If I had to describe Villa Casablanca in one word, that word would be HEAVEN
It is remarkable, beautiful, breathtaking, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime, ALL of the adjectives that have been used by previous reviewers. And then some!
Before booking, I had some questions about the house which Rory responded in a very timely fashion with all of my questions answered and/or confirmed. After booking Rory got me much more information both about the house as well as about Manzanillo and the surrounding area. Meal choices, advice in terms of hiring a driver (we didn’t need) or excursions (we didn’t do), information about the development and security and the pool, and finally everything we needed to know about the house. There were no questions we had in the weeks leading up to our trip that weren’t answered in the documents that Rory sent over after booking. I was concerned if there would be an issue getting into the gated community and he provided me with the house manager’s phone and e-mail address. It came in handy when United Airlines screwed up my flights and I was going to potentially be 5 hours later than expected.
I already knew from prior visits to Manzanillo just how beautiful the area and particularly the peninsula are. It was fun to see my Mom’s reaction, however, as it was her first visit to an off-the-beaten-path part of Mexico. We pulled up to the security booth at La Punta and they asked for the identifications of the adults, they wrote our information down, and gave us a pass for the windshield of the car. I entered and exited the community probably 5 times over a few days with no issues getting in or out. I didn’t trust the directions from the security booth and was pulling out my phone to look for directions when…. I saw a sign for Villa Casablanca. It was 8PM and we were all hungry so we agreed to leave the bags in the car and go inside for dinner. We found Rosario and Raphael who told us dinner would be another hour. Contrary to usual Mexican timing, it was actually less than an hour!
In the meantime we checked the house out. One thing I’d definitely warn anyone is that there are a lot of steps. If you have toddlers or elderly, this should certainly be a consideration. Even responsible adults after a few drinks might have a misstep or two. You enter the home through a double wrought iron gate and down a few steps into the foyer. The foyer has two seats and a center table overlooking the outdoor patio and pool below. To either side of the foyer there are doors. To the left is the dining room and kitchen and presumably some storage or “service” areas. To the right is the living room and bedroom “wing”
From the foyer if you go down the steps to either side of the foyer on the outside and not through the doorways you will find yourself out the outdoor patio and the bar. There is plenty of room on outdoor furniture perfect for lounging after being in the pool and this area gets good shade starting shortly after noon and right around lunchtime. There is a nice bar that Raphael tends to very well. He didn’t yell at me the few times he caught me helping myself either. The bar they will stock with your preferences ahead of time. There is ice and coolers, two small fridges, a sink, and a blender. On either side of the bar there are bathrooms. Perfect when you’re in the pool and don’t want to go all the way back to the bedroom.
Down another level is the pool. The pool is gorgeous as all of the pictures attest to. I asked ahead of time and Rory told me that it is heated. I couldn’t really tell though because I think the heat and sun were probably warming it up as well. Either way, the temperature of the pool was perfect! During the heat of the day it was cool and refreshing but at night when the temperature dipped (like 5 degrees!) it felt just warm enough. The overall depth of the pool was about 5 feet but it sloped back up toward the rock wall where there is a bit of a ledge as well as two underwater stools and a table that sits just slightly above the water line. Perfect for a snack or drinks!
There is another lower patio below the pool but we really didn’t venture down there much. There is a large cactus on that lower level that, unfortunately, others before us had taken upon themselves to mark their territory in the cactus. I should mention there are gardens on either side of this lower patio that are gorgeous. The flowers, trees, agave plants, all of the plantings around the house are just beautiful.
As we came back up the steps toward the bar and outdoor lounge area, we noticed an outdoor patio off the kitchen with a table. What really caught our attention was the grill because they were cooking chicken for the molcajete we requested on our first night. The kitchen has its own indoor seating area as well. We never really ventured into the kitchen much and we really didn’t need to. Rosario took care of our every need 100%.
The dining room table looked large enough to probably seat 10 adults fairly comfortably. There was room enough in the dining room that I guess if you needed to bring in another table (like a kid’s table) it was feasible. The view out the window was breathtaking. Beautiful pink flowers with the Manzanillo bay in the background with the mountains completing the backdrop for every amazing meal.
