A few years ago I went to my first www.vallartascene.com “board” meeting at Casa Isabel and immediately fell in love with the house and then, more so with the owners. About 10 years aga, David and Isabel Manore from Toronto, Canada decided to buy a house in Puerto Vallarta’s Alta Vista neighborhood. In near storybook fashion, once Isabel and David became interested in buying the home, they learned the original owners of Casa Isabel were also a couple named David and Isabel. The main house was built 30 years ago by the original couple who also owned and built the very popular Tequilas bar, a legendary hangout for celebrities such as John Huston, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.
David and Isabel (the current ones) started renovations as soon as their purchase was complete. As longtime owners of Madison’s (which is a complex including two pubs and a boutique hotel) in Toronto, Canada they were used to helping people have a good time and had already been spending some time in Vallarta. Each year they’d bring their sailboat down and spend a few winter months in Vallarta. Once you meet Isabel and David though, you’ll realize that they aren’t about sitting around waiting for something to happen. They MAKE life happen.
“We’ve been broke and made it back several times in our lives,” Isabel told me only minutes after we’d met. “We always follow our hearts and get where we need to be though. We fell in love with this house and never looked back.”
At that time, Alta Vista, the neighborhood just up the (very steep) hill from Vallarta’s famous Los Muertos beach was considered only residential. Lots of Mexican families had homes there and the idea of a boutique hotel or bed and breakfast so far up the hill hadn’t been considered yet.
“Don’t buy that house, nobody will find you,” Isabel said they told her, her famous hat perched upon her silky black, simply stylish hairdo. For such a classy woman, you’d expect her with a glass of wine in hand or an expensive scotch, right? “Wine makes me fall right to sleep.” Her drink of choice: a Dos Equis beer nestled in an elegant “cozy” with a black boa attached. Isabel’s sweet, velvety voice mixed with New York and English (she’s originally from there) accents makes you just want to listen. She’s also a marvelous storyteller and has plenty of them to share. “We added rooms and told people about it and they climbed the hill and found us, ” she added. Over the years, Dave and Isabel have remodeled this room and that room and consulted each time with the original architect Catchi Perez, famous in Vallarta for his attention to detail in his Villa designs. Just this past summer (2009) he, with the help of David and Isabel and staff, finished the most spectacular additions to Casa Isabel ever: a new infinity hot tub, gigantic palapa covered (one of the biggest you’ll ever see) restaurant and new owner’s and honeymoon suites with an extra hot tub on the new upper level. Casa Isabel’s new chef is receiving rave reviews and the rooms are booked full again for the high season which starts now and ends in May or June. I have so many wonderful memories from the last two years of attending our board meetings and Halloween parties and theme nights at Casa Isabel. There really is no place on earth like it (if you find one, tell me…I’m there!).
Take a look at this promotional video which, I’m warning you, will make you want to buy a plane ticket tonight!
If you haven’t been to Casa Isabel, check it out on Saturday nights for the get together of expats and tourists from www.vallartascene.com. Everyone is welcome and there isn’t really a board or officers, it’s just an excuse to get together and have fun and a few cocktails. The sunsets from Isabel’s will blow you away, if the home hasn’t already.
And say hello to everyone for me! I plan to spend a few nights at Casa Isabel soon since, if I may brag, I won a gift certificate for 2 free nights after attending their Halloween costume party and bribing the judges into letting me win! Tequila shots will get you everywhere!
See you there!