The winding cobblestone road past the white-washed hotels, apartments and villas lets you know you're in for something different. Upon entrance into the Villa La Quarencia you are treated immediately to a view through the courtyard to the pool and Manzanillo Bay in the distance.
We stayed here for five days, from just after Christmas through New Year's Day. I stayed with my parents, three siblings, their spouses and children, along with my own children. There were five teenagers and two boys ages 7 and 9. We had a fantastic trip.
There are seven bedrooms--all with private bathrooms. One important note: this is not a house for someone with disabilities. There is only one main-floor bedroom (and it has twin beds). All the other bedrooms are accessed by narrow winding stairways with no handrails. In fact, anyone with knee problems may want to stay away from this peninsula because there are lots of steep hills, cobblestone (treacherous) streets, few sidewalks and stairs in houses are a significant necessity.
The second-floor master suite was well appointed with his and hers bathrooms, plenty of closet space and a sitting area offering views over the terrace below, the resorts down the hill and the bay beyond that. Two more bedrooms round out the second floor.
A narrow winding staircase from the main floor entertainment room takes you past an entrance to the master suite up to the roof. With plenty of built-in seating and stunning views of Manzanillo Bay on one side and Santiago Bay and Playa Audencia on the other, the roof terrace is a great place to entertain during the sunset. There is a bedroom on the roof that gives the illusion of added privacy--but only if no one in your group wants to come up to the roof to enjoy the view. The door to the roof can be locked, however, if you want to ensure privacy.
Another bedroom is located up one level via a separate entrance. This bedroom has an additional window bed that is suitable for a young child, but not a teenager (it was too small for my 5'5" daughter). A small bedroom with twin beds is located on the main floor tucked behind the entertainment room. It was the perfect place for the 7- and 9-year-old cousins to stay. We could put them to bed early while relaxing nearby. When they awoke ahead of the rest of us, they had the terrace and entertainment room all to themselves. The final bedroom is a large room with two extra twin beds located under the main house. The stairs leading down to it make you feel like you are entering an area reserved for the staff and, indeed, the house manager's room is just off the stairway halfway down to the lower bedroom. It's not as inviting as the rest of the rooms.
The service was excellent. House manager, Cesar (whose English is impeccible), took our meal orders each day before doing the shopping, purchased any extras we needed, helped arrange boat and boogie board rentals, set up zip-line tours, and gave general advice on where to go. The three additional staff members provided excellent meals, good humor, laundry and cleaning service, and stayed on top of mopping the tiles drenched from the constant splashing by children in the pool. A menu of meal ideas was provided, but the staff was flexible. When ordering a meal, different meat, fish or vegetarian options are available for that type of meal. For example, one night we had enchiladas--beef, chicken and just cheese so that all appetites were satisfied. All the meals were great, but I highly recommend the nachos, the fajitas and the banana pancakes for breakfast.
If you are looking for a place to rent with family and friends, make sure you enjoy being around them a lot. The covered terrace with bar is the primary place to relax. The terrace overlooks the pool and the Bay. While the roof may offer some seclusion, there is no comfortable place to sit up there. Thus, the only way to remove yourself from the melee is to retreat to your room.
The New Year's Eve celebration at midnight is one to remember--with fireworks lighting up all around the Bay. The display wasn't the best I've seen, but the fact that it seemed to surround us made it incredibly cool.
To visit a free beach, you must walk (or drive) 3/4 mile down the street to Playa Audencia, a public beach teeming with Mexicans on holiday at that time of year. It was very crowded, very public, and not very pleasant. Perhaps it is much nicer when not everyone is on holiday. It is the place you'd go to rent a boat for snorkeling, etc. You can also walk down the other direction to Las Hadas. The resort charges an entrance fee of 300 pesos (approx. $25 as of this writing) for the day that includes food and drink tickets. We did not try this so I cannot attest to whether or not it is worth it. Instead, we chose to drive about 40 minutes north to Playa del Oro, a long secluded beach with fantastic waves. If you go this route, make sure you have an SUV or rough-road worthy vehicle as the 7 km dirt road gets quite dicey at times.
The only complaints we had involved the noise. The largest resort of the peninsula, Las Hadas, is far below Villa La Querencia but the noise traveled up the hillside. The late night music and DJ at the resort often kept us awake. Although loud enough for us to hear every word of the music and DJ, it didn't seem like a big problem at 9 pm. The kids were usually tired enough to fall asleep through the noise. It was a problem at 2 a.m. (and 3:30 a.m. on New Year's). Even with the windows closed and the AC on the music filtered into the bedrooms. The AC in my room was noisy enough on its own that neither option appealed to me. It was a good excuse to take naps during the day.
There were also some tiny mite-like ants that made their way into some of the rooms but not overwhelmingly so. They did not bite and didn't seem to cause any trouble beyond a few northerners saying, "Ewwww."
Overall, it was a wonderful place to feel pampered while enjoying breathtaking views and soaking up the warm Pacific sun.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.