Posted by Akwano on October 25, 2001 at 18:14:29:
Villa Vera Puerto Mio Hotel +
I tried to find info about this place before I went. I could find very little so I am posting what I know from my recent 2 week stay there.
Location: Look at Robs map of Z. The hotel is located in and next to the little bay to the right(east) of Playa Contramar
Now part of the Westin Club Regina timeshare group, the Hotel Villa Vera Puerto Mio is in the words of many I met, " Like Mexico 30 years ago". This was fine with my wife and I, as we both liked the secluded location and laid back atmosphere. The 22 acre site sits on a hillside overlooking the entrance to Z bay. Although the hotel is an easy 10 - 15 min. walk to/from town, little of the town and development in and around Z can be seen from the hotel property. Instead, guests look out to the East over Z bay to Las Gatas beach, the El Faro(the lighthouse) and the Pacific Ocean. Much of the La Ropa beach can been seen as well. None of downtown Z can be seen. . The hotel reminds one of old Mexico as it is 5 stories of red and tan stucco with large open air halls and rooms.The hotel grounds are heavily vegetated with mature and well groomed plants, trees and palms. Stone paths, trails and stairways wind through the grounds. The 'big house' as we called the main hotel building sits way up the side of a hill and overlooks to the East. Here are the rooms, a breakfast and lunch "private' covered, outdoor restaurant and the upper pool and bar.There are no elevators in this hotel so if you need to ride one, best not stay here. The rooms run from basic to very nice, but not to grand, as some would have you believe. The Grand Master Suite that is in the building, has a private pool near the roof IS NOT FOR RENT, it's only for show. They show it to you as part of the time share sales pitch but, as of this date (October 2001) never rent it out. Go figure. But, all rooms we saw were clean, had a/c, some had fans as well as a.c., most, but not all had patios, some patios were covered, some open, but all had privacy walls. Some patios had recliners some had a queen size bed sized platform with covered pads for lounging on. Some rooms have Jacuzzi type tubs. Almost all the rooms have really great views of the bay looking to the east. There are no detached private villas available. A villa here is one of three different sized rooms. Ours was the smallest of the three, but we picked it due to it's very top floor location Listed here are some of the better room numbers with a brief description of each.
Room Number 402: Nice one room w k/size bed, toilet room, separate shower, outdoor uncovered patio. A good room
Room Number 403: Nice large room with king size bed, tile shower and hot tub, outdoor uncovered patio. One of the better rooms
Room Number 404: This is the primo showcase room that has three rooms plus bath plus a private roof top pool. As of this date 10/2002 they do not rent this room, but they will sell it to you. Hey! It's Mexico.
Room Number 405: Same as room 403(both 403 and 405 are on each side of the super room 404 and could be used as part of that room as well.
Note:Room 403 & 405 are on either side of the primo room with the pool. i think they do not like to rent these rooms, they would rather show them as part of the timeshare sales presentation. BUT, I would try and rent one because they are nice.
Room Number 407: Another primo room that they may or may not rent. It has two floors. Entry floor has sitting room and outdoor uncovered patio. There is a steep winding staircase to the upper floor where there is a king size bed, walk in closet, toilet room, tile shower, and Jacuzzi tub as well as another outdoor uncovered patio. Both floors have a/c as well as fans This room was not for rent when we were there. Some newly weds showed up, they were paying full rack rate of 400+ per night. The hotel stuck them in a one room no patio room. Needless to say they raised hell and amazingly they watched as the hotel staff furnished room 407 for them. Hey! it's Mexico.
Room Number 502: Considered one of the 4 villas. This room is one of the highest rooms in the hotel. It is actually just like the
top room of the two floor room number 407. You open you room door and climb a 15 step winding staircase up to the room.The patio is very private. The Jacuzzi tub looks out over the bay(as they all do) The downside was there was no fan. There was a/c but in October the temp we 95 everyday and the humidity was 85% so I was big sponge all day and night.
