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Fantastic B&B in Chapala ( CLose to Ajijic)

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Texas
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14 posts
6 reviews
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Fantastic B&B in Chapala ( CLose to Ajijic)

We just returned from 10 days in the Lake Chapala area. All the towns on the North side of the lake, including Ajijic are considered "Lakeside". We chose to stay in the town of Chapala this time. Fortunately I found the website for a fantastic B&B. It is actually named Quinta Quetzalcoatl ,but is called QQ by the locals. The Inn was built before 1920's because D.H. Lawrence stayed there while writing the Plummed Serpent.

It is the most enchanting B&B you could ask for, full of Mexican flare and only $75 per night at this time (less for a week or longer). The grounds are simply BEAUTIFUL, pool, fountains, grottos, beautiful trees, flowers and cactus. There are cool turtles and lizards. They have the most precious dog named Ozzie that rules the place. He is very well mannered and came to visit us regularly.

The Suites were great and each very different. We stayed in the Birds and Beasts suite. It has been changed from the picture you see on the website. The color has been changed to yellow and it has a KS bed, couch and 2 chairs. I especially enjoyed the views and the ventilation. It had a large bathroom and a medium size fridge. I saw all of the suites and they were all great. So different from the norm, that I don't have the space to explain. Go see their website for pictures of them.

Every morning they have a beautiful breakfast except Sunday when they have fruit and pastries. The settings are magnificent, from under a palapa to a garden setting to a beautiful indoor den.

They have a 2 bedroom "castle" to rent long term, that is out of this world. The property would be amazing for a Family Reunion or Wedding.

You could not ask for anyone any more accommodating as Rob Cracknell, the Owner, from Australia. He is there to answer every question and handle any problem.

We really enjoyed the potable water from all faucets. Having to brush your teeth from a water bottle was a pain last year in other hotels. I felt completely safe inside and out of the walls. The Police Station was 1/2 block away with Officers coming and going all the time. If I were a crook, I would not choose this location to hang around. There is an Electronic Lock on the Main Door that requires a key to get in or out. There was also Cable TV with several English channels including the News channels.

We were about 4 blocks from the main plaza/market. 1/2 block from the Lake's Boardwalk, 2 blocks from the church, 4 blocks to a $10 an hour Massage, several small stores and a larger one only 6 blocks away. Just a great location. We walked to the Plaza and took buses to Ajijic, San Juan Cosala, Jocotopec for Dinners and the Hot Springs. It is only 70 cents a piece for a bus and we never waited over 15 minutes, most often 5 minutes. The destinations are written on the front window of the buses. The Drivers and other people are very helpful about telling you where the stops are. It was about 7 blocks to the Main Bus Station (long distance) where we took a bus to Guadalajara for $3.50 each as opposed to $35. For a taxi. Also a bus to Tlaquepaque area and then a taxi to the shopping area.

We would never stay anywhere else while in the area again. There were other returning couples there as well. It was a truly marvelous place.

Ontario, Canada
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1. Re: Fantastic B&B in Chapala ( CLose to Ajijic)

Hola,

Just read your glowing report on your stay at the QQ B&B...Sounds

glorious.

I am planning three weeks in the area late January, into February. As my sister and hubby own a small "adobe hacienda" in Ajicic, I will stay with them for two weeks...Because of conflicting dates (my niece and her man staying with them the last two weeks of January...ergo, no room at the inn) I will be residing at a B&B 'til my room at their home is available.

How close is this B&B to the town of Ajijic? Walking distance for

a lively Canadian senior ?

As a writer, I look for a quiet place to hang my hat.

Looking forward to your reply.

Hasta luego,

Gwenneth Steward

Texas
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14 posts
6 reviews
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2. Re: Fantastic B&B in Chapala ( CLose to Ajijic)

No, I would not say that it would be a walk even if you were lively. We took the bus every day from the Plaza. It cost 70cents and we normally waited 5-10 minutes for a bus. The ride time varied from 7-10 minutes with the DIrect Bus to 20 minutes max with one that stops a lot and goes down into the towns on the way. We like the long rides because it was like a little tour. If you take the long ride it will take you right down into the center of Ajijic. With the direct, it goes through the main Hwy only. It continues on all the way to Jocotopec.

