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Hotel Santa Fe 3.5

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Southern Mexico

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located in a calm spot right opposite the beach
  • Walking distance to endless Zicatela bars and restaurants
  • Three pools (including a small kiddy pool) amid lush terraced grounds
  • Ultra spacious rooms with a rustic Mexican feel
  • All rooms include balconies, flat-screen TVs, and AC
  • An open-air palapa restaurant serving top-notch food 
  • Huge patio area providing the ideal perch for sunsets
  • Free on-site parking provided
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Restaurant prices deemed expensive for the area 
  • Not right in the middle of the action (a pro for some)

Bottom Line

Located at the calm northern end of Zicatela, right opposite the beach, upper-middle-range Santa Fe is a Spanish colonial-style hotel that feels like a pretty, private estate-like escape, offering 58 rooms and suites set amid lush tropical gardens. The property features two gorgeous turquoise pools; a huge alfresco terrace overlooking the beach; and an open-air palapa restaurant that's well-known for fresh, high-quality food and vegetarian specialties. Rooms are huge, elegantly rustic, and full of Mexican charm, with soaring ceilings, handcrafted furniture (antiques in Master Suites), and authentic local touches. Overall, this is a non-touristy retreat designed for quiet time out, with plenty of restaurant and nightlife action to explore (or not) up the road. Travelers craving a relaxed vibe plus access to a beach club could try Posada Real. 

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Scene

Colonial elegance amid lush tropical gardens made for alfresco chilling 

Built as a labor of love, Santa Fe resembles a sprawling Spanish colonial mansion that could easily be mistaken for the real deal. It was actually built just 30 years ago, after an American visitor to Oaxaca fell in love with the site back in the mid 70s -- well before Zicatela became the developed tourist hub it is now. Dressed in blush pink with white trim, the hotel unfolds like a private, enchanting estate, amid terraced tropical gardens -- a fairly regal contrast to the touristy surfer town vibe that dominates the area. Set directly opposite the beach, much of Santa Fe has front row, sweeping beach views which come with must-watch sunsets. While rooms don’t necessarily see the ocean, the huge alfresco common terrace and open-air palapa restaurant capitalize on it. 

The Zicatela stretch on which Santa Fe sits is pretty special because its immediate surrounds remain peaceful and relatively undeveloped despite the more bustling evolution farther up the beach. This means Santa Fe guests get the best of both worlds: they can wander up the road to jump into the action, then return to the haven-like calm of this property. Guests are a mix of families, couples, singles, and small groups, all in chill-out mode, save for the occasionally rowdy toddlers in the pool area.

Location

On a quiet Zicatela stretch, right opposite the beach

Hotel Santa Fe is located between Zicatela and Marinero beaches, and a 12-minute drive from the international airport. Heading south along the main beach road, Zicatela offers an abundance of bars, restaurants, clubs, and shops lining the street -- and plenty are set right on the beach. Principal Beach, about a five- to 10-minute walk in the other direction, is home to the town’s fishing fleet; another strip of restaurants; and the area’s famed night markets "El Adoquin," which take over a stretch of Antonia Peres Gasga every night of the week. It’s about 10 minutes by car to Benito Juarez Markets. Nearby beaches more suitable for swimming (than Zicatela) include Carrizalillo, Puerto Angelito, and Manzanillo Beaches -- each of which has its own beachfront perks, like deck chair and umbrella hire and casual dining options. They're all about 10 to 12 minutes away by car or cheap cab ride.  

Rooms

Huge, comfortable, and elegantly rustic with Mexican flavor and balconies

Santa Fe offers 58 rooms in Standard, Junior, and Master Suite categories. They’re all very spacious, with a rustic colonial feel that’s warm, welcoming, and wonderfully homey. Ceilings soar over terra-cotta floors, white walls, and sturdy handmade timber pieces, like sideboards, desks, and slab headboards -- all in rich, raw finishes. Contemporary artworks and traditional Mexican fabrics (drapes and bedspreads) add subtle splashes of color, as do fresh garden-cut tropical flowers in higher room categories. Practical items like clay water jugs and thick Mexican glassware scatter the scene with authentic local flavor. French doors with high-set windows let in plenty of light, which the drapes block out well when drawn. Despite the huge room size and ceiling height, the air-conditioning works incredibly well so rooms are always comfortable. Master Suites step things up a notch with one-off Mexican antiques and expansive apartment-like layouts, with living and dining areas, and spa baths. 

All rooms offer a balcony of some nature. Some overlook the pool and grounds; others overlook the beach; but many are semi-enclosed and located at the rear of the rooms, with no real views. Bathrooms complement the rooms with their generous size, and feature walk-in showers, huge vanities decorated with hand-painted Mexican tiles, and oversized mirrors beneath Hollywood lights. Hairdryers and free individual toiletries are provided. All rooms have flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi; and giant bottles of fresh water are provided in common hallways. 

Features

Two gorgeous pools, an open-air palapa restaurant serving great food, and patio perfect for sunsets

Santa Fe has three pools -- two are a decent size (one is great for laps), and the other neighbors a smaller kiddy pool. They’re each surrounded by sunbeds and shady trees, and poolside service is provided. Santa Fe also has a huge patio area with deck chairs and shady palapas made for chilling, sun-basking, and beach sunset-gazing. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Santa Fe’s restaurant is revered locally for its vegetarian and vegan focus, although there are plenty of seafood and carnivore friendly options on the menu. It’s more expensive than other nearby restaurants, but the food is super fresh and top-notch in its quality, plus the view and open-air palapa setting is impressive. Santa Fe also features a spa, however it was closed during our visit. The owner is a homeopath so there’s a good selection of medicine available at reception should guests require it. Both Wi-Fi and on-site parking are free. 

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Address

Blvd Zicatela y Calle del Morro S/N, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca 71980, Mexico

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