Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Nayarit State (San Francisco/San Pancho), Mexico: Hotel Cielo Rojo
Nominated By: Gary at Green Traveler Guides, July '10
Price Range: US$85-$150 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 8 Kid-Friendly: yes
What makes the Hotel Cielo Rojo so Darn Good? Cielo Rojo is a simple, yet stylish hotel decorated in mellow Mexican colors and folk art lovingly collected by the owners on their world journeys. The hotel's restaurant surely must rank among the best restaurants in the state of Nayarit. The chef uses organic, locally-sourced ingredients including fish caught that morning by village fisherman in small boats. What's more, this eco-friendly hotel uses biodegradable detergents, makes their own natural hand soaps, and has an active recycling program.
Vibe: Cielo Rojo is laid-back, hip, and friendly. The manager and most staff are English speakers and well-versed in hospitality. Even better, the hotel actively supports entreAmigos, a local non-profit aimed at providing educational opportunities for the children of San Pancho.
Location: The small pueblo of San Francisco, locally known as San Pancho, is thirty miles north of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's central Pacific coast. The hotel is on a pleasant tree-shaded, cobblestone street near art galleries, restaurants, and shops, and just a few blocks away from a little beach. While surfers flock to the area for its great breaks, non-surfers can chill-out on the beach, explore nearby towns, or take a walk in the jungle.
Rooms: The eight scrupulously clean rooms at Cielo Rojo have shiny white walls and terra-cotta floors, and are artistically decorated in soothing colors with local crafts and antiques. A small, palm-shaded courtyard in the back has a rock waterfall edged by culinary herbs and dining area.
Food: Upon arrival at the hotel, guests are treated to a shot of artisanal tequila from the hospitality tray. In the morning, enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast of granola, fresh fruit, yogurt, and home-made breads, or spend a little more to order from the full menu. For lunch and dinner, the courtyard becomes Bistro Organico. In an open kitchen and with the most basic of tools, Chef Juan Diego Bernal turns out delicious, beautifully presented dishes like a smoked marlin-stuffed poblano pepper on a sesame-studded black bean sauce and salads like ensalada de toronja y miel - grapefruit, avocado and mixed greens in a cumin-yogurt-honey dressing. It's all part of the fun to watch Diego sneak out by the waterfall to twist off a sprig of basil or mint. Desserts are decadent and include an irresistible triple-layer cake of chocolate, mango, and carrot.
Keep in Mind: Some rooms do not have air conditioning but are equipped with ceiling fans.
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