Mexico On Sale – But At What Cost?

June 29, 2009

Mexico For Sale

Mexico seems to be having a fire sale right now. Everywhere you turn, prices are being slashed.

The NY Times’ Michelle Higgins published her list.

National Geographic Traveler posted their review of this phenomenon.

Maribeth Mellin, award-winning Mexico travel journalist, said her piece here.

Certainly, the “epidemic of fear” paraded by the media in its headlines has had a dramatic impact on Mexico’s travel and tourism industry. All related business have had to drastically reduce their rates while attempting to maintain same service levels. To say this is a challenge is a gross understatement. If you add to that the fact that the global economic situation had already forced a worldwide travel “sale epidemic” of its own, Mexico tourism—with its extra cloud of doom over its head—has been reduced to cutting rates on already substantial discounts dictated by International competition.

Initially, and superficially I think, lower rates can entice some travelers to come back, but it’s a fine line (and a dangerous one) when tourism products (hotels, restaurants, tours, etc.) are forced to operate with little or no profit margins and STILL live up to expected standards. Travelers may come, but what will their experience be like and what will the impact be when they return home?

There are great travel deals right now. Amazing really, in some cases. But the industry won’t be able to keep this up without letting something go eventually. In Mexico, as in the rest of the world, staff must be paid, training must be given, maintenance must be on-going, and a certain level of quality is to be expected. Let’s hope that those that did visit us during the last few months are able to get the word out on the real situation and we can get back to what we do best; authentic, warm, unparalleled hospitality at a fair price for both traveler and supplier.

Because we’re all in the same boat, we also have some great deals going on at some of our finest Mexico Boutique Hotel properties. And while the prices may be unexpectedly low, we can say without a doubt that these hotels continue to offer their guests everything that is to be expected from an MBH member.


Mexico Boutique Hotels’ SHOPShot: TheShop@CONDESAdf

June 26, 2009

Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood stays high on trendsetter’s lists with its collection of hip eateries and cafés (insiders sometimes call it la Fondesa, referring to its many small restaurants)—and there’s no doubt the urbane CONDESAdf hotel has heavily contributed to the resident chic.

Tucked away in the hotel’s stylish aqua and white interior, TheShop@CONDESAdf lays out a carefully edited selection of unique objets such as Converse tennis shoes hand-painted by artisans from Oaxaca, ceramic and silver jewelry by Provartemex, and crystal rings by Oshi.

Stop in before rooftop cocktails—you’ll need all of your willpower to walk away with just one bag!

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Isabella Camil and Dominika Paleta check out the bling.


Mexico’s 10 most romantic honeymoon hideaways

June 25, 2009

Mexico's most romantic honeymoon hideaways

Writer Christine Del Sol lists Mexico’s 10 most romantic honeymoon hideaways on the SFGate’s Mexico Mix this week. Five are members of the Mexico Boutique Hotels collection.


When Rocio Lost Her ‘Clefs’ or Does The Desk Make The Concierge?

June 25, 2009

Cles d'or

 

 

 

 

 

A little less than a year ago, Rocio Martinez Quintal—the Mexico Boutique Hotels’ concierge—lost her hard-earned Clefs d’Ors (Golden Keys) because her job description no longer fit the traditional association’s definition of what it means to be a concierge.

She was told that because she does not actually sit at a desk inside a hotel and face travelers, she is not a true concierge. This was a blow to Rocio: she had spent two years preparing for this prestigious recognition and felt she had not changed anything about how she worked or her dedication to the traveler’s experience. She still provided assistance and information on everything from dinner reservations, flowers, guided tours, pre-arrival packing, airport transfers, driving instructions, marriage proposals and so much more. In short, she still does everything that makes a concierge a concierge. The only difference is she does all of this virtually and via telephone given that our hotels are spread out over 26 destinations in Mexico.

