Shane Fonner

Casa Las Tortugas

Isla Holbox

by: Shane Fonner

  • Why

    Inspiration and art.

  • When

    April 2015

  • Who

    My fiance and I.

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Highs + Lows

  • The hotel is situated around a centralized oasis of a hot tub and pool, slithering between the treehouse-like villas, leading to the restaurant/lounge that seamlessly transitions right onto the tranquil white sands of this eco-conscious island. The setting is ideal for romantic dinners, beachside walks, kite surfing and nature sighting (whale shark season is May – July and at night in the spring/summer you can see bio-illuminescent plankton light up the tranquil waters!).

  • The location just on the edge of town is perfect- you can walk the entire village (population of about. 2000) side to side in ten minutes. Rent a bicycle (or the less eco-friendly golf carts) and you can explore the entire 25 mile length of the island and its nature preserve. You can try kite surfing at the hotel’s school, and during whale shark season, kayak and other boat tours can be arranged from the hotel.

  • Isla Holbox is an environmentally friendly alternative to some of the overly populated and “bro-ey” destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean - and that ethos is the very breath of the property. The walls are lined with art contributed by talented wayfarers, and the entire community is awash in a plethora of freshly done street art completed during a recent festival honoring the artistic spirit of the town and its eco-minded visitors. With a planned yoga center, bakery, surf bar, café, an artists’ residency program, and a fashion forward boutique in the works, Casa Las Tortugas brings an increasingly cosmopolitan-meets-boho aesthetic to an island largely untouched by mass tourism.

  • With a focus on eco-consciousness, Casa Las Tortugas offers custom-made soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and mosquito repellants made from locally and organically grown flora and fauna- the honey-based body products are certifiably “stealable.”

  • The staff is amazing, day and night - from Jorge, the head chef, to Chloe the hostess, Lorena, Gonzalo, Carolina, and the rest of the crew. Their kindness and attention to the needs of their guests is convivial and well weighted. Francesca Golinelli and Patrick Wiering, the owners and operators, are absolutely delightful and charming, creative, design-oriented, thoughtful, and superbly hospitable.

  • Drawback? I guess if waking up to cloudless cerulean skies, hourglass-fine white sand beaches, and luscious palm trees without a mega-resort or cloud in sight is a drawback, I guess that would be it?? The place is paradise. “It’s too quiet and perfect, dammit!”

: 49/50
  • Design

  • Website

  • Life Changing

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Overall Value

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Stealable Stuff

  • Refer a Friend

Important Bits

  • Type

    Boutique art-oriented hotel.

  • Vibe

    Bohemian eco-chic, undisturbed hideaway on an art-centric, isolated hippie island community.

  • Location

    Located just on the edge of “town” - translation: a 5-minute walk to almost any convenience one could want. Grab a taxi [golf cart] if you’re really lazy or just walk barefoot and get to every food, drink, and local artisan shopping in seconds – or the 24 hour store if you’re in need of ciggies and sundries at 3am - on one of the last unspoiled islands off the Yucatan.

  • Rooms

    23

  • Music

    A worldly selection of musical influences play while you lounge on the numerous couches, daybeds, and chaise lounges that line the surprisingly white sandy beaches.

  • Year Opened

    2003 (though newly expanded and remodeled in 2011).

  • Designed By

    Italian architect Gianni Golinelli and his wife Greta, along with their daughter Francesca, who still runs the property today. The interior design influence of Francesca, who began her career in fashion, is reflected in every suite and outdoor space, from locally sourced antiques in the suites to creative rowboats-turned-lounge-chairs that dot the beach.

  • Pool/Gym

    There is a pool and yoga center around which the rooms are situated.

  • Restaurant

    With a menu formulated by Jorge Melul and Francesca Golinelli, the naturally lovely and wildly stylish owner, ingredients are locally sourced on the family-owned farm just across the water on the mainland and deliver an entirely unique palette, mixing local flavors with Argentine and Italian influences.

  • Bar

    There are two bars on the property – the larger downstairs hosts the restaurant and breakfast area, opening directly to the crystalline white sand and placid turquoise waters of the southern Gulf, while the rooftop lounge has its own selection of food, including fresh-as-can-be sushi, ceviche and cocktails. Send out a canon of Micheladas in my direction - and fast. Arriba!

  • Minibar

    Nothing in the room (except for the local tequila I bought and promptly left in the fridge) BUT there are two bars on site…

  • Wifi

    WiFi in every room and all around the property.

  • Children

    Great, safe space for kids, but also secluded and romantic for couples and curious sojourners.

  • Price

    Around $200 depending on the rooms and views during the high season.

In the Area

Approached with the same ‘bohemian chic’ design concept as the hotel, Mandarina Beach Club has become a social hot spot of the island since opening in 2010 at the beachfront of the Casa Las Tortugas property. Full of sofas, hammocks, and rustic local wooden elements, soft candlelight gently illuminates locally made artwork alongside the day’s freshest catch and homegrown fruits and veggies.

Mandarina Beach Club

Taco Queto, Holbox, Mexico

Approached with the same ‘bohemian chic’ design concept as the hotel, Mandarina Beach Club has become a social hot spot of the island since opening in 2010 at the beachfront of the Casa Las Tortugas property. Full of sofas, hammocks, and rustic local wooden elements, soft candlelight gently illuminates locally made artwork alongside the day’s freshest catch and homegrown fruits and veggies.

Set on a wooden patio with red plastic chairs, a plastic red tent, and an outhouse in back, TacoQueto ruined every taco in New York for me. Try the chorizo taco (for around $1.20 each) and prepare to stay seated in complete contentment for the next hour or so. Grab a cold cerveza (or 12) at the bodega next door (they even have “Michelada-To-Go” cups – WTF?! Working on an import situation ASAP!).

TacoQueto

Isla Holbox, Mexico

Set on a wooden patio with red plastic chairs, a plastic red tent, and an outhouse in back, TacoQueto ruined every taco in New York for me. Try the chorizo taco (for around $1.20 each) and prepare to stay seated in complete contentment for the next hour or so. Grab a cold cerveza (or 12) at the bodega next door (they even have “Michelada-To-Go” cups – WTF?! Working on an import situation ASAP!).

AHL_featureimage

Casa Las Tortugas

Calle Igualdad, Isla Holbox, Mexico

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