“Relaxed resort of beautiful villa-apartments overlooking the loveliest bay in Puerto Escondido, with exclusive access to the beach below”
Built by a Mexican engineer (so it’s picturesquely placed but not precariously balanced), the hotel was abandoned until a young American couple bought it, renovated the 10 neglected villas and added 2 more. Amy and Ed are still at the helm; their easygoing but adept management has created an enclave of loyal staff and devoted guests. Charming terraces and immaculate gardens with bubbling fountains, chairs and hammocks surround the open-sided restaurant. Sundowner margaritas at the bar are a ritual not to be missed - the company is convivial and the sunset views are fantastic, the best in town. Just like the hotel.
- Spacious, spotless 1-3 bedroom villas, comfortable enough for kids and for their parents’ wallet; half have ocean views
- Excellent restaurant with splendid views over the bay, or you can self-cater in your villa
- Outdoor pool with morning sun; chilled lounge/library with books, games and toys; elevated sun deck
- On top of glorious Playa Carrizalillo, slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of town and the busier surfer's beach
- Bikes to borrow, boards and snorkelling gear to rent
- The entrance to the hotel is on an uninspiring dirt road and can be a dusty pathway out of the hotel if you’re walking
- The private staircase down to the beach is secure but steep - leave some breathing room for the climb back up!
- Only Venecia has a twin bedroom; other beds are all doubles or kingsize doubles
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant (open daily); kitchenettes in villas
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
Linked by stone pathways and surrounded by flowers and fountains, the 12 villas blend artfully into the hotel’s landscaped gardens. All of them feel private and have fresh, up-to-date decor - this is the modern Mexico of split-level apartments with exposed brick walls, kitchen bars and L-shaped sofas. Creamy walls, chunky wood furniture and polished cement floors give off a calm, uncluttered air; bright lemon-yellow tiles or a red-and-rust rug provide colour.
We stayed in the 1-bedroom Terraza, one of the 6 villas that have full ocean views over Carrizalillo bay. Our superb vista was from the vast terrace off our bedroom and we could have spent all day in the hammocks just drinking it in. Beside us, with the same view only from smaller balconies, were Mitla and Colorada - these are the duplex studio apartments and the only ones without a kitchenette; they have wet bars instead (a counter with a sink, coffee maker, and small fridge/freezer). The other villas with seaviews are the 2-bedroomed Florencia and 1-bedroomed Puebla and Escondido. The latter does not have a balcony, but it has an amazing outlook over the beach and ocean. Note that in Florencia there is no door between the 2 bedrooms, so it wouldn't suit couples, but is popular with families.
Also popular with families are the villas grouped around the courtyard by reception. Suiza is the biggest with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and is the only one with a DVD player (all villas have flat-screen satellite TVs). It has an outdoor patio, as does 2-bedroom Londres (with the largest kitchenette), and 2-bedroom Holanda (the smartest with burgundy leather couches). Canada also has 2 double bedrooms and is split-level, though it doesn't have a patio. Note that Venecia is the only villa with a twin bedroom, and instead of a balcony it has an outdoor living area with couch, hammocks and a dining table.
Maids clean daily and make sure water coolers are full; bathrooms have power showers and designer toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, cream and soap); there are iPod docking stations and free WiFi - and of course, when you step out of these smoothly serviced villas, there is that top-notch beach below. Bliss.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
- Iron (on request)
- Safe box
- Satellite tv
You get a free pound of coffee on arrival, to help you jump-start the mornings. All villas have a kitchenette with coffeemaker, blender, fridge and stove, except the duplex studios (Mitla and Colorada), which just have a wet bar. But if you feel holiday breakfast duty doesn’t extend beyond a cuppa, you're in luck; the restaurant Espadin is open every day for breakfast. Fresh fruit with yoghurt and granola is on the menu, as well as delicious tacos de huevo (eggs with chorizo and cheese). Even if you just have a juice, the fabulous views over the bay can’t be beat.
