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Rustic Family-Owned Lodge Has Le Cordon Bleu Fare

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Paredes # 106 Sur, San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico, 63740
January 21, 2009 at 3:40 PM | by | ()

All this week, Shira Levine will be filling us in on the emerging hot spot in Mexico--Riviera Nayarit. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know.

The totally charming family-run Hotel Garza Canela is one of those unassuming gems you discover by accident or word of mouth. Or at least, it has the energy of that sentiment. If you Google "hotels" and "San Blas" it is the upscale hotel in the town of roughly 12,000 people. If charming and old school rustic is your bag, the four sisters and a brother that own Garza Canela are pretty welcoming to inviting you into their life in San Blas.

The compound is the perfect setting for a reunion or a low-key intimate wedding. (They've got a chapel on site.) There are four two and three story buildings with roughly a dozen rooms in each building.

I stayed in a two-story and had a quaint 70's looking room with brown, wood-paneled walls and ceramic-tiled floors, a full kitchen and a super old school TV with equally old school TV channels.

Garza Canela has a very Griswold Family Vacation feel to it, probably because it hasn't been renovated or updated much. But if you dig the style, it's not big deal. Everything works well, is clean and is sufficiently lovely. The neatly manicured gardens and the Christie Brinkley-ready sparkling blue swimming pool easily support that Clark Griswold appeal.

Still, of all the hotels I saw along Riviera Nayarit this feels like the most authentic to the local population. It’s not a new development, but again, it is well-kept and updated enough where it counts. There is a computer with Internet access in the lobby and the entire lobby has free wifi if you have your laptop. The hotel is about a 20-minute brisk walk from the beach too.

The best part of about Garza Canela is the restaurant Delphin, which is helmed by one of the four sisters; Betty Vasquez, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef. (Good luck trying to tell the sisters apart.)

And it makes sense that San Blas has such stellar cooking. It is a fishing town and agricultural center. International birding enthusiasts head here to catch some 300 migratory birds that spend their winters in San Blas. Ecotourism is big here too with mangrove swamp boat rides and whale watching.

Insider Tip: Be sure to synchronize watches with every single person you deal with. There are two sets of times in Nayarit: local time and airport time. Find out who uses what and go from there. Everyone is different and it can be really confusing if you ever have to meet somewhere! Garza Canela has no phones in the rooms so you have to walk all the way over and knock on the door if someone is following the wrong time and late for dinner!

Room rates start at $76 a night for standard room.

Shira visited Riviera Nayarit courtesy of the Riviera Nayarit CVB and the Mexico Tourism Board.

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