Guadalajara Travel Guide
Last month we spent a few nights at the Intercontinental Guadalajara and we couldn't get over how every time we got off the elevator in the lobby, this little piggy was ready to greet us. The pig actually was a part of the hotel's lobby restaurant Frutas y Flores which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Diners did not seem to be deterred by this figurine and we never asked whether the pig had always been there or if it was an "Eff Swine Flu" sort of display. Still, we got a kick out it. Until we returned home from Mexico with a stomach virus. But that's another story.
So remember that hotel keycard we showed you the other day with the um, interesting ad on it? Yeah. Well, that belonged to the Presidente Intercontinental Guadalajara where we stayed for four days during the Society of American Travel Writers conference.
Before we go any further, we must tell you the most crucial bit of information: Request a room above the 16th floor. Do not settle for a room on the 14th, 15th or 16th floors.
The reason being is that the hotel has recently completed a massive renovation of its lobby and floors 17-23. However, the renovation has not yet extended to the other floors. These rooms are very old and in terrible condition. We heard reports from fellow conference-goers of broken phones, missing mini-bar keys, broken lights and the like.
But upstairs in the "gated community," as some other folks referred to these new rooms, it's a different story. The rooms are light and happy, spacious and modern. Our only issue with our room was that sometimes the toilet wouldn't flush. But other than that, everything worked perfectly.
We spent the past four days in Guadalajara, Mexico and we'll have more on the hotel scene there tomorrow but we just had to post this snapshot for ya of our hotel room keycard. It says, "Taller de sexualidad. Desmitificando las disfunciones sexuales en Mexico." And it's accompanied by a picture of a man and woman in a bed that's being carried away (or rescued?) by a parachute.
We're pretty sure you don't need a Spanish to English dictionary to understand what this advertisement is for (a doctor's name is also listed on the card) but we thought it was something you'd get a kick out of.
Seen any other hotel keycards with sexual dysfunction ads on them? Or any other kind of ads? Send 'em to us!
[Ed. Note: All good things must come to an end as Hotel Maven Tim Leffel learned when he had to pack up his things and say goodbye to supreme service at the Villa Ganz in Guadalajara. Enjoy.]
No matter how much a luxury chain hotel touts its pampering it's hard for the big boxes to compete on personal service with a small boutique hotel.Witness Villa Ganz in Guadalajara, Mexico. "We don't really have breakfast hours," the front desk clerk says. "When you wake up, when you're hungry, you just tell us what you want. Seven in the morning? Noon? It's okay with us."
It doesn't stop there though. That breakfast can be in a breakfast nook, on a terrace, or next to flowering bushes in the garden. Heck, they'll probably let you sit on the stairs eating a muffin if you really want to---and they'll refill your coffee with grace. With a bit of advance notice, the chef will whip up dinner and they'll serve it at a spot of your choice on the premesis, with a nice tablecloth and candles.
Now try telling the front desk at a 400-room hotel that you would like private breakfast service for two at a lone table in the garden---and you don't want to pay extra for it either. The answer probably won't be "My pleasure!"
Villa Ganz is part of the Mexico Boutique Hotels group, a collective of interesting inns and small resorts with character scattered around Mexico. Its nine suites are in a grand 1930s home lovingly decorated with antiques and quality crafts from around the region. Some rooms are shower-only, but all come with plush robes, turndown service, and the usual amenities. Rates range from $200 to $260, the latter being for master suites with CD players and whirlpool tubs. Reserve number 14 or 15 for French doors opening to a garden view. All rates include breakfast---anytime, anywhere.
· Villa Ganz reviews [TripAdvisor]
[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven Tim Leffel skipped on down to Guadalajara for a bit and continues to fill us in on the hotel scene. Unfortunately, sometimes an anti-view cannot be avoided.]
When a hotel brochure or web site says "sea view" or "view of the square" they often neglect to include what else you'll see out the window. At least Hotel Fenix in Guadalajara doesn't advertise this view from room 624 as "cathedral view," leaving you disappointed when you find that the historic church is actually behind a lot of really ugly rooftops.
There is some other strange false advertising going on here though as they say the hotel hails from 1912 and has hosted the likes of John F. Kennedy, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor. One look at the exterior, however, and it's obvious this building came to be well after those folks were all over the news.
Guadalajara, Mexico has some beautiful colonial architecture downtown, but it's surrounded by a lot of similar rebuilt ugliness. So spring for the Quinta Real instead and opt for a garden view.
· Hotel Fenix reviews [TripAdvisor]
[Hotel maven Tim Leffel is in Guadalajara, where boutique hotel Quinta Real deserves a tip of the tequila glass.]
Guadalaja is Mexico's second-largest city, so it contains plenty of international chain hotels. The perennial top choice in town is not one of those, however. Quinta Real is spot of choice, for its deft combination of abundant amenities and refined service, but without bland international stylings. With only 76 rooms, it has the feel of a cozy hidaway.
Here there's a real sense of place, from the architectural elements to the local pottery and paintings throughout. The breakfast buffet is not a tired rehash of bacon, scrambled eggs, and bagels. Instead it contains choices such as refried black beans, Mexican-style eggs, tamales, and chilaquiles. Local cereals and fruit are joined by Mexican hot chocolate--yum.
This is essentially a residential-area hotel on a small patch of land, so the pool is better for a quick dip than a real swim. But they make the best use of the limited grounds, with meandering paths and gardens. There's no WiFi yet, but hi-speed wired access in the rooms and complimentary access in the business center. The bar has plenty of tequila choices, to keep the party going after touring local distilleries.
· Quinta Real reviews [TripAdvisor]