#4 59th Street, Campeche City Centro, Mexico
An l8th-century merchant's house turned into a cozy, intimate hotel on the main street of the UNESCO World Heritage historic district.
You can't miss Casa Don Gustavo hotel if you're visiting the historic center of Campeche. Near the hotel entry is a bronze sculpture of a pirate sitting on a bench, and next to him is an empty space for visitors to join him. It's a perfect spot for a photo, and an invitation to a wonderfully located, charming getaway in a hotel that's right in the middle of the action on pedestrian-only 59th street.
If you're wondering about the pirate, he's part of Campeche history too. During the colonial days after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, pirates and buccaneers raided the city, which is located on the Gulf of Mexico. To defend the residents, a defensive wall was built, and it helped to preserve an estimated 1,000 colonial buildings. Casa Don Gustavo is one of them, and the design and style of the hotel are historical and colonial, but the comfort and luxury are decidedly modern.
The lobby, courtyard, public sitting areas, and rooms of the hotel are furnished with original art and antiques. These include items such as an ornate gilded mirror frame, exuberantly carved wooden furniture, stained glass windows, Baccarat crystal candlesticks, chandeliers, and marble table tops. The original diamond pattern black-and-white tile floors have been preserved.
While you sit and have a drink in the elegant outdoor central patio, it's not unusual to see the leader of a private art tour pointing out the architecture and art of the house. He or she will probably describe the property as "altos y bajos," meaning that it has higher and lower spaces. The lower or main floor was a mercantile store. The family lived on the upper floor. The eclectic art collection includes porcelain from Germany and France, plus a 20th century Italian marble statue of an angel saving a baby from the mouth of a snake.
Casa Don Gustavo boutique hotel has l0 spacious suites, all decorated with period furniture, art, and pastel-colored walls. When the weather gets hot, guests walk up a short, outdoor staircase to a small outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Spa service and room service are available for guests and the staff is friendly and helpful. A private dining room is beautifully appointed with antiques, and the hotel offers packages for special celebrations and wedding parties.
A standard room is tight on space but does feature a King bed. A junior suite offers a small living area and a King or Queen bed. The two master suites are the largest, have King or Queen beds, and include a small living area and a balcony looking directly down on 59th street. The latter is both good and bad news. The upbeat part is that the street is lined with charming restaurants that offer outdoor dining. At night, especially on the weekends, local musicians play Mexican songs, and their music wafts through the night air up into the master suites. The downside is that if you are sensitive to noise, and although there are double-paned glass windows, you may wish for more quiet accommodations. In that case, the junior suites are an excellent choice. And if you are looking for romance, the Carlota suite features a l9th century English canopy bed.
When you exit the hotel, you'll be surrounded by graceful buildings, Campeche and Yucatan style restaurants, boutique shopping, museums, and everything else a discerning visitor could desire on a visit to the historic walled city of Campeche.
Web Address: www.casadongustavo.com
Total Number of Villas: 10 Suites
Published rates: $144 - $186 plus tax
Review by Judith Fein, photos by Paul Ross.