The hotel has recently taken on Patricio Sandoval as its executive chef. Sandoval comes from a culinary pedigree - both his father and brother ran restaurants in Mexico and California. His lunch and dinner menu can be described as Mexican with a gourmet twist: amazing salads (eg roasted beet salad with jicama and an oregano vinaigrette); tacos, and of course seafood (don't miss the ceviche of mahi mahi with fresh mango or roasted red snapper). And after supper, be sure to stop by the bar for a shot of mezcal - there are several to choose from, just be sure to sip it!
For self-catering, it is a short, cheap taxi ride to the market, where a stunning array of fresh produce, cheese, meats and, of course, seafood awaits. Perfect for those travelling on a budget, for families or for those who love to cook and sample local ingredients - check out the chap shucking oysters on the beach!
A descriptive list of local restaurants is provided in each villa’s welcome binder. On the nearby Rinconada strip is the tiny-but-tasty Turtle Bay Café and a second branch of the popular El Cafecito (the other faces Playa Zicatela), which is always busy. More laid-back fare is the delicious shrimp tacos at Mary’s Place, one of the family-run palapas right on Carrizalillo beach.
- Children meals
- Coffee maker
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Top up your tan by clambering down the steps to peaceful Playa Carrizalillo - there are a half dozen palapas where, for the price of a cold beer, you can nab a sun lounger for the day
- Learn to surf - the calm waters of Carrizalillo are perfect for beginners and there is a surf school right on the beach. The hotel rents out snorkelling equipment and boogie boards for those who prefer to lay low in the water
- Watch the surfers - Playa Zicatela is the place to see how the pros handle the pipelines (these uber-waves are not for amateurs)
- There are scuba schools schools on Zicatela beach and on the Adoquin.
- Borrow a bike from the hotel and ride to Playas Angelito and Manzanillo, the next bay over
- Spot the turtles - book a boat tour for excursions around bays and beaches where golfina turtles nest; you might see dolphins too
- Catch a big one - sign up for a sport fishing trip and you will (hopefully) land a large tuna, marlin or dorado
- Shop for souvenirs - stalls along the pedestrianised part of Avenida Perez Gasga (called the Adoquin) are stuffed with Mexican bags, blankets and bangles
- Walk the cliffs - you get great views over Bahia Principal from the pathway cut from the rocks around the lighthouse
- Go birding in Laguna Manialtepec (15 minutes north of the villas) with an English speaking guide
- Cooking classes - available on request with advance notice, to take place in your villa
- Horse riding - Zicatela beach has horses for riding along the beach; you can also take a beautiful ride through the Oaxacan countryside crossing rivers to some (very) hot springs, 20 minutes' north of the villas
- Swim - the amoeba-shaped pool is perfect for a cooling-off paddle after a cliff hike
- Relax. The hotel can arrange private massages in your villa; there are a couple of yoga studios in town
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Scuba diving
- Scuba diving courses
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
Children are welcome at Villas Carrizalillo - most villas can fit extra inflatable beds and baby cots, and the 2 and 3-bedroom villas are perfect for families.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Over half of the villas have 2-3 bedrooms. For large families, Suiza, Londres and Holanda work best, but any of the 2-bedroom units are good, too. Florencia is good for a small family as there isn't a door between the 2 bedrooms, just a wall and small hallway. Unless you book Venecia, which has a twin room, kids will have to share double beds.
Available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kitchens are well equipped (most villas have full kitchens) with blenders, fridges and stoves. The market is a short taxi drive away and there are plenty of family friendly cafes on the beach nearby.
Kids Activities on site:
- Small outdoor pool
- A selection of games and toys
- Bikes to borrow and snorkelling gear and surfboards to rent
Kids Activities nearby:
- The beach: gently shelving but a bit too rough for beginner surfers
- Turtle-spotting in season nearby
- Horse riding along nearby beaches
Families Should Know:
Be aware there is a steep staircase down to the beach below and the pool is not shallow and is unsupervised.
- Airport: 5 minutes
- Hospital: 5 minutes
- Nearest shop: 5 minutes