative concert hall of all the state of Guanajuato, perhaps of all of Mexico, as well as a holistic center where spiritual development, health and fine arts form a basic pillar around which one of the most exclusive residential developments of San Miguel de Allende is being built."

How we found this house was unique. Every time we find accommodations there is a different twist. Dimitri (whose job you will recall, is to make sure we are not homeless—and who has been unemployed for the last 18 months) had us scheduled with appointments to see properties on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We saw around 12 properties, some of them condos. We drove our car everywhere and found it pretty easy following Garmin (we had to change the language to Spanish because Garmin’s English pronunciation of Spanish words was incomprehensible). The people we were meeting were on time and it was enjoyable. We were tourists looking at different neighborhoods. We were attracted to a condo within walking distance to town (we liked the idea of being able to walk to dinner) because it was well-decorated and it was the one that had air conditioned bedrooms (only the BRs). The complex was gated but there was no gym to speak of and it didn’t seem (excuse the expression) classy enough. Plus it had a very noisy school next door.

When we were in Santa Fe, we rendez-vous-ed with my long-time friend of Wendy Blake Stagg. She put us together with the Brownings who have skied Taos since it began. The Brownings have a house in Albuquerque where we visited them (they built that house and it is pretty spectacular). They told us about Los Labradores where they also built a house. Dimitri had originally dismissed Los Labradores because he thought it was too far from the center of San Miguel. The Brownings disabused us of that notion—there are plenty of parking lots in San Miguel and the Brownings find it convenient to take the Los Labradores shuttle into town and back when they go to dinner. So if it hadn’t been for Wendy introducing us to the Brownings and the Brownings advice, we wouldn’t have found our house. On site there is an RE agent who is the daughter of the developer of Los Labradores and in person she is easy to deal with. (She was on time for our appointment which was a surprise. We expected her to be a flake because Dimitri found her difficult to deal with beforehand. She didn’t answer e-mails or telephone calls). We have nosed around the area of Los Labradores and have found areas that look good for biking. There are rolling green hills with enough trees for shade. There are thermal spas around here with hotels that have restaurants.

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