Today is day 7 of 9 at Casa Castelli, a magnificent 5 story villa perched on the side of a mountain overlooking both the tropical forest and Pacific Ocean. We're here on a family vacation and enjoying the incredible location, villa comfort, attentive staff, fabulous food and superb weather. I'll divide my review into villa, weather and locale so you get the whole picture here, and encourage you to read to the end so you know exactly what you're getting.
We rented through Villas of Distinction (BEST), who we've used before, and this villa comes at a relatively moderate price...as luxury villas go. The entire villa is clad in honed marble with mosaic marble 'carpets' and comfortably nice furniture; nothing over the top. The master is on the top floor, which by the way is where you enter the front door at the street level, and is NOT as pictured. The thatch roof has been replaced with concrete and tile, and there's a large round window that faces the side of the outdoor patio that has no covering, so be prepared for early morning light. The master balcony is large and too hot to sit on from midday on, but has spectacular views. Next level down is the living/dining room, kitchen, outdoor dining, pool area and another 'master' bedroom (with the best bathroom). Note that at least one of the jacuzzi tubs do not work; ask that they be in working order before you get here. The big screen TV and Bose surround music system have been awesome, but controls are confusing: staff are happy to assist here! Next level down is the rec room with the pool and foosball tables and yet another Bose system, plus 2 more bedrooms...perfect for our 20-something year old kids. Then another level of bedrooms, and another level for the staff. You can then go down a hundred feet of stairs to the street. There is no private path to the ocean; you must walk down the busy street to the muddy public road ("mud road", as we call it) that leads to a crowded beach of locals trying to sell you something...anything, Amigo. My advice: go right back to the villa. Staff here are amazing and work in 8 hour shifts: Giovan the butler is all smiles and will make any calls on your behalf or whip up unbelievable drinks (Margaritas, Pina Coladas, etc). Angeles is a superior cook and was happy to go off-menu for us, making Friday night dinner complete with roasted chicken, baked veggies, chicken soup etc. Salvador the pool guy knows his way around a kitchen and made me coffee before the staff arrived one day. Maria the housekeeper is a gem; we're considering packing her up and taking her back home with us. Teresa is our villa manager and claims to organize activities only IN the villa, like yoga, massages, etc. Make sure she comes as soon as you arrive, so you can organize drivers, activities, NOT reservations etc., otherwise she may not show. If you've made prior arrangements with your villa rental company, triple check everything when you're there! Finally there is security at night, sometimes found sleeping on the wall by the front door, sometimes standing at attention, sometimes with toothbrush in hand. Accept it and move on. There are numerous iguanas in the trees above the pool deck - some over 6 feet long - climbing to the tops when the sun comes out: main attraction at breakfast. The villa itself is perched over the main drag, so although the road down is manageable, you can hear the traffic all day long, sometimes big trucks putting their brakes on. All in all, this is a spectacular villa, in immaculate condition.
This is supposedly the cold time of year, yet we've enjoyed temps of 28 - 35 Celsius. Thank the lord for air conditioned rooms. As the sun rises behind you in the morning, the sky clears and the air is perfect. As the day progresses, the 'mist' or haze builds where the mountains meet the ocean, and it frequently gets overcast at about 4pm. Not today though; it's blazing. Nights are pleasantly warm, not hot, so bring something light to throw on.
Mismaloya is an authentic Mexican town, complete with chickens and donkeys on the roadside, dirt-floored homes by the river and one modest resort that dominates the bay. Other than that, it's mostly luxury villas on the mountains and locals who work at the resort. There is nowhere to walk here, other than up the cobbled villa roads to the top with plenty of crazy views to ogle at. For restaurants, there is only one worthy of a visit - El Jacalito - right on the main drag. See my separate review. There is a taxi stand in front of the resort, and for USD10, they'll take you to PV (20-45 minute ride, depending on where you're going). There is NO bank machine, so remember to stock up on USD and Pesos before you get here, as everyone wants to be paid in cash. That includes grocery money for your villa staff. Finally, this town has its own resident agitator, who plays traditional Mexican music on loud speakers ALL DAY LONG. Now, if you love listening to a hoarse voice yelling Spanish tunes to accordions, this is your lucky day. For the rest of us up in the hills, it's beyond annoying. Because the town is in a valley, the music can be quite loud; let's just say I can hear it in the shower with the windows closed. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon (the homeowners here have supposedly hired a lawyer to shut (shoot...loll) this guy down; in the meantime, we'll be keeping our music turned up.