By Peter Ferry, Special to Tribune Newspapers
8:29 PM EST, January 8, 2013
The Hacienda Las Trancas in central Mexico was built in 1567, and its 40,000-square-foot footprint is unchanged since. It is one of the oldest buildings in North America, and you can rent the whole thing for weddings, reunions, conferences or just because.
Las Trancas is a rectangular structure with 3-foot-thick walls built around two large courtyards. The first is a tropical garden and the second an open event space. It has 11 suites that range from lovely to huge and spectacular (2,300 square feet). The whole place rents for $1,500 a night for as many as 10 people. Additional people cost more. The tab includes three meals a day. Suites rent for $320 to $450.
Father Miguel Hidalgo, who led the Mexican Revolution of 1810, stayed here, as did Pancho Villa 100 years later. The owners during that war welcomed the insurgents, and Las Trancas wasn't burned, unlike many haciendas; they bricked up their women in a secret room, however. One owner was an insurgent himself; he robbed a train, then raised a posse to track down the thieves.
Guests have use of the horses, bikes, swimming pool, spa and volleyball court, the back wall of which is pockmarked with bullet holes reputedly put there by firing squads.
The only bad news: Las Trancas is out in the country. The good news: Who cares? The place has everything you need, especially if you bring friends.
Las Trancas is owned by Americans Kelley and Stephen Wilkinson. They and their staff of 18 help arrange transportation from the closest airport, Del Bajio International Airport (or BJX), near Leon in Guanajuato. 828-712-9910; haciendalastrancas.com.
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