PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Looking for a "boutique" hotel south of
The search just got easier, thanks to a new association of small
hotels in Mexico that was formed to tap the public's demand for
intimate inns that offer a higher level of personalized service and
distinctive features than the more traditional chain properties,
according to its creator.
Puerto Vallarta-based Mexico Boutique Hotels is a marketing and
reservations firm composed of 17 inns with 50 rooms or less,
although a few have more than 50 units.
The members are Casa de Sierra Nevada and La Puertecita in San
Miguel de Allende; Casa Vieja in Mexico City; El Faro in Playa del
Carmen; the Tamarindo, the Careyes and Casas de Careyes in Costa
Alegre; Hacienda Cora and Majahuitas in Puerto Vallarta; Villa San
Jose and Los Juaninos in Morelia; Meson Sacristia de la Compania in
Puebla; Puerto Isla Mujeres in Isla Mujeres; Quinta Las Acacias in
Guanajuato; Quinta Real in Huatulco; Villa del Sol in Zihuatanejo,
and Villas Tacul in Cancun.
All of the hotels
feature one or more attributes of historical, geographical or
recreational significance, including proximity to ecological
reserves, heritage sites, marinas and golf courses.
Membership in the association is through invitation once a hotel
has been identified and reviewed. Hotels are judged based on such
attributes as level of service, cuisine and amenities.
John Youden, who publishes Yates Y Villas, a seven-year-old
travel and lifestyle magazine for upscale readers in Puerto
Vallarta, launched Mexico Boutique Hotels after April's Tianguis
trade show in Acapulco.
Youden said the idea for the association was sparked by his
magazine readers' positive feedback to stories that featured
Mexico's small inns and out-of-the-way places.
"I was also taken aback by U.S. agents at the [Tianguis] trade
show who told us 'these are places my clients are interested in,
but we don't know how to find them,' " Youden said.
He said Mexico's small inns "exemplify the charm and uniqueness
that serve as Mexico's real allure but have been eclipsed by the
dominance of all-inclusive resorts and chain hotels, which enjoy
powerful marketing resources."
On July 1, the association launched a Web site, MexicoBoutiqueHotels.com, that serves as its primary
booking tool. Each of the member hotels allocated approximately 10%
of their room inventory to the site.
"We've gone to the Web because we are a Web-savvy company with
five sites under operation [as part of Youden's publishing
ventures]. Agents can easily research, reserve rooms and receive
[10%] commission while eliminating communications costs and
glitches," Youden said.
The site is in English, but a version for Spanish-speakers will
be rolled out soon, said Youden.
Among the criteria for joining the association, the hotel's
commitment to service tops the list, Youden said.
"We've turned down a considerable number of hotels that have
expressed an interest in joining the group. Our current members
represent about 60% of all the hotels that we have considered so
far," he said.
"One bad egg spoils it for the rest of the group, so the other
hotels are keeping an eye on who we allow in," Youden added.
Member hotels range from the deluxe, 37-suite Casa de Sierra
Nevada in San Miguel de Allende, which charges $295 a night, to
Majahuitas, a collection of seven casitas with thatch roofs built
into a hillside in Puerto Vallarta, that charges $175 for a room
and three meals a day.
Youden said he is developing several "tour circuits," including
an itinerary that would enable a client to rent a car and stay in
the colonial towns of San Miguel de Allende, Morelia and
Another itinerary would include a "golf route" from Puerto
Vallarta south to Tamarindo that would enable clients to stay at up
to five hotels and play golf at three courses.
A Mexican Caribbean itinerary would include stays at hotels in
Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Mexico Boutique Hotels
Fax: (011) 52-322 12255
E-mail: [email protected]