Thinking of Puerto Vallarta for some much-needed sunshine? We’ve scouted out two, centrally-located, boutique Puerto Vallarta hotels with loads of charm. (Hacienda San Angel is also lovely, but it’s more expensive.)
The bonus at these two inns: No sticker-shock when it’s time to pay your bill.
Two boutique Puerto Vallarta hotels
Casa Isabel and Quinta Maria Cortez offer a sweet dollop of luxury for less than the big brand chain hotels (you know which ones they are :-).
1) Casa Isabel
Fancy a great big studio with full kitchen for only $149 USD night in high season? Find this, plus 1-bedroom units ($199 USD) and a large 2-bedroom/2-bath unit ($329 USD), at the 14-suite Casa Isabel. The adults-only inn is perched in the leafy hills overlooking the old town’s red tile roofs and the turquoise Bay of Banderas.
The inn is owned by a fellow Canadian (who also owns the Madison Avenue Pub and Madison Manor Boutique Hotel in Toronto).
Casa Isabel’s Mexican-style decor gives you a real sense of place.
Suites have thick wooden soundproof doors, polished terracotta tile floors, white coverlets on the king-size beds, and colourfully-painted Mexican sinks in the bathrooms. Homey touches include corn husk dolls lined up high on kitchen cupboards, a wooden rocking horse in the 2-bedroom suite, hat stands (complete with sun hats) and a resident cat who’s figured out how to use the door stopper to knock on your door.
There’s air-conditioning, but all units also have huge folding windows that open completely to the glorious views.
A 10-minute walk down cobblestone streets takes you to Los Muertos Beach, where, for no fee, you can plop yourself down in a lounge chair at any number of beach clubs. The top beach clubs have showers and give you towels too. A 5-minute walk the other way leads to the “Romantic Zone,” with its art galleries and restaurants.
Or you can just chill by Casa Isabel’s three small pools (the infinity pool is our favourite) and enjoy chile relleno and grilled shrimp at the casual rooftop restaurant.
2) Quinta Maria Cortez
Say hello to “Ann Rice meets the tropics.” This multi-level, vine-covered, stone and brick B&B on the beach oozes atmosphere.
After staying at Quinta Maria Cortez, you may never want to stay in a plain chain hotel again; it’s one of the top boutique Puerto Vallarta hotels.
Most of the seven unique suites only have partial walls facing the sea, so they’re airy and open.
The décor is totally eclectic, but somehow it works beautifully.
Greek columns, gilt-framed mirrors, Persian rugs and exposed brick walls meld with antique Mexican furniture, black tile floors and expansive porches filled with potted ferns and palms. Added bonus: many suites also have kitchens.
We like the 1,200 sq.ft. Maria suite best. Originally the owner’s apartment, it has a king-size canopied bed in the air-conditioned bedroom and peach silk Louis IV chairs in the living room.
The location in the upscale Conchas Chinas residential neighbourhood is ideal. It’s quiet, yet only a 15-minute walk or $5 taxi ride into town.
Breakfast (included), from French toast to eggs, is served in a breezy dining room overlooking the water.
And staff will set up an umbrella and chairs on the small sandy cove for you to read or nap.