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“Amazing Experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Plaza Don Gabino Hotel

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Plaza Don Gabino Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Angangueo B&B and Inns
Calgary, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2013

Since our return a week ago, I have had a hard time writing this review because my husband and I can’t seem to describe how amazing this trip was.

Going to the reserves for the Monarch Butterflies was indescribable and January was a great time to go – no crowds at either of the reserves. The hikes were both about 3 miles uphill going in at a higher altitude than where we are from so was a bit of work but worth every step – just took lots of breaks! Another reason it was so nice to not have the crowds there. It was so peaceful sitting there watching the currents of butterflies swirl all around us as the sun warmed them and they took to flight.

Our hotel, Plaza Don Gabino more than lived up to the positive comments from prior visitors – it was a very picturesque, rustic, quaint, very clean and the service and food were wonderful. We did ask for the suite that had the fireplace and so after dinner, while having dessert the fire would be started so that we came back to a warm, inviting fire in our rooms to read by and plan the next day.

With all the negative press Mexico has been getting, we felt completely safe everywhere we were taken and I can’t stress this enough.

Honestly, we can’t say enough about our guide, Mario Bernal Martinez – if you are planning this trip – he is a must! His tour included pick up and drop off at the airport in Mexico City (This was worth every penny! No stress, no hassle, no changing buses!), transportation to and from there to the town of Angangueo, visit to the two closest of the three main reserves (your tour can be tailored depending on how many days you have), trip to the archeological ruins of San Felipe and a visit to a former mining town Tlalpujahua (do NOT miss the museum here), as well as visit to several churches that were amazing. Mario’s knowledge of the area and the history made it all come alive and this trip has given us at least 4 more places we want to come back and tour in neighboring areas.

Climate change in different areas would be easiest with layered clothing that you can take off as it gets warmer.

So as I sit here planning our next excursion to Mexico, listening to local music on a cd we were given as a departing gift, I would encourage anyone wanting a great experience to take the plunge!

Room Tip: Dress in layers so you can adapt to the changes in weather from place to place. Change money at ai...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MJDx2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    8
    3
    8
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
NYC
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 26, 2012

As an avid Trip Advisor user, I selected this hotel because it was listed as #1 (out of two in Angangueo). I am writing this review to warn other Trip Advisor users NOT TO TRUST THIS PLACE.

I have traveled to over 100 countries and all over Mexico so I know that these hotel owners are people SOLELY looking to bank off of tourists. They are only doing well because of their status as #1 on Trip Advisor and I find this to be a problem because they clearly do not deserve to be #1. Don Bruno Les Geranios next door to them is 10000% better and actually cheaper.

Before arriving in Angangueo, the guide Marco (perhaps closely affiliated with the owners) told me I could not stay unless I gave a deposit and then told me no rooms were available for my family. I did not feel comfortable giving my credit card number over the Internet so I told Marco we would arrive on Dec 26th and take our chances. As promised, I arrived on the 26th and found that Marco lied -- there were many rooms available.

Having arrived without realizing that the hotel only accepts cash, I dropped off my bags and went to town to try to exchange USD to pesos. I was happy that the rooms were clean and the building was only 3 years old (room 8).

But when I returned to the hotel to pay, I realized the room was too cold to be habitable and there is no heater in the room. Although I wanted to stay here and take a tour with Marco, my senor mother and my younger sister could not put up with the cold and had runny noses and were sneezing. At this point, we still had one week left to travel in Mexico so we couldn't afford to get sick with a cold that would ruin our trip. And even though we did not have other reservations, I knew I would have to go somewhere else -- even though we thought we wouldn't find another hotel and we thought this would be our best bet.

The woman at the front desk was kind and said she would inform her boss and asked me to wait. Of course I waited to explain the situation to the owners because I wanted them to know that I wanted to stay but unfortunately, my mother and younger sister found the cold to be insufferable. Minutes later, the owner's wife ran out of the kitchen area with kitchen gloves on and demanded to be paid half the value of the room ($1200 pesos) because she claimed that our bags occupied the room and she claimed that we may have used the bathroom. She said "Le voy a cobrar le mitad porque usaste el bano!" At this point her husband came out to tell her to stop, which she did but not before cursing. The tour guide Marco was no kinder and I am so grateful that I will not be spending a day touring with him.

