San Pancho, Mexico is one of the best-hidden gems and micro destinations along the Riviera Nayarit. The town especially promotes eco-friendly values and a sense of community and self-care. You can get a healing massage, go to a yoga class at a studio, and take part in community events. And if you stay at the PAL.MAR Hotel Tropical you can delight in all three!
Since living in this wonderful pueblo for over 2 years, we have seen many businesses and hotels come and go. We even saw PAL.MAR in its renovations stages! But after I was invited to come to experience the hotel in person for two nights, I’m here to tell you why I think this boutique hotel is here to stay!
Here is my honest review + experience staying at the PAL.MAR Hotel Tropical in San Pancho!
If you’re walking down the street past PAL.MAR, it’s hard to resist wanting to see inside. From the outside aesthetic, you can already tell the rooms and atmosphere would be equally as cute!
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The PAL.MAR Hotel Tropical, for me, evokes a sense of tranquility and well-being. That is how I can best describe what it was like to stay two nights here. The laid-back bohemian atmosphere of the hotel, with its minimal decor and natural elements, simply invites you in.
PAL.MAR is not your typical hotel, either, offering both short-term and long-term (monthly) stays, which is only possible because of the kitchenettes and general apartment-style accommodations. (But more on rooms later).
The hotel itself is located in the heart of San Pancho. When it comes to location, you can’t get much better than this. Just outside the hotel entrance are all the shops and restaurants you need! The town’s main markets and a handful of authentic Mexican restaurants are virtually two steps away. Not to mention, our favorite cafe and the best microbrewery in town are right next door and reaching the beach only takes a quick 5-minute walk.
But more than its location, what I learned about PAL.MAR from the co-owner is that the hotel was designed with eco-friendly features in mind.
For example, the kitchenette sinks have individually-attached water filters to discourage guests from buying water bottles; the bathroom soap and shampoo are all biodegradable, and the water is solar-heated. Other than this, you can visibly see their attention to using natural materials in the design and construction of the hotel and rooms.
The rooms at PAL.MAR Hotel Tropical are unlike any hotel room I’ve seen, for two main reasons:
- Suites feature a full kitchenette, king-sized bed, and mini lounging area. Note: You can also book regular hotel rooms without kitchenettes if you don’t intend to use it.
- The rooms are tastefully decorated in boho-chic style featuring artisanal Mexican handicrafts and art.
We stayed in the Pal’ Cerro standard suite located on the 3rd-floor. It afforded a spacious, apartment-sized accommodation with all the bells and whistles we needed to fully enjoy our stay. I not-so-secretly asked the co-owner, who designed all the rooms at PAL.MAR herself, to please design and decorate my future tiny home. 🙂
The Pal’ Cielo room (left) has a palm tree growing through the middle!
Having the freedom to cook a full meal inside the room was a big bonus feature of the hotel. Especially for guests looking for week-long stays or more, having a fully-equipped kitchenette (with microwave, 2-burner gas stove, sink, coffee maker, blender, cutlery, glasses, etc.) can really come in handy.
Beyond the stylish kitchenette, our next favorite features were the enormous, comfy bed and the full-size table for the lounging/dining area. We also had a lovely balcony, which faced the pool and courtyard below.
Room features I especially appreciated: The full-sized sliding glass doors (lots of natural light), the double floor to ceiling curtains, and the room’s card-key which automatically switches off all the lights (AND saves your light settings for when you return). These are all extra features I thoroughly enjoyed having!
There are a couple of on-site activities that were created with the intention that, at PAL.MAR, you can rest and rejuvenate your senses. That’s why the hotel offers on-site yoga classes in their very spacious and airy palapa. It’s also why you can book a full-body massage that takes place under the breezy rooftop palapa upstairs.
Hatha Flow yoga class
I stayed at the hotel in time for the Thursday morning Hatha Flow Yoga class at 9 AM. I woke up slowly that morning. I read my book in bed before getting up and making a breakfast of fresh fruits from the local market. At 9 AM, I walked barefoot across the hotel property, up a flight of stairs, and joined the yoga class quietly. The sun peeked through the palapa and the air blew around the large dreamcatcher floating in the corner.
I didn’t realize how much my body – and mind – needed a full yoga class. Denise, our instructor, walked us through the breathing techniques and yoga positions, explaining on and off how each connected to our organ and energy systems. Our class lasted about 90 minutes, although I honestly didn’t see the time pass!
It was just the type of San Pancho wake up I was craving but didn’t know I needed.
90-minute rooftop palapa massage
The second activity I experienced at PAL.MAR was their on-site rooftop massage. That’s also something my mind and body sorely craved and needed (but this one I knew!). It had been a while since I had such a satisfying and “yummy” massage — yummy as my masseuse Denise put it (Yep, the same talented Denise as my yoga instructor).
Denise incorporated a blend of Swedish and Thai techniques, which completely left me all zen afterward. It was the best massage I have had in a long time, possibly ever! She could feel where I had strained my body from aerial silks training, which I did well over six months ago. Then she massaged out all the squeaky and squiggly muscle knots. I’ve since been relieved of neck pains, and aches and I owe it all to her magic hands!
Booking a massage is a must when staying at PAL.MAR. And the price per value is extremely high (I think it’s around $1200 pesos for 90-minutes). If I didn’t’ say it already, Denise comes highly recommended! 🙂
Laid-back boho vibes are definitely the atmosphere at PAL.MAR, which I loved. With all the decorations, the morning yoga, and overall exquisite attention to detail, there is a sense of wellness and warmth at PAL.MAR.
In addition to the atmosphere, the staff members are all courteous and friendly (which to me is always a sign of good management). You can easily come and go from your suite, which feels like your own slice of paradise amid the tropical oasis!
Paul and I even discussed how our room felt inspiring; we had an extra kick in our step and we were extremely productive at work. I think it had to do with the room’s natural light and minimalistic, yet feel-good decor. Like I said before, I secretly wished we could keep our suite as our apartment here in San Pancho! It was such a nice room to come back to for rest or work.
As for the attention to detail, I was quite impressed with the little touches, like the:
- dish of cotton eye pads in the bathroom to remove makeup or wash your face,
- double floor-ceiling curtains to prevent light in the early morning,
- automatic light switch linked to the room card key,
- sliding bamboo mini door to hide the trash and water filter under the sink,
- mezcal/tequila shot glasses in addition to wine and water glasses, and mugs… The list goes on!
It seemed like our needs – plus extra – were all covered (at least for short stays but I imagine for longer stays too). Longer stays are quite common in the hotel, and there are discounts available for monthly rentals outside of the high season. (Reserve your suite in advance here!)
If you enjoy doing things yourself when on vacation (i.e. cooking your own meals), then PAL.MAR has the best set-up for that! Seeing as there is no common kitchen/dining area, the food aspect is left entirely up to you, which is nice. That way, you don’t have to eat out in town if you don’t want to. But you have the option to prepare a meal in case you want to hang back in the room one night.
Final Thoughts: Staying at the PAL.MAR Hotel Tropical in San Pancho
PAL.MAR is truly a unique hotel, offering up its very own tropical oasis for guests! The rooms are extra spacious, light, and features stunning Mexican contemporary design, unlike any hotel we’ve seen before.
Lastly, travelers interested in coming to San Pancho to primarily relax and rejuvenate their minds and bodies should seriously consider staying at PAL.MAR!
So why wait? Book your slice of paradise at PAL.MAR Hotel Tropical and start planning your trip to San Pancho, MX!
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Special thanks to PAL.MAR for sponsoring this article and hosting me as their guest. As always, the content & opinions expressed here are entirely my own.