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What Makes a Good Hotel

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 — [...]

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.

Room at the Mont Cristo hotel

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.

Pool at Monte Cristo Bungalows

In point:

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.

Bay of Puerto Angel from Monte Cristo Bungalow Hotel

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.

Filed under: Accommodation, Mexico, North America

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3396 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support Wade Shepard’s writing on this blog (please help):

Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

26 comments… add one

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  • Dave from The Longest Way Home December 19, 2010, 12:51 am

    Wow, you got your self one nice place there. $12 a night with Wifi a pool and a nice landlady. This is hard to come about anywhere.

    Moreover, you have a desk!! That’s even harder to find!

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 19, 2010, 9:52 am

      No kidding, the table is what truly makes this place haha. No more setting up milk crates with a board on top of them for a desk for me!

      Oh wait, we are getting the boot tomorrow, have to go find another place to stay.

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      • Taylor December 19, 2010, 10:24 am

        Hey come north and visit us here in chacala, mx. Can’t get the rent that cheap here though…

        Peace

        http://www.chacalahoy.com

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        • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 19, 2010, 10:48 am

          Cool, thanks for the invite!

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  • parvatti December 20, 2010, 2:15 pm

    The Guest House

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.
    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows
    who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.

    He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

    The dark thoughts, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    – Rumi

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 22, 2010, 10:03 pm

      Excellent choice to throw this poem in here. Thanks.

      The last verse is particularly pertinent.

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  • Yvonne December 21, 2010, 3:56 pm

    Hi

    Came across your blog while doing a search on the Monte Cristo bungalows. It’s so great to find recent info on them as I was hoping to stay there in a month or so. Would you by any chance happen to have any contact info for them – email, fax, phone? I would really appreciate it as I have been unable to find anything!

    Cheers and season’s greetings from Canada!

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 22, 2010, 10:04 pm

      I will look and get it for you. They don’t have a website, I am in a different town now, but I can go back and get a phone number. It is truly an excellent place.

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  • Yvonne December 23, 2010, 8:39 pm

    Awesome! thanks!

    I discovered the place when I “travelled” down the main street on Google Earth Streetview. It looked like it could be cool and if I was there I would have walked down the alley to check it out. Luckily for me, you already did that! There is a sign visible in the shot, but I can’t quite make out the phone number – resolution is not good enough.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 24, 2010, 11:58 am

      The telephone number for Monte Criste bungalows that is printed on the sign is 584-3100. Probably need to add the Mexican country code 52 to this. The sign also says that they are on the website puertoangel.com.mx.

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  • Réjean Beauchamp January 20, 2011, 9:45 am

    Hi ! I am new here and when I read this topic about Monte Cristo bungalow I was unthusiastic a lot since me and my wife are staying right here when I am writting these lines. Everything Wade wrote is entirely true except for the price of rooms. We are january 20thb 2011 and pay 350 pesos a nigt for a 2 weeks stay which is about $28.00 canadian dollars. When have you been here exactly ?

    Great website and forum here !!

    Thanks !

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com January 20, 2011, 11:02 am

      I published this entry from Monte Cristo bungalows. So that was in mid December. It seems as if we were charged different rates — a normal thing in this part of the world — but I had to negotiate a little on the price, and we were there during a different “season.”

      Good to hear that you are enjoying your stay, that is truly a good hotel.

      Thanks for this comment and for the good regards about the site.

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  • Yvonne January 20, 2011, 9:45 pm

    Just had to pop in and say thanks to Wade for the phone number. I called a couple weeks ago and hopefully have booked a room (who knows — my Spanish is pretty shaky).

    And hope to see Rejean and wife if they are still there when I arrive on Tuesday (I’ll be the exhausted short redhead).

    I am really enjoying your blog, Wade, and am very happy I stumbled across it while searching for info on the Monte Cristo. It’s been a great escape while I wait out these grey days of winter .

    Happy trails!

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com January 20, 2011, 11:53 pm

      No problem, Yvonne. Tell Lila that we say hello.

      Thanks for reading.

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    • Réjean and Lise January 21, 2011, 9:14 am

      Hi ! Yvonne ! We will be here for sure since we leave on friday morning january the 28th !

      I am easy to recognize since I am setaed up there with my laptop at 6 in thhe morning in the darkness with my minor lamp around my head ! We look for to meet you !

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    • Réjean and Lise February 1, 2011, 7:45 am

      We happily met Yvonne and it was very pleasant to be in your company during this short while on both evenings ! Enjoy your trip in Mexico ! We hope to se you again somewhere on the planet !

