Trip report - Las Brisas - a bit long

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Escrito por lyle desde ( el día martes, 26 de abril, 2005 a las 23:22:57 horas :

Rambling recollections of our trip. Okay – we have been back too long for this report not to have been in sooner.
We are from Windsor, Ontario and left April 2 out of Detroit for our 4th trip to Ixtapa and 2nd without the kids. The plane was on time and we arrived at 7:30 on Saturday night. We were staying at Las Brisas this year for the first time, and thank you for those on the board that previously had written about Las Brisas – your comments were right on.
I was across the aisle on the plane from my wife who sat beside a nice father and daughter on the plane, oops I’m sorry it was Frank and his girlfriend Meagan. They were staying at Las Brisas as well, and Frank bought the Corona’s getting on the bus – I can hang around with generous guys like that. We were the first group dropped off and we had no problem getting the 15th floor (we were told 15-18 on the site). The rooms is exactly as the their website shows, and more about that later.
The food.
After our plane landed we checked in and went to Franks (bar and grill in Ixtapa). The owner of Franks is from Windsor, and we have mutual acquaintances, even though we met in Ixtapa five years ago. We started off with some margies and one of his pizza’s. My wife had the tuna and I had the snapper. To be honest, we weren’t thrilled with the meal but it was 10:30 when we ate and we were tired. I asked Frank where we could get some liquor and he walked us right over to the store, great hospitality. Judging by the bill, I am pretty sure we weren’t charged for any drinks. More on Franks later.
(I must say right away that we only ate a couple lunches after golf at Las Brisas), so it was always a cab or a walk down the hill for something to eat. (The breakfast buffet at Las Brisas was $17.50 each – we never had it.)
Tamales was a must this time, thanks to the board. We sort of prefer American food with a Mexican flair, so this was going out on a limb for me. I was going to try the Pozole, but Frank ordered for us. He got an appetizer platter that was great, but the dinner wasn’t my style. I will blame that on me and not being able to go all out traditional.
El Faro- on the cab back from Zihua, I told the driver as we were going up the hill to take us to El Faro for a night cap, or 3. I don’t think they wanted us to come in, but Frank was booking a reservation for the next night for four as soon as he saw the place. What a beautiful view, and so calm and peaceful.
We went to El Faro last year and had a great meal with a wonderful view, and I would have highly recommended it. We weren’t planning on going back because for our real expensive night out, we were going to try Villa Del Selva this year. I wish we had. As good as it was last year, they were very busy and service was slow, and the food came out cold. Not want you want for a VERY expensive dinner, but my new buddy Frank picked up the tab. We went back to Las Brisas for night caps, and I have to tell you, the lobby bar is pretty cool to hang out for a drink.
Appetizer hopping (and surfside bar hopping) – my wife and I took a cab to Zihua and started at ClubIntrawest (more later). We sat in the Z bar and had some appetizers and margies and loved the wonderful view. It was a little plastic, and so high up it was windy. The appetizers and drinks were good. A very nice spot for a drink and some pictures. We then walked down to Hotel Catalina. This place does NOT get enough recognition here. Very simple with plastic table and chairs in the bar area overlooking La Ropa. We had some shrimp tacos (split a dinner) and they were awesome. Margies were 2 for 1, and I like that! Beautiful view, good service, great food and drink, what more do you want. (I will say if you walked in and weren’t adventurous you may not try it –we walked through it last year while looking for a place to eat and didn’t even think of trying it – TRY IT.) A walk down the beach led us to Rossy’s and we split a red snapper dinner there. Same as Catalina, plastic chairs and such but food and drink were good – huge margies.
Appetizer hoping with Frank and Meagan the next night – we started out at Kau Kan. With Frank being Italian he thinks he can speak Spanish. We were there early and asked for some sort of platter to sample stuff. They brought us out our own plate each with a single shrimp, bean soup, two bites of lobster in a potato and a small crab cake. It was $26 each plus drinks. Sore spot for me, but it was $160 for a couple drinks each and appetizers. I can pay those prices back home and get a whole lot more. We then went to Hotel Catalina again. For two meals - Shrimp Tacos, and Fajitas and a bunch of margies, less the $50. Everyone should go there. We walked up the beach and we ended up at Villa Del Sol and drinking at the bar. A nice place to sit on a bar stool.
