La Purificadora, new in the colonial city of Puebla, Mexico, began its life as a purification plant, where water was distilled and bottled for ice. Two centuries later, leading Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and leading Mexican design hoteliers Grupo Habita have transformed the structure into a boutique hotel-the modern landmark of a reemerging city. The original stonewalled factory anchors the building (providing a nice blue-collar-but-not-too-blue-collar feel), while the 26 rooms incorporate bespoke tile, local wood and onyx. Glass staircases and balconies run up three new floors to a rooftop terrace, featuring an aquarium-style glass-walled pool (swim laps or pretend to be a blowfish-the choice is yours).
While purity inspires the design, the after-hours atmosphere is anything but. High-end celeb-chef Enrique Olivera (drawn southeast from Mexico City) is behind La Purificadora's first-floor restaurant/hotspot, where you can go for the local mole poblano and peruse the lengthy wine list, or sit at the chef's table, surrounded by a true-to-theme "water mirror." After dinner, head up to the rooftop for a rompope or three at the open-air bar, accompanied by panoramic views of the city and music late into the night.
Reinvention never felt this pure.