I’m currently at the Wyndham Grand Bay Resort at Isla Navidad, a hotel in the Costalegre region of Pacific Mexico, north of Manzanillo. I’ve been meaning to get here for a while, but finally the stars aligned. Later I’ll give you the full rundown on the rooms, facilities, restaurants, marina, and golf course. But for now, here’s a video tour of the impressive swimming pool complex. Enjoy!
As I mentioned in this earlier post on San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas, this is a city on the rise, one just starting to get on the radar of travelers with money. So there’s really one luxury hotel in the city (added to plenty of nice comfortable ones with character): Parador San Juan de Dios.
This is a former hacienda complex about a five-minute taxi ride from the center. It was surely a country estate before, but as the city has expanded it’s now got neighbors just outside its walls. This is still the model of tranquility though, with butterflies flitting around fragrant gardens and buildings from centuries ago framed by the nearby mountains. It’s got “sense of place” in spades, with original oil paintings hanging on 3-foot-thick walls and beams that were put up back when this was the estate for a large farm.
Rooms here are a delight and have more natural light than many colonial buildings converted to hotels, thanks to the fact they’re not hemmed in by other buildings. Go for one of the ten suites when booking, preferably the master suite named after the original hacienda owner—that’s a photo of the bedroom at the top.
“It is on two levels, with a large living room, dining for eight, and a full kitchen on the first floor. A spiral staircase leads to a huge bedroom with another fireplace and lots of interesting lines: there is a sloping ceiling and a neat little cubby by the window for reading or writing. There’s another sitting area off to the side of the bed and the large bath with whirlpool and shower has a towel warmer.”
Go check out our detailed review of Parador San Juan de Dios hotel, where you can see some more enticing photos. Sure, it’s a bit of a sacrifice to not be able to just walk out your door and take a stroll in the center of town, but the grounds and architecture here make it worth the short jaunt.
We’ve been meaning to review Mexico City’s Hotel Brick for a while now, since it opened in 2010. But something kept coming up—like them being closed for a week last time I was in town.
Thankfully we have one trusted writer in D.F. who was able to get by and spend some time there recently. He didn’t have to go very far since he lives in the neighborhood.
Some complain that Roma’s prettier sister Condesa isn’t really a neighborhood anymore as high rents have pushed out everyone but the yuppies and the restaurants/bars. (You’ve probably got one of these areas in your city, right?) Gentrification has only gotten its fingers into part of early 1900s Roma, however, so it’s still a place where you can find a shoemaker, a butcher, and an old-school barber. And a nice place to spend the night:
“Perhaps the most striking feature of the Brick’s design is how it incorporates greenery and nature. Colonia Roma is full of mature trees, of which the designers have taken full advantage in the placement of balconies for maximum privacy. A second floor “backyard” (for guests only) features a bar and lounge chairs—and a big green lawn. The peaceful contrast with the urban energy beyond the treetops is part of the magic here.”
With only 17 rooms, this is a true boutique hotel, but with a busy restaurant and bar scene it stays lively regardless of how many guests are there.
If staying on a huge boulevard doesn’t appeal to you and your style is more neighborhood strolling than seeing a city from the windows of a car, put this place high on your list. See our full review of Hotel Brick in Mexico City.
Mazatlan is not known as a luxury travel destination and to be honest it’s still got a ways to go to get there. With such heavy competition down the coast in Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, Mazatlan will probably always be more comfortable with its good value reputation than with placing huge development bets on luxury palaces meant to wow and awe.
After years of putting it off, however, we’ve now got reviews posted of the three best hotels in Mazatlan: a luxury boutique hotel in the old city, a golf resort with its own very long beach, and a sprawling resort with large rooms and acres of swimming pools.
I’ve mentioned them all on this blog already, including a piece about the golf course at Estrella del Mar. So just follow the link in the paragraph above or click on the photo to read the detailed reviews and see more photos. Then check out more reviews of luxury hotels in Mexico from the rest of the country.
Back in May we posted reviews of the three best hotels in Morelia, Mexico, but I’m just now getting around to linking to two of them from here on the blog.
Both of these are right by the main cathedral, as close as you can possibly get to the center of the city. The top choice in town (unless you want to see the city from a hilltop at Villa Montana), is Cantera Diez Boutique Hotel—lobby pictured at the top. This is an effective marriage of colonial architecture with contemporary style, usually a tough thing to pull off effectively. It’s a beautiful space though, with some of the best rooms in town, and a popular restaurant and bar. See the full review of Cantera Diez.
The other central hotel worth considering is Los Juaninos. Apart from the out-of-place glass elevator in the lobby, this is a colonial charmer apart from the roof. High beamed ceilings, heavy wooden doors, and original shutters that do a great job of keeping out the morning sun and noise. Some look directly at the cathedral, all lit up at night.
The top floor is all about the here and now though, with a striking contemporary design for the bar and restaurant, but with the best view in town, especially when there are fireworks over the church and plaza. See our complete review of Los Juaninos.
Not many foreign tourists get to Morelia, but it’s one of my favorite inland destinations in Mexico. In any other Latin American country this colonial city would be their main attraction, splashed on every tourism brochure. Here, it’s just another fantastic destination in a country filled with them.