I don't think you would ever be sorry that you chose the QQ. I was just sent a review by one of the local magazines. Someone read my review and sent me one from a magazine they subcribe to. It just came out this month. Maybe you had better make your reservations soon as it may be harder to get to after all the press...teeheehee. I will send the Mag article below. Pictures are not coming through, but you can see them at the website.

Please tell Rob that Beverly sent you.

Homes & Lodging

Can You Say "Quinta Quetzalcoatl?"

By Karen Blue

Behind these walls in the center of Chapala, you'll discover over an acre of beautifully landscaped gardens and lovely suites.

Can you say Quinta Quetzalcoatl? Well, most of us English speakers can't say it either, so we've fondly nicknamed this favorite Chapala inn—one of the most delightful bed and breakfast inns at Lakeside, ”the QQ." I visited the QQ many years ago when guests there (who happened to share my last name) invited me to dinner. Since then, it has come under new management and I looked forward to revisiting it for this article.

I met with Rob and Lorri Cracknell briefly for a chat before Lorri had to leave us to run a few errands, so it was Rob who gave me the grand tour.

The first thing I noticed about this friendly couple was their decidedly Aussie accent. When I asked how they'd found this little village all the way from Australia, Rob told me they had visited their daughter in Guadalajara eight years ago, and it was on that visit that they fell in love with the city and decided to move to Mexico.

Rob and Lorri Cracknell live at the QQ with their precious German Schnauzer—Ozzie.

They purchased a home in the central district of Guadalajara and lovingly restored it; and then, when they visited Chapala, Rob was intrigued by the street on which the QQ is located, and when they discovered that the QQ was for sale, they couldn't resist it. They took ownership of the historic property in 2003, updated it, and have hosted its guests for the past four years.

Quinta Quetzalcoatl translates to "Country Villa of The Plumed Serpent,” a name which reflects the home's most famous tenant—English writer D.H. Lawrence. Lawrence is said to have finished his book The Plumed Serpent in his rooms in the house during his 1923 Chapala stay.

During the years following its conversion, this historic structure has been operated as an inn; it has been featured in many travel magazines and was named "one of Mexico's finest accommodations” by Travel Holiday Magazine.

During our tour, Rob and I strolled from building to building admiring the vibrant flowers in the pocket gardens and the outstanding tropical plants woven into the extensively landscaped grounds. Strolling past garden path benches and delightfully imaginative rooms, our conversation continued as Rob told me some of his stories about this unique Chapala property.

"One day," he said, "a group of University of Guadalajara architecture students came knocking at our door. They had with them a book by Luís Barragán, containing photos of our house. Barragán was from Guadalajara and is now regarded as one of the most important architects of the 20th century. We were delighted to learn his plans (1931) included designs for some of the buildings on this property."

(Left:) The curves of this swimming pool complement the many arches found within the landscape. (Right:) What a great gathering place. The Fiesta Room is all decked out for Mexican Independence Day.

The QQ is unlike other B&Bs at Lakeside. Each of the five decorated suites and the two luxurious casitas (little houses) are freestanding buildings scattered among the lush gardens and manicured grounds. Each room has a private entrance, a bathroom, fireplace and terrace. In all, the QQ comfortably accommodates from 12 to 16 people.

Once we had a group of female watercolor artists from all across the US," Rob said. "They reserved the entire inn and we, as a special service, provided room-service meals for them so they could continue to work while they ate. They'll be back again next year."

The palapas (thatched huts) are favorite breakfast spots for many of the guests.

"Most of your guests are visitors from North of the border," I guessed.

"Well, quite a few are. We also get many Tapatios (Guadalajarans) who just want to relax and de-stress; we also get our share of young (and some not so young) romantics on honeymoons."

The grounds are phenomenal—so lush. They are designed to provide privacy and gentle ambiance, and I wondered if I might not have needed a map had I been left to my own explorations. There are private gardens and picturesque palapas tucked in among the suites. The full-time gardener does a fine job of keeping the fast-growing plants under control. Without a knowledgeable hand, these beautifully landscaped grounds could easily turn into an intimate jungle.

Guests at the QQ share a spacious living room/dining room—the Fiesta Room, which provides relaxing reading areas and a library with game tables, cable television and wireless internet access.