This experience and their behavior is unacceptable. I hope future tourists are not deceived by their Trip Advisor status. These are not friendly people looking for tourists to love their town and return. These are people looking to squeeze money from wayward tourists.

NOT RECOMMENDED - NO LO RECOMIENDO.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank tbw212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 26, 2012

We planned to stay at Don Gabino after reading reviews on TripAdvisor. When we got there the rooms were small, dark, cold, and musty. The beds are hard as a rock and there is no heat what-so-ever in any but 1 of the rooms that has a fireplace. At night it is very cold around 50 degrees or lower and the inn only had old woolen blankets that were musty and made us all sneeze. The restaurant was closed and town is a taxi ride away without any other restaurants around. There is no view from the motel either.

We only visited this town to see the Monarch butterfly migration from Dec-March. Mario, the owner and tour guide tried to charge 500 pesos (~$50 USD) to visit the Monarch butterflies when a bus trip for 1 person is only 10 pesos (<$1 USD) 1 way and guides are plentiful at the parks who work off of tips.

We were miserable so we finally decided to find an inn that at least had heat. Mario, the owner and tour guide had arrived then and would not let us leave. He tried to charge us for the room even though we had not used it. He rudely asked, "You didn't use the room? You didn't use the restroom??" He is rude and greedy!

This place made me doubt the reviews on trip advisor - don't give this place a chance unless you like a cold and musty room with terrible service!

Room Tip: There is one room with a fireplace - the only room with heat (I think it is room #3) if you're w...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jcwadventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 24, 2012

Excellent accommodation located a short distance to the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Our guide, Mario was outstanding, knowledgeable on Mexican history, culture and nature as he drove us up mountain to reserve and then accompanied us on hike to see the butterflies. Mario is the son of the owner of the hotel and his English is excellent. We received a warm welcome upon our arrival. Given the high altitude, overnight temperatures drop to freezing and would suggest hotel has additional blankets or small heaters in the rooms.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank mah69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2012

I will stick to facts as much as I can. I am a person who has traveled all over the world many times and I experienced something here that I had only experienced once in my life before. I took my mom to see the monarch butterflies as a gift. I booked a month in advanced and was informed there was no need to book the tour guide because on a weekday, it would not be so busy.

Upon our arrival, we fell in love with the place. The workers were hospitable, the room was very clean and cozy. My mom hoped for a television, but the rooms did not have one; however, there was one in the kitchen we were welcome to use. The town was very quiet and relaxing. Again, we were there on a weekday and found empty streets and businesses, but we appreciated the quiet and relaxing atmosphere.

THIS IS WHERE YOUR OPINION COMES IN...My mom and I arrived at 2pm and were informed the travel guide, the owner's son, was out with a client but that upon his return, he would look for my mom and I to talk about our trip to the sanctuary the next day (as planned). Well, my mom and I decided to go on a walk and returned around 5pm to find a family staying at the same hotel. Things got a little weird to me when another man (not Mr. Mario Bernal) was sent to knock on our door to see if he could be our tour guide, when originally we had requested the very knowledgable person we had spoken on the phone with the previous month. I told the man I would discuss it with my mom, but found it strange that being the first on their hotel list and having spoken to him before, he would reschedule. So I got my mom ready to go to the dinning area and while we were there, a Caucasian male and his family were also waiting for Mr. Mario Bernal. I told him I was surprised because we were waiting for him too, but he was going to reschedule us.

Apparently, he had informed this family who checked in from USA, when my mom and I checked in from Tijuana, Mexico speaking Spanish. I am a proud American citizen who is bilingual and biliterate and at that moment I began having doubts about the service I was, or lack there of, about to receive.

