Today the Palace of the Count of Xala is a Sanborns restaurant. That makes it easy to visit. Lovingly and carefully restored, you can also get a good idea of the wealth and opulence of those who lived here.
On today’s calle Venustiano Carranza, at number 73, Don Manuel Rodríguez Sáenz de Pedroso, first count of San Bartolomé de Xala decided to build a home. The work took took some two years from January 1, 1763 until July 31, 1764, a fact which is carved into one of the arches in the building. According to legend, the neighboring Capuchin nuns were scandalized by the idea that from the planned roof, one could see into their convent. They sued, but lost.
By the 19th century the palace was all but abandoned. At the street level it was used as garages and stables, with storerooms, an inn, and kitchens upstairs. It remained remarkably ignored for most of the 20th century. In 1964, the Banco Mercantil sold it to a private individual who remodeled. This was fortunately not terribly intrusive. The tiled adornments in the staircase and a stone sculpture remained from the 18th century.
The magnate Carlos Slim then acquired the residence. He made a restoration as part of the revival of the city center then taking place. The building reopened, at long last, as a Sanborns in 2012. Quarried stone, tile, the floor of the main patio, iron railings, and the fountain were all refitted. Today, the magnificent palace is again resplendent. And for the price of a Sanborns lunch, about mx$500 for two, you can still enjoy much of the interior.