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Safe Haven

Safe to Travel?

The million dollar question for so many right now. Actually one could say the trillion dollar question which is the tally globally of tourism industry losses across the board.

People are fearful going to the grocery store so thinking about navigating airports seems like a much larger threat. I get it. I feel like I am taking my life in my hands every time I go to the store for food, which by the way I can’t live without, and I return feeling victorious as if I won a battle. I leave in my mask, my money prearranged in my purse to minimize fiddling at check out and a full battle plan for avoiding others who are less fearful coming close to me in the market or going maskless. The experience of going to the grocery store is no longer for supplies but only when necessary and for survival.

Stuck in the States

My grandson’s birth in March took me from the Hacienda San Angel back to the states to be with my daughter. Within a week we were in lockdown and I couldn’t get back to the Hacienda. I had worried when I left PV, which was Covid free at the time, that I was flying into the thick of it where it was reported to be growing in California. Before long I was closing the hotel from a distance, I was wondering if life would ever return to normal, I was wondering could I ever leave the house without fear again, and how would the hotel survive. 

After two months of isolation, seeing that the virus wasn’t going away, I realized, I have to find a way to live in the world without exposing myself to the virus. I also knew that I couldn’t avoid returning to the Hacienda San Angel in Puerto Vallarta any longer. 

Trip Back to Hacienda San Angel

I was very nervous about going to the airport, getting on the plane and flying. I am pleased to report it was actually less stressful than the grocery store! I never felt crowded or close to anyone. Every person was masked. All in the airport were careful and respectful of distance. Sanitizer everywhere! The middle seat between me and the other person in my row on the plane was empty. Though we felt in close proximity, we both wiped down our area with wipes and kept our distance not talking or getting in each other’s space. I kept telling myself to pretend everyone is infected and don’t do anything to share germs…and it worked. I should say, at this point, I wasn’t really afraid but I was hypervigilant keeping myself safe; not moving quickly, looking ahead and plotting my path always. I purposefully emptied my bladder before getting on the plane and drank very little in order to not need the bathroom on the plane. Once in PV, I took a taxi applying same vigilance touching nothing in the cab. I allowed the driver to load my luggage and open my door. Once in the hotel washed and sanitized my hands and luggage. I’m proud to say I managed not to touch my face once.

I never applied such vigilance to germ avoidance in my life! I don’t want to be ruled by fear. I don’t want to be in a heightened state of anxiety all the time. I don’t want to be stuck indoors all the time either. AND I want to open the hotel again. So…my inner control freak propelled me to make a safety plan to follow here and when out in the community. 

What Now…

Cases climb in the states and in Mexico both as I write this blog. I don’t perceive one country to be any safer than the other. In both countries, I observe people being careful and others not being careful. In both countries I observe a range of politicians supporting and not supporting masks. I think the issue for potential travelers now really is, “Can I safely navigate the airport and flight”. Each person must answer this for themselves. When is the right time to start traveling again? The answer is different for different people.

This journey is not over and the trajectory of how this pandemic will change so many things is yet to unfold. What I do know, is that if one finds a way to overcome the fears and risks of travel to Puerto Vallarta, Hacienda San Angel will be one of the safest places you can land. I don’t believe I personally would survive the virus should I become infected and so protecting myself becomes the model I follow to keep employees, and soon future guests, protected.

I wish I had a crystal ball and could see when tourists will return to PV. So many here depend on tourism to survive. Many tell me they can’t wait to return to the Hacienda San Angel; my fear is if it takes too long we won’t be here to revisit. It’s kind of like Darwinism; survival of the fittest. Which businesses have the resources and savings to stay alive until tourists return. Hacienda San Angel is not alone in this journey. So many around the world, not just PV, are asking the same questions.

To all readers, past guests and potential new visitors in the future (being optimistic!), please remember to count your blessings no matter how small. Take steps to stay safe and well. I hope that you find this experience to be a character and wisdom building one rather than an anxiety provoking one. To those who have lost a loved one to Covid, my heart is on the ground for you. It’s not fair and impossible to understand how this could’ve happened. I still feel the sharp pain of the loss of my mother last year and imagine the pain of so many losses around the world now.

For now, the answer to the question, “Safe To Travel?”, is a personal one that each individual must assess. Know that Puerto Vallarta is as beautiful as ever and full of friendly welcoming residents. The Hacienda San Angel is as serene as always and safer than ever. We will take good care of you when you find your way here. 

PV Covid-19 Update

This is the latest update from the Governor of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. We are grateful for both the Governor and the Mayor in their diligence to this ever-important matter. From the beginning, they have been mindful of what needs to be done in order to keep us all as safe as possible. We are hopeful this careful staging of reintroduction is successful.

