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“La Villa Bonita”

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La Villa Bonita Culinary Vacation
Reviewed July 17, 2013

My comments below are macro only.

Robb, Ana, their children, employees AND dog, (Mojo) provided a simple, quaint, warm, friendly, wholesome interactive EXPERIENCE focused upon culture, cooking, eating, family, mingling and relaxing. A home away from home.

The 5 day, inclusive option worked well for us. However, I understand others may have been underwhelmed with the a la carte introductory internet promotion as well as with the Taxco tourist visit.

Robb and Ana were very approachable, sincere and well liked by all guests. They were great hosts! I would certainly reciprocate the same hospitality IF the opportunity arose.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank miko b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 - 60 of 99 reviews

Reviewed June 9, 2013

Rarely do you find a product that lives up to all of its accolades, this one does. After returning from La Villa Bonita and reading through some of the detailed reviews I realize how very accurate they are. My 5 day visit there couldn't have been better. SURPRISES...how beautiful the view was from the terrace above the open kitchen, and how rich of a cultural experience this is.
REGRETS.....not staying longer and not buying a couple of the gorgeous cazuelas in the markets of Cuernavaca. My best to Ana and Robb and the kids.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank doubleDDenver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

Tepoztlan, La Villa Bonita and it's Family and Staff are AMAZING.
Ana and Rob don't spare a single thing in making sure that you get the best of the best in their unique and breathtaking location.
Chef Ana's market tours and cooking lessons were informative & involving... the hard copy information and recipes I received as apart of the cooking school feel like family gold and since returning home have become my 'Bible' in the kitchen.
Staying at La villa bonita was the very best gift I ever gave to myself, every moment spent taking in the view, navigating a local market, tasting Chef Ana's specialties, and even the lovely time spent with the family, Staff and other Guests really was truly special.


also; no trick photography in the marketing images, the whole place is even better in real life.

Thanks Ana, Rob and the three boys.
Hope to see you again.

Kristal Smith
Australia

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Chile_Chiquitita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

Words cannot truly describe the feelings we experienced at La Villa Bonita Culinary Hotel in Tepoztlán, Mexico. The feelings are BEYOND description; however, the closest word that we could use is a feeling of being “totally connected,” in every sense of the word… being connected to the location destination (Tepoztlán as a mystical town), to the hospitality (Ana, Robb, their 3 kids, and their dog Mojo), to the service (Miguel, Maria, Blanca, and Abraham), to the Mexican Cuisine itself, to the beautiful weather, and to every other element that made our experience “simply amazing.” It is as if the Universe had come together over La Villa Bonita to ensure that every facet of our Mexican Culinary Vacation goes beyond our wildest imagination.

---Tepoztlán---
As the heading says “A Whimsical World Untouched by Time…” and Tepoztlán TRULY is a picturesque destination FROZEN in time. The energy around the city is one of tranquility and peace. It is contagious and beautiful! The people are so very kind, genuine, peaceful, and happy. You could sense that everyone in town is satisfied with what’s there – a luxury that NOT too many of us can admit to. It was a refreshing dose of an alternate reality away from the bustling life of the city. You could feel your mind instantly calm down the moment you enter Tepoztlán. It was a feeling of “being connected” to the pulse of what make Tepoztlán a mystical destination.

---Hospitality---
From the moment we met Robb at the airport, we felt an “instant connection.” Robb greeted us with a big smile, offered to take our luggage to his van and was sincere and genuine.

They say it take 90 minutes to arrive to La Villa Bonita from Benito Juárez International Airport – well… Robb kept us engage over many interesting conversations for the duration of the drive that the next thing we knew, we were pulling into our destination, “La Villa Bonita.” The drive was a breeze!!!

Next… we were greeted by his BEAUTIFUL and STUNNING wife Ana and then later on by their three (3) wonderful and polite kids. The warmth that Robb, Ana, their kids and their dog Mojo exuded made us feel “immediately” at home. There wasn’t a single moment throughout our 5-day stay that we felt like strangers. We were immediately accepted as part of the family and were treated with love, kindness, generosity, and a lot of Mexican Cuisine and education. It was FANTASTIC!!!

