on December 26, 2008
There was a time when Acapulco first realized people would like to come and stay a few days by the ocean and enjoy the view and the evening breeze. Tourist hotel construction started about 70 years ago on the rocky finger of land that curves around and forms the protective barrier for Acapulco Bay. Only later did the Golden Zone hotels, located down-coast from the main city, make Acapulco into the Miami of the Pacific.Alba Suites hotel is on a cliff overlooking the bay, giving visitors a magnificent view of the port, the yacht club and the Golden Zone across the water. There are 250 rooms in this family-friendly resort, distributed through seven white, low-rise, stucco buildings. Avoiding the glitz and convenience of the Golden Zone, Alba Suites offers bargain room rates for those who have made their bundle and intend to keep it.Now for truth in advertising. Not all rooms have the good view. Six of the buildings are located on the flats at the top of the cliff. It’s not guaranteed you will see the ocean from there. The seventh building has five floors stacked along the cliff side, facing the bay. That’s where you want to be.Forget about the ADA here. You will need your legs. Entrance and exit are at roof-top level, and the elevator does not go to the roof top. You will need to climb one story up to get to the stairs that lead to the pedestrian bridge that goes up and over the street to the main hotel. On the upside, the view from your room and the breeze off the bay make it all worth while.Bring your Spanish to Alba Suites. The staff can get out a few words of English, but they seldom find this necessary. Few foreigners stay out on the peninsula, and those that do are not necessarily English. However, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff are everything you would want. Just be prepared to make yourself understood.Having basic kitchen facilities in the room is a great convenience. We did not use the stove cook top—the microwave oven was perfectly adequate for making tea for breakfast. There is a coffee maker but no counter top to set it up and no place to plug it in without unplugging the microwave oven. The hotel is mindful of the hazards of drinking the tap water, and they provide jugs of purified water for the guests. Take the plastic pitcher they give you and fill from the supply near the elevator landing. We learned shortly to dial the refrigerator back slightly to keep ice from forming in our water pitcher.There are seven sparkling pools, and the grounds are a tropical paradise. Palm trees, of course, but also bougainvillea and hibiscus. All very neat and well-maintained.There is a nice restaurant, a bar, as well. The restaurant has both indoor seating and tables outside, under umbrellas and palms, next to one of the pools. We tried the restaurant and went back a second time for the chicken enchiladas.Take the elevator down to the ground floor, and you are half way to the ocean. Another 100 feet down the stairs, past the crazy water slide, and you are at the dock and the dock-side bar. You need to do this several times a day to keep in shape and also to get some water level photos.Family friendly means lots of kiddos. Bring the young ones. They will have a blast.Now some cautions. As mentioned elsewhere, the Hotel will take U.S. dollars, but they seem to have settled on an exchange rate earlier in the year and printed up a sign. That the Canadian dollar would buy more pesos than the U.S. dollar indicates the sign was printed in a previous era. When exchange houses in town were offering 13 pesos for a dollar, the hotel was giving 9.5. Spend pesos at the restaurant.Family friendly does not mean quiet. A pavilion at the cliff top is the designated night club. Don’t plan on going to bed before ten in the evening. Sometimes later.Some age was showing. While our appliances were new and in top shape, a cabinet door was in need of repair.The hotel may possibly be operating with the original set of bath towels. House cleaning would provide fresh towels of equal quality whenever we indicated we through with one. In order to get bath towels of suitable quality we found it useful to check out beach towels, which were newer, larger and fluffier.When you order beer at the restaurant you need to make the waiter understand what brand. Else it will be assumed you want Corona.A word about Mexican beer: When Americans think beer, what mostly comes to mind is Milwaukee or even Germany, The Netherlands or Belgium. Think Mexico. This country has some of the finest brews on the continent. Here are my choices: Carta Blanca, Dos Equis, Tecate, Oso Negro, Modelo Especial, Bohemia. Corona is supposedly the most imported beer around the world. But I do not like it.I need to remind travelers they are trading location for convenience. The neighborhood is quiet, the view is spectacular, but the bus does not stop at Alba Suites. It’s a quarter mile walk down the hill to Miguel Aleman to catch the bus and a quarter mile back up the hill at the end of the day. Else you can catch one of the VW taxis that run by the lobby door about once a minute.Spectacular Caleta beach is a half mile walk away, down the hill, of course. Caleta is lined with dining, both casual and serious. It’s also great for lounging and sunset photos.We booked our room on-line and paid in U.S. dollars. Compared to other locations the rates are a bargain—less than $80 per night, but not during prime weeks. Go to the Alba Suites site at http://albasuites.net.
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