PUERTO VALLARTA TO ENTER PHASE 0 OF COVID-19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY ON MAY 18

On May 14, 2020, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez announced that the state will enter Phase 0 of its COVID-19 recovery plan on Monday, May 18. Phase 0 will last at least 15 days and allow for the gradual return of some economic activities. It is the first step in preparing protocols for the next phases of the plan. During this time, social distancing and the use of face masks outside the home will remain mandatory. Stores, public roads, and businesses previously deemed non-essential that are linked to supply chains are allowed to operate at 50 percent of capacity. Select businesses that do not generate crowds and adhere to social distancing guidelines will also be permitted to open.

Beaches, public spaces, shopping malls, bars, and nightclubs will remain closed. Restaurants and cafes that commit to applying established sanitation and safety protocols may operate at 50 percent of their capacity.

Hotel services such as access to swimming pools, bars, gyms, beach clubs, and private beaches remain suspended at this time. Cleaning, sanitizing, and disease prevention measures are in place at Puerto Vallarta International Airport, the cruise port, on public transportation, in supermarkets, and in government offices which are providing limited services. Local authorities are working closely with the travel sector to progressively implement updated protocols to support the transition to the next phase of recovery.

“Tourism is a very important industry in our state, and we are looking forward to welcoming back international visitors when the time is right,” said German Ralis, Minister of Tourism of the State of Jalisco. “However, we remain very cautious with our plans for re-opening Jalisco, including popular tourism destinations like Puerto Vallarta, to ensure that the safest and cleanest conditions await guests upon their return.”

Throughout Phase 0, the government will continue to monitor the number of new cases identified and the ability to isolate and provide contact tracing for individuals who test positive, in order to determine when the state can proceed to the next phase of opening. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

Luis Villaseñor, Promotion & PR Director
[email protected]

A New Course For The Tourism Industry

It feels as if a magnifying glass the size of Earth has been held up to every inch of our lives – instantly showing us what’s really important to us: our survival, our health, our goals, the state of our families, areas in which we are strong and the areas we are not.

We now realize the importance that travel plays in our lives more than ever before. Getting out of our daily environment, away from the day to day is rejuvenating. Even the planning and the time we spend looking forward is an emotional toner. While we want different surroundings these thoughts bring with them a set of fears. It leaves us wondering if we will ever be able to travel again. 

NEW FACE OF TRAVEL

Travel going forward is going to look different. It seems that the biggest change we are headed towards is Touchless Travel.  The World Economic Forum is looking to implement the Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI). This would be a paperless way for us to travel internationally. Our bodies and faces will be what identifies us – essentially you will be your own Passport. The KTDI would also include our Health Records. This would provide information on our current health and vaccination history. 

We may need to go through a quick health screening/testing before boarding a vessel for travel. All of this is in addition to what is now a familiar sanitization practice of sprays and masks.

NEW FACE OF HOTELS

We have been researching the best way to protect our staff and guests when we open.  I am happy to say there are promising methods we will be able to implement in order to keep Hacienda San Angel a safe and sanitary environment for us all.  

We will be following the Safe Stay protocols laid out by the American Hotel & Lodging Association https://www.ahla.com/safestay 

SANITIZATION 

We are considering Electrostatic Sprayers and UV Lights which will be able to make the rooms, public areas and the restaurant free from harmful germs. 

Hand sanitizer will be in every room and sanitization stations will be found throughout the hotel and restaurant for guests and staff to sanitize as needed.

HEALTH SCREENING 

We still need to determine what is the least invasive way to implement such practices. We can say for certain that our staff will be evaluated each day before entering the premises.  We will be monitoring our temperature regularly. 

If tests become available to us this will be part of our protocol also.

PROACTIVE SAFEGUARDS 

Distancing ourselves and using masks and gloves is another way to further keep us all safe. 

Thankfully, the Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro Ramirez, demonstrated a greater sense of caution than his counterparts. He ordered 25,000 tests and suspended flights into the State early on as a precautionary measure. 

Non-essential activities have been suspended until May 31st, expecting to resume June 1st.  We are not sure if this date will hold and of course, we hope that it does. We feel for the people of Puerto Vallarta – our Home away from Home for decades now. Nevertheless, we will not be opening until we feel it is safe to do so.  

The travel industry has proven to be a resilient one in the past. Once travel is able to resume I am hopeful that Puerto Vallarta will once again be ready to welcome visitors with open beaches and chilled margaritas.