Mr. Mario Bernal walked into the dinning area and walked straight in to the other family, ignoring my mother and I. I thought, maybe he will talk to us next, but he did not. I'm not going to lie, I was upset at the fact that everyone in that town greeted everyone, and here was the man I had spoken to on the phone, walking passed my mom and I and greeting the other family by name. At that point, I waited thinking he would speak to us next, and he didn't. So I went outside to try to look for him so I could speak about the situation, and I did not find him. So I went up to his father, a very kind man, and explained to him what had happened.

Apparently, he was rescheduling the family from "Tijuana" to be with the "American" family. I was very upset at his lack of professionalism and I approached the situation speaking in Spanish, again, the man had no idea I was fluent in English. I asked him what was going on, and he said he had to reschedule, I reminded him about our conversation the previous month, and he apologized saying he was really busy (which on the phone he said he wasn't) then I moved on and spoke English "If what you needed from my mom and I was to speak to you in English and pay you in dollars, then we can do the same." At that point, the tour guide froze and remained speechless.

Again, you be the judge of what happened to my mom and I. At the end of the conversation, he admitted he was wrong and he had made a mistake with his choice.He admitted to treating us differently. His father, the owner, was very apologetic as well. As soon as I mentioned me writing feedback online, the tour guide's entire attitude changed.

I ended up having a nice conversation with the other family and we ended up taking the trip the next day together. It was very enjoyable and Mario's attitude changed; however, the way his actions made me feel the first day I was there were very disappointing.

I write of my experience hoping that Mario has learned a lesson, not to judge people, and hoping that no one feels discriminated against in any way.

Overall, if it wasn't for that unwelcoming incident, I loved the quiet little town.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
5 Thank MelyN21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
54 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2012

I should begin by saying that tripadvisor is really exaggerating with the safety alert in Michoacan. Obviously they haven't been there recently, I invite trip advisor staff to visit Michoacan to see for themselves that nothing bad happens there, the worst thing it can happen is a hangover.

Anyway, I had planned a trip to the Monarch Butterfly sanctuary with Mario Bernal, Jr several months in advance, we ironed out the details over email before we arrived. He was recomended by an American friend that stayed at his father's hotel. Mario delivered exactly what he promised and more!!! He is a very knowledgeable guide which makes him very good at his job! You really need someone like him to unveil the layers of history in the towns, churches and historic sites that are over 500 years old, otherwise you will miss a lot. He picked us up at our hotel in Morelia and drove us through the magic Mil Cumbres -1,000 summits- mountain area of Michoacan until we arrived to Angangueo. We stayed several nights at Hotel Plaza Don Gabino, the hotel is safe, clean and cozy, it's family owned and operated and that just means you get the real thing, fabulous food, amazing company, great conversation in a fantastic place, and if you're lucky Don Mario Sr. may have a drink with you.

We visited El Rosario sanctuary and we're still enchanted by the beauty of the millions of butterflies we saw. After the butterflies, Mario prepared 2 more days of sightseing around Angangueo, Tlalpujahua and the archeological site nearby, there is a lot more to see in the region, but we woke up late everyday and took it easy on this trip. Next time we'll stay at least a week!!! Then Mario took us back to the Morelia airport. It was a flawless service overall!!!!

Norma Medina Estrella (Mexicali Baja California & San Diego, California)

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Normacha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2012

I had a lovely time for the brief 24 hours I was in Angangueo. Having arrived after a gruelling cross-country ten-hour bus ride, it was a delight to find this little hotel: simple, sweet, comfortable, clean and charming. The restaurant was closed when I arrived, but I was saved on my hike up to the centre by Mario, the son of the hotel owner, who scooped me up in his inimitable 23-year-old Nissan Sentra and showed me the town's best bites. He must have read my mind! He was also an invaluable personal guide up into the butterfly reserve the next day, with encyclopaedic knowledge of the area and Mexican history - and impeccable English (a godsend for a Spanish illiterate such as myself). Overall, a wonderful experience.

Room Tip: Definitely do the butterfly excursion if you are there, with Mario as your guide. It is an astonishi...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BexioL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Plaza Don Gabino Hotel

Property: Plaza Don Gabino Hotel
Address: Avenida Morelos 147, Angangueo 61410, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Central Mexico and Gulf Coast > Michoacan > Angangueo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Angangueo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
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