---Accommodations---
From the moment we connected with Ana & Robb and their family, we KNEW that the rest of our experience was one of a kind. You could feel the POSITIVE energy. We were NOT concerned and expected the BEST!!!! Our room was beautiful and spacious with several windows overlooking their immaculate gardens and beautiful French doors leading to a private outdoor terrace. It was clean and simply perfect!

---Service---
Ana & Robb’s AMAZING team consisted of Miguel, Maria, Blanca, and Abraham who made sure that every facet of La Villa Bonita’s visual appeal was kept up IMMACULATELY.

MANY THANKS goes to Miguel who took care of the several gardens DAILY and made sure that they looked STUNNING. And I mean PERFECT!!! We never thought a garden can look THAT good! Where’s the International Version of Architectural Digest???... Because, honestly La Villa Bonita and its gardens need to be featured in their magazine. Simply a heavenly setting!!!!

MANY THANKS also goes to Maria who took care of our room every day and made sure it was vacuumed, cleaned, and re-arranged bringing it back to its pristine condition.

Also, MANY THANKS again goes to Maria, Abraham and Blanca for assisting Chef Ana on our days of cooking classes by cleaning up the immense outdoor kitchen during and after the lessons as well as dinners and providing us with a delicious breakfast every single morning of our stay.

---Culinary Classes---
Of course, we kept “La Crème de la Crème” until the end and Chef Ana’s classes, menus, and trips to the market were UNFORGETTABLE. They are burnt in our memories for years to come!!! What an experience!!!

Chef Ana is simply a NATURAL BORN Chef with an innate ability to juggle several menus with numerous complicated ingredients ALL AT ONCE, while calmly and patiently instructing her students on how to assist and be part of the team and… with a FLAWLESS execution. We were IMPRESSED at the level of professionalism, knowledge, and passion she had towards being a Chef and above all towards her students. There wasn’t a question that Chef Ana did not answer with poise, grace, patience, and a genuine willingness to want to educate and expand your culinary knowledge. And we asked a LOT of questions!!! She was there with us from the beginning to the end without a dull moment while constantly being engaged and exciting. We learned A LOT!!!!

The trips to the Market with Chef Ana in Tepoztlán and in Cuernavaca (a neighboring town), were ONE OF A KIND! A TRUE experience for the mind! You get to see the dynamics of the many vendors along with their stands of exotic varieties of goods from fruits, to vegetables, dried goods, to cooked meals, to butchers, to dairy farmers, to bakers, etc… etc… etc… It was a sight for the senses!!! It was a world within a world. A delightful trip!!! The pulse of the city!!!

Chef Ana possesses the qualities of a STAR and her dishes speak VOLUMES!!! They deserve a 5-STAR!!! From the aperitifs, to the salads, to the exotic soups, to the mouth watering entrees, to the jaw dropping deserts, and of course an abundance of wine, Chef Ana has delightfully EXCEEDED our expectations. We truly are speechless when it comes to describing Chef Ana’s creations. They are PHENOMENAL and HEALING for the soul!!!

Chef Ana is SIMPLY a force to be reckoned with. She is FANTASTIC!!! She is THE BEST!!!! THE ABSOLUTE BEST!!!! It was an HONOR and a PLEASURE to have met Chef Ana personally, her family, and her town.

Again, THANK YOU Chef Ana & Robb for all of your hard work, effort, love, kindness, generosity, and dedication to making our 5 day stay an EXCEPTIONAL one.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank ToniGhazi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2013

We spent New Years week in magical La Villa Bonita and can't recommend it more highly. Nestled at the base of a mountain, this spot would be a lovely hotel alone - a sunny, comfortable room, heartstopping views, a serene and beautiful pool, and a short walk into funky Tepoztlan. But what sets La Villa Bonita apart are Chef Ana's cooking classes taught in her stunning outdoor kitchen, then shared with Ana, her wonderful family, and the other guests in the scenic rooftop dining room.

We bought the 7-day package, which included 4 full days of cooking. I highly recommend a package like this, as your knowledge and comfort levels deepen with each new day creating a meal together. You also get to know Ana much better. She's smart, approachable, hilarious, and a really gifted teacher - demystifying the cooking process so you feel empowered to replicate even complex dishes at home. You don't follow exact recipes so much as learn the local techniques (frying the salsa? who knew?! It was amazing!). You discover quickly there's a great deal of improvization in Mexican cooking.

