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Riding the buses » May I introduce, Memorable moments, Mexico » May I introduce: A hippie-artist who owns a B&B in Pátzcuaro, Mexico

May I introduce: A hippie-artist who owns a B&B in Pátzcuaro, Mexico

At one stage in my life I organized conferences, high profile ones with lots of media coverage. To do this successfully you have to be a bit of a freak about the details. So when I checked into Hotel Casa Encantada I knew immediately that the owner was someone who really cared about the small stuff too.

Entering the B&B

Entering the B&B

Hotel Casa Encantada is in the small town of Patzcuaro on the southeastern shore of a lake by the same name. It is perhaps best known for Semana Santa, Day of the Dead, when tourists flock there. It’s in the state of Michoacán, one hour from Morelia.

Toasty feet warmers

Toasty feet warmers

Everything at this B&B is arranged with the guest in mind. What if the power fails? There’s a flashlight, attached to the door where you can easily find it. Chilly at night? Aside from wool blankets and a down comforter, each room has a gas heater with instructions and warnings so that you don’t asphyxiate yourself when you turn it on. That’s not all. There are fanciful feet warmers that you pop into the microwave (and each room has a microwave) before jumping into bed.

Clear instructions

Clear instructions

Taps are labeled “hot” and “cold”. Each room has a big container of drinking water, excellent reading lights, king size bed, windows that open, and fast WiFi.

Courtyard garden

Courtyard garden

To top it off, she’s a gardener and an excellent one at that. And a painter, sculptor and art collector, in fact a self-described hippie-artist. I loved how she decorated the common areas and bedrooms and I ran around taking photos of the many Mexican touches she’d incorporated into the décor with plans to replicate her ideas at home

One of several sitting areas

One of several sitting areas

Who is this woman? She’s Victoria Ryan, born in Australia to a Mexican father and American mother and raised in the United States. She moved to Patzcuaro in the 1990s and spent almost two years renovating the property, which was a bit of a challenge because she knew no Spanish. She told me a translator would come in twice a week to help her communicate with the tradespeople.

She soon found that she wanted company so opened the property up to fellow artists for a minimum two-week stay but no one came. So she bought the property behind hers and turned the whole space into a B&B offering various bedroom options.

The bedrooms

The bedrooms

I stayed there for a week. The price included a tasty breakfast served in a charming dining room. The location is perfect, just a few feet from the zócalo where families gather each evening for music and fireworks. Patzcuaro is a colonial town with a strong indigenous presence.

Victoria’s staff is exceptional, courteous and professional, as was the guide she recommended—Jaime Hernández Balderas—who took me on a one-day tour of the area. It was a great place just to hang out.

By Sylvia Fanjoy

Photo credits Sylvia Fanjoy

© Riding the buses™ 2015

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4 Responses to "May I introduce: A hippie-artist who owns a B&B in Pátzcuaro, Mexico"

  1. C.C.Stone says:

    Does Jaime work for the hotel or his self?? I will be going in Novemeber, however I wont be staying there.

    1. Sylvia Fanjoy says:

      The hotel recommended Jaime to me and made arrangements for us to meet. However, you can also make a booking directly. Jaime’s email address is animechatours@yahoo.com. Jaime told me he does a variety of tours around the lake (and in other parts of Mexico too): hiking, food, culture, shopping, etc. I told him what I wanted in advance and he came prepared.

      – Sylvia

  2. Judi Sullivan says:

    Hello. Wonderful description of “my” town. I am an American expat who has lived in Patzcuaro for 10 years. Would you believe, Jaime is my neighbor! T’is a small world. I asked Victoria for your website, and am really enjoying it. Thank you. Judi

    1. Sylvia Fanjoy says:

      Thank you for writing, Judi. You are living in an enchanting place. This was my 2nd trip there and I decided to stay for a week this time and let the spirit of the place take over and it did. It certainly helped that I had Jaime take me around the lake for a day. I travel the world and he is right up there as one of the best guides. His manner as well as his knowledge. He should write a book on the area.

      Kind regards,

      – Sylvia Fanjoy

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