Blessings From Hacienda

Dear Patrons and Friends of Hacienda San Angel,

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you and your families in this challenging time. We are saddened by the personal and financial losses of so many; our hearts are very heavy. We are doing our best to be hopeful as we practice behaviors that will keep us and our beloved Hacienda safe. We encourage everyone to do the same; cease travel, stay close to home, socially distance from others always and wash your hands frequently; learn new ways to greet with love but without touching.

Hacienda San Angel closed the doors temporarily in order to protect our employees, our guests and our community. We have taken steps and employed great effort to sanitize and make the Hacienda safe for when the time comes to welcome guests again. Our staff are concerned and mindful of maintaining best hygiene practices long term; not just for a couple of months. A handful of dedicated employees continue to care for the gardens, keep the rooms fresh, clean and dust so as to keep the Hacienda San Angel well maintained for all of you. Our chefs are working from home to develop delicious new menu specialties to delight all your senses when you arrive.

As of this writing, we are unable to give a definitive date about when, however know we will indeed open our doors again as soon as it is safe to do so. Recognizing many will have fewer resources as a result of the pandemic, we plan to offer specials to all of our guests. Those of you who had to cancel your planned visit this Spring, have credits that will be applied to your next reservation as promised.

Those whom are in a position to do so are invited to consider purchasing a gift certificate for loved ones or that special occasion. Gift certificate purchases can help the Hacienda San Angel stay viable at this time of uncertainty. Gift certificates purchased for either hotel or restaurant will be honored for 18 months from the date of reopening which will be announced by email and social media.

We will open again, we will be fully staffed and we will be waiting to pamper you. An announcement will be sent and posted on our Facebook page as soon as we have our opening date.

Until then, please practice social distancing, wash your hands and stay home as much as you can. Let’s all do our best to stop this pandemic as soon as possible while employing kindness and patience until it passes…and it will!

Sincerely,

Paula Castaneda
Proprietor

Press Release Grand Opening Hacienda San Angel Hotel Boutique and Gourmet

This past Friday the 18th of October, Hacienda San Angel officially started their glamorous season with a night filled with culinary delights, entertainment and live music and all attendees were  catered to by the attentive staff all meticulously coordinated to indulge the lucky who were able to participate in this iconic event.

The most popular appetizer  ordered were the Scallops! Buttery and cooked to perfection. The favorite main courses were the Chilean Sea Bass and the most perfect Filet Mignon. Waterfalls of Prosecco were poured and many ordered their favorite vintage. Anniversaries were celebrated and half a dozen birthdays were happening. People mingled from table to table to meet new friends and we could not have asked for more!

The highlight of the night was a surprise visit from Ana and Miguel from Mia Dance Company to ballroom dance the guests into delight. The grand finale was a melancholic set of songs played by El Mariachi Joya de Mexico. Many couples joined in the festivities and the restaurant turned into a ballroom with couples slow dancing to the lovely music. Love and infinite friendships were definitely in the air.

Our guests came from all over along with our beloved locals who we so cherish. Persons from Guanajuato, San Antonio, Ajijic, Germany, Toronto, Moscow, New York,  Kansas, Chicago, Venezuela, Montreal all dressed in their best and they had a wonderful evening.

A very special gift was given to each attendee with a little note that read. Thank you for joining us in celebration as we open a new season of serving exquisite dining experiences to Puerto Vallarta visitors and residents alike. Accept this handmade angel charm and delicious white chocolate angel treat as a token of our appreciation on this special occasion. The charm is fashioned much the same as our room keys with the silver beads and carries an angel for solace, a heart for love, and a stone for beauty, Enjoy and Be Well.

Thank you to those who enjoyed the evening. Thank you to our dedicated staff who put together a perfect production and we hope to see you soon at Hacienda San Angel Hotel Boutique and Gourmet.

There is so much magic on the horizon at Hacienda San Angel this season. Stay tuned by following our facebook page and don´t forget we have the most enchanting suites available for you and your loved ones. Each suite……….a piece of art. Take a peek at www.haciendasanangel.com.

Hacienda San Angel - Collage

SPCA Brunch Fundraiser at Hacienda San Angel

This past 27th of July Hacienda San Angel Hotel and Gourmet restaurant was host to the SPCA´s yearly summer brunch fundraiser which was another great success. The SPCA which opened in 2012 adopts an average of 230 dogs per year the majority of them finding furrever homes in British Columbia, Canada. ​

There was a lovely turn out of animal lovers and supporters. Thank you to all of those who attended, to the Board for their planning efforts, to the volunteers who made it happen, to Hacienda San Angel and their dedicated staff for donating the space, the food and attentive service!

This was an important event as it was the first one since the passing of the founder of the SPCA, Janice Chatterton who originally moved to Puerto Vallarta to mourn the loss of her son​. As time passed and the Hacienda needed less of her attention, arriving to PV as a dog foster parent, she naturally began to rescue dogs in need here in PV. The shelter grew from a small casita to an 80 bed animal shelter with veterinary services, rehab pool and now a Spay and Neuter mobile clinic. Janice depended on the fundraisers to help support the maintenance of these much needed rescue services. Puerto Vallarta is a better city today because of the efforts of animal supporters such as the SPCA.

Many supporters attended this sold out event and learned what is in store for the future of the SPCA​ Good things! There is a new passionate and active board in place; Sandra Briones, Lonna Hull, Pat Parr, Robin McCaffrey, Laura Miller and Luz Wong.  Finances are being carefully controlled to support efforts to keep rescues going 24/7 along with so much more for the animals thanks to the dedicated staff, board and supporters.

Heads Up: The SPCA is currently looking for volunteers for various tasks, specifically a volunteer coordinator to coordinate other volunteers and has skills to write grants to reach out for help and funding.  If you are interested, please write to Tina Kunkel at [email protected]

Janice´s daughter Paula Castaneda expressed delight for all of the supporters who showed up and the genuine caring of all involved. She stated looking forward to planning for the November fundraiser gala and is hopeful for an equally or, better yet, even more successful event.

During the event guests enjoyed a fine dining setting with violin, mimosas, a scrumptious buffet with signature prime rib, fresh shrimp, desert bar and other treats. The stars of the show were two rescue animals that were brought in from the sanctuary to enchant the guests.  Pancho, Hacienda San Angel´s resident rescue poodle (Janice´s dog) behaved himself but was not upstaged! He always steals the show.

Thank you to all who came to support such a wonderful cause that will continue doing PAWesome acts of  giving love and kindness. The Puerto Vallarta street animal population has decreased because of the SPCA among other wonderful associations who were present at this event. AngeliCAT, Colina Spay and Neuter and Brischa Rescue. Good Work all! 

Stay tuned, there is so much on the horizon for SPCA thanks to YOU and Hacienda San Angel. (www.haciendasanangel.com)

HASTA LA VISTA, BRIEFLY

As we roll up on July 1, when the Hacienda will close for its annual spruce-up (everyone needs a little vacay now and then), we want to thank all of you who spent time with us over the last year for coming to visit. We miss you already and look forward to seeing you again—along with lots of new faces—come October 1. That’s when we’ll re-open,our guest and dining rooms, our pools and patios all refreshed and ready to welcome you back. You can reserve now for future visits, even while we’re on hiatus. Keep in mind that Casa Kimberly, our gorgeous sister down the street, will be open through the summer, and is offering an incredible Hot Nights Cool Savings package. Book three nights, get one free, and there are complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres involved, too. Quite a nice situation, if we do say so ourselves. 

But let’s not get too hasty—we’re still open for the next couple weeks, so pop in if you can and bid us farewell over

something shaken, stirred or otherwise frosty. Regardless, we wish you all a fun-packed (or quiet and relaxing, you choose) summer—and can’t wait to hear all about it in the fall!

SPCA De PV

Anyone who’s been to Hacienda San Angel or our sister property, Casa Kimberly, knows that owner Janice Chatterton has a soft spot for gracious design, fine Mexican antiques and Liz Taylor. What’s less known is Chatterton’s Taylor-like love of animals, one which led her to create the Puerto Vallarta SPCA (which translates as the Protective and Compassionate Society for Animals). Best known as the Sanctuary, the one-acre property, adjacent to a river where pooches can learn to swim, has a spotless facility (suites and a pool!), which houses up to 130 cats and dogs at a time and places some 200 of them in forever homes each year. Chatterton started the society, a 501c3 nonprofit (meaning, subliminal hint here Americans can deduct any donations), in 2007 and opened the doors to the Sanctuary five years later. The stories of the rescued animals, abandoned and worse, are often heartbreaking, but their recuperation at the hands of volunteer cuddlers and expert veterinarians is nothing short of astounding. Thanks to SPCA de PV arms in the U.S. and Canada, many of the perritos and gatitos find new homes north of the border. The Sanctuary’s a fantastic place to visit, especially anyone missing your quadrupeds back home, and guests are welcome (encouraged!) to come for a few hours to interact with the grateful creatures—from seniors to puppies and kittens—whose health and dignity are being restored at the hands of the Sanctuary’s compassionate caregivers. Here’s some info on how to sign up for a visit and how to donate. (Oops, are we repeating ourselves?) You just might find yourself heading to the airport with an extra passenger in tow, a kindness twofer—each adoption opens a spot at the Sanctuary for another animal in need. There’s a lifetime of reward in that.