Taylor Explores the World

Hotel Aura Elena

While doing my research for the trip, I found that only two cities along the route had hotels: Josè Marìa Morelos and Felipe Carrillo Puerto.  Felipe Carrillo Puerto was too far to make it in one day and still sightsee along the way; Josè Marìa Morelos was the only option.  For some strange reason. this was fine with me and I had a great feeling about it; I was actually drawn to it.

I began researching hotels in Josè Marìa Morelos.  The main review I found was from a couple who had bicycled through the Yucatàn peninsula, Yucatàn by Bicycle.  The information on the blog helped to ease the nervousness of driving through the remote region for the first time, if they could safely and happily bicycle our route, we should have no problem driving it.  They talked of Hotel Aura Elena, its room and its value.  The owner, whom doubled as the Director of Tourism, was a grumpy looking woman with short dark hair and tan skin who posed for a picture that would act as a memento for these bicycling gringos.  

None of the local hotels, including Hotel Aura Elena, had websites nor were they to be found on the big travel booking sites.  I made my mind up, we were going to stay there but not call and book anything ahead of time.  I collected other hotels’ information, just in case a room at Hotel Aura Elena was unavailable. 

We pulled into Josè Marìa Morelos right before dusk, causing us to quickly begin looking for Hotel Aura Elena.   I had a general idea of where it was; on the main road, near here, close to this and that.  We drove, our eyes scanning each side of the boulevard, hunting for a sign of the hotel.  We came to the end of town with no clue of Hotel Aura Elena. Leroy turned the car around and we started the search again.  We came to our beginning location, the topes on the edge of town, Leroy turned around again and I suggested stopping at the first hotel, regardless of which one it was, we came to.  
Leroy spotted the Hotel Aura Elena sign on the other side of the boulevard, I missed it. He quickly U-turned around the boulevard and I saw the simple white sign with yellow lettering edged in blue.  It, along with two others, sat above a construction storefront that consisted of two garage doors.  One of the garage doors had an exterior door within the middle of it; that sat wide open.  I was nervous, I could not see where the hotel was and it seemed pretty sketchy entering a hotel through a hardware store.  Leroy insisted that we at least check it out.  He pulled over and parked.  

We entered the store and asked how to access the hotel.  She responded to “take the alley way to the hotel.”  We left the store and found the gated alley the clerk spoke of.   The gate was open allowing entry to a narrow alleyway.  We walked the 15 or 20 feet length and emerged in a beautiful two story courtyard with a patio, a dining area and a lush green lawn that faced the two story terra cotta color hotel, it had at most ten rooms.

The tiled upper patio held a table with an umbrella and chairs.  Below the patio sat a beautiful green space with a lovely tree, a perfectly manicured lawn and a shrine to the Virgin Mary.  Here was the orange façade I saw in the pictures of the bicycling couple.  We were quickly greeted by the owner, who I recognized from the blog, a short woman and her employee a taller heavy set young woman.  
They lead us to their “office” which doubled as the clean linen and broom closet.  Leroy asked to see the room first; she opened the room right next door.  The spacious room was spotlessly clean; it contained a twin and a double bed both with new bedding, a breakfast table, a small television, a sink area and a private bathroom with a shower.  We took the room for the price of $35 for the four of us for the night.

The young girl quickly grabbed a stack of clean towels and toiletries and with a huge smile placed them into our newly acquired room.  Leroy told the owner, in Spanish, that I recognized her from a travel blog that had said she was the head of the tourism board for the town.  Her face beamed and her eyes glistened as she informed us that she was no longer.  
Still excited, she told us she had an informative DVD on the areas tourist attractions.  She had created the DVD while she was Director of Tourism and wanted to give it to us.  We were thrilled and thanked her; she asked our planned departure time and promised to have it delivered to our room before then, as she was going out of town.  

Leroy asked her about local restaurants, as we had not eaten dinner, she offered a couple of options.  Worrying her two favorites were already closed for the night, she also suggested the corner restaurant Fonda “La Soledad”.   We again thanked her and went to settle into our room.

We were the only occupants in the small quaint hotel.  The glowing altar at night made the courtyard absolutely beautiful and peaceful.   

In the morning, I discovered there was a gated parking lot in the rear of the hotel that you could access through the end of the courtyard.  We had parked in front of the hardware store on the main street and our car was fine in the morn.  

As promised, a gentleman showed up to the room with the DVD before we left.  It was a wonderful example of the activities the local area has, we will definitely use it to plan our next trip to the area.

One word of warning about the hotel …. be careful as the staircase from the upper patio to the rooms and green space becomes very slippery the instant it begins to rain; Leroy found out the hard way as he slide down it like it was shear ice.  Other than that this was a wonderful room and we will definitely stay again when we come back to Josè Marìa Morelos.

To see more of our pictures click here.


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