Villa Ixchel
Beachfront Vacation Rental on the Caribbean Sea in Mexico

The Value Proposition

Mexico is a vacation bargain, but ...

I have stayed in a number of hotels, condos, and all-inclusives in Cancun, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya.  The prices for these can be very expensive, and often, there were limitations that made for a stay less enjoyable than it could have been.

Once we stayed with a group in an all-inclusive that had a reputation for excellent food, which it lived up to.  However, after about three days, we were tired of this four-star cafeteria food, and ended up taking taxis out to local restaurants.  We missed the selection of ten or more fresh juices for breakfast at some of the restaurants, tastes you could never find back home -- and instead we found the standard orange juice machine.  Plus, we were on their schedule: a brunch or a 10 PM snack were not options.  We also didn't enjoy the people as much as in other places we had been in Mexico.  They were there for a warm beach, and that's great -- but they had little interest in the local culture and points of interest, and there wasn't a lot of diversity.

I have also figured out that you often don't get what you pay for at the all-inclusives.  If all you want to do is stay at the beach, the all-inclusives may be right for you.  However, if you want to spend some of your vacation days taking in the area attractions, you won't be getting your money's worth.  For example, if you take the family to Xcaret, you might be there all day and through the evening to catch the shows.  The family will eat at the restaurants or snack bars there, and make use of their recreation and entertainment.  You may take a tour to Chichen-Itza and be away the entire day, and have a fine dinner in a local restaurant.

Prior to purchasing Villa Ixchel, I attended a number of conferences in the Yucatan Peninsula.  One of these was hosted at a five-star hotel in the area, one of the most famous name hotels in the region.  The rooms surprisingly ordinary, and the food was overpriced, and, frankly, bad.  The mattress had all the comfort of a granite slab with a felt pad on it, making for very uncomfortable sleep and sore backs.  I am a chiropractor, and I know you can exacerbate back problems with too firm a mattress as well as with one that is too soft.

Sometimes I have gotten "stuck" in a large hotel, because it was too much hassle to go out and find alternatives.  We all know how expensive the hotel bar or the minibar can be, when all you want to do is share a bottle of wine in a quiet romantic setting overlooking the ocean.  While many hotels have fine restaurants, there are times you don't want to pay double the price for a quick and tasty lunch compared with what you would pay at a local establishment.

One conference was held at a very fancy hotel in Cozumel that was a 15-minute taxi ride from town.  The food during that week had given me (and my wallet) indigestion.  Even though the conference schedule was tight, several times that week many of us did take the taxi ride into town, where we ate at several restaurants featuring fine seafood, local dishes, as well as excellent steaks and hamburgers!  We went to one small, out-of-the-way local restaurant recommended in the guide books, that had specialty local chicken dishes.  These were the most delicious chicken dishes we had ever eaten!  The service was excellent.  The bill came to under $13US per person, including a 30% tip!

We've also stayed in expensive hotels where the air conditioner made you feel like you were sleeping with a greyhound bus in the room, or would cycle between freezing and sweltering.

Enjoy the very best ... and pay less!

Mexico truly can be a bargain for vacationers.  The Caribbean coast offers unsurpassed beauty and opportunities for fun and adventure.  However, you often will not be able to take advantage of the bargain if you stay in the usual hotels and all-inclusives.  The prices there are really comparable to those in the United States and elsewhere.  The can of soda in the minibar is still $3US.  The prices and qualities of rooms and restaurants are about the same, all in all.

When furnishing Villa Ixchel, I was determined to provide a very different level of experience -- in terms of beauty, comfort, luxury, and amenities.  In comparison with many other popular alternatives, the all-around package offered by Villa Ixchel is a true high-end, luxury bargain.

Special Services Available

Because Villa Ixchel is located in the community of Puerto Aventuras, the services available can provide for truly fun experiences, at a very reasonable price.  You can walk in under 5 minutes to more than 20 restaurants and cafes, with a range of prices and cuisines.  Once, during the off-season, I found a special at one of my favorite restaurants for a filet mignon and lobster surf-and-turf for at $10US, charcoal grilled to perfection.

At Villa Ixchel you can prepare your own meals in the fully equipped kitchen, or use the grill on the terrace.  There are at least three small grocery stores in town, you can go to Playa Del Carmen to shop in a large supermarket, or have your food delivered.  A great alternative takes advantage of your kitchen, but you don't have to do the work.  There is a local women who offers a service to prepare dinner for you and your family.  She offers you some flexible choices for planning a meal you would like.  She then does the shopping, and she and her assistant do the cooking in your kitchen, the serving at your dining table or on your terrace, and all the cleanup.  The cost including the food and a generous tip is probably about half what you would pay in an average small restaurant!

Another local service will deliver beer and groceries to your cupboards and refrigerator, and you can have wines delivered from one of the largest wine cellars in Mexico.  Again, the costs for these services are reasonable, and are far cheaper than you find in hotels.  Many of the people who run these and similar services are Americans, British, and Canadians, so you will not have a problem communicating in English.

Nanny, babysitting, additional housekeeping, and other services can be arranged as well at reasonable prices.

The management and maintenance of Lisa and Andrew Leigh of Sol Maya Vacation Rentals in Puerto Aventuras.  If you do have a question or problem, they provide friendly and prompt assistance.  In addition, they can provide information on the best choices for tours, local attractions, services, and so on.  You will probably deal directly with them when you pick up your keys.  They are American, so English and Spanish are no problem.

Customize Your Vacation

Why not customize your vacation?  As long as you have a beautiful, comfortable home-base, why not do exactly the things you want to do, and pay only for those activities or services at very reasonable prices.  Enjoy the very best ... and pay less!

With professional dive shops, boating services, parasailing, swim-with-the-dolphins, and other recreational services in Puerto Aventuras, you can do as much or as little as you want.  Because it is a small town, where people know one another, the businesses are reputable, and follow high standards of reliability and safety, and it is easy to check around if you have questions.

The beauty of a beach vacation in a place like the Yucatan is that you can do a lot, or just chill out, or any combination in between.  If you are coming in a family or a business group, there may be different priorities and interests.  The grandparents may want to walk the beach and go swimming, while the parents take the kids for a day at Xcaret -- or the kids may want to stay home and go snorkeling while the grandparents go shopping in Playa Del Carmen.  Eat in or eat out.  Go fancy or light.  Keep your own schedules.

Your Home Away From Home

It's a cliché, but Villa Ixchel is truly your home away from home.  You have the comforts and conveniences of being at home -- plus all the opportunities for a great vacation, just as you would like it.  At Villa Ixchel, you really feel at home.  Maybe the best part of your vacation will be those evenings sitting out on the terrace with friends or loved ones, sipping a glass of wine or having a beer, while listening to the waves and looking out over the ocean in the moonlight.

Some hotels and all-inclusives, often especially the fanciest ones, can be like big factories.  You may enjoy nice accommodations, but you never quite get that feeling of ease and relaxation of being at home.  You can't just go to the fridge at midnight and grab a beer or snack (unless you want to pay $15 in the minibar for micro-food).  There may be long corridors between your room and anywhere else you may want to go in the facility.

In Villa Ixchel, you not only feel at home, but you are in a very beautiful home at that!  So come and enjoy your vacation in your home in the Riviera Maya -- Villa Ixchel.

-- Catherine Christopher