      Rejean and Lise.

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  • Helene January 31, 2011, 3:34 pm

    Hey Wade,

    Love your website, lots of great info! However, we are also staying at the Monte Cristo because of your great review, and our appreciation of the place is a bit different… We’re also paying 350 a night for a room that’s fine but is our most expensive hotel room in Mexico so far… And the wifi doesn’t reach our room, so there go our plans to work here (like you, web-based). And the offer we got was 6,000 for a month in the apartment with AC and a kitchen. That’s what we usually pay per day in other hotels, without any bargaining… So it’s not a bad place, but not perfect. I like her cat!

    Hello Yvonne! 🙂

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com January 31, 2011, 10:46 pm

      Hello Helene,

      Glad to hear that you are staying at Monte Cristo bungalows. We were in the room that is sort of in the back, the nearest to the gate. The WIFI reached our room, but just barely. I had to have the windows and door open, and sometimes needed to sit out on the steps. We are also there before the high season, so this could be one reason why our price was lower — or maybe the place is more in demand now that I wrote this review so the price went up haha. Sorry.

      I recently put up an entry about the fallacy of publishing hotel prices here — Should I publish the prices of hotels? — in regards to hotels that I have published information on charging other travelers more that what we paid.

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  • Yvonne February 2, 2011, 9:08 pm

    Travel is so individual and yet so collective. The internet gives us a community of fellow travelers who sometimes meet up — such a small world, really. Wade, your travelogue has been a commonality for every guest I have met here! (Who have all been so nice and I hope to see them in Puerto Escondido)

    I have been staying in the apartment with kitchen that your family stayed in – perfect for me. A little rustico in the bathroom with no hot water, but es Mexico. I fully expected to pay at least double what you negotiated since I was coming in high season, but I think 350 pesos a night is still a bargain for this place. Thanks again for the phone number so I could book the apartment.

    There have been no other guests here and Lila the landlady has been off in el DFfor the last two days, so it has been like staying in a private villa! Just me and the two fattest doggies in Mexico. And the kitty. Amelia comes by to sweep, sweep, sweep in the mornings and there is a young man who sleeps in the small leanto off the main house, but I almost never see him.

    I am actually sorry I have to leave tomorrow for my condo in Puerto Escondido. I could happily stay here for the next 4 weeks, instead….

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com February 3, 2011, 9:05 pm

      Yeah, that place was excellent. My wife has been using it as a measuring stick for all other places we rent since haha. Thank you for the updates.

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  • luis bravo February 14, 2011, 7:26 pm

    hi there my name is luis the owner of the montecristo bongalows is my aunt and everything you say about her is true.
    and as adition to the information here in mexico the rats of rooms changes depending on the season for example january an february is a litle bit expensive because we expect the winter tourism mostly from canada north america and europe in march april and may rates go down because is of season in summer increases even more.
    so if anybody wants to contact this hotel you can contact me on my email luisquique39@live.com.mx and i wil give you all data you need
    and thanks for all the good comments about my aunt
    bye bye

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com February 16, 2011, 12:10 pm

      Thanks Luis,

      Glad to have met your wonderful aunt and to have stayed in her hotel. Is there anyway that you could have her publish a comment here, in Spanish is alright, saying that she says that you are an official contact person for her hotel? I just have to take security concerns into account, as I do not know you nor was I told anything about you during my stay at MonteCristo Bungalows.

      Thanks.

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    • Réjean and Lise March 17, 2011, 1:08 pm

      Hola Luis ! Somos mucho tarde pero quiero decirte gracias por ayudar tu amable tia Lila por la publicitad para esta fantastica lugar ! Estabamos en Monte Cristo bungalows por 2 semanas durante enero 2011 y nos gustaba mucho ! Esperamos a verte y Lila en el proximo invierno. Vamos a registrar tu email por comunicar el el futuro.
      Hasta pronto !!

      Say hello to the lovely Lila for us !

      Réjean y Lise .

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  • luis bravo February 14, 2011, 7:40 pm

    i made amistake is no rats is rates sorry

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    • Réjean and Lise March 17, 2011, 1:11 pm

      jajaja !! No hay problemas Luis ! No problems Luis !

      There are much more roosters than rats in Mexico ! Better have good quality earplugs ! Nights might be a little shorters than at home ! lol !!

      Mucho mas gallos que ratas en Mejico ! Solamente una chiste de la realitad por pobre turistas !! Jajaja !! Las noches pueden ser mas cortas !!

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