Our Oasis in Valladolid
Initially, we took a cab from Valladolid's bus station to our hotel. But a few times we walked 20 or so minutes into town. After being in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, we were suddenly in a world where we were in the midst of locals, instead of tourists.
Even the hotel guests that stayed at Zenti'k, didn't speak English. We heard French and German and maybe a British accent, come to think of it.
It was quiet at 2:30 in the afternoon. We relaxed and I sipped instead of gulped, my tequila. It was quite a peaceful place to wait for a room. A breeze rustled the nearby palms and exotic plants. A hurried bird passed underneath the palapa.
Wood and Colors
More Gathering Spots
After a short wait, our luggage was delivered to our room and Sammy took us on a tour. We passed more sitting areas. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think she said something about the fenced roof area being a good place for nude sunbathing. Hmmm?
Every direction we turned, we found colorful murals and curious bits of art. This was my favorite painting. The artist's name is written on the red book in the right corner. I wish the artist could explain the meaning of the glass bottle holding the man.
The dancing mural didn't need much explanation. This area offered a shady spot beside the pool. On the floor above was an enclosed spa. The gentle music and scents, used by the masseuse made the pool area extra relaxing.
Flowers and Critters
There were 5 cabins, each with a guest room upstairs and downstairs. When we checked in, we were pretty delighted to find out we'd been upgraded to the bridal room... with a rope bed.
As we climbed the stairs to our room, we had to laugh at the close up view of the wall. The wall that enclosed the property had some decorative glass... with a purpose. Eerie? We actually felt totally safe, just amused.
It's always a treat when the real room seems better than the internet photos. Best of all the palapa roof made the room feel so airy and spacious. There were numerous windows we could open and 2 ceiling fans with many settings. The bed with the Mexican embroidered accents, looked like a piece of heaven. This was our first experience with a bed hanging on ropes. At first I was afraid I'd get seasick, but luckily that wasn't an issue.
Robes and Umbrellas
Even though there was a rustic appearance, there were luxurious goodies for borrowing, like very fun Asian style robes and an umbrella... just in case.
This space on the other side of the counter had a built in couch and small table area. There are no kids under 16 allowed at the hotel or I would have guessed it was a kiddie area. Instead, it became our suitcase spot. A treat.
Our sink may have looked like it was made for Wilma Flintstone, but it worked well. (as did the shower) The bath products were all spa quality with lovely scents. There was even a make up mirror, which seemed almost out of place. The wrapped up hammock didn't get used, I'm sad to say. We just ran out of time.
Doors and Windows
The wooden door was pretty charming with the windows that opened above. And all the windows were large, with screens that helped keep our room bug free. It was a pretty incredible night sleeping with all the windows open and the fan helping move the air through the space. We woke to sounds of a rooster first, then a couple distant dogs. Then a symphony of exotic bird sounds grew louder as the sun rose higher.
But, before we ever made it to bed there was lots to do. After an afternoon walk to town, we stretched out by the pool.
This is the pool we were most excited about. Sammy told us that the owners began building the hotel 2 years ago, when they discovered a cave.
The owners thought the idea of an underground pool was a perfect plan. With all the spring fed "cenotes" in the area, they decided to make things a little different. They created a warm, saltwater pool with pathways and underwater benches.
Day and Night
In the day, light shined down through a skylight. At dusk, when we headed down the stairs for our "swim", we could barely see. It took a while for our eyes to adjust to the dark space, lit only by flickering flames in tiny alcoves.
Sammy had suggested we take advantage of the buzzer, near the bottom of the stairs. We did and moments later our waiter appeared to take our order. Poor guy returned later with our drinks on a tray. I could tell that he could barely see as he cautiously descended. We enjoyed having the whole place to ourselves, but thought about how creepy it might be coming at midnight. And we could have, since the pools were open 24/7.
We were excited to enjoy a meal, since the reviews had been very positive. The tables were all set and waiting for diners at 5.
We had a drink first before we moved to the not so comfy folding chairs for dinner. We didn't get a chance to meet the owners, but they were gathering nearby with their children and grand baby, I believe. Interesting life, owning this place.
Once seated, we kept an eye on the kitchen, now and then. I'm not sure if the restaurant is named for the chef, Naino? The high window seemed a little tricky for our waiter who had to stand on a box.
Shrimp and Octopus
I ordered the shrimp with cheese, wrapped in bacon, served on potatoes. Don had fried rice with octopus, which was actually quite delicious. I didn't have my glasses on, but managed to avoid eating any eyeballs. The flavors of both dishes were excellent!
After dinner, I stepped off the front steps to get a look at the large palapa with rope lights and chandelier. I loved the glow and even the sound of the tasteful music that mixed with the night sounds. It was odd how all the quiet couples didn't acknowledge one another, though.
Our room stay included breakfast from the menu. The coffee and juice were enough of a treat, after lame food at our last hotel! Both of our breakfasts were made to order. My omelet and grilled veggies was perfect. I had to laugh at Don's fried egg nachos. Good, but funny.
We slept in a hanging bed and we enjoyed an underground pool! Those were firsts for us. Our hotel stay felt exotic, while extremely relaxing, safe and clean. I wish we'd had more than one night.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!