Flor de Maria

Puerto Escondido, Pacific Coast, Mexico Book from

Reviewed by Lucia Appleby
Laid-back beachfront hotel in the surfers’ mecca of Puerto Escondido
The Flor de Maria is an oasis of good value and excellent service in the once hippy hangout of Puerto Escondido. Whilst it remains a mecca for surfers - every November it plays host to the World Surfing Championships - the town’s flower-power days are over and it has become more of a mainstream resort. This makes the Flor de Maria that little bit more exceptional. Set back from the main highway by a small slip road, it’s laid-back-friendly and easy on the budget, yet eminently professional.

The town's biggest swimming beach is just outside the hotel's front door or, if you prefer your bathing without the waves, there's a small sun-baked pool on the roof. Afterwards, grab a beer from the terrace bar, loll in one of the hammocks and enjoy the sunset. Then head downstairs to sample the delicious and varied cuisine at Flor de Maria's restaurant - one of the most popular in town - before retiring to comfortable rooms overlooking a peaceful inner courtyard.

Highs

  • Owners Paul and Joanne have created a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere; regular guests return year after year
  • It's a stone’s throw from the largest swimming beach in Puerto Escondido
  • The roof terrace is always cool and breezy, with great sunset views
  • There's a covered parking area for those coming by vehicle

Lows

  • Some of the furnishings are a bit dated and a freshening paint job in the rooms wouldn't go amiss
  • The restaurant is only open from mid-December to mid-March, though there are plenty of places to eat within walking distance
  • The burnt-down and abandoned cabanas in front of the hotel are a bit of an eyesore
  • The small rooftop pool is more for cooling off than for serious swimming

Best time to go

It's warm all year round (typically 25-30C / 80F), with a slightly hotter, rainier season from May to November. Prime time is November to Easter. We loved visiting in November, at the end of the rainy season: there aren’t too many people in town, and the dance festival and World Surfing Championships are taking place.

Our top tips

The hotel has a good selection of books, but if you're still stuck for reading material ask Joanne about her ‘secret stash’.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 24
  • Restaurant (open mid-December to mid-March) and bar
  • Over 12s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

All of the rooms have 2 double beds, which will suit both couples and friends travelling together. They're clean and comfortable but rather basic - no TV and just one bedside table and reading lamp. Our room had glass doors that opened onto a tiny balcony overlooking the street; other rooms lead directly onto the plant-filled inner courtyard or the roof terrace. Some of the slightly larger corner rooms have sea views. All have overhead ceiling fans (there’s no air conditioning at the hotel) and showers with piping hot water; purified drinking water is available on each floor.

When owners Paul and Joanne bought the hotel more than a decade ago they kept the previous owner’s flower and animal paintings, which adorn doors and walls, as well as the large mural in the restaurant. These, and the traditional hand-woven multicoloured bedcovers from Oaxaca, give the place a faded charm reminiscent of days past. But with WiFi in all rooms, Flor de Maria has kept up its modern side too.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

The cheap-and-cheerful restaurant is run by Joanne, who used to manage her own café in Toronto specialising in Peruvian dishes. She uses some of the same ideas here - marinading all the meat and chicken before it’s cooked, and grilling most of the dishes.

The menu varies with the season - comfort food like chicken curry or beef stew in high season, and national favourites such as chilles rellenos and ropa vieja (literally 'old clothes' - flank steak boiled and shredded, then steamed with tomatoes and onions) on national holidays. But don’t expect nouveau Mexican cuisine - this is home-cooked food, unpretentiously plated and very reasonably priced.

There are always vegetarian options, soups and something Italian on the chalkboard menu, too. We tried the spaghetti bolognese one night - it was very tasty, but the portion size was somewhat on the meagre side.

If you want to eat out, there's a selection of pizza and pasta joints, upmarket Mexican restaurants, small cafés and juice bars within walking distance. Danny’s Terrace has good shrimp tacos and makes great Bloody Caesars (vodka with Clamato juice and hot sauce).

Please note that the hotel restaurant is only open from mid-December to mid-March.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go on a fishing or turtle-watching trip (staff can help with arrangements)

  • Take a tour of the nearby freshwater lagoons and the bird sanctuaries at Manialtepec and Chacahua

  • Visit the crocodiles at the Ventanilla lagoon

  • Surf on Zicatela beach

  • Book a massage and temazcal (native sweat bath) at the local sweat lodge

  • Hire a car and tour the pretty villages around Puerto Escondido

  • Swim at the longest swimming beach in town - just outside your front door

  • Laze on the roof terrace, swinging in a hammock with a cocktail

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Language courses
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Rafting
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga

Kids

No children under 12 are accepted. Those over 12 are treated as full paying guests, and no extra beds are available.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
8/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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