Travel Guide

How Fine Jewelry Designer Emilie Nolan Does San Miguel de Allende 

By Emilie Nolan
November 23, 2022

Nestled in Mexico’s central highlands, the draw of San Miguel de Allende is no longer a secret. With most recent praise from Vogue, the UNESCO World Heritage Site draws crowds of the creative kind, both to visit and to establish new ventures. Jewelry designer Emilie Nolan of Oremme, takes us through her version of San Miguel de Allende as a frequent flyer. Oremme is made-to-order in New York City using exclusively repurposed 14-karat gold and diamonds.

A courtyard selfie

Centro streets

View from Ki’bok on Dia de la Independencia 

San Miguel de Allende first appeared on my radar in the fall of 2020, but it wasn’t until January 2022 that I finally made the pilgrimage to the high desert destination. Admittedly, I arrived somewhat downtrodden, in the way that a move to New York City followed by a breakup will do to you, but the warmth of the people, the pace of life, and the ceaseless source of inspiration began to patch me up. 

No one visits San Miguel de Allende just once, as I’ve learned, as it has a way of luring you in and calling you back. The cobblestone streets and the colonial-era ochre and marigold façades tend to unlock ideas, especially in the early hours of the morning. Wandering is inherent to your experience, as the essence of the city lies in the streets of the historical city center, known as Centro. More than 2,000 courtyards hide residences, hotels, boutiques, and cantinas, meaning you could spend afternoon on a few square blocks exploring each and every doorway. 

A peek inside Brvjas 

Brvjas

Located just off the central Jardin Allende square, Brvjas is an object-lovers lair. Replete with vessels, utensils, candles, and textiles, this shop is reason enough to come down with room in your suitcase. 

Roma Quince

Celebrating the works of indigenous artists from various Mexican and Latin American communities, Roma Quince is a design studio and concept store built out of a restored mansion. Here you’ll find homewares as well as ready-to-wear linens. 

Mixta

Globally sourced, colorful and meticulously crafted sums up the things you’ll find at Mixta. Some of my favorite pieces are from an Indian designer, Injiri, including this blue and green silk dress I thought about for 8 months before purchasing. 

The Room

Founded by a transplant, The Room is well, a tiny room, that serves up mezcal both in flights and inventive cocktails. Owner and operator Ana is as passionate about introducing the spirit to rookies as she is discussing it with longtime drinkers. She and her partner Luciano are the smiling faces you’ll find behind the bar.

Mixta

At the Rosewood, in my Injiri dress from Mixta

Sidewalk scenes (photo by Louisa Nicolaou) 

Casilda Mut

Founded by Clayre Coello, Casilda Mut (meaning bird woman) is a ready-to-wear collection that is crafted by the indigenous peoples of the Chiapas highlands. I love her use of embroidery and pleating. 

The Taco Trucks

Far and away the best bite in the city comes from the taco trucks. They can be found throughout Centro at nightfall and will run you about a $1 per taco. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but my favorite truck can be found near Insurgentes and Relox (I think). 

Uzbek 

Run by a husband and wife duo, Uzbek feels more like a clubhouse rather than an establishment. Featuring the natural wine and mezcal crafted by the couple themselves, and ornate quilts imported from the wife’s native Uzbekistan, this spot is always welcoming and never without generous compliments like peanut brittle or spicy crickets. 

The San Miguel de Allende uniform

Corner flowers

Bennu

Bennu

Nestled away with next to no signage is Bennu. Specializing in wood-fired pizza and local vegetables, it’s a spot that prides itself on its small menu. The courtyard is intimate, day or night. For dessert, walk through the adjoining boutique, Roma Quince. 

Ki’bok Coffee

Up on a hilltop corner sits Ki’bok. Once you order, you climb the stairs to the loft-like seating area. Another set of stairs will bring you to the shaded rooftop. There is often a musician softly providing the soundtrack. I get the same thing each time I come: a cortado and enchiladas verdes. 

