I've just returned from Patzcuaro after being there with a film crew to document Noche de Muertos. I've traveled extensively and the experiences I had in Michoacan are among my most memorable. Patzcuaro itself is a graceful old Spanish colonial town with cobble streets and red tile roofs. The Purepecha and Hispanic people who make Patzcuaro and its surrounding villages home are warm, kind, and delightful. Patzcuaro is one of Mexico's "Pueblo Magicos" and the indigenous Night of the Dead celebration, which takes place on Nov 1 has been distinguished by UNESCO as a masterpiece of oral and intangible human heritage.
During the days that lead up to the Night of the Dead the central plaza, which is where the Mansion Iturbe is located, fills up with artisans who come to sell their folk art - catrinas, ceramic devils, robosos, and sugar skulls. Everyday there is music and dancing on the plaza and a great sense of fun pervades the atmosphere. The street food is incredible - roasted corn, fresh garbanzos, caramelized squash, coconut concoctions, tamales, enchiladas, atole, and hot guava punch.
The Mansion Iturbe is the perfect place from which to base yourself in Patzcuaro - it's right on the Plaza, which is amazing, but with its thick adobe walls and inner courtyard it provides a welcome and quiet sanctuary as well. The rooms are accurately described in other reviews - gracious w/dark beams, warm furnishings and beautiful lighting. Each room is unique. Mine stayed toasty warm at night, which can be cold.
The very best thing about the Hotel Iturbe, however, is the remarkable staff. We had no time to prepare for our shoot prior to leaving the States, so we relied on the owner Margarita and her daughter, "Maggie," to help us set up a variety of crazy things in a hurry. They responded to our sometimes unusual requests with incredible efficiency often setting something up within a couple of hours of the request.They managed to magically pull together cars and drivers for the crew at a time when there were none to be had (our driver, Andres, was also invaluable for his translation skills). They set up visits to schools so that we could see children making sugar skulls. They steered us to another school where the children were recreating the rituals that unfold on the Night of the Dead. They were always available and eager to do whatever they could do to make our shoot successful. And from what I observed they were equally as available and attentive to clients who were not part of the crew. I often saw Maggie, who is fluent in English, sitting with people, laughing and helping them plan their day.
From this moment forward Maggie and her mother are my go-to gals in Michoacan. I would solicit their advice on any shoot in the future. And Rafael, who works both the restaurant and the front desk, is a prince - like so many of the people we interacted with during our stay in Patzcuaro he was warm and willing to help us in any way possible. We had the pleasure and honor of meeting his sweet family and following them as they made preparations for Noche de Muertos. Just another of the joys of a stay at the absolutely lovely Mansion Iturbe.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Former residence of one of the leading families in Patzcuaro, Mansion Iturbe is an enchanting Inn, nestled in front of Vasco de Quiroga Square with an outstanding location close to all major attractions. This XVII Century Mansion has been meticulously restored to its former splendor by the descendents of the original owners. Patzcuaro: the center of the Purepechan CultureHere at the center of the Purepechan Culture you will find history, traditions and folklore. Archeological Sites, the unique Lake Patzcuaro with its Islands and the world famous butterfly nets as well as the Indian villages that surround the Lake with high quality Handicrafts made by the Purepechas that make the region a paradise for Handcrafts lovers where you will be able to find: woven goods, ceramics, masks, copper crafts, straw handcrafts, textiles and much more!Come to Patzcuaro and enjoy this beautiful hidden treasure of the colonial Mexico from the XVI Century. Strolling the town from Mansion Iturbe is very easy due to its location close to everything, but Patzcuaro is also an excellent base to explore the tourist attractions of Michoacan.Patzcuaro and the Lake Region have a lot of festivities during the whole year to share with you, full of color and traditions. Don’t miss the traditional Market on Fridays in Patzcuaro!Don’t miss the traditional Market on Fridays in Patzcuaro! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mansion Iturbe Hotel
- Mansion Iturbe Patzcuaro