The famous Guanajuato hotels Castillo de Santa Cecilia and Camino Real stand at the top of the calle Alhóndiga, where, in years gone by, stood the hacienda known as the San Francisco Javier, originally founded in 1684.
The hacienda was a silver mine, complete with machinery, bunkhouses for the workers and even a chapel, but following the war of independence it fell into ruins. The area was eventually renovated at the end of the nineteenth century and now, for more than half a century, it has been home to some of Guanajuato’s most prestigious hotels.
Over the years, the Camino Real under its present name and in its previous guise as the Parador San Javier, has played host to important figures and artists come to enjoy Guanajuato’s cultural delights. In addition the hotel was one the settings for the movie, “These Ruins that You See”, based on the novel of the same name by one of Guanajuato’s most famous sons, Jorge Ibargüengoitia.
Having purchased part of the San Francisco Javier hacienda in 1951, Manuel Quezada Brandy decided to build a hotel there in the form of a medieval castle, initially consisting of a modest 20 rooms. The hotel was built on the site of an abandoned mine by the name of the Santa Cecilia.
Since then, the hotel has grown and has been used as a setting in many movies and TV series, as well as playing host to internationally renowned figures such as King Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife, Queen Sofía, Queen Elizabeth II of England, French actress Brigitte Bardot and Mexican film legend Mario Moreno, better known as Cantinflas.
The hacienda and the surrounding area, which, along with the hotels, also includes the neighboring hacienda of San Matías, has been zoned into the district of San Javier and is now also an important residential area.