PUERTO ANGEL, Mexico- A good hotel is like a good home: it not only has everything you need to live comfortably but it is enjoyable being there. As I travel, I am now looking for homes, not crash pads or flop houses. I usually pay for hotel rooms by the week or the month — they are much cheaper that way — and have the intention of turning each place I stay into a fully functioning home and mobile office.
We arrived in Puerto Angel beat and weary from spending the previous night in the bus station hotel in Salina Cruz. We moved into an overpriced flop house for a night (200 pesos, nonnegotiable) and then landed a good room at Monte Cristo Bungalows the following day. I laid down a week’s rent up front, and when this week was up I laid down the money for another week without hesitation.
A good hotel, like a good home, is often difficult to leave.
I have been living like a budget travel king here, I am almost ashamed to call myself a vagabond.
[adsense]The room I am staying in is called a bungalow, but it is actually an apartment. It is a big room with two beds, lots of space, mirrors, a closet, bathroom, windows, a ceiling fan, adequate lighting, a large garden, WIFI, and a private kitchen. Monte Cristo Bungalows is also positioned on a hill which overlooks Puerto Angel and the sea beyond — a truly beautiful view. There is also a swimming pool.
I pay 150 pesos ($12) per night for this, which is actually 50 pesos more than what I want to spend on accommodation — but the benefits of this place are worth far more than the additional expense. Also, I must figure in that I paid 200 pesos to stay at the flop house in this town were even the worst hotels will accept no less than 150 pesos per night.
We are getting a good deal.
What makes a good hotel?
I call Monte Cristo bungalows a good hotel not only because it is clean and the rooms are nice, everything works, there is a good view, a pool, WIFI, and a kitchen, but because it is very well managed. The lady who owns the place is attentive and very intuitive to the needs and wants of her guests, and, simply put, is able to provide them with what they need often before they even ask for it.
As we moved into our room the owner said that she was going to hook up the gas stove in the kitchen for us and turn on the refridgerator. In under five minutes it was done.
Through washing dishes at night after days of being on the beach the floor of the kitchen got a little wet and muddy, we needed a mop. The next day a mop appeared.
My wife hung our daughter’s freshly washed laundry over a cord that tied up some plants in the garden, we needed a clothesline. The next day a clothesline was tied up for us.
We found that we were paying roughly 30 pesos a day on water, we pondered purchasing a 5 galleon jug. The next day a complimentary 5 galleon jug of water appeared in our kitchen.
Sometimes we go into our kitchen and there are sweet breads and other snacks mysteriously deposited there for us to eat.
The owner stops and talks with us whenever she passes, she is friendly, plays with our daughter, and answers our questions fully and completely.
A hotel can only be as good as its management, this is the main criteria of a good hotel. When looking for a place to stay — a place to temporarily live — I look first at the people running the place, as I know that they are the prime differentiators between a good hotel and a poor one.
I fear that all this good living is making me go soft.