Canto de Aves: Natural Romance in Malinalco

Malinalco has yet to see the explosion in tourism as some other towns outside of Mexico City – think Valle de Bravo or Tepoztlán – but it is gaining traction as options for hotels and attractions expand and its weekend streets slowly fill with national tourists. The town itself is small, easily walkable in a day or two, as well as a charming and romantic getaway with lots of surrounding nature to explore — including the Monarchy Butterfly Sanctuary about an hour away.

I admit to have been hesitant to stay outside of town because I wanted to be able to walk around in the Centro, but Canto de Aves hotel was such an oasis, once we arrived I really lost my desire to go anywhere else.

The hotel is tiny, only 7 accommodations, each more a small cabin than a simple room. I stayed in one of the junior suites which have a small seating area, a bedroom, and a full bath with bathtub. They also have four standards, which are a bedroom and bath with no tub (in each there is a small sitting area — even if it’s only a desk or chair and not a full living room), and then there is the master suite, with a loft bedroom and a large sitting room on the first floor as well as a full bath downstairs and a half bath upstairs. It’s too bad it never snows here, the floor to ceiling windows would be a great place to cozy up and watch snow fall.

The décor is delightful, with a focus on local crafts and antiques without tipping over into the realm of cutesy or cheesy. Books are everywhere, (even in the tub!) and each cabin comes equipped with an umbrella and a shawl for cool nights — a nice extra touch. The three junior suites and master suite are built with adobe bricks meaning they are warm when it’s cold and cool when its warm – I actually thought there was radiate heating in the floors they were so warm in the evening. But the four standards are built with wood and much colder when it’s cold, warmer when it’s warm. If you are a person who gets cold at night, adobe is your option. Rooms run from 120-140usd.

The hotel touts itself as eco-luxury and one of its main features is that all the water is solar heated. That had me nervous, but the water in the shower was nice and hot and lasted a good, long time. They also provide bath products from Somos Tierra, which makes a dry shampoo and a dry lotion, so much more eco-friendly than little plastic bottles everywhere.

The grounds of the hotel are littered with old wooden doors, painted antique trunks, candle lights hanging from the trees and a wooden barrel full of succulents. There’s an Alice in Wonderland feel to it all. The outdoor terrace restaurant was good (a great breakfast is included with excellent coffee) but unless there are lots of guests it can feel little empty. For me that was perfect, but some people might prefer to head in town for a little more action.

To go along with the tiny hotel, there’s a tiny staff. You will likely only see two or three people your entire stay, so the service remains intimate and personal. All the staff is extremely pleasant and helpful.

Spa services are available but only by request, they don’t have their space fully mounted at all times, and when it is the massage beds are open to the air so make sure that you arrange one during the warmer months. There is a small outdoor pool, a tiny two-seater bar and hundreds of plants and flowers everywhere on the property. Its location, verdant landscaping, and the fact that cabins are dotted throughout the property and not right up next to each, created secluded luxury. Getting to and from town is easier if you have your own vehicle, but when the hotel is this lovely, why leave at all?

Make your reservation directly at the hotel website, Expedia or Hotels.com

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