The unprepossessing Mexican town of Jocotopec, perched on the northeastern edge of Mexico’s Lake Chapala, can not boast even a fraction of the expat population living just down the road in Ajijic; but it is home to former Midwesterner Phyllis Rauch and her welcoming enclave, Los Dos Bed and Breakfast. From the moment you drive off the narrow, slightly bumpy extension of a neighborhood street through the property’s electronic gates, you sense you have arrived at a truly bucolic retreat.
Los Dos is an unusual B&B in another sense as well: it is an all-suites property, with each guest unit featuring a full kitchen and its own al fresco seating area. A couple — or family , including small pets — could easily simply hide away here, enjoying the gardens, solar-heated pool and friendly coterie of playful canines. Although at least one foray into town — proud of its new lakeside boardwalk, quaint churches, typical central plaza and impressive multi-paneled mural opposite the main square — is highly recommended.
Even with only four guest units, there is a variety of accommodation options at Los Dos, ranging from an entire townhouse to three distinctive suites. All have living/dining areas, cable televisions (CNN is the only English-language channel), free wi-fi, and kitchens complete with a nice selection of appliances — even blenders for making delicious smoothies with fresh, local, semi-tropical fruit. Each unit is also decorated with the evocative art of the late painter and sculptor Georg Rauch, whose on-site studio may also be visited.
The range of guest units includes the Aerie Deluxe Casita, a multi-level cottage with herb garden and balcony off the bedroom; the Marble Suite, featuring a cupola ceiling and colorful, handmade Talavera tiles in the kitchen and bathroom; the Balcony Suite, whose bedroom is in a spacious loft, and which offers sweeping vistas of the mountains and lake; and the ground-level Garden Suite, whose sunny patio is framed by orange trees. The Garden Suite Bungalow may also be rented with one or two bedrooms.
As convenient as the kitchens are, the daily complimentary breakfast, served on the panoramic terrace of your hostess, should not be missed. Seasonal fruit, yogurt and granola are followed by piping hot eggs straight from the stove and washed down by freshly ground and brewed coffee. Perfect fuel whether your plans call for hiking in the surrounding hills, soaking in the nearby thermal baths, shopping for artisan crafts — or simply lounging poolside.
Number of units: 4
Published rates: $90-$160 (USD) (Rates may be slightly higher on holidays.)
Text and photos by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of Los Dos for purposes of review.