South of Town Melaque Hotels
Most of Melaque’s recommendable hotels lie in the quiet south-of-town neighborhood.
Under $50: Melaque’s best-buy budget lodging is the Hotel Santa María (Abel Salgado 85, tel. 315/355-5677, fax 315/355-5553). Long popular with cost-conscious Canadians and Americans in winter, the Santa María’s 46 accommodations, all one-bedroom kitchenette apartments, are arranged in two motel-style wings around an invitingly green and tranquil inner patio. All are close enough to the water for the waves to lull guests to sleep. Units vary; uppers are brighter, so look at a few before you move in. All-season prices for the spartan but generally tidy apartments begin at about $25 d per day, $160/week, $355/month, with TV, fans, hot-water showers, and pleasantly sunny beach-front pool patio.
North a few blocks, closer to the town center, is the well-kept colonial-chic Posada Pablo de Tarso (Av. Gómez Farías 408, tel./fax 315/355-5707 or 315/355-5717), named after the apostle Paul of Tarsus. Guests enjoy many attractive (although at this writing somewhat worn) details, including art-decorated walls, hand-carved bedsteads and doors, and a flowery beachside pool and patio. The main drawback to all this lies in the motel-style corridor layout, which requires guests to pull the dark drapes for privacy. Year-round rates for the 27 rooms and bungalows begin at about $43 d ($23 daily rate for one-month rental) except possibly for some holidays; a kitchen in the unit raises the tariff to about $85 d, all with fan, air-conditioning, TV, and phones. You may also reserve with their Guadalajara office (tel./fax 333/811-5262 or 333/811-4273).
$50–100: Classy in its unique way is the Villas Camino del Mar (Calle Francisco Villa, corner Abel Salgado, tel. 315/355-5207, fax 315/355-5498, www.villascaminodelmar.com.mx). A few signs in the humble beach neighborhood about a quarter-mile on the Barra side of the Melaque town center furnish the only clue that this gem of a lodging hides at the beach end of a bumpy Melaque street. (Note: Recently, owners have added an annex across the street, which, although inviting, crams in more accommodations in a smaller space than the original building. Specifically ask for a room in the original building in your reservation request.) A five-story white stucco monument draped with fluted neoclassical columns and hanging pedestals, the original Villas Camino del Mar hotel offers a lodging assortment from simple double rooms through deluxe suites with kitchenettes to a rambling penthouse. The upper three levels have sweeping ocean views, while the lower two overlook an elegant blue pool and patio bar and shady beachside palm grove. The clientele is split between Mexican middle-class families who come for weekends all year around, and quiet Canadian and American couples who come to soak up the winter sun for weeks and months on end. Reserve early, especially for the winter. Rates for the 37 rooms and suites run as little as $49 ($43 per day for a week, $34 per day for a month) for small but comfortable oceanview rooms for two; $79 ($71 per day weekly, $55 per day monthly) for a studio with kitchenette; $95 ($85 per day weekly, $66 per day monthly) for medium one-bedroom with two queen beds and kitchenette); and $120 ($108 per day weekly, $88 per day monthly) for deluxe two-bedroom, two-bath suites with kitchen; all with fans only. All rates are discounted 10 percent during low occupancy (usually May–June and Sept.–Nov.).
Camino del Mar’s nearby upscale Villas Alvanelly, set in a spacious, grassy beachfront compound with its own pool, offers much more luxury and space. The nine one- and two-bedroom kitchenette apartments go for $95–135; a one-week rental gets an 8 percent discount; one month 30 percent. Reserve early, through the Villas Camino del Mar contact numbers.
Close by, the sky-blue-and-white Bungalows Azteca (P.O. Box 57, San Patricio Melaque, Jalisco 48980, tel./fax 315/355-5150) auto court–style cottages line both sides of a cobbled driveway courtyard garden that spreads to a lazy beachfront pool patio. The 14 spacious kitchenette cottages, in one-bedroom or three-bedroom versions, are plainly furnished but clean. The nine one-bedroom units rent, low season, for about $37/day, $220/week, $540/month ($50, $300, $800 high season). The five three-bedrooms rent for about $65/day, $400/week, $1,200/month low season ($90, $550, $1,400 high). Get your reservation in early, especially for the winter.
Less than a block south, the open, parklike grounds, spacious blue pool with kiddie pools, and beachside palm garden of the Bungalows Mayorca (Abel Salgado 133, Colonia Villa Obregón, tel./fax 315/355-5219, bungalowsmayorca [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx or www.tomzap.com/mayorca.html) invite unhurried outdoor relaxation. Its stacked, Motel 6–style layout, attractively draped with tropical greenery, has aged gracefully. Here, groups and families used to providing their own atmosphere find the kitchens and spacious (but dark) rooms of the Bungalows Mayorca appealing. The 21 two-bedroom bungalows, all with air-conditioning and TV, rent for about $60 d, $230/week, $890/month low season ($76, $330, and $1,020 high). If you’re in the mood for a splurge, ask for one of their three beachfront suites, with view balconies and jacuzzis, for about 20 percent additional.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition