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Casa Etérea review: does Mexico’s remote off-grid mirrored house live up to the hype?

Mexico holds a dear place in my heart since it’s one of the very first countries I visited outside of Europe. After saving hard for a year, I took a magical trip through Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico’s Yucatan Penisular when I was just 19 years old. Latin America transfixed me immediately and luckily, in the many years that have passed since that first trip, I’ve returned to both Guatemala and Mexico a handful of times, thankfully with a slightly larger budget in tow. And now, I like to linger for longer in each destination, whether that’s the vibrant metropolis of Mexico City, dreamlike Holbox island, or arty San Miguel de Allende, and I’m more interested in seeking out unique and creative places to sleep in—which is where Casa Etérea comes in.

After spending a handful of days in the country’s capital walking the streets on the lookout for Mexico City’s best coffee and the best places to eat like a local in Mexico City, I bought a ticket to San Miguel de Allende and headed north. It was from here that I would be journeying to Casa Etérea, a mirrored off-grid cabin that had come to my attention two years previous.

a horse wanders past casa etérea at dusk, casa etérea is a mirrored house set on the slopes of an extinct volcano in Mexico, near San Miguel de Allende
A horse wanders past Casa Etérea at dusk (Photo: Lydia Swinscoe)

I’d been dreaming of staying in the unique structure ever since I first saw an article about it in the New York Times in 2020 so when an opportunity presented itself I booked a flight to Mexico City and based my whole trip around Casa Etérea. The result? One of the most incredible stays of my entire life, up there with the artful sanctuary of Menorca Experimental, Costa Rica’s Aguas Claras, and Tbilisi's Stamba Hotel.

Where is Casa Etérea?

The mirrored casa sits in the foothills of an extinct volcano, Palo Huérfano, around a 20-minute drive from the creative town of San Miguel de Allende.

Mexico's mirrored house Casa Etérea in front on an extinct volcano with bushes and stones in front
Casa Etérea sits in the foothills of the extinct volcano known as Palo Huérfano. (Photo: Lydia Swinscoe)

To get there I was instructed to head to a meeting point in San Miguel where I was met by artists Maria and Oscar who drove me to Casa Etérea to help get me checked in (this service is included in the booking price). Because some of the drive is along unpaved and uneven roads guests will need a four-by-four if they choose to drive to the property themselves.

What’s the vibe at Casa Etérea?

Remote, seriously serene, and tranquil (but possibly not for too much longer down to the construction of a second house just up the hill). I was quite worried that since I’d long been longing to stay at Casa Etérea for such a long time, it might not live up to my expectations or the cost ($446/£350 per night). But the casa impressed me instantly—it’s exactly how it looks in photographs and the location is more otherworldy than I expected. I could have happily moved in and lived there forevermore. From the outside, in the heat of the day, the expanse of bright blue sky above is reflected in the glass giving it an almost extraterrestrial appearance, it seems it could have been dropped down from outer space.

Lydia Swinscoe stands outside of Mexico's Casa Eterea, a mirrored house that sits in the foothills of an extinct volcano
Lydia outside the casa

And throughout the day as the light changes, so does the house, at dusk, it turns a tin-can gray, and sunsets are pure theatre. Upon entering for the very first time I was struck by the silence, and the beauty of nature unfolding through floor-to-ceiling glass looking out towards the volcano, Palo Huérfano. The surrounding countryside is studded with nopal cactus, flowering shrubs, and thousands of grasshoppers or crickets; some green, some orange, some as loud as lawnmowers. 

How are the rooms?

Casa Etérea is actually just one large open-plan room so if you're interested in booking a stay it’s a good idea to plan in advance. The casa gets booked up extremely fast and there’s a two-night minimum stay, but cancellations do occasionally appear which is how I snagged my last-minute booking. Extremely aesthetically pleasing it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed in, and similar in style to Pereh hotel and London’s Lost Poet. The bedroom area features a large bed, dark wood bedside tables, and low-hanging Indonesian-style light shades, the bed faces the volcano, and as mentioned above, the casa has floor-to-ceiling windows allowing an incredible view from the bed or anywhere inside.

A bed, copper bath and large floor to ceiling windows inside Mexico's mirrored house Casa Etérea
Inside the casa (Photo: Lydia Swinscoe)

A slick affair with a high-shine marble island, the kitchen sits immediately to the left as you enter and is fully equipped with a French press, Japanese-style teapot, and all the kitchenware I needed for my stay. The bathroom area is half open, half concealed, divided by a polished concrete wall flecked with gold. There's a freestanding handmade copper bathtub next to the bed, a toilet hidden behind the wall to the right, and a shower to the left.

Lydia Swinscoe sitting in a handmade copper bath in Casa Eterea, a mirrored house in Mexico
Made in Mexico, the house's copper bath is one of the main focal points

Every element inside has been considered, from the artwork commissioned by local artists to the brilliant curated playlist. I stayed for two nights solely down to the cost of the house, but I could easily spend extended periods at Casa Etérea—the solitude, location, and design of the place are pure perfection and completely my vibe.

What is there to eat and drink at Casa Etérea?

There are no restaurants, shops or bars close to the house. The whole ethos of the place is to be submerged in nature, therefore the beautiful surroundings and interiors are the main focus, so guests, myself included are told to bring all of their supplies for the duration of their stay. I was picked up outside a huge supermarket so it was easy enough for me to buy everything I needed for my two-night stay and the casa’s kitchen was fully equipped. As a coffee lover, instant just doesn’t cut it for me, so I’d planned ahead and picked up some freshly ground beans from El Café de la Mancha, one of the best coffee shops in San Miguel de Allende beforehand. I enjoyed my morning coffee outside by the pool each morning surrounded by orange butterflies and hummingbirds that hovered around huge white flowers.

Any highlights?

Staying at Casa Etérea was the highlight of my entire year, I’m desperate to return, and hopefully, for longer next time. Delighting in the sights and sounds of nature, alone, is life-affirming stuff.

Lydia Swinscoe in the pool at Casa Etérea surrounded by hills and flowering grass
Lydia in Casa Etérea's pool

Add into the mix perfectly curated interiors, rabbits playing in the garden, good music, great views, beautiful sunsets, gorgeous coffee, and wild horses wandering past at dusk. Life really doesn’t get much better.

Any improvements?

The mattress could have been firmer and the copper bath is more for show, as bathing in it is quite uncomfortable. There are a few cameras around the outside of the house and one which overlooks the pool which felt slightly invasive. It’s also worth noting that guests must pay a $500 (£392) deposit a couple of days before checking in, refundable after check-out. Regardless of these small gripes I’d still return to Casa Etérea and completely loved every second of my stay. 

Follow @casa_eterea

Casa Etérea charges $446 (£350) per night.


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