We chose Casa Candiles for two reasons: we wanted to be near Zhihuatenejo, and we wanted to see what all of the five-star fuss was about - how nice could a B&B be, for only $145 per night? Given that we travel on a teacher's and a firefighter's salary yet we still have the audacity to desire the finer things in life, Casa Candiles made perfect sense as a Mexican experiment, so we read the reviews, booked the king suite, crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
And guess what? It WAS the best! Among the many "finer" aspects of our visit was the quality, presentation and flavors of the daily breakfasts. As an accomplished amateur gourmet chef, I tend to be rather persnickety about what I eat, and my partner does not have what I'd call a forgiving or patient palate. Imagine our delight when our meals were served (beginning with the welcome dinner of Supremo fish in a butter-dill sauce which knocked our huaraches off) looking like the front page of Food and Wine magazine! With wild foodie abandon, I snapped iPad photos of each course, to stir the envy of our friends back in the states who were chomping on cold cereal while we enjoyed the creamiest Eggs Benedict this side of Top Chef (although I would have toasted the muffin - just a suggestion)! And, it never stopped - every morning for a week, we came to expect something wonderful, and we were never disappointed. To describe our response to the French toast course in particular, think When Harry Met Sally: "I'll have what she's having!"
Of course, after all of that early morning decadence, the only proper thing to do is lay pool-side, massage one's stomach and recover. And that pool! If we could design not just the pool itself but its incredibly peaceful fauna/floral setting, this would be it - there were no screaming, near-drowning kids splashing water in our faces; the temperature was perfect and without that overly-chlorinated chemical smell. The recording of Gregorian monks chanting softly in harmony with the waterfall over the rocks, the abundant birdsong and the gentle whirring of the ceiling fans... AAAHHHHHH!
Roberto's attentiveness was a lovely combination of gracious host and professional concierge. His self-deprecating sense of humor, his knowledge of everything Ixtapa and "Zihua", and his desire to ensure that we were pleased by every aspect of our visit made us feel like movie stars (with the bright green baby iguanas as our ever-present paparazzi)! Roberto recommended restaurants and excursions; we talked politics, economics and family; and best of all, he surprised us one evening with homemade vanilla and peach ice cream, and delivered it to our fabulous suite on a tray!
So, here's our bottom line: you can spend $300/night or (much) more on a typical Ixtapa hotel all-inclusive, then spend the duration of your visit trying to figure out what, exactly, it is that you're paying so much money for (noisy and crowded lobbies, preoccupied staff, mediocre - or- worse buffets, tight and restricting rooms with underwhelming views) OR, you can stay at Casa Candiles for $145/night and feel like you've won the travel lottery. If we were going to put a dollar value on our experience, we think it would be in the $450-$500/night range, and if we were rich folks, we'd gladly pay it. Yep, it was THAT good. Roberto, we'll be back!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Casa Candiles Inn, an exclusive, intimate boutique, bed and breakfast for adults seeking relaxation,tranquility,and romance, is embraced by verdant tropical jungles and kissed by the sea. Located in the world class resort of Ixtapa, on Mexico's Gold Coast, Casa Candiles Inn lies between the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains and the Pacific Ocean,affording our guests the best of both venues. ... more less
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