Each day starts with a stunning breakfast, then a walk into town to buy ingredients at the colorful, bustling Tepoztlan market. From there, a few hours of cooking and a communal meal in the outdoor dining room. There's a good bit of discretionary time each evening to walk into town, chat on the cozy porch, climb the local pyramid, or get some reading done in bed. A perfect way to spend a week.

Ana is also quite flexible. She agreeably accommodated my husband's vegetarianism, and she didn't flinch when new visitors arrived who were dairy-free and gluten-free. On Day 4, when my husband, our friend, and I were feeling a little cooking fatigue, Ana met our suggestion of a salsa-making workshop with enthusiasm. We made 4 very different salsas and some antojitos to go alongside them. It was a relatively easy day, but incredibly delicious.

One small cautionary note involves the option of a tour to the local ruins and visit to the town of Taxco. Our experience may have been an anomaly, but while we enjoyed the sites, we found our guide a bit disappointing - driving recklessly, checking texts during the tour, and taking us to shops where we got the very hard sell from silver vendors. It was an expensive tour that also required us to pay for lunch at a mediocre touristy place. I'd suggest asking Ana or her husband Robb about other options - whether for a different guide or maybe just a driver who can take you to those spots and allow you some time for self-guided exploration. Ana and Robb are very invested in making your visit exceptional in every way, so I bet they'd have some ideas for alternatives. A day trip to Cuernavaca, with an hour or two in the Robert Brady museum, is a must, for example.

La Villa Bonita is a magnificent place for anyone who loves cooking (whether novice or expert), eating, or just getting away from it all. If not for all the other places we'd like to see in the world, we'd go back in a heartbeat.

A few tips: Be sure to bring comfortable shoes, as the cobblestone streets can be a challenge for even the most intrepid walkers. Very light sleepers may want to bring earplugs or a sound machine, as noise can travel from across the valley. And be sure to get Robb telling some baseball stories. You'll just have to trust me on this one. Oh, and definitely opt in to the welcome meal the first night. You won't be disappointed.

A wonderful trip all the way around! Thanks to Ana, Robb, and all the hardworking folks in the kitchen and grounds for your hospitality and a truly unique experience.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank cptraveler44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

If you enjoy cooking, you will love this place! In any event, it is a beautiful place with terrific weather. We enjoyed everything about our trip here. Ana is very personable and warm and makes you feel at home. We especially enjoyed a little personal attention from their dog, Mojo. We made many new friends and enjoyed our trips to the markets in Tepoztlan and Cuernavaca, as well as our visit to the pyramids. No reservations about giving a positive recommendation.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank BWorthington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012

Our week at La Villa Bonita was one of our best vacations - ever! The surroundings are beautiful, our hosts were accommodating and fun, the food was delicious, the trips to market a feast for the eyes, and the cooking experience awesome. Even though we kept on the go, the days and evenings were relaxing and peaceful.
Chef Ana was an absolute treat. She's a wealth of information and her informal teaching style added to the experience. I've been reading about, and cooking, Mexican recipes for years. Yet, she was able to teach me so much more than I could glean from books. We also enjoyed Robb's well informed tequila tasting. (Although, one taste of pulque is enough for my life time.)
We're already talking about a return visit.
As I said - the best, the best, the best.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PersnicketyPT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Villa Bonita Culinary Vacation

Address: Prolongacion Aniceto Villamar # 150 | Col. Tierra Blanca, Tepoztlan 62520, Mexico (Formerly La Villa Bonita Culinary Hotel)
Location: Mexico > Central Mexico and Gulf Coast > Morelos > Tepoztlan
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 51 Specialty Lodging in Tepoztlan
Price Range: $175 - $350 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — La Villa Bonita Culinary Vacation 3*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chef Ana Garcia invites you join her in a unique culinary experience created for true food lovers. Chef Ana's 6 bedroom boutique culinary home boasts an enormous open air kitchen with a spectacular view, pool carved out of a volcanic rock, and an organic citrus and vegetable garden. Enjoy a gourmet chef's table with Chef Ana made from local ingredients or try your own hand at cooking traditional Mexican delicacies with our famous culinary vacation packages or build your own package. Make tortillas from scratch, build a mole with your own hands, enjoy the best tamales you have ever had on our elevated terrace. Don't stay in a regular hotel - have a culinary adventure at La Villa Bonita. ... more   less 
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