Our family of 12 (9 adults, 3 children) visited Puerto Vallarta for the first time from June 21-28. We called the Beautiful Casa Carole our home for a week that we wish could have lasted all summer. The home is styled in gorgeous traditional Mexican style and appears like a mansion from the water. From the the very top street level you can't even tell that it's a home, all you see is the driveway and the two beautiful red belfry-like towers.
The ROOMS: The five color coded rooms each had something special about them and were all spacious and comfortable with their own air-conditioning, mosquito nets, fans and balconies. My husband and I never felt the need to use our mosquito net while others in our party did, maybe for the novelty;) One of my sisters said a firefly got caught in her mosquito net one night which must've been pretty neat. All of the rooms were at various levels of the home so each was very quiet and private; however, you might hear sandals flopping past your room if you have early birds in your party, but don't worry, the sound of the waves just lulls you back to sleep. Each room has a set of keys with colored key chains for your room and both gates to the house, so you feel secure at all times. The view from each room is amazing, each morning I'd wake up and see fisherman fishing from kayaks or from the lavarocks down below, boats and yachts passing by heading to Los Arcos, sadly no dolphin sightings during our stay:( The beds and pillows were extremely comfortable. We were surprised to read in the house guest-book that previous patrons complained about the beds. The owners had to have fixed that long before we arrived because all in our party were always very well rested and never complained.
The STAFF: The staff consisted of Pepe, the amazing houseman/concierge, Mari, the fabulous chef, Carmen the quiet but swift cleaning lady, and a pool man who we never saw but we knew was there since the pool was always sparkly and ready to be jumped into! These three made are stay at Casa Carole Heavenly, and boy did we feel like royalty.
Pepe-si-tito (my niece playfully nicknamed him) who was always speeding around tending to the house OR us, became part of our family. He always took time to answer various questions about the city or the history of the home. He even joined in helping teach the kids how to spin a mexican top that we bought at the Malecon, practiced cracking a Latigo with us (Indiana Jones style whip), and a Tirador (mexican sling shot). Pepe-si-tito always made it Fun!
I think our favorite part of the day was around 4:30 when Pepe would come speeding down to the pool deck with margaritas and a tray of plates, chips and delicious guacamole (or whatever appetizer we'd chosen). Honestly I don't know how he never skipped a beat carrying all that stuff down so quickly.
Also, you had to be careful what you said around him, because if he overheard us talking about any wish or desire, "Ta-Dah" he would make it appear. One day at "margarita time" he heard the little girls talking about smoothies, next minute he comes down with virigin daiquiri's for them!
Mari the chef lovingly prepared exceptional breakfasts and dinners daily (except Sunday/off day). You choose your meals after dinner for the next day and pay her each night (in pesos OR dollars) for the groceries she's purchased. All of Mari's meals are out of this world but her breakfast specialty is the French Toast! The second breakfast we ordered banana pancakes, and although very good, regretted it and had her make french toast the rest of the week! Mmmmm
Mari was always so sweet, she greets you with a warm shy smile then BAM serves you a mean Chile relleno!
On Sunday/off day, we walked a few steps next door to the Lindo Mar hotel and enjoyed a nice brunch, certainly not Mari's cooking but good nonetheless.
Carmen the cleaning lady was so quick and efficient when cleaning our rooms or bringing warm, freshly laundered beach towels to the pool. She'll give you a smile and a quick "buenos dias" but get outta her way if you pass her in the stairwell because she's on a mission!
The POOL/BEACH: the infinity pool was perfect, we loved the toe ledge that allowed you to enjoy the beautiful sunsets and see the lava rocks below. There were enough lounge chairs and floaties for everyone. The gentle beach is very nice, just down a few steps from the pool deck, to the right through a lush garden and your there. Lots to explore by the lava rocks, colorful fish, sea urchins, crabs, seashells and more. Take your snorkel gear!
One morning before breakfast we saw hundreds of big fish splashing and jumping out of the water near the shore then saw thousands of small sardines swimming back and forth. We all ran out to the beach (careful not to step on the poor sardines) including Pepe who gave us a line and hook to try and catch something. The fishermen and the large heron were going to town catching fish but we weren't so lucky. Standing in the water, the sardines swam between our feet and a few of the big fish came close enough to hit us on the legs almost knocking us over! It was awesome! We called it "The Phenomenon" and Pepe said he had never seen that occur right in front of the house. We were so fascinated by "The Phenomenon", not even Mari's breakfast could beckon us out of the water! Needless to say, our french toast was a little cold that morning;)
With a quick call Pepe easily set up our excursions, which included a private boat to Los Arcos and playa Las Animas, (which picks you up right at the beach), ATV's and ziplining (FUN). He also calls taxi's that are there in a flash, to go into town which is about 5-10 minutes away about 5-7 dollars. The house is in a perfect location close to town and to many of the excursions. Having the Lindo Mar hotel next to the house was so convenient not only for Sunday brunch but later in the week 3 of us walked over, through the beach side, sat at the "Playita" bar and watched USA vs Germany futbol while drinking cold Modelo's and Michelada's. Patricio was a very nice bartender, he rings the bell loudly to announce 2 for 1 margaritas.
TIPS: -Be prepared for the many stairs as the home is about 5 stories high. Some people in our party huffed and puffed a little getting to the top street level for our outtings but just think of it as great cardio to work off the extra pounds you might gain from Mari's AMAZING cooking.
-Wi-fi: although while on vacay you should be admiring the beautiful sunsets and views rather than burying your head in your smart phone or laptop, be aware that the wi-fi in the house does not reach the upper level rooms or the pool deck. Sometimes at bedtime (blue room) we wanted to check trip advisor reviews for some of the excursions we would be taking, but to no avail. Wi-fi was strong in living room areas dining rooms, orange and yellow rooms.
-Mosquitos: If your a mosquito buffet like I am, be sure and spray on your bug repellant, mostly in the evenings AND when your eating in the dining room. While I chomped on Mari's fabulous meals, those mosquitos under the table chomped on me!
-Tipping the staff: Don't forget to tip Pepe, Mari and Carmen for the amazing job they do, generally 10% or more. They indefinitely make this house a home.
Every single one of us enjoyed our stay at the Beautiful Casa Carole and we are still daydreaming of Mari's cooking and Pepe's "margarita time"!!! Can't wait to go back!! A special thanks to owners John and Carol for making the process so seamless! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Carol & I built Casa Carole right on the beach several years ago. We asked the architect to design the villa so it would be ideal for rental, with each bedroom having a full bathroom ensuite and a balcony with views of the tropical jungle and the sea. Casa Carole is a traditional Colonial Mexican villa with exposed adobe brick arches, marble floors and beamed ceilings. The decor features hand crafted furniture, Mexican art and sculptures, plus handmade glassware and linens. It is truly a Mexican family house. Our guests rave about our staff of four; chef, houseman/concierge, maid and pool-man for their courtesy, friendliness and competence. Our staff really makes a difference. We have successfully rented Casa Carole for the past many years with a growing clientele who come back for more. ... more less