The living room which was opposite the dining room was a huge double-height space with a couch, some love seats, a piano, a tv, a game console (I think; we really didn’t spend much time at all in this room) The living room, similar to the dining room, had breathtaking views.
In the same “wing” as the living room was the guest bedrooms. There were two levels and two bedrooms on each level; a center and end bedroom. Each bedroom had a generous sized sitting area, a king sized bed, a large closet, a dressing area, dual sinks, and a separate shower and toilet. The center bedrooms had a shower overlooking Manzanillo Bay which was a gorgeous way to start or end the day. Each bedroom was probably 1500-2000SF of privacy so they didn’t really feel like they were NOT the master bedroom.
The actual master bedroom was differentiated in the size of the bathroom as well as the amazing balcony overlooking the pool below and looking out onto Manzanillo Bay. The master was in the center of the house over the foyer. It was interesting in that you had doors out to the stairs of the bedroom “wing” as well as a door out to the stairs going down to the kitchen and dining room. The bathroom was spectacular in size alone. Dual sink with a very large counter, shower with rainshower head, large glass sliders out to a private garden, and a jacuzzi tub.
Each bedroom has its own private air conditioning with remote control. It should be noted that none of the common areas are air conditioned and while it’s beautiful when there is a breeze, it can certainly get hot and stuffy at times where you will be looking for refuge. Luckily it’s only steps away in the pool or the bedroom.
The development has a private community center with a large area for like parties with a bar as well as a small pool, bathrooms/showers, and a private beach on the bay. There were tables and palapa umbrellas. The beach was relatively quiet when were there although there were some people. The bay you could tell had a bit of an undertow and needed to be respected. The security guard at the beach was quick to point that out and make us recognize safety concerns. The first day we took the car to the beach because we had so much stuff. The second day we took the electric golf cart and, despite my concerns, the cart had plenty of power to get up and down the hills with two adults, a teenager, and a toddler.
Raphael was on top of our drinks at all times. Throughout lunchtime, the afternoon, and dinner, he was always on top of refills and our general comfort. There were a few small handyman type of things around the house that he was able to help us with as well. He was also extremely helpful getting the car unloaded when we arrived and packed up to go home!
The food…. Wow, the food. We all felt like we needed to be rolled to the car to go home. We all ate and ate and overate. The menu we put together Rosario had no problem with and even some things that she said were not possible because she couldn’t get or didn’t have the ingredients, she managed to pull off even though we told her it wouldn’t be a bit deal if it wasn’t possible. She really went over the top. Molcajete, chille rellenos, guacamole, ceviche, chillaquilles, omelets, pancakes, barbecue shrimp, tacos, etc, etc. Everything was extremely delicious and I even got my Mom to try some traditional Mexican dishes. She even tried some spicy food even though it was only a tiny bit hot.
A note from my Mom:
What I would say at the end of the stay is that "nothing" was missing from this vacation. The villa is fabulous, the views unmatched, the staff attentive and excellent, the chef proficient. The entire house was spotless, being cleaned each day. My big fear arriving there was bugs. Narry a one was spotted. There was hot water in the bathroom and the shower kept hot for my entire shower. Bottled water was readily available night and day. The staff was most anxious that we were satisfied with the food, which they always served in abundance.
She brings up something I did not mention…. The cleaning of the home. We would go to breakfast and in the short time that we ate breakfast, I would go back up to the bedroom (maybe 20 minutes) and the room was clean and the bed made fresh! It was like I walked out the door and they came out of the closet to clean the room and disappeared back into the closet when I came back!
I don’t really know how much more I can say. If you’re considering this gorgeous house, DO IT! It is SO worth it. I will definitely be grabbing more friends back home next year for a return visit. Only this time I’ll stay more than a few days!
As readers have commented before this is a really lovely Villa, the chef Rosario cooks great meals just give her a list and she will work her wonders,Rafael looks after your drinks taxis, etc., and does a wonderful job, he was always there for us
We used the golf cart to travel up and down touring the surrounding villas
The main entrance and hall is very large and a ,lovely breeze comes through
The Master bedroom has large sliding doors wall to wall, so the first thing you see in the morning is the sunrise, water, boats on the bay, blue skies, what a great room,
Everyone else were comfortable in the other 4 bedrooms all with ensuites
The Villas are all built on hillsides and curvy roads, all along the roads and the walls are beautiful colourful, bushes and flowers
There is a market on a Sturday just about 5-10 minutes to town, a taxi costs about 50 pesos, they have lots of variety from food to silver to clothing, to pottery.
