Monday, March 17, 2008

Featuring.......Hotel Carmelina

PAY ATTENTION Blogger meeting attendees. This is the hotel where I will be reserving a block of rooms for us in April. Please do NOT book your own room. I will be publishing more about how this is going to work later.

Ah, the Carmelina. I'm not sure how long this hotel has been around, but it's a long time. It is one of the last remaining true value hotels left. There is nothing fancy about it so don't expect a lot of frills. Do expect a pleasant stay in a clean room with friendly, helpful staff. It is owned and run by Juan and Lucy. They are two of the nicest people you could ever want to meet. They both speak enough English to run the business, but not enough to have a lengthy conversation. No matter.

The Hotel Carmelina started out life as the building you see in the above picture. Over the years they have added additional wings to each side. So now you have this central courtyard with the hotel surrounding it on three sides. To get to the third floor, you have to turn left or right at the top of the above pictured staircase. Gives you a chance to say hello to any fellow travellers who may be sitting on the porch/walkway in front of their rooms. (Or a chance to peek into other people's rooms, if you are in to that sort of thing!)

The clientele here is mostly middle age or beyond. No screaming spring breakers running around. People from every part of the globe stay here and it is possible to walk along and hear Spanish, English, French and German. It is truly a mixing pot of languages out on those balconies!

Below is the older of the two wings, the north one. We stopped by the office yesterday afternoon to confirm some reservations. We always put our friends who are visiting in this hotel. Unless they insist on paying high prices someplace else. Over the years, we have only had one person not like it. He was just somebody we happened to know in passing from our old life and asked us to make a reservation for him. So we did. He stayed one night, did not like the atmosphere and checked out the next morning. Guess where he went? The youth hostel! And this guy is approaching 80 if not already there. I have never believed in acting my age, but c'mon. That's getting to be a little long in the tooth to be staying at a youth hostel. It just kind of gave me the creeps. It was too dirty old manish or something. Anyway.....

Lucy proudly announced to us yesterday that the rooms in the north wing now all have air conditioning! Mini splits all around. I like mini splits. The cooling unit is in the room but the compressor is outside somewhere so you never hear that awful air conditioning noise. Just a gently white noise hum. That is what we have in our rental cabana. They have had to raise the per night fee for these rooms though. They now go for the whopping figure of 400 pesos per night. That's about $37.50 US.

I, and most of our friends, like the south wing better. The rooms are a bit newer and let in a bit more light. You can see in the picture below the common causeway in front of each room. This is wide enough that each room has a table and chairs to sit on out there. Great for morning coffee (which you will have to go find someplace and bring back) or reading the morning edition of the Miami Herald, the only English language newspaper on the island.

The rooms are not huge inside but there is still plenty of space to put your stuff and move around. Each single/double room has a double bed. Some rooms in the main section have two double and one single bed in them. The rooms in the south wing still have ceiling fans, the mini splits have not made it to that side of the building yet. Rooms here are priced at 275 pesos per night. Or about $25.50 US.

Another view of the sleeping alcove.

The view from the bed to the entrance. See, not a huge room by any means, but still enough space for a small desk and a refrigerator. When I travel, I always think a refrigerator is a must have item. Unfortunately, none of the rooms here have coffee makers. To the left of the desk is the closet and the entrance to the bathroom.

Nothing fancy about the bathroom. Just a good, clean space. All rooms have hot water. In Mexico, that is a luxury one always need to ask about before renting a room.

If you sit on the edge of the bed, this is the view to your front door. This happens to be the end room on the third floor. Our friend R from Toronto always stays in this room. Has been for years. Years ago, when Sol beer first started using their throw away bottles, it was possible to peel the clear label off. We started peeling the word SOL off each one and R would stick them on the refrigerator. Amazingly, nobody has ever tried to peel them off. They have since changed the label otherwise this refrigerator would be totally covered with stickers that say SOL!

In case you missed it, each room has its' own original piece of art hanging over the bed.

You can't tell it in the picture, but this thing is actually done in 3D! Is there some hotel warehouse someplace where hotels purchase this stuff? I think you enter the warehouse and their is a big sign with arrows pointing you to the left or right. Nice stuff to the left, tacky stuff to the right. Guess which arrow they followed! Oh well, for $27.50 a night, don't expect a Warhol.
That's it. A pleasant, charming, well run kind of hotel that is right downtown and close to everything. One block to the supermarket, one street over for all the bars and restaurants. Four long blocks or so to the beach. All within easy walking distance. I'm looking forward to having everybody stay here, at what CancunCanuck refers to as "party central"!
If you have any questions about this place, shoot me an email.


heather said...

275 pesos a night sounds great to me, and the hotel looks charming! Shall I contact them directly to book?

Thank you for setting this up, it's much appreciated!

wayne said...

Heather: no need to book directly. I will be doing that for everybody later. Just keep watching for announcements.

CancunCanuck said...

Fabulous Wayne, thanks for taking care of this it looks lovely.

Melissa said...

That's where Homeboy and I stayed last time we went to Isla.

Perfectly servicable and clean.

Not that we ever stay in hotels that cost more than 300 pesos a night!

Loretta said...

I'm again lamenting that I found your blog after booking a hotel room.

Still Isla dreaming and looking forward to May...


Cielia said...

Great article! I stayed at the Carmelina last year and it was a great deal and a very nice place. Last year my mom and I were wandering around looking for a place to stay, which is how we found the hotel. This year I am taking my husband and would like to book ahead if possible - is there any way to do this online anywhere? Or will they take reservations over the phone?

Islagringo said...

cielia: they do not have a website but I think you can book by phone. Don't know the number though.

Diane said...

Anything new re: this hotel? Plan on being on island in June and will definitely stay there.