Fabrica la Aurora

Located in a renovated textile mill, Fabrica la Aurora is home to artists and designers of many mediums. Take your time weaving through the units and you’re guaranteed to find a treasure, from something as simple as a tea cloth to authentic Picasso ceramics. 

The rooftop at Ki’bok Coffee (photo by Louisa Nicolaou)

The entrance to Olivia Bar at Casa No Name

Olivia Bar at Casa No Name

When it’s time for your first cocktail, there is no better place to lounge in the early afternoon than Olivia Bar. Located on the roof of boutique hotel Casa No Name, this bar spralws out and encourages you to luxuriate for a while. It is often quiet, adding to the energy of a hidden gem. 

Bekeb

Known for its mixology, and the mixologist herself Fabiola Padilla, Bekeb is a rooftop for any time of day. I have had lunch in the sun here and I have rung in a new year here. The bites hit the spot, but it’s the daybeds and excellent service that impress. 

Rosewood

When I’m in town, I spring for a monthly membership at the Rosewood. With day passes running you about $100, a $230 charge to access the gym, spa amenities, and the pool oasis for 30 days is worth it. A massage or facial at the spa is not to be missed. The pool has an Italian essence with striped umbrellas and cypress trees flanking the grounds. Tennis lessons on the clay court are also encouraged. 

The pool at the Rosewood

The clay court at the Rosewood

Emilie’s San Miguel de Allende Picks

Caftan Wrap Dress | (est. retail $790)Caftan Wrap Dress | (est. retail $790)

Lauren Manoogian

@CAROROONEY'S CLOSET

Caftan Wrap Dress | (est. retail $790)

S
$245.00
Whiskey Lace Up Huarache | (est. retail $225)Whiskey Lace Up Huarache | (est. retail $225)

Brother Vellies

@EMILY_SHIPPEE'S CLOSET

Whiskey Lace Up Huarache | (est. retail $225)

US 7
$145.00
Yellow Floral V-Neck Midi DressYellow Floral V-Neck Midi Dress

Self Portrait

@JANIEPIERREPONT'S CLOSET

Yellow Floral V-Neck Midi Dress

S | US 4 | UK 8
$215.00
Havana Gold SunglassesHavana Gold Sunglasses

Celine

@SHAYNAFONTANA'S CLOSET

Havana Gold Sunglasses

OS
$225.00
Henri Top in SaltHenri Top in Salt

Doen

@LMCSHOPS x @INKINDMAG'S CLOSET

Henri Top in Salt

M
$125.00
Pointed Toe Velvet Slip-on Mules | (est. retail $410)Pointed Toe Velvet Slip-on Mules | (est. retail $410)

Le Monde Beryl

@LE_BAZAR__COASTAL'S CLOSET

Pointed Toe Velvet Slip-on Mules | (est. retail $410)

US 9 | IT 39
$225.00
Totora Maxi Dress in White | new with tags (est. retail $730)Totora Maxi Dress in White | new with tags (est. retail $730)
Sold

Andres Otalora

@JANIEPIERREPONT'S CLOSET

Totora Maxi Dress in White | new with tags (est. retail $730)

$265.00
Woven Leather Sandals in White | (est. retail $650)Woven Leather Sandals in White | (est. retail $650)

Rosetta Getty

@WHITSTREET'S CLOSET

Woven Leather Sandals in White | (est. retail $650)

US 8 | IT 38
$295.00
Morgan Drawstring Raglan Top | (est. retail $695)Morgan Drawstring Raglan Top | (est. retail $695)
Sold

Deveaux

@ELISEEBROWCHUK'S CLOSET

Morgan Drawstring Raglan Top | (est. retail $695)

$245.00
Romantique Skirt in Polka DotRomantique Skirt in Polka Dot

Orseund Iris

@ELISEEBROWCHUK'S CLOSET

Romantique Skirt in Polka Dot

M | US 8 | FR 40
$285.00
Beaded Shearling Slides | (est. retail $820)Beaded Shearling Slides | (est. retail $820)
Sold

Alberta Feretti

@LIZZYSAVETSKY'S CLOSET

Beaded Shearling Slides | (est. retail $820)

$84.00 $210.00