Trip Report, Part I Villas El Morro

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Posted by Alaskagal from ( on Saturday, February 23, 2002 at 21:51:06 :

My husband and I just returned from Z from a well-deserved vacation, February 13th through 21st. This first visit was mainly a ?scouting trip? as neither one of us had ever been to Z before. On a scale of one to ten, Z definitely rates a 10+. We loved it. We especially liked the overall feel of the town?real laid back, quiet and tranquil. No rush. No muss. No hassle. No ?corre-corre? (literally, run-run) like in the large cities, or in the tourist traps of Cancun. Z is a regular working fishing village, and as we hail from Juneau, Alaska, this is something we can really and truly appreciate?not to mention the weather?s a hell of a lot nicer. J

Each and every morning began with the privilege of watching an awe-inspiring sunrise from the balcony of Suite#3 (aka the Lobo/?Wolfe? suite named after the Wolfe?s who stayed in this suite earlier in the year) from the Villas El Morro?a new small hotel built by Eduardo Montes de Oca. We found the El Morro on Rob?s site and found it intriguing, simply because so little information about it exists. What were the suites like? Was the view from the suite as beautiful as the pictures shown on the site? We didn?t know and we decided to gamble and find out. The reservation process for the spectacular suite was really easy: we emailed Eduardo, requested a suite, and awaited an answer. Eduardo emailed us back promptly, and was most helpful with providing us additional information on the property. It was a little unsettling to have money wired to someone?s bank account to guarantee our reservation without knowing the individual; however, once the reservation was made and we stayed our stay, I can definitely vouch for Eduardo and his word: your money and your reservation is safe with him. He is honest, kind, and has a great understanding of the English language; he means well and will go out of his way to answer any of your emails about trivial questions and is overall a wonderful host. We really liked him (and his family) a lot. Although he owns several properties, he told us that he is new in this type of business and that he sees owning the El Morro as a ?hobby?: he appreciates your questions and wants your feedback so he can continue improving the El Morro.

The pros and cons of staying at the El Morro: it?s remote. The cons first. It?s locat1on on El Almacen, the hill or small moutain across from La Madera, lends itself to be a quiet and private property. Downtown (el centro) is a short fifteen minute walk from the El Morro, and bears some note. There are a series of stairs one must traverse in order to head to town. These stairs are heck going down and pure hell coming up. . We counted somewhere between 176 and 184 stairs?I guess it depends on the heat and the time of day. J Sure there are the usual landings, but the stairs are uneven, lack railing, and adding to the ambiance, there is even a grave marker or headstone half-way down these steps. Granted, I don?t know if someone died here, but tell you what, if you got started going down these babies and tripped ? forget health insurance, you better know a good mortician. From the bottom of those steps, walk left and follow the cobbled road down past the Pemex station and Casa Bahia/Z Yacht Club on your right. Take the footbridge into town. We walked into town daily and then took cabs back. Being pansies from Juneau, we wilt in the heat, and never attempted the walk ?home? up a hill and up the stairs. It seemed to be what everyone else was doing. Good luck telling the cab drivers where you're going. Most of them don't know where the El Morro is. We usually said "cerca del villa vera puerto mio" (next to or by the Puerto Mio hotel) and ended up okayTaxis were usually 20-30p?and most oftentimes settled for 25p. We found that most drivers did not know the locat1on of the El Morro as it?s fairly new, but could be directed in the general area by saying ?cerca de el torre villa vera puerto mio??essentially by the Hotel Puerto Mio. Staying here for any period of time could certainly cost a small fortune in taxi fare. We would walk to Madera Beach but would walk downtown and then take a taxi for 20p or so to La Ropa as opposed to paying 50-70p one way from El Morro. Ouch.

The pros second. The view. Ohmigod. It?s gorgeous! For the same kind of view you get from the Puerto Mio, or the flashy foo-foo places across the bay, you can get for a fraction of the cost at the El Morro. For pictures taken from Suite #3 of the sunrise, email me and I?ll be happy to send some your way. Also, not to be missed is the view from the roof. According to other folk staying at the El during the time we were there, Eduardo plans on expanding the hotel with additional suites sometime in the future. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit, take a look at the rooms, and check out the panoramic view from the rooftop?absolutely breathtaking. Take a camera and look out for rebar. Even if you don?t have a reservation to stay here, this place warrants a visit just because of it?s spectacular view.

Regarding the accommodations: I guess I?m a princess at heart. In fact, my husband likens me to Billy Crystal?s descr1ption of Meg Ryan in ?When Harry Met Sally??the worst kind of woman, the one who thinks she?s low-maintenance but is really high-maintenance. Go figure.

If you want a romantic suite, ask for suite #3 ... and I'll tell you why: currently, there are 3 suites at Villas El Morro, but #3 has a balcony of it's own ... suite #1 and suite #2 have balconies that touch. As the great people who "lived next door" in suite #2 said, "It's great when you know the people next door, but not so great when you don't." (Nice folk, they had friends staying next to them for a week and didn't mind the touching balconies, but me, personally--it reminded me more of a shared apartment balcony ... very little privacy). And, as apartments go, it's good, but it was different than what my husband and I built it up in our minds to be. Hands down, the view was absolutely incredible! The sunrises were gorgeous and the breezes from the balcony were wonderful! Very beautiful, very peaceful and very awe-inspiring. Once again, privacy comes into play. Early in the morning, there was no one out on the property ... very quiet, very peaceful ... then after the sun rises, people come out. I like people, but I like my quiet time, and I just didn't feel as if we had enough quiet time. Suite #3 is right above the cabana area, the patio area where continental breakfast is served, and although breakfast doesn't begin until 9am, sometimes you'll hear people banging around earlier. The balconies are not that far up off the ground ... like, maybe 12 feet or so ... yeah, I guess about one clear story or so, and you have a wonderful view of this area from your bedroom window ... oh, and if people are looking from the cabana area, they can see you, like if they go to use the phone or something, but only if you're at the window looking out. For this reason, we kept the shades closed in the bedroom for most of the time we were there.

Then there were the dogs, the chickens and the man with the mule. Hmm. E's property is above a small street that is in a state of disrepair. If you stand on your balcony to your right there is a beautiful private home that is for sale ... also in a state of disrepair--real shame. The villas have a small grassy area (12'x36') behind then that is part of the property and surrounded by a wire fence. The property to the left side of your balcony is public property and undeveloped. Many items used in constructing the property were seemingly cast off or dumped here ... until the jungle takes over, it's not the greatest view. Down below the patio, driveway, and onto the road to your left is small home owned by local folk who either have several dogs, or where several dogs like to visit. At one time, my husband and I counted 8 dogs total just living the dog life moseying up and down the road, tails wagging, tongues lolling, etc. No problem, we like dogs, but seem to dislike them when they begin barking at 1 or 2 in the morning. Okay, okay, sometimes it was more like 3 or 4 in the morning, and sometimes, it wasn't until after sunrise ... but they liked to bark. And if it wasn't the dogs, it was the chickens. Nice country touch, but still, well, they would start before sunrise about 4 or 5 in the morning. The man with the mule? According to Ralmaldro (the groundsman) he travels up and down the road daily,cutting, gathering and selling firewood with his trusty mule. Sometimes the mule doesn't feel like moving, my guess, and will bray rather loudly. We never saw the man or the mule, but boy, did we hear them. The good news is that there is an airconditioning unit in the bedroom which you can run, and as it's kinda loud, will help drown out these noises.

The suites themselves are peacefully quiet. There is a television in the bedroom which never worked during our stay. Eduardo remarked upon this upon our arrival and we both told him not to worry about it since we wouldn't be needing one. He does have Direct TV for his complex, and that too was not functioning during our stay. We would have loved a radio, or a clock radio, but alas, we had neither. Again, we didn?t care: we wanted peace and quiet.

Upon entry to suite#3 the bedroom will be straight ahead, the bathroom to your left, the kitchenette/dining area/living area to the right. The suite is spartanly furnished: bright, white walls, with a few pictures on the walls, and beautiful orangish/red tile work throughout. The tile work is very, beautiful and very well done and is what you would expect of beautiful Mexican tile. The bedroom is also spartanly furnished. White walls, red tile, and is about 12x12x12 roughly. The ceilings are huge, the doors tall, and overall gives the appearance of a larger room because of the height of the ceiling. The bed is king size, with a beautiful dark blue with flower motif light-we [snip - maximum size exceeded]

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