A trio of good country hotels lines Calle Corona, two short blocks from the town plaza’s northwest corner. Walk a block north to Corona, then west another block to the Posada Corona (Ramón Corona 72, tel. 388/386-0250, fax 388/386-0460, analuzsd [at] hotmail [dot] com). Inside, past the immaculate tiled lobby, you’ll probably meet the hotel’s manager, Analuz Díaz, who carries on the mission of her dynamic but now semiretired mother, “Cuca” Díaz. Most of their 32 rooms—very clean and comfortably furnished with twin or double beds, reading lamps, ceiling fans, and hot-water shower baths—line plant-decorated upstairs corridors. Rates run about $12 s, $22 d, $27 t, except during the Talpa festivals (around Feb. 2, Mar. 10–19, May 12, and Sept. 10–19), when reservations are mandatory.
Two doors east is the similarly clean and comfortably furnished Posada Hernández (Ramón Corona 66, tel. 388/386-0049, $13 s, $21 d, $28 t). Efficiently managed by owner Esther Hernández, the hotel’s 10 rooms surround a leafy, tranquil inner patio.
Across the street stands the Hotel Copa de Oro (Ramón Corona 75, tel. 388/386-0016, $12 s, $17 d, $20 t). The front desk leads to an open-air interior courtyard, enclosed by ground- and upper-level floors of simply furnished but clean rooms. Owners have brightened up the hotel with paint, polish, and a sprinkling of new furnishings throughout. Expect higher rates during fiesta days.
Mascota ’s three deluxe hotels, two of which are historic buildings, stand on opposite sides of the central plaza. The more traditional of the three is Mesón del Refugio (Independencia 187, tel. 388/386-0767, mesondelrefugio [at] yahoo [dot] com). The owners, working with Jalisco tourism’s Haciendas and Casas Rurales promotion program, have renovated a distinguished Mascota hotel. The handsome result is 15 high-ceilinged, airy rooms on two floors around a tranquil, inviting inner patio. The rooms ($42 d) and suites ($52 d or t), furnished with designer-rustic tiled floors, hand-loomed bedspreads, handmade wood and leather furniture, original wall paintings and etchings, and bright Talavera-tiled bathrooms, complete the lovely picture. Some even larger, pricier suites have two or three beds and sleep up to six. Amenities include cable TV in the rooms and a bar downstairs.
On the opposite side of the plaza, consider spending your Mascota time in luxurious comfort in the Mesón de Santa Elena (Hidalgo 155, tel. 388/386-0313, www.mesondesantaelena.com ). The hotel’s 12 accommodations, which all enfold a graceful plant-bedecked interior patio, are elaborately decorated with handsomely crafted traditional furniture, decorator lamps, soft carpets, and shiny deluxe tiled baths. All this for a mere $50 d in a standard room; $65 d for larger suites, with cable TV, rooftop panoramic view terrace, restaurant, and comfortably furnished sitting rooms for resting and relaxing.
Half a block away is Mesón de San José (Hidalgo 165, tel. 338/386-1501 or 338/386-1502, www.mesonsanjose.com.mx , $35–70 d). Although, like Mesón del Refugio and Meson de Santa Elena, this was a renovation of an existing structure, the rebuilding converted an old house into something nearly completely modern. Downstairs, past the reception and intimate smallish inner patio, is an inviting restaurant, furnished in luxurious shiny all-oak furniture. Upstairs the 14 rustic-deluxe rooms are completely up to date, gleaming with new furnishings and fixtures. The owner’s pride and joy is a room in the rear, with an expansive private patio, commanding a panoramic over-the-rooftops mountain sunset view. For all this luxury, prices are reasonable.
For an unusually luxurious mountain-lake lodging option, try the Sierra Lago Resort and Spa near Laguna Juanacatlán .