Continental Airlines has really great last minute trips (as do most airlines) if you are flexible enough to take advantage of them. Typically you have to depart on a Saturday and return on a Monday or Tuesday. Last week I noticed a destination I was not familiar with…Morelia, Mexico. After some quick research I decided it would be an interesting place to travel so I cashed in 15,000 frequent flyer miles and paid $36 for the round trip ticket.
Morelia is the capital city of the Mexican state of Michoacan. It’s located in Central Mexico about 150 miles West of Mexico City and is about 3,000 feet above sea level. Currently, from what I read in some local documents, the population is more than 800,000 and is growing rapidly. The city center is about 150 city blocks of businesses, restaurants, markets and other attractions. The city is sometimes referred too as, “The Pink City” because of the reddish sandstone that was used to build many of the structures in the city.
After I booked my flight, I did some research on some of the nicer hotels. I was in the mood to splurge and since my partner couldn’t go with me on this particular trip, I spent a little extra on myself. It didn’t take me long to figure out that “The Villa Montana” was the place I’d be staying. All the reviews I read on several websites gave it very high marks. They offered a “Stay Two Night, Get The Third Free” package. I decided to really do it up and booked a 1 bedroom suite for $590.00 a night with the third night free. This package included two spa treatments, an escorted city tour, breakfasts, fruit basket in the suite, drinks upon arrival, and several other really nice things to enhance the experience at the villa. I booked the package with the hotel because I had a few questions, but, you can actually book it online with several of the leading travel websites. Before I even left home, the hotel had called me back to discuss the times for my spa treatments and the city tour. Additionally, I had them book a car to pick me up at the airport upon my arrival which would take me directly to the villa.
The flight from Houston Intercontinental Airport to Morelia was right about 2 hours nonstop. Upon my arrival everyone goes through customs as you would in any foreign country. It was quick and easy with no issues. I grabbed my suitcase and immediately went out to the receiving area where I noticed a small, Mexican man with a sign that had my name on it. He introduced himself as Pepe’ and spoke very good English. He escorted me to his large SUV and we were off for the hour drive across town to the villa. Pepe’ was fantastic and we had a really nice chat. He pointed out several places of interest and passed on some interesting information about the city. Once we arrived the villa, I paid him the 35 Peso’s as arranged by the hotel. 35 Peso’s is about $3.50 USD. In fact, Pepe’ told me that no taxi in town should be charging anymore than 35 Peso’s for a trip in town.
Check-in at The Villa Montana was excellent. My breath had already been taken away when we pulled up because the villa was absolutely beautiful from the outside. The bellman took my bag to my suite for me and as we approached, I couldn’t BELIEVE my eyes. My suite was actually an apartment. It was huge and practically the size of my own house at home. It was AMAZING!! The back views off the huge, open patio looked down on the city (the villa is located high on a hill). My apartment was impeccably cleaned and smelled really fresh. I can’t even convey how nice it was.
I immediately unpacked from my trip and took a quick shower, changed and had the concierge call me a taxi for a trip to the center for a night out. Being gay, I had been looking for a nice place to checkout the local gay life. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult finding information about gay hangouts in Morelia. It’s still very covert and while there are gay people around, you will NOT walk down the street and visually see a lot of gay people walking around. No gay neighborhoods, gay coffeehouses, etc.
The one club that I had read about was called, “Con la Rojas” which is located at Clle. Aldama No 343. It was an easy cab ride (enough time for me to eat a fresh pair left in my fruit basket). Once I got to the club you could see it was getting busy which was pretty exciting. It was 150 peso’s which is about $15 USD. It was a REALLY nice place! I met a couple English-speaking guys who were a lot of fun so I decided to hangout with them. Before long, I realized I had a bit too much to drink. The drink prices are dirt cheap. I drink Bacardi and Coke which ran about $3.00 USD! After several hours I poured myself into a cab waiting outside and went back for a really nice sleep.
On Sunday I woke up with a bit of a hangover (which is unusual for me). However, the previous day I had arranged my spa treatments for Sunday so at 11AM I was scheduled for a full body massage and at Noon, a facial. The spa was in the back of the villa and well below ground. It was REALLY beautiful down there and spotless! The massage therapist was really great as was the woman who did my facial. I walked away feeling even more tired than when I arrived so I decided that a nice nap was in order since it had started raining.
Later in the day I took advantage of the wireless internet connectivity in my apartment. It was a really great signal and I didn’t have any problems getting hooked up for my entire stay.
By the time I looked at the clock it was nearly dinner so I decided to order room service and had a beautiful dinner sent up. The food was more than adequate and well cooked. Food prices were less than what you’d pay in the U.S. which meant you could order more! I had all courses.
I spent the rest of Sunday evening watching some really fun shows on TV, relaxing, and really just enjoying the breeze blowing into my apartment from the stormy weather outside. I rested better that night than I had in quite sometime.
On Monday morning I woke up for my schedule city tour at 10AM. Originally I thought the tour would be a group tour but when I showed up in the lobby, I learned it was a personal tour with my personal driver named, “Octavio”. We spent nearly 3 hours driving around town. He took me to the highest point of Morelia to capture the breathtaking views, ran me into the center to visit several cathedrals and universities, and dropped me by the public library (which was fantastic). He left me in the center by my request so I could shop for some shoes and a couple other items. I sat by the main cathedral and had a nice coffee while watching the locals scurry to and from their places of business. I ended up tipping Octavio about 300 peso’s ($30 USD) for such a great time. After a bit of time shopping, I caught a cab back to the villa for the night.
Incidentally, cab rides around the city should never cost more than 30 peco’s ($3 USD). If you are paying more, something is up. I ran this by several cab drivers to verify as well as my personal driver.
My flight back to Houston was to depart at 6:30 AM on Tuesday morning. This meant my driver would be picking me up at 4:15AM. When I got up and went to the lobby to checkout, there was an American couple there who wanted to follow my driver back to the airport. Once my driver arrived I realized it was Octavio again!! It was really fun to see him again and he agreed to allow the other couple to follow us. So, we immediately left for the airport with the other couple behind us. About three quarters of the way to the airport (which is an hour drive), Octavio’s van died right in the middle of a very dark and wet road (it was pouring rain again). Thank goodness the other couple was behind us or I would not have made my flight. He threw my bags in their car and directed us the rest of the way to the airport.
Checking in was a breeze at the Morelia airport but be warned…they are a bit old-school there as they open all baggage and whisk through them so be prepared to show your underwear!!
Overall the trip was fantastic and I can’t wait to go back. I told my partner it would have been even better with him there with me as it seemed like a great place for a couple to hangout together. Was very romantic. And after years of not really having an interest in Mexico…Morelia has really changed my mind!
You can view more of the pictures I took in Morelia but visiting the following website: [-]
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Montana Hotel Morelia
- Montana Hotel Morelia