Room Number 303 & 305: As of this writing (Oct 2001) these two rooms were probably the best of what was officially for rent.Each room had a king size bed in a room twice the size of the other listed here(except for the phantom room w/pool) a large bathroom and shower and a very large covered patio that had padded and pillowed seats running down two sides. The bed room had a large glass sliding window that opened out on to this patio. The patio had a wet bar as well. These were the preferred rooms at the time of my stay. We could have been in one but opted to stay in our room # 502 because of its killer view and privacy.
Room Number 304: Is like 303 & 305 but not as large. the patio is the same, just the room is smaller.
Room Pool Side Cabanas: I never went in one and do not know much about them except they are located down by the lower pool and I believe are the least expensive of them all to stay in.
A word on the Villas at Hotel Villa Vera: If your a Club Regina timeshare owner and/or are expecting to have an off site private "villa", as of this writing it is just not gonna happen. The hotel position on villas is that they have 4 villas, rooms 303,304,305, & 502. That's it. Now based on what I wrote you may have a lot of questions about what a villa is. SO did we, and everyone else. Every question was asked a hundred times by a hundred different people. In the end, it all came back to room 303,304,305, and 502. Don't ask me about the honeymooners suite that got put together right in from of them. Don't ask me about the room with a pool. Just take my word for it and say, Hey! it's Mexico.
The hotel has what they call a 'simi' private beach. If fact this beach is Playa Contramar and is accessible by both road(although difficult) and boat. On Sunday it is a pretty popular place for the locals. If, while staying at the hotel you tell them you want to go the 'private' beach, a staff member will drive you down from the hotel, open the locked gate, set up your table and chairs then leave you alone. If you want something you tell the staff person what you want and what time you want it and they bring it.There are very clean restrooms there and a fresh water shower but when I was(Oct. 2001) there the restaurant / bar was not open due to it being the off season. the snorkeling is very good. But, this is not a sandy beach. It is polished rocks and it drops of pretty fast. But we really liked it.
Down the hill from the main building next to a very small cove sits the lower public restaurant (see below), and lower sea side pool. Here you can lounge under umbrellas, or hang over the pool side and watch the sea surge in against the rocks not 10 feet below.Or, gaze off into the pacific. The view from here is pretty much unspoiled. You see mostly natural surroundings. Here a gentle wind blows to help cool you off. This area, except the pool, is open to the public. So non hotel guests can come for lunch or dinner at the restaurant La Cala. The distance from the upper hotel to the lower pool is about 400 yards, but its up or down hill. The hotel provides golf cart transportation between the two if you ask.(and most do). We walked down and took the cart up. The day time pool side service was excellent. The lunches as well as the dinners were terrific.
The restaurant La Cala:
Located on the water at Hotel Villa Vera the restaurant is a first class dining experience. The food was fabulous, the service outstanding and the setting unsurpassed by any. As of this date, I would rate this restaurant a four or five star dining experience. The restaurant is set about 15 feet above a small cove facing the mouth of Z bay. It is set in such way that diners see no other city/town lights except a few lights from across the bay at Las Gatis. The small cove has surging water that washes against the beach below the dining area. At night two flood lights illuminate the cove. Both times we ate here, a large turtle swan in and around the cove. One night a huge ray of some type entered the cove as well. The activity in the cove as well as the absolutely fabulous food and service made the restaurant at Villa Vera a truly unique dining experience. I would recommend that anyone in the area take a cab(or walk from town across the canal bridge, left up the stone road 15 minutes) and enjoy one of the finer dinning experience in the area.
I feel that this hotel has the best location of any upscale hotel in Z. One, because it is on the East side of a hill and overlooks the water with not much except green to either side. And two, it's an easy walk to town vs other hotels that front say Playa Ropa. To walk from Playa Ropa hotels one has to walk /climb a pretty steep hill to reach the hotels. This hike makes for plenty of cab rides both to and from those hotels. From hotel Villa Vera all one has to do is exit the property at the lower restaurant /pool area and walk a pretty flat(couple of very gentle slopes) road along the shore to a foot bridge that crosses the canal right into town. Also, when returning from Las Gatis beach you can ask the boat driver to drop you at Puerto Mio and he will pull into the dock that is not 100 feet from the hotel property where you can get a drink, fall in the pool and later take the golf cart up the hill to your room. It's a very nice location.
