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Mexican Small Hotels Offer Choice

And A Feast for the Eyes

Story & by Stuart Wasserman

My brother is hard to impress.� A big-time Southern California tax attorney he travels all around the country staying in fancy hotels and sipping occasionally from expensive bottles of wine.� So when I thought about how to describe one special small hotel I had just visited in Mexico I said: "Hey bro, I love hotel rooms I can get lost in!"

That made him pause a moment.

But that's how it was at La Casa Que Canta which translated into English means� �The House That Sings.�� The seven year-old hotel is set on an outcropping of rock in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Their junior suites have the space of some small homes in my neighborhood.� And with an artistry reminiscent of Acapulco's Las Brisas swimming pool flowers, La Casa in Zihuatanejo offers an arrangement of fresh flowers on each guest's bedspread.��� Then there is the an open air terrace with shuttered doors and the other set of shuttered doors to the balcony which when opened offers a stunning view overlooking beautiful Zihuatanejo Bay.

Last November, La Casa was voted� 4th Best Hotel in all of Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean� by readers of Conde Nast Traveler� and that covers a lot of territory� -- tierra en Espa�ol.� La Casa truly has its fans. Personally, I like hotels that visually please the eye and La Casa is one of them.

The hotel gets bright light all day long.�� Late afternoon, visitors can be seen absorbing the sun's rays around the swimming pool.� This small hotel has two of them.� The pool gives the illusions to swimmers that if they take one more stroke they will swim over the cliff and into the sea. David & Lisa Bishoff pictured in the pool below have been to La Casa twice.� "We have found it heavenly both times.� You can't beat the cliff side views, pristine beaches, and the opportunity to do any water sport or the opportunity to do nothing at all.� Plus the staff is very friendly and seem to truly enjoy you being there.� Anyway, that's our two cents worth."

La Casa wins visitors over with the earthiness of its adobe walls and the artistic touch of its interiors.� The hotel features hand-painted furniture like the Frida Kahlo chair.� All of the hand-painted furniture that decorate the place comes from a small furniture factory in Michoacan that was founded by an American vagabond and his wife.� The company called mfa/Eronga, Inc. is run as a cooperative today and has a sales office in Tucson,� AZ.

It's easy to feel safe in the comfortable surroundings� that La Casa offers and if you are like me you may not want to leave till the last minute.� Take note, the jet airport is just 20 minutes away.

Another hotel that pleases the eye� is �Villa Montaña. The hotel built in the Santa Maria hills overlooks Morelia, a stunning 17th-century city of stone.� Come in the winter time and the hotel's helpful personnel will steer you in the direction of the annual Monarch butterfly migration that takes place in� reserves about a day's journey away.� The hotel features artwork:� sculpture & ceramics placed artistically around the grounds and a swimming pool that offers a striking wide angle view of the center of town.

Morelia, which is located a short plane ride from Zihuatanejo, is burgeoning with new restaurants and la pe�as offering evening entertainment and a wide variety in food choices from the Argentine beef featured at Fonda Las Mercedes or the Italian food with flair offered at the new Centenario Restaurant located just across the street.

The city which was the hometown of Jose Maria Morelos -- a priest who became the second most important leader of the Mexican Independence movement behind Father Miguel Hidalgo, offers a variety of museums and centers of art.� The Morelos museum should not be missed.� Aside from all the city has to offer, the evening view from the outdoor patio bar of Villa Montaña of the surrounding mountains at sunset kept me enthralled.

Anyone, who finds their way to Morelia probably already knows not to miss Patzcuaro, a jewel of a Mexican artist town overlooking a lake by the same name.� In Patzcuaro one of the place's that stands out is The Hotel Mansion Iturbe located on the larger of the two town plazas-- the Plaza Vasco de

Quiroga.� The rooms have high ceilings and many of them overlook the square. The Mansion has styled itself like a B& B and now includes a morning breakfast that is hearty and sumptuous. As part of their service they connect visitors with an English & French speaking guide, Francisco Castilleja, who will escort visitors to the well-known art� & craft villages that are scattered around the lake -- like the mask making village of Tocuaro or the town of Erongaricuaro where the hand-painted wood furniture factory is located. The guide is friendly and his depth of knowledge is deep.

Finally, if you ever find yourself in Mexico City for an overnight or a quick visit a great choice is the Hilton, the only hotel located in the new international wing of the airport.� Staying there means you don't have to enter a taxi cab to reach a city hotel .��� The hotel has a small restaurant located centrally that lends to the feel of cozy quarters even in a huge megalopolis. The service also includes taking your ticket and bags and checking you in on time for� departure� while you are sitting in the restaurant enjoying that second or third rich cup of Mexican coffee.

If You Go:

Hotel Mansion Iturbe, Patzcuaro, Mexico
e-mail: [email protected]

Villa Montaña, Morelia Mexico
e-mail:� [email protected] 

800 525-4800 for small luxury hotels of which Villa Montaña is a member.

La Casa Que Canta, Zihuatanejo, Mexico:
e-mail: [email protected] 
Toll-free 1 -888-523-5050

Mexico City Airport Hilton, International Wing:� 3rd Floor� New Terminal Area.
1-800-HILTONS and

� Stuart Wasserman 2000  �

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