Now, I’m willing to bet that any traveler who has ever dealt with Rocio when booking with Mexico Boutique Hotels would confirm just how much of a concierge she actually is. So would our member hotels, which are often very small and have embraced the extra help that Rocio provides them. In fact, their support was such that when Rocio was told (by the Clefs association in Mexico) she needed to fulfill certain desk hours, several of our properties happily offered her a physical space in their hotel.

Not surprisingly,  the removal of Rocio’s ‘Keys’ has not kept her from working just as hard and efficiently as before. It merely made me think about how standards are set, maintained and allowed to evolve in an ever-changing industry.

What is your definition of concierge?


Street Food Experience in Querétaro

June 24, 2009

Julie Carmann, a native of Nebraska who blogs on Midwesterner in Mexico, the life and times of a gringa in Mexico City, recently wrote a colorful post on her experience with Queretaro street food titled  “We are one with Street Food Vendors of Querétaro”. Here’s a tasty bit…

We felt obligated to take advantage of both of us having New Year’s Day 2009 off from work, and so parlayed it into a 2-night stay in Querétaro, a town of ~1.6 million people located two hours northwest of Mexico City. Our recent string of luck continued, as we happened upon yet another holiday festival– the town squares were bustling with folks celebrating the New Year with their families & street vendors doing a “land office business”, as we like to say back in the Midwest.

I will admit, I have been a bit shy about partaking from street vendors during my stay in México thus far. The food always (well, almost always) looks amazing, but my stomach is not über-resiliant to new bacteria friends in general, and YMMV when it comes to hygiene practices at any given food cart. However, the delights being proffered in the aisles of vendors along the north & south sides of Jardin Zenea were attractive enough to inspire me to gamble.

Read the full blog post at Midwesternerinmexico


La Purificadora – reviewed by Zain Deane

June 23, 2009

La Purificadora

 

This review is an excerpt from author Zain Deane‘s upcoming book, Great Destinations: Mexico City, Puebla & Cuernavaca, published by Countryman Press

La Purificadora is my favorite hotel in Puebla, and among my favorites in Mexico, for a few reasons. For one, it is architecturally unique, a blend of minimalism, dramatic effect, rustic antiquity and modern chic. From the crumbling, exposed walls left over from colonial times, the M.C. Escher-like broad stairway and the bare coal fire-pits in the open-air lobby to the modern, creatively designed rooms, the hotel presents a delightful contrast. Even the colors show the dichotomy: earth tones and pure white mixed with plush purple couches. At night, candles and fires fill the hotel, throwing you further into the dual world of old and new.

The rooms maximize the given space and include flat-screen TVs, iPod stereos, sink-into-sleep beds, and contemporary décor. One of the coolest spots in Puebla is the upstairs bar and pool area. The pool, an open-air zero-level affair with a glass wall, offers you, the swimmer, spectacular views of the nearby Iglesia de San Francisco and offers those lounging around views of you, the swimmer. And the restaurant is one of the most innovative in the city, a must-visit if you like creative Mexican cuisine. 

La Purificadora is a gem, and a hidden one at that. You’ll find no prominent signs above the door, and the hotel is tucked in a corner of town that is removed from the tourist bustle but still within the historic city center limits.



Romantic Hideaways for weddings, honeymoons, and other passionate interludes

June 21, 2009

Romantic tradition smiles on flowers and chocolates. But when you are fortunate enough to have found a special someone, why not celebrate it in a country renowned for its warmth? Mexico Boutique Hotels offers novel experiences meant to be shared, along with the intimacy you crave.

Catch a Movie of Your Lives Together
The historic Hacienda de los Santos in the world heritage site of Alamos has a comfy private theater where you can set up her favorite movie, plan a romantic snack, and kick back together on butter-soft leather sofas. If married, you might surprise your bride by screening your wedding video, or perhaps the first movie you saw as a couple, while hotel staff wait on you hand and foot.

Romance in Alamos, Sonora

Romance in Alamos, Sonora

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