This well-located inn is within easy walking distance of Chapala's main plaza and several restaurants; an outstanding bakery; a grocery store; a church; banks, and the delightful Chapala malecon (boardwalk park area). Should guests grow weary of all these sites, (not likely) they are just a 20-minute bus ride or a $6 US taxi ride to the nearby village of Ajijic—another delightful destination on Lake Chapala.

A favorite space at QQ is the two-story stone castle. The twin towers are bridged by a living room graced by an open fireplace and an elegant slate floor.

A full-time housekeeper and cook make sure guests are treated like royalty at the QQ. It is situated only a couple of blocks from Chapala's central market where fresh fruits are purchased daily for the sumptuous breakfast fare the staff prepares. Other guest amenities include:

A modest swimming pool with lots of private sunning areas

A large barbecue area with tables and chairs

Potable water in every room (including showers)

Off-street parking

Personalized tours and chauffeur services

Fax, voice mail and wireless internet service

Golf clubs—closest accommodation to the Country Club de Chapala

Hair dryers and irons

Special parties, receptions and meals for groups can also be arranged

Room rates begin at $75 US for double occupancy. Rob assured me that they can arrange special rates for groups or longer stays.

Some of the casitas and suites were occupied, so I couldn't get all the photos I wanted on my visit, but it is easy to see from the photos we've included, and the others on their website, how Rob and Lorri have integrated Mexican charm and modern conveniences in their decorating schemes.

As Rob walked me back out to the street. I asked him, tongue in cheek, how he was enjoying his "retirement."

He thought a minute and then said, "You know, I've had a special life, and this chapter…well, it's another great one. Lorri thinks so too."

Now, can you say Quinta Quetzalcoatl?

You can reach Rob and Lorri via email at qqinnchapala@yahoo.com or check their website (with pictures of everything) at www.accommodationslakechapala.com for more information and specific prices for the various rooms and suites.

Chapala, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Chapala, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, Ajijic, Chapala
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3. Re: Fantastic B&B in Chapala ( CLose to Ajijic)

This is definately a lovely B&B. It is right in Chapala which is the municipality for Ajijic, Riberas, San Antonio etc. So thus it would be considered the big town or city in the area. Ajijic is quite a jaunt walking to or from Chapala. I have done it myself, but it is long and I would not recommend it unless you have great will and stamina and also time. It is a lovely walk if you so choose though and will most likely take an hour or more depending on your speed. The bus is the cheapest, but a taxi is another option. Keep in mind the buses stop about 10 pm at night.

The winter months are very tourist laden here, so if you have not yet made your reservations I would suggest you do so as soon as possible.

Be sure to check out the new restaurant and spa area in El Chante, I have not been as yet, going soon, but hear it is lovely. The lake has risen, so thus things are on the rise here.

Lots of good shopping in Chapala and Ajijic. If you wish to do some food shopping then there is now a grocery store in Chapala called Soriana, has just about anything you may need, or on Monday you can go to the tianges ( open air market) in Chapala, or on Weds. in Ajijic, or tiny tianges in San Antonio on friday mornings.

Jocotepec, also has a new grocery store aurrera Bodega which recently opened. Lovely plaza.

I think you willl find lots to do and see and have picked a great place to stay. Enjoy!!!

Toronto
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4. Re: Fantastic B&B in Chapala ( CLose to Ajijic)

We visited Ajijic in May 2007, no car. We stayed at 2 different B&B and mostly walked everywhere, but we did take the bus to Chapala one day. We searched for our B&B on line and then basically took a chance. Of the 2 we chose, both a little upper end, we prefered the VILLA EUCALIPTOS. It is on a quiet tree lined street. I posted some photos on this web site. Since MAy we have returned to Ajijic. We stayed at the Villa Eucaliptos for 2 weeks while looking for a rental. Now we are around the corner from it and aslo within one block of 2 other B&B (nice but we still prefered the VE). There are some smaller and I mean rooms are smaller B&B closer to the town square. There are also a few "up in the hills" beautiful views but quite a hike and I walk A LOT. ANyway hope you find something nice and enjoy your time in Ajijic. We love it and are probably going to relocate here

5. Re: Fantastic B&B in Chapala ( CLose to Ajijic)

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