Concierge.com's insider take:
Forever associated with the 1964 movie The Night of the Iguana and the era of Burton and Taylor, Puerto Vallarta has a certain glamorous reputation to live up to. No place better recaptures that age of chic than Hacienda San Angel. Originally commissioned in 1977 as a Valentine's Day gift from Richard Burton to his (post-Liz) wife, Susan Hunt, it was acquired by San Francisco designer Janice Chatterton in 1990 and opened as a hotel in 2003. Chatterton now lives on-site, and her attention to detail shows in the 16 suites and the separate one-bedroom villa. All are artfully decorated with colonial antiques and custom tile work. Seven suites and a wedding chapel are located on a steep hillside across the street from the main hotel, affording spectacular views of downtown Puerto Vallarta, the malecón, and the bay. A funicular carries guests in these rooms up and down the hill, and though earplugs are provided to block out the hourly ringing bells from the cathdral right next door, light sleepers might still be happier in the original hotel building. Throughout both sections are secret courtyards with fountains, and terraces with sweeping views over Banderas Bay. Modern-day conveniences include three heated pools, a rooftop hot tub, Wi-Fi, a DVD library, and a restaurant serving chef Gonzalo Raul Noguira's Mexican-infused international cuisine. Puerto Vallarta's best galleries and restaurants are just down the hill—100 steps down, to be exact.—Maribeth Mellin
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:A Valentine's Day gift from actor Richard Burton to wife Susan Hunt, Hacienda San Angel retains the romance of that gesture. American Janice Chatterton bought Casa Bursus (Bur for Burton, Sus for Susan) from Hunt in 1977, adding two adjacent properties before deciding to turn her vacation home into a nine-room hotel. More hostess than hotelier, Chatterton personally welcomes guests to this hideaway perched above Banderas Bay but warns that her fine linen sheets are irreplaceable and allows her three dogs free rein. A knowledgeable guide with his own SUV is available free of charge for excursions around Puerto Vallartaa delightful surprise for those weaned on The Love Boat's portrayal of this town at its tackiest.2005 Hot List
When to go: November through January.
Which room to book: Casa San Angel rooms are quietest; avoid the San Francisco Suite, just off the entrance
Amenities: Bar/lounge, PoolSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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