Paseo Usumacinta 1402, Fracc. La Choca, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
A surprisingly luxurious and refined hotel in Tabasco's capital of Villahermosa is a Quinta Real gem that's one of the best upscale lodging values in the country.
Villahermosa is best-known as a business city focused on petroleum and agriculture, so it attracts plenty of business travelers with expense accounts who are working out deals. Tabasco is also making a big push to attract more adventure travelers who want to explore the caves, coffee farms, waterfalls, and jungle trails of the state. As the state's top hotel, this member of the Mexican Quinta Real chain hosts an interesting mix of guests and is a favorite spot for social events. It is 15-20 minutes from the city center and airport, but close to the convention center, many offices, and shopping plazas.
The well-designed and impeccably maintained building is awash in white and has a grand semi-circular entrance with a fountain, porte couchère, and bellmen. Once inside there are plenty of sitting areas before and after the reception desk, which is manned by well-trained staffers who speak English. There are grand columns, chandeliers, and oil paintings for a regal greeting.
Off the lobby area are the two main drinking and dining outlets. There's nothing about them on the hotel's own website, but both are quite good. Persé Gourmet Restaurant is situated on three levels, with a wall of windows on one site and armchairs of yellow and copper colors. Tablecloths and cloth napkins lend an elegant touch, including during the ample breakfast buffet. There's a good mix of Mexican and international dishes on the menu for breakfast and lunch and since domestic guests outnumber foreign ones, you get the full-flavored versions of local options. Room service runs 24 hours if you want to stay put.
It's hard to find a quiet place to take in the large Amarra's Bar since there's a wall-mounted TV everywhere you look, but fortunately there's an outdoor seating area where you can mostly escape the media onslaught. Staffers get overwhelmed easily when the place is full, but they serve with a smile and the daily drink specials make up for the wait. My group tried at least half of what was on the bar menu over several days there and the items were always fresh and delicious.
The rooms are to the left or right when leaving the main building area, surrounding an open central courtyard with paving stones that is open to the sky. It's a magical function space at night, but that means every room hears it if the party goes into the wee hours. Off to one side of the building is a swimming pool that can be enjoyed most of the year in this climate, plus a good gym.
Most rooms are either a Master Suite or a Grand Class Suite, with the difference being more space and furniture. All are at least 50 square meters though (more than 500 square feet), then you add at least another 20% more room when you go up a category. Some of the larger suites have a bi-level layout with the desk and sitting area above, so you're not facing the bed while you're working. All contain similar high-end traditional furniture and are decorated in calm, neutral tones. All look out on the large and open central courtyard, which ensures they get good natural light and are quiet since there's a hallway between the rooms and the street. The only downside of this set-up is that you need to close the curtains if you are at ground level and don’t want anyone seeing in. There are two sets of curtains though: sheer and blackout.
All suites have TVs with some English channels, a minibar with glassware, electronic safe, and WiFi that works well in most areas. Robes and slippers are standard and the ample marble baths with make-up mirror and double sink are stocked with a good array of quality toiletries.
There are a few larger suites, though oddly, once again, there's nothing about them on the website or in the reservation system. You'll have to call or e-mail to go VIP.
With facilities this nice and room rates this low, you may as well splurge here and go for a promotional package with lots of extras. Once you unpack at Quinta Real Villahermosa, you will probably want to stick around and enjoy it.
Web Address: Quinta Real Villahermosa
Total Number of Rooms: 114
Published rates: $65 - $349 plus taxes
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.