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Chances are the Quinta Real Hotel is not going to be the first one that pops into your head when booking a Mexican vacation, but in some locations it should be.
Often when we are looking for a hotel room in a city we don’t know, we default to the name we’ve heard of before, which is what the international chains are banking on. They put a tremendous amount of money into brand marketing, hoping that you’ll click the button for J.W. Marriott or Four Seasons when you’re ready to commit. In much of Latin America though, that’s either not an option or it’s going to be an inferior choice. Often the best place to stay in town is part of a local or regional hotel chain instead, with local owners and managers.
While there are plenty of familiar upscale international chain hotels in Mexico, most of the top ones only have a few locations. As I write this there are more on the way, but right now there’s one Four Seasons, one Ritz-Carlton, one One&Only, two Thompson Hotels, two St. Regis ones, two Banyan Tree resorts…you get the idea. Rosewood is the only significant player at the very high end, with five locations throughout the country, the latest being in Puebla.
Our latest Mexico review is the Quinta Real in Villahermosa, where I stayed during the Adventure Travel Mexico conference in December. Villahermosa is the capital city of Tabasco, which doesn’t make hot sauce but it does grow a lot of things, including coffee, plantains, and bananas. It’s also a major petroleum center in Mexico. For tourists though, it’s the land of the mysterious Olmec civilization that is likely the oldest in the Americas and the state is making a big push to bring in more adventure travelers.
I and most of the delegates there were quite impressed with the Quinta Real Villahermosa and more than a few commented, “I didn’t expect to find such a luxurious hotel in this city.” Most probably would have defaulted to the Hyatt if booking their own room, which would have been a mistake.
Like other Quinta Real properties, this one has spacious, well-equipped rooms that aren’t done in the typical cookie-cutter corporate style. All are at least 500 square feet and are stocked with a long list of amenities, including robes, quality toiletries, and some English channels on the TV. Check out the bathroom in the shot above, which doesn’t even show the second sink. They incorporate many Spanish Colonial elements in the architecture of their properties, so you have a sense of place.
My group that hit the bar together on several occasions also ate well when we ordered food. I’ve had similar good experiences with the Quinta Real properties in Guadalajara and Aguascalientes. The photo below is an appetizer platter from the bar menu, while the breakfast buffet had an omelette station and a wide array of fruit.
You can find Quinta Real properties in some locations where there’s not a whole else around, like in Zacatecas and Aguas Calientes, but you’ll also find them in resort areas and popular cities like Oaxaca.