Another market is open on a Thursday down on the beach past the town its about a 70 pesos ride, the cab drivers will wait for you or come back, the largest one we went to was about 50 minutes away in Navidad, the men went golfing and we all went on the Sunset Cruise and had Pizza at the Harbour
We went as a family of 11 for the March break and as i said we could not ask for anything more, just wish we coud have stayed longer, thanks Rory for sharing your home it let us taste paradise
Villa Casablanca is spectacular!!! The view was breathtaking from each and every section of the house and terrace with a beautiful beach club a short walk or cart ride away. We had a totally relaxing week. Rosario and the staff provided exceptional service, each and every meal was 5 star while Rafael creates some of the best drinks one could ever experience. The pictures on the website are really beautiful but wait until you see this place…it is even more beautiful than what the pictures show. Sometimes a vacation rental doesn't live up to its photos and description, but this Villa far exceeded our expectations. All the details were done right, first class luxury all of the way and yet we felt comfortable and at home. One of the best vacations we have taken and we look forward to returning soon! Highly recommend this experience.
Villa Casablanca is outstanding. We had a wonderful week of pampering. The meals prepared by Rosario and Lara were topnotch and Raffa’s drinks were outstanding. The Villa has breathtaking views and the bedroom suites are all wonderful, each with an adjoining sitting area and a private ensuite. This brings vacationing to another level. The lush gardens, inviting swimming pool and many private areas throughout the villa are extremely breathtaking. A wonderful and very safe gated community leading to a spectacular beach. We couldn't imagine a more wonderful relaxing vacation. It is beyond five stars! We feel blessed to have found this wonderful villa! We can’t wait to return.
This is a great vacation villa, the staff are very friendly and the gourmet meals served while enjoying the splendid views of Manzanillo Bay make this a very special place.There is a beautiful private beach with some good snorkeling. I would not hesitate to recommend this villa to anyone looking for total relaxation and or activity. Casablanca offers both!
The stunning succulent gardens at the entrance of Villa Casablanca draw you into the foyer and the entrance to a luscious slice of paradise. We returned in January for a repeat visit and I am almost reluctant to share, in case too many people find out about this treasure.
We were picked up at the airport and whisked through the warm night air to the gated La Punta community. Raffa, Rosario, Laura and the rest of the staff greeted us with Raffa's signature margaritas and the first of many luxurious choices began....which of the massive suites to choose??
Each suite!! has a sitting room, dressing area, a huge bathroom and stunning views of Manzanillo Bay.
We then sat down to the first of many memorable meals. Rosario shops daily for fresh ingredients for each meal and that is where more of those difficult decisions kick in. Every day breakfast was served on the terrace and after deciding which fresh fruit to have with my yogurt and granola, there were eggs, pancakes or French toast, mountains of bacon and fresh orange juice! Fish tacos by the pool for lunch, or maybe quesadillas, or ceviche or chicken salad.... And Raffa's margaritas or daiquiris or whichever refreshment you now needed. And dinner, the most delicious coconut shrimp - still craving - Fresh fish! always perfectly prepared! Rosario's key lime pie!! We had to have that again on our last night... and someone in our group had a plate with two pieces served to save him going to the kitchen for seconds later on!
We watched the glorious sunrise every morning, relaxed on the many terraces, scooted to the pristine beach on the golf cart, had massages with cool breezes fluttering over us. There are tennis courts and golf, markets to stroll and stunning gardens up and down the meandering roads of the community!
Sunshine all day, Every day! I sit here in the cold white north and am envious of the guests now enjoying the luxurious Villa Casablanca! Shhhh! don't tell anyone else!!
Villa Casablanca is magnificent. The staff, the food and of course the Villa itself made this week unforgettable. From the moment you arrive you are catered and attended to in a 5 star manner! The staff are friendly and the food is always fresh. Make sure you have the French Toast for breakfast. You will not want to leave on day seven.