TRAVEL with pat and lew

* Casa Amorita in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 12, 2007

Having decided in the middle of our trip to Ajijic to go to Puerto Vallarta for two days, and to fly rather than drive, we needed air reservations and a place to stay. I made the air reservations on Expedia, and printed the confirmation e-ticket. No problem, as long as you are able to access the internet.

We wanted to stay in old town Puerto Vallarta, so we could walk around and would not need a car. We searched for hotels without finding much to our liking. A search for “Puerto Vallarta B&B” on Google was more productive.

We quickly found Pamela Lanier’s Bed and Breakfast Guide (http://www.lanierbb.com/), which we had used before. It is an excellent resource, with 45,000 listings all over the world. In Puerto Vallarta, our choice from Pamela’s list was Casa Amorita.We called (Skype again), spoke to the owner Rita Love (get it – Rita Love – Amorita), and booked our two night stay. Later, we saw a mention in the Lonely Planet Guide that said Casa Amorita was an exceptional gem, and we couldn’t agree more.

We arrived by taxi from the airport, following the explicit taxi directions Rita had emailed to us. Rita built Casa Amorita from scratch about 10 years ago, working with a local architect to design the place to her specifications.

It is a marvelous place. The first floor includes the swimming pool, sitting areas inside and on the deck, two eating areas for the wonderful breakfasts, and the kitchen.There are four guest rooms on the second floor.

Since we had booked at the last minute, we got the one room without a view of the sea.But what a romantic room it was. Rita had recently redecorated this room (some finishing touches still to come). The bed is large and comfortable, and the bathroom features a large shower with a curved masonry wall.

But the main feature are the billowing curtains. There’s a vertical translucent curtain covering the open space to the small balcony, and above the balcony, in the same material, a semi-circular drop curtain. The effect is a very romantic harem atmosphere.

Since there are few guests, you meet them all. We met a young couple from Portland, and it turned out that she was a classmate of my son Jon at the Haas Business School at Berkeley, where they both got MBAs. Another family was from Minnesota, and two women from the DC area replaced the Portland couple on the second day.

Conversation at both of our breakfasts was outstanding, including the interchange of recommendations for restaurants and activities. The first day we had excellent omelets, and the second day apple streudel, fresh fruit and granola.Rita has prepared an annotated map, which locates the restaurants she recommends. Both she and her young staff are attentive and helpful, and always pleasant.

Now the best part. Pat and I are readers, and the outside deck at Casa Amorita ranks at the very top of places to sit and read, especially in the early morning and the late afternoon, when the light from the sun sets the sea ablaze.

We sat on very comfortable recliners, looking over the blue water in the pool, conscious of the Mexican architecture in our own and the neighboring buildings, the cathedral rising majestically to our left, the sea in front of us, and the mountains beyond. Occasionally, we interrupted our reading reverie to take a dip in the delicious pool and relax on the comfortable pads Rita provides.

There are two caveats. Casa Amorita is on a hill overlooking the ocean, and the views are indeed glorious. But if you can’t or don’t want to climb the approximately 100 steps from the main street to your second floor room, this is not the place for you. We are quite used to the steps at our Collioure home, and it was not a problem for us (aged 66 and 65 respectively).

The second caveat is the bells from the cathedral, which ring, sometimes loudly and sometimes not, every 15 minutes day and night. At night, the bells were noticed before we fell asleep, but were not so intrusive as to awaken us during the night.In our opinion, the pluses significantly outweigh the caveats.

Casa Amorita is a wonderful spot from which to enjoy Puerto Vallarta, and, if you’re like us, to enjoy for its own ambience as one of the best places to read a book that you can ever imagine. 

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