Notes On Z :
I have nothing bad at all to say about this laid back town. Everything about it I liked.
Las Gatis Beach: You will go to Las Gatis Beach via boat(cost 30 peseo each r/trip) be sure to keep one half of your ticket so you do not have pay for the return trip. When you get off the boat at Las Gatis you are approached by vendors wanting you to sit at their little portion of the beach. I'm sure all these guys are good but we went about three quarters of the way down the beach and hooked up with FRANKO. He was great. He has been working the beach for 16 years and knows weather you want to be talked to or not. The food at his little part of the beach is great, and his service is top notch. So when you hit Las Gatis just say no gracias to all the vendors until you see a tall slender good looking guy who goes by the name Franko.(rest. Opila, I think) You will not be disappointed.
Manzillo Beach: We hired a boat for 500.00 peseo to take us to this beach located about 30 minutes south of Z. If you want your own private beach, great snorkeling, and just a fine time, hire a boat to take you here. Tell the captain you want to get off on the beach and spend the day. Our skipper dropped us, then anchored up off the beach and left us to do whatever we wanted. Pack a lunch and enjoy yourselves, its a great little private beach. We stayed till 3 pm each time. Our skipper picked us up and dropped us off at Puerto Mio dock.
MONEY: Change it at an ATM when you get to town. If you do not have an ATM pin number GET ONE before you go and use it at ATMs located in banks and around town. It is the best exchange rate anywhere, bar none. Cabs in and around town, from one end of La Ropa to Puerto Mio and everywhere in between cost 20 peso,THIS INCLUDES THE TIP. Just get in the cab, and when you get out give the driver 20 pesos and everything will be cool. Except if you ride in a taxi with a/c, then it's 30 peso.
BUY YOUR WATER: First day there take a taxi to Comercial Mexicana(20 peso). This is a huge American style grocery store(40% owned by Wal Mart) where you can stock up on water, Gatorade, etc. Then take it back to your room, empty out the fridge of the hotel min bar stuff and load it with your own. You will save big bucks doing this. Later make sure to walk or ride to the marcado municipal in d/town Z, this is where the locals shop and is a great, great, market where you can buy everything you want. Great cheeses, and good cheap Mexican coffee for like 35 cents a pound and fresh fish. On one side are several 'Fondas"cafes that are cooking up wonderful Mexican Foods all day long. Be brave, live a little, sit down and eat at one of these 'Fondas'. Remember this: Food, Water, Beer, Booze, everything is cheaper the farther away from the beach you go.
Ixtapa: Went there, saw it, left it, yawwwwwn.
A note on eating. I will post this little tip under another subject as well as put it here. Understand that this tip works for my wife and I and, has worked for many people I have traveled around the world with. It may or may not work for you or yours. Also, before I get going on the tip, I do not care if it works for you or not, I do not care if you believe this will work or not, so please, please, do not get into a long discussion about the science of it all cause I just do not care. For what it's worth here is my food tip:
A few years ago while researching CompuServe message boards about the Copper Canyon (another great trip) I came across a post from a man who said he was a Doctor in Mexico City.He suggested that a non prescription medication call TREDA be used to help prevent stomach problems. He said that when you arrive in Mexico, go straight to a Pharmacia(Treda is not available in the U.S.) and buy a box of Treda,(it's real cheap) take one half of one tablet at breakfast everyday, eat smart, and enjoy the foods of Mexico. Ever since I took this advise, I have never been sick in Mexico or any other part of the world.( I travel with Treda now) I eat at all types of eateries, from upscale to the corner food stand, but I eat smart. No leafy veggies, don't drink the water. Treda, I have been told kills some of the low level bacteria that causes stomach problems. It's worked for me, it may work for you.
I hope this report helps Just remember,
Hey!, it's Mexico.