The Fat Mermaid – we walked along Municipal and I can’t remember the one place, but right in front of the where the boats are – way to fishy smelling. The fat mermaid was right there too, but just far enough away not to have a smell. We had a great meal. I had the tuna and wife had mahi mahi – probably best meal so far. I wasn’t feeling 100% that day so limited drinking.
Back to Franks – I can honestly say at this point of the trip, our last night, I was not nearly as happy with the food as last year. We were about 50% on dinners, so I made an executive decision and we were going back to Franks for the platter with Frank and Meagan. Thanks to Frank and Pablo for making me look good. Franks has a platter for 2 for about $54 that has two nice tuna fillets, two lobster tails, two giant shrimp with bacon and cheese and 4 garlic shrimp. We upped the order for three and they took care of us no problem (the young Meagan had pizza). Every part was absolutely delicious. This was the best meal of our trip.
We usually went out in Ixtapa for a late breakfast and all the places we went to were good. We just wanted simple and cheap and got it. Breakfast for 2 was around $10 everywhere we went.
Las Brisas - We have previously stayed at Presidente without kids, and the Barcelo and a condo at (what is now) Costa Reale with the kids. We took the kids to Disney at Christmas and saw some specials out of Detroit and couldn’t resist leaving them at home. The rooms are exactly as the pictures, and balconies and hammocks were awesome. The balconies are very private. Everything was clean. The service at the pool and the beach were excellent. The pool is a long way from the beach and was very hot due to lack of breeze, I think. After the first two days at the pool we parked at the beach and never returned to the pools. The palapas and service were great and there were never more than about 40 people there. (I actually read a book when I was there) The water was generally good. I have seen it much rougher, although one guy separated his shoulder body surfing. Most days we would just wade out past the breakpoint and let the waves roll over us, and chatting with other vacationers out there. The last day it was very rough. I went out twice but came back in quickly. We also ended up dragging our lounge chairs into the waters edge and letting the odd wave hit us. That was a blast and a much funner way to sit in the sun. I would return to Las Brisas in a second with my wife, but I wouldn’t go there with my kids. The lobby bar (18th floor) was wonderful for cocktails and they brought out the big TV for the final four games. It was a nice place to chat with other vacationers. If you can’t have romance at Las Brisas….
The only downside was, we really missed were the long walks on Playa El Palmer, but we had those most days when we went our for breakfast. We just took a cab down to Barcelo and cut through, dodged the time share reps, and walked the beach and cut back over at Costa Reale, and went for breakfast. If you aren’t eating at Las Brisas then it is always a cab ride or long walk down the hill. I would probably opt to eat a couple more lunches there next time.
Zihua – we had a great time there, although we still haven’t gone for a day on La Ropa or Las Gatas and I promise next time we will. It is nice to mull around the shops and Playa Municipal. While my wife was shopping I had a few drinks at Banditos and it seemed cool. We didn’t eat there or at Coconuts. I just feel that when I eat in Ixtapa/Zihua, I want the ocean at my side (except I give it up at Franks). Club Intrawest is very impressive on entrance, but then feels plastic. (My wife thinks it’s georgeous.) It is worth a tour. I’m curious how long it takes before it shows the wear and tear. It’s almost too pristine, and if you think Las Brisas is a lot of walking, there are some hills here.
The golf – I have played both Marina Ixtapa and Palma Reale before. We settled on Palma Reale because it is more forgiving. Both are challenging enough, but at Palma Reale if you hit your ball sideways, you can usually go find it. It’s a good enough test for my wife and I. (and for you golfers I am a 6 handicap.) We saw three big alligators, and I mean big, and one small one. And they were close to us. Scared the pants off my wife.
Frank and Meagan – what a lovely couple we met. They were so friendly from the get go. Frank was a little too generous at times, but they added that intangible that makes a vacation great. If we went with another couple we would have never had the opportunity to meet great people like them. By the end of the trip we were teasing each other like old friends. It was great to hang out with them at the beach and go out for dinner, without feeling obligated to be with them.
We are 4 for 4 in Ixtapa and will be heading back next year. My wife wants to stay in Zihua. Who knows, maybe we will take the next step.
Thanks to Rob and the whole board for helping make the trips so wonderful.

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