A great place to relax for up to a week, especially if you love to golf. Originally built in 1992 (according to the plaque in the foyer), the hotel is a charming design built on the hillside next to the entrance of a natural bay. The surrounding geography creates a beautiful setting that engages the eyes in every direction. Adjacent to the property is a 27 hole golf course that is sure to please most golfers except perhaps the scratch players that demand a challenge on every hole. The course is friendly, but not easy if played from the back tees.
Although showing it's age in some places, this grand dame of a hotel is well kept by the owners who seem to be genuinely committed to its upkeep. I have read reviews critical of the maturing decor and fixtures, but I believe them to be missing the point. If you are examining the fabric of the curtains instead of brushing them aside to gaze at the bay, marina, mountains, soaring sea-birds, etc then you might as well save the trip and just book your vacation at the new Super 8 down the street from your home. Beds are firm but acceptable. Bathrooms are large with quality fixtures and plenty of hot water and pressure. Towels are plentiful and soft. Housekeeping scrubs and polishes the room every day.
Exceedingly helpful and friendly. Most speak English, many fluently. During our stay we made several special requests ranging from fixing the a/c in our room to spraying for ants to dining advice. Every request was attended to promptly and effectively.
Food and Bar
Four restaurants on site provided enough variety to keep us interested (we are foodies) for a week. The focus is on quality, not quantity. If your idea of good eating is mile-long buffets of mediorcre glop, then this ain't for you. But if you appreciate well-prepared and beautifully presented food, you will be pleased. One nice feature is a fresh seafood display from which you can choose your lobster, giant scallop, snapper, king prawns and order them cooked to your liking. The fanciest place is Antonio's with full table service by a well-trained staff. One thing that we fould lacking at Antonio;s was the wine presentation. For such a fine restaurant with wonderful dishes, there is no opportunity to pair wines. You simply get the choice of "red or white" as you might in the neighborhood pizzeria. A litte choice in vino would truly enhance the experience and food. For those who desire more variety, take the 2 minute water taxi ride to the little village of Barre de Navidad. There you will have several choices for quality food at very reasonable prices. Seafood = Bananas, German - Marlenas, Mexican = Ramone's. I am told there is even a decent French place though we did not try it.
Not the strong point of this hotel. It is laid back and relaxing. For those looking for oodles of water sports, long evenings of disco and 3 a.m. encounters with other partiers....don't come here.
Having said that, the pools are fine and there are tennis courts, a beach volleyball pit, and a decent gym. For runners, you can put in plenty of road miles without risk of being accosted as this location is rather remote and its just you and the local banana farmers. Golfers will LOVE the 27 hole course that is next to the hotel. Wide, forgiving fairways will make you feel good about nearly any drive. The tee boxes and greens are immaculate, as every mark gets repaired by your mandatory caddy (300 pesos per twosome, 400 per foresome). Most of the caddies are decent golfers themselves, so if you are not too proud you can get a free playing lesson along the way.
If there is any crime in this part of Mexico, it's not apparent. So far from the mainstream, it is surrounded by thousands of acres of farms and away from the drug business.
Rated as 4-star. Well, I guess that would be true for Mexico. Probably not quite 4-star if you are using American or European standards. If you are accustomed to and demand only the best and are willing to pay for it, then you should probably consider a more expensive resort. If you can put up with a few things that are less than perfect, then you will recognize this hotel as an solid value. We paid approximately $1,800 CAD pp for 7 nights in an upgraded room. Take out airfare from Calgary (800 incl fees and taxes), 3 rounds of golf (300), the transfers (50) and that leaves about $95 per night including all food and bar.
The ONLY gripe I had was with the "sunset cruise" arranged for us by the Transat rep. I should say that I have been on several of these on charming sailing vessels manned by good mates and sailing past great coastlines. This dog of a trip started with a 45 minute ride in a van (why??....there is a marina right next door to the hotel) that took us all the way to Manzanillo. We were put onto a homely party barge that had seen better days and looked as it it was a reclaimed industrial vessel. The incessant and unrelenting screaming of the barely literate "captain" over the loudspeakers was all about shilling the restaurants and hotels of his cousins and friends. The port of Manzanillo is NOT particularly attractive and nowhere near the beauty of the bay of Barra de Navidid. Save your money and time, and hire one of the local fishing boats at Barra to take you for a spin about 6 pm and whatch the sunset from there.
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