My use of the word unique is not a poetic attempt to rhyme. It's an honest reflection of the experience I