**EDIT** within 24 hours of my review going up, I had a personal, thoughtful email from Yvonneka herself with a step-by-step plan of how she was going to address the couple of VERY minor critiques I had of the house. It is clear to me that she gives this house a lot of love and is personally very invested in every guest's experience. Just one more reason to love Casa Yvonneka.
And now to my review:
For my 30th birthday, I traveled with 11 of my closest friends to Casa Yvonneka for a Saturday to Saturday vacation.
We are 12 30-something LGBT gentlemen from downtown Washington, DC. We were not traveling with children or pets. Our ideas of fun range from board games around the pool (usually with a drink in hand) to visiting Blue Chairs beach club to having several late nights out. We are all well-traveled, most of us take several international trips per year.
THE HOUSE - LOCATION
For us, this location was absolutely perfect. A lot of the villas in PV are located south of Casa Yvonneka and require a cab ride to go anywhere. We never took taxis, as we were able to walk to the beach (10 minutes -- learn the shortcut stairs!) and the cathedral (20 minutes), which were the only two areas of town. For LGBT travelers, you will be very close to the gay bars.
THE HOUSE - GENERAL SPACES
No pictures of the house that exist on the internet quite do it justice, you'll just have to take it on faith. Walking in to the main level for the first time totally took my breath away. The main level is the 4th floor in this deceptively sprawling mansion, it has an open concept, and is where we spent 90% of our time. The infinity pool is larger than it looks and drops off 5 floors. The small half-moon shape in the pool is a hot tub (well, at least a warm tub, warmer than the pool itself). You can choose to take your meals outside (what I recommend for breakfast) or at the large dining room table, which is nearby.
The other major space in the house where you'll spend time is in the Stargazer Room, which is large, has a pool table and karaoke machine (just ask Felix to help you set it up), a separate bar and seems like it would be ideal on a rainy day. We spent a few evenings down here.
Overall, the house is very spacious and will amaze you as you move from area to area. It is all very nicely decorated, and the decor has mostly been very well maintained. The house has high-speed wifi throughout and also has a vonage phone which is included in your price. There are two "office" spaces if you find yourself needing to work during your stay. There is also a small gym, although the cardio equipment is showing its age (the treadmill didn't really work), but you're on vacation - don't exercise!
THE HOUSE - BEDROOMS
Bedroom selection was very easy: when we arrived we were given a tour of all 9 bedrooms, then allowed to pick the ones we wanted. The staff then closed off the rooms we didn't use.
I, celebrating my 30th birthday, had the pleasure of staying in the Master Suite, which was AMAZING. It had 2 private balconies, and basically 2 walls of windows, and 2 sets of privacy curtains and blackout curtains. The (California?) king bed was very comfortable. The closet had its own ceiling fan, so I referred to it as my "clothes room," since it was so big. The master bathroom is on-suite and has a huge tub overlooking the main view (I did not use the tub), a shower and two sinks. My only complaint is that the master bathroom had a few hot water issues (it didn't last very long).
All rooms had AC and their own bathrooms. Although I didn't get detailed reports from my friends, everybody was very happy with their rooms.
As if a view that rivals heaven and a beautiful layout wasn't enough, the thing that truly makes Casa Yvonneka special is its staff. During the day Malena and her assistant cooks run the house and make you endless chips/guac/quesadillas/ceviche while Fernando and Tony will ensure your cups are never empty, whether you want frozen drinks or beer. At night, Malena and her staff will serve you great meals and then Felix takes over for the night service. Felix's title is "night watchman," but we found him to be a secret jack-of-all-trades. If you're thirsty, he makes drinks. If you're hungry, he makes awesome guac and quesadillas. And if you want to have guests over, he's the guy to talk to. He also squeezes the oranges overnight for your breakfast juice and makes sure the coffee is a-flowin' when you wake up. For my actual birthday, the staff decked out the house in awesome decorations, sang me the best rendition of "happy birthday" I've ever had, complete with music, and made sure I wanted for nothing. I cannot say enough about how kind and attentive the entire staff was.
The food at Yvonneka is great, particularly the snacks. For meal service, all of the options sounded great but we particularly enjoyed the Chicken Paprika and the Mexican Platter. I know some reviewers have raved and raved about the food ... the food is excellent, BUT, if you are well-traveled or a big foodie, don't go expecting top-notch restaurant food, but it is delicious and plentiful. I think my favorite food item is the sweet bread served with breakfast fruit every morning.
My one tip is to be prepared with pesos for daily expenses, and perhaps to advance the house before your arrival. We did not have that advice and ended up paying a lot of ATM fees pulling one handful of cash after another out of the machine (mostly because liquor was pretty expensive). So save yourself some ATM fees by bringing pesos with you. As a point of reference, we paid around 4000 pesos per day for a group of 12. Liquor and wine were the most expensive - beer and local tequila was much more reasonable.
For LGBT travelers: I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the staff reacting to our gaggle and our antics. No need for concern there, just be yourself and enjoy!
Thank you again to Yvonneka and all of the staff that made this one of my most memorable vacations. I will certainly be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Short term luxury vacation home ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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