Zihuatanejo, Mexico Review - Warm Winter Wonderland

Villa Carolina - a boutique hotel in Zihuatanejo

The weather outside is frightful, your family has left, the lights on your tree look droopy, and you're wondering what kind of holiday has you more stressed out than any other time of the year.   Rather than trying to find a restaurant willing to take a reservation for an overpriced meal, and trying to hail a cab so as not to get a DUI on New Years Eve, perhaps a better idea is to use that money to fly to a warm climate, and book into a hotel where you can commune with the stars and enjoy exquisite sunsets on the beach.  In Zihuatanejo, Mexico that is just what you will find.  This little fishing village is the quaint neighbor to the fast-paced Ixtapa.
In Zihuatanejo there are several adequate to high-end hotels along the beachfront, each with its own style. 

But if you really want luxury try Villa Carolina. Caroline Conti and her three sons and daughter own this boutique hotel which has only seven suites in an adobe styled architecture, just up the road from the beach.

Open air suite at Villa Carolina

The Grand House at Villa Carolina takes the entire top floor.  The local architect Enrique Muller originally built the top level for the family, as the hotel was originally going to be a house.  The main room has an open area living space that has no exterior walls, leaving it open to gaze out over the ocean and Zihuat (as the locals say).  Every room is done with a thoughtful design style and the piece de resistance…a professional kitchen with a deep fryer and a pizza oven.

The floor below has two Master Suites.  Again, these have unobstructed views of the ocean and a jacuzzi to wile away the hours in relaxation while you watch the sunset. 

Each suite has its own kitchen for long term visitors, of which there are many. The floors are acid stained in a saddle color and embellished with cemented pebble borders, which adds to the sophistication of the rooms.

Wile away the hours in a hot tub with a view

And finally, the four bottom suites are the Garden Suites.  Although they do not have the view, the serenity is unmistakable.  You will wake to birds chorusing and butterflies (the size of small birds) fluttering across the residence.  The pool is a great excuse for guests to mingle and exchange their findings.  This is truly more like a communal village than a stuffy hotel.  The guests, having gotten to know each other through the years, have an easy way about them of honoring each others privacy while still enjoying each others company. 

Marilyn and George Brown have returned to Villa Carolina every year for five years and reside for two months at a time.  “We book every year in advance so we can get our same Master Suite.”, says Marilyn.  Through the years, the couple have become more involved in the community, including Zihuatanejo’s yearly Sail Fest which runs over 4 days in February with parades, beach parties, races, and music to raise money for the Netzahualcoyotl School for Indigenous Children and other educational projects in Zihuatanejo.

Lay by the pool with a self serve bar at Villa Carolina

There are plenty of activities in Zihuat.  For those who like to be physical, every beach has snorkels, kayaks, and catamarans for rent.  You can also take a taxi to Ixtapa and catch a ferry over to Ixtapa Island for more snorkeling and some local food and drink.

You will be hard pressed to find a more romantic dinner spot than La Cala.  Although the food is not up to par with the location, the setting is breathtaking: a small cove where waves lap up to just below your feet and recede back with a clack clack on the rocks as the water retreats.  Oil lamps are lit high up on the rocks surrounding you.  As you sit there in the warm evening breeze, you feel as though you are in heaven.  Make sure to ask for a table “at the water's edge.”  You won’t regret it.

A great treat you can find at any of the beachfront local restaurants is Tiratas (it means slices): a dish of sail fish that is marinated with sliced chilis and onions. 

In Zihuat, the fish is always fresh, the weather is always beautiful, and by the time you leave you'll be excited for next Christmas to come so you can do it all over again!


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