Travel | 3 comments
By: Zdenko Kahlina
Old Mazatlán Condominiums in Historic District
My wife and I were planning to visit Mazatlán for a long time. Mazatlán was probable the only tourist place in Mexico we always wanted to visit, but never did, until this year. Finally, at the end of this year we had an opportunity, since we both still had some unused vacation days.
When we finally decided to go, first we browsed internet to select hotel and somehow picked up the ‘Old Mazatlán Condominiums’ as our Mazatlán destination. It helped that ‘friend of a friend’ from Edmonton, owned a condo there and we had read several positive reviews about this place. We duly contacted a property manager by email to enquire about the availability of a studio apartment for our proposed stay during the month of November. Mr. O’Neil McGean (manager) responded quickly and professionally and informed us that he did have a studio available for us. He promised to hold it for us, and no immediate deposit was required. Later we only sent him one more email to confirm our arrival on agreed date and that was it.
Arrival in Mazatlán
When we arrived at the location and went through the gates into the courtyard it was like stepping into a magic garden. Every surface is decorated with whimsical mosaics or covered in vines and flowers. There are several seating areas scattered here and there that just invite you to relax with a book. Tropical plants, gardens, unique sitting areas and fabulous terraces are surrounded by architecture that is true Mexicana. Its American owners have made beautiful enhancements that have captured the attention of many photographers and local magazines. The first impression was: ‘this property will have us dreaming about coming back while away’. All in all, this lovely decor was a step back into Mexico’s past.
Suite #3 – Unique charm
Mr. O’Neil welcomed us with a smile and showed us the property. Without even asking for it, we were upgraded to a one bedroom suite (#3) on the main floor. Our delightful, lovely and colorful suite was overlooking tropical green court yard, small tranquil swimming pool and a BBQ area in what looked like botanical garden.
Suite (#3) is on the main floor in the left wing of two brick buildings, divided by stairs in the middle, hidden between all the greenery. We had a small balcony in front of the suite, which was in shade during the afternoon hours, so we would seat there and play with our electronic devices, usually browsing the internet. Inside, we had adequate size living area and kitchenette (not big, but not small either… see picture above), big bedroom with the queen size bed and huge closet, bathroom and a space that served as office or just computer area. The fully equipped kitchenette had all the basics like fridge, microwave, stove and coffee maker. We would make breakfast every morning and sometimes prepare lunches there, but for dinner we always went to different places around ‘Centro Historico’. This place was very clean including the bathroom, bedding was fresh and clean, and the house keeping lady (Rose) did a great job once a week to keep this place clean. We also had free internet access, an A/C, ceiling fans in two places and a small flat screen cable connected TV in the living room, which we just turned on in the evenings to watch the music channel instead of the radio. Faster internet connection and a few more outlets would have been nice, but it was manageable the way it was.
Mazatlán’s Centro Historico
Historical Mazatlán, the cultural center of the state, is unsurpassed for its spectrum of beautiful renovated 19th century homes, miles of beaches, spectacular sunsets and year-round offerings of music and the arts. Combining the charm and elegance of Old Mexico with contemporary flair and luxuries, Mazatlán’s Centro Historico is truly the best of both worlds. We noticed there was many properties for sale or deserted. Many other houses have been renovated and freshly painted on the outside.
Old Mazatlán Condominiums property
Located in the historic center of Mazatlán, Old Mazatlán Condominiums property carry a unique charm and ambiance that is rarely found, because it’s quiet, safe and secluded – in a residential neighborhood of the Centro Historico. This little jewel sits on ‘Ice Box’ hill in a typical Mexican residential area, overlooking the Cathedral and the historic center of Mazatlán.
If location is what you are looking for, Old Mazatlán Condominiums are only 2 blocks from the famous ‘Olas Altas’ Beach, and 10 minute walk to the farmers market that carries everything from fresh seafood to local fruits and vegetables. Old Mazatlán Condominiums is also only a 10-minute stroll from Centro Historico’s Plaza Machado (4 blocks), lined with incredible restaurants that host nightly live music and are adjacent to a variety of small shops and juice bars with its restaurants, live entertainment, art galleries and historic Angela Peralta Theater. It’s nowhere near the majority of the hotels in ‘Zona Dorada’ or tourist zone, meaning it’s a much quieter, more genuine part of Mazatlán.
As usual Vera and I wanted to experience the local culture and people. I especially enjoyed seeing the neighbors sitting out on the street and responding to our ‘buenas noches’ or ‘buenos tardes’ with a smile and responding back with the same greetings. After a few days, we already felt like being part of the community, as we would recognize the same people sitting on the street.
To get groceries, we walked several blocks to the big grocery store ‘Ley’ at the corner of Melchor Ocampo and Calle Dr. Carvajal, almost as big as ‘Superstore’ in Edmonton. In this store we could find everything we needed. Only once we went to big ‘Mega’ supermarket by bus, but it was very far away in ‘Zona Dorada’ and we figured out it was not practical for us. Just down the hill from our condominium was a small corner store, where we could get cold serveza (beer) and Coca-Cola. They also had few other small things, but selection was limited.
Paradise on an ‘Ice box’ hill
Old Mazatlán Condominiums retains its rustic beauty and traditional Mexican charm while offering the discerning owner a full range of modern comforts. Each of the units is completely furnished with rustic, traditional Mexican décor and features a fully-stocked kitchenettes, air conditioning, cable TV, wireless internet (outdated, not very fast!) and balconies with city and beach views. Tropical gardens in the central courtyard surround a swimming pool and outdoor lounge and barbecue area.
This is very quiet, peaceful and secure place. The front gate is locked at night but accessible to guests, who all receive their own key. The staff (Jose, Rose and young Eduardo), was kind and attentive but never obtrusive. All in all, we always felt very safe there, day or night… Mexico has the friendliest people, there’s no doubt about it.
The highlight of the property has to be the rooftop terrace and the pool. The terrace is the perfect place to watch the sunset and have a little glass of wine while you decide where to go for dinner. Vera and I did it several times during our stay there. The rooftop terrace offers a spectacular 360-degree view of Old Town, the nearby Olas Altas beach and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. You can enjoy a gorgeous sunset and see for yourself why Mazatlán is called the ‘Pearl of the Pacific.’ This roof garden has, without a doubt, the best view of Mazatlán in Centro Historico, Plazuela Machado, Plazuela Hidalgo, historic Angela Peralta Theater, Olas Altas, the Cathedral and the Central Market are all within easy walking distance.
Another highlight of the property is tranquil outdoor swimming pool and the tiled patio surrounding it. The pool is small but well maintained and the chairs are clean and comfortable. Water temperature was always just right, perfect to get refreshed from the day heat. The pool is also center of all the small talk – everything that’s happening at the property is discussed around the pool. This is where we met most of the tenants and renters residing here. Everyone was very friendly and wanted to know where we came from and how long are we staying.
Perfect in every way
We stayed there for four weeks and it was fantastic. Right from the start we felt like being part of a big family. Our friend Linda (from Edmonton) introduced us to everyone at the pool, and few days later we knew everyone by name.
We met Sharon and Erney from Austin (TX), Donna and Don from Calgary, Linda from Edmonton. They are all owners of the suites in the front building, facing the street. We also met others that were either renters or the owners of the suites in the main building behind, and they were: Garry from California, Gail and Garry from Seattle, Meg from California, Marc from Pismo Beach (California), Glenn from Edmonton, Nicole from Langley in BC, Ken from USA, Don from USA… and some others. I just couldn’t remember all their names. Mostly they were all retirees and long term tenants, with some renters like the two of us; almost even mix of Americans and Canadians. They were all very friendly and several times we went as a group to a baseball game and for a dinner at one of the nearby restaurants.
We couldn’t have enjoyed it more! Convenient to everything – a few blocks the Malecon, a few blocks the Merchado, etc. Stone island beaches are a few minutes away and are fabulous too. This is the perfect place to spend time with family, friends, or alone, for a short time, a long vacation or for the entire winter. This place is not overly expensive, the rooms were recently remodeled but in the style of “Old Mexico”. Traditional Equipal and Pine furniture blended with Mexican Metalcrafts and Wood Carved accessories and create the perfect balance of rustic, modern and functionality to all of our beautiful condominiums.
As nice as all this was, the best part of our stay (and why I felt like I should write this review) is because the hosts at the Old Mazatlán Condominiums made us feel so comfortable and welcome. Mr. O’Neal McGean, property manager extraordinaire from Bisbee Arizona, has been a part of this complex from the very beginning. They still have some smaller units (studios) for sale and for rent. Call O’Neal for the showing and maybe you can own a small piece of paradise in this beautiful city, full of historical charm called Mazatlán. The property has a web page here where you can get all required information.
So, leave your vehicle and your worries at home in Canada. This here, is Living! Come here and spend winters in the warm climate and with friendly people!
Have a good and healthy season.
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