Villa Vera Puerto Mio, the Raintree interval ownership (and RCI, a large worldwide vacation exchange compary) offering in Zihuatanejo, is located in the Puerto Mio area. Zihuatanejo, positioned on the West coast of Mexico roughly between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, is perhaps not as well known as Puerto Vallarta, but offers many similar charms, especially when compared to Puerto Vallarta of days gone by.
Zihuatanejo has the good fortune to be located on a perfect crescent of a bay, with distinct zones. Puerto Mio, clinging to a steep rocky promontory, anchors the northern end of the crescent, offering stellar views of the bay and Playa las Gatas.
Villa Vera, perched on the hill that makes up Puerto Mio, is an intimate hotel modeled in a villa style, but not individual villas. Think of it as more of a large villa where daily rhythms of life are carried out in a central gathering space. The open air restaurant, Altura, sits at the apex of the central area, where most guests enjoy breakfast and at least a dinner or two. Cascading down several levels are lounging areas terminating in a sapphire blue pool perfectly sited to draw the eye from the placid water of the pool to the open ocean beyond. Many guests move straight from the breakfast table to the lounging area, where the same friendly wait staff provides efficient lunch, happy hour and dinner service.
With only 22 rooms Villa Vera guests soon get to know each other at least by sight, and familiar faces can be seen at meal times and by the pool. When we visited in November 2009, Caesar, the waiter, anticipated our routine requests by the second day, and Antonio, the concierge, offered numerous suggestions about different activities and directions on how to navigate town. Several excursions are offered through the hotel, including sport fishing, sunset cruises, snorkeling and tours of the countryside. The staff all spoke excellent English and were very helpful and accommodating. For example, though the sign stated that Happy Hour started at 6 pm, with 2-for1 drinks, it actually seemed to start whenever one wanted it to, resulting in an excess of Pacifico at our table, which we managed to succumb to.
The restaurant, Altura, serves American and Mexican breakfast favorites, such as huevos rancheros, French toast, tropical fruit plates and hash browned potatoes. Lunches consisted mainly of tacos, quesadillas and soups. The dinner menu, like many in Zihuatanejo, took advantage of the abundant seafood, featuring shrimp and other seafood, prepared simply to take advantage of the fresh flavors. While not as spicy as other local restaurants the quality food was prepared well.
We had a junior suite at Villa Vera, which featured a sitting room, desk and king sized bed. A private deck faced Bahia Zihuatanejo (Zihuatanejo Bay), screened from the blazing morning sun by fronds from large palm trees outside. A spacious tiled shower had an abundance of hot water at all times of the day. The efficient air conditioner and two fans cooled the room down in a matter of minutes.
The taxi ride from the airport takes about 15 minutes and as you go through town it feels like you come out the other side and keep going. This is a bit deceptive as Villa Vera is really quite close to the downtown core by footbridge, but the taxis have to take a circuitous route. Once deposited at the hotel we never took another taxi until we returned to the airport. A set of stairs to the side of the pool leads to a wide, shaded cobblestone road that descends the hill (veering to the left at the only “Y”), skirts the bay where local fisherman are usually catching baitfish with a gaggle of kids, using plastic water bottles to wrap the line in place of a fishing rod and reel. A footbridge leads directly into the downtown core. It’s an easy 10 minute walk, but the return trip requires a bit more fortitude as it does have some steep sections. Since Villa Vera has no gym we regarded our once or twice a day hikes up the hill as our exercise, hopefully working off a Pacifico or two.
There is no business center at Villa Vera but if you have your own computer the “internet engineer” will set you up with a code to access the wireless broadband service, which works in the lobby and center core (restaurant and pool areas) for one small fee for the week.
Villa Vera Puerto Mio is a delightful place to relax and escape from the pressures of the real world, and is in an excellent location to take advantage of the charms and activities of Zihuatanejo. It is an intimate hotel offering personalized service and stunning views of the bay.
See related articles on Mexico.
Villa Vera Peurto Mio
Paseo del Morro No. 5
Col. El Almacen
Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, C.P. 40880
Tel: (755) 553 81 65/66/67
Photos by Inga Aksamit