About a month ago, this expat had wondered what there would be to focus on for my blog while living on the island of Cozumel during the hottest months. Having lived in various parts of Mexico for the last five years, I just knew that I wouldn’t be pursuing any activities that required much effort so had looked around for other writing topics. That was when it occurred to me that, in between my other, more sedentary pursuits, I could take a peek at a few of the colorful, quaint, and affordable alternatives to the huge resorts. I’ll go inside these little gems that are tucked in around my neighborhood, get some history, snap some pics and then share the results. It was a way to move slowly, get to know some folks, and, so far, it’s been a lot of fun (we have some great people here). In this installment I’m going to take you inside Villa Zaztun, which houses some very pretty apartments that can be rented on a weekly basis. For those of you who would prefer to have that “home away from home” feeling while visiting Mexico, then these are for you.
I’m going to start by introducing the owners, Sarah and Tommie Pritchett. As we walked around Villa Zaztun today I was told that they’d decided, almost on a whim, to open a business here on the island back in 2002. But, they’d made sure to mention, there’s no regrets and they’ve never looked back. In addition to being hosts, Sarah is also a talented artist working, primarily, with water colors and Tommie stays busy working with Cozumel’s rendition of “Amazing Race.” And, since they live on the premises, they are not only knowledgeable about the island, but available to answer just about any question that might arise. Now, if that sounds like an eclectic mix, well, you’d be right, but the end result is worth it when you see how welcome they make you feel, and what they’ve done with the place.
When you first come inside the front gate you’ll immediately appreciate the large, well-tended, tropical garden. Then, as you go inside and start up the stairs, artistic touches can be seen everywhere from the stained glass window overhead to the metal creatures you see on the walls. The Villa Zaztun has three stories in all with the apartments located on the second floor and a large deck to be enjoyed by the vacationers on the third, which overlooks the so-called Corpus Christi neighborhood. Located on XelHa, they are just a couple of blocks from the ocean, close to several large stores, and are only about a ten minute walk from the center of town. Now, the fact that they are also just about a block from where I live might make me seem biased, but I picked out my own apartment based on its location, so, well, there you go. Let’s just say, I highly recommend the area.
The apartments are good-sized, air-conditioned, and can comfortably accommodate four (maybe more) people per unit, which is another way to save money since the prices are per apartment, not per person. Each has a living room/dining room combination that is well furnished with everything one needs to feel at home that also includes a television with cable and internet access provided. They also have fully stocked kitchens with all the appliances one could ask for whether on vacation, or not. Since, as I’d mentioned, there is a major store just up the street, folks can easily find anything they need while enjoying the island.
The bedrooms are roomy with double beds, couches, and curtained balcony areas. Oh, and let me remind you that I’m not a professional photographer, nor did I primp. In other words, what you see is exactly what you get with no tricks. You’ll notice that the walls are covered in art, the side tables have creative lamps, the beds have colorful throws, the couches are covered in pillows, but, somehow it all works together to make you feel appreciated. In fact, I think one of the things that makes this idea so appealing to me is that these rooms are truly unique and don’t have that cookie cutter approach to a vacation where every room looks exactly like the next. In a place like the Villa Zaztun, you just know that the owners put in some time and thought and those little touches show. Let me mention that the bathrooms are quite nice as well. They are kept immaculate and are tiled with touches of blue glass, have large showers, and, of course, all the linens are provided.
And, finally, there’s the third floor deck! This is where folks go to really feel like they are living on the island. With a view of the neighborhood, and a great place to see the sunset, it’s the place that seems to be the most popular with all their guests. Naturally, Sarah and Tommie have added their extra little touches up there as well. Of course there are hammocks available, can’t visit Mexico without those, but there are also couches, tables, chairs, and lots of tropical potted plants to keep on with that homey feeling. I know I’ve walked past, looked up, and seen folks having a great time on more than one occasion. I’m just glad I finally got to check it out for myself. Oh, and the flip-flops mosaic you see just below is yet another example of those extra touches that makes the ambiance so much fun.
Not a bad way to spend a vacation, yes? And, when I tell you the prices, you may not believe me. Remember when I said that prices are per apartment and not per person? Well, you can rent an apartment for $450 usd a week during the slow season and for $612 (tax included) a week during the high time here on the island. Now you understand why I wish I’d known about these places back when I was a tourist. I’d spend that much for just three days at a resort, and I certainly didn’t stay at the 5 star locations. Guess that’s why I want to share this info with folks now in the hopes they can see that a trip to Cozumel can be in just about anyone’s budget.
Well, I want to thank Sarah and Tommie for being such gracious hosts and letting me ramble around their place today taking photos and asking questions. And, I want to mention that this series has been a great way to get to know my neighbors and give back a little to an island I’ve grown to love. I guess I just want everyone to check out Cozumel, it just might be your idea of paradise too. Salud!
p.s. I’ve been getting some great feedback on my “Gettin’ Cozy in Cozumel” series so far, thanks for the comments. As a reminder, if you go back you will see a piece on The Coral Reef Inn, and, over the next month, or so, I will also be looking at a B&B as well as some neighborhood villas just to round out the options. I do like to emphasize that I do not receive compensation of any kind, nor do I try to specifically promote. I just like to pass along information. Finally, if you see time on Cozumel in your future check out their website at http://www.cozumelvillazaztun (you might need to cut and paste, worth it to see the stuff with the professional pics). Also, to see some really cool water-color artwork by a very talented lady check out her new website as well at: http://www.cozumelwatercolors.com