I love having a six year old--it's one of my favorite ages--but now that she's in first grade, we have to take vacation when everybody else with school-age children does. Since I have such a problem with finding places to go, where the rest of the family world isn't going, I thought I'd start writing once a week about this issue. I'll post about places that usually don't get booked up in the winter or spring breaks, or destinations that you might not usually think about, but they are actually fine in the off months. It makes me crazy to see flights to Florida and Cancun for $900, and then paying top dollar once you get there. I'll do a mix of high and low, so don't worry that the first one is expensive--I promise the next one will be cheap. (I just really like the pics of this one!)
Hacienda de San Antonio in rural inland Mexico is one of those off the beaten path luxury estates, that you'd think is a gazillion dollars, but it actually is well priced, especially for what you get. Okay, it's not cheap--suites go for $720 a night, but you could easily have a family of three in one, and then you can get the meal plan at $140 per person. It is a lot, but it is a place that really feels like it might be the nicest place you've ever been. Part of its charm, and lack of crowds, is the perseverance it takes to get there--you do have to take a connecting flight to get to the nearest airport in Colima, or you can fly into Guadalajara (then it's a 2 1/2 hour drive), or Manzanillo, a 2 hour drive. It gets booked up the most over the holidays, and it isn't billed as a "family hotel", so it isn't something that gets families in droves.
The rooms are insanely beautiful--large, tall ceilings, views onto the gardens, or the distant volcano. Furniture is beautiful, sourced from Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Europe, by the owners. The food is great--our favorite was the tortilla soup (below). We asked for the Mexican meals every night--sometimes the chef wanted to do French, and it just wasn't the kind of food we want to be eating in Mexico. Most of their food comes from their own organic farm, and their own animals. They make their own cheese there, and roast their own coffee (there's also a shade grown organic coffee plantation there). At night, they set up dinner for us in a different place each evening--once it was outside on the terrace, in front of a chiminea, another night we were inside in front of a grand fireplace, and they created a table with an intricate design done with tiny beans. It's such a special place.
Every day you can do long walks on the property, horseback rides, tennis, or just sit at the pool. I'll write about our day trips in another post next week. Note: this is the sister property to Cuixmala, which I wrote about in another post , and while the Cookie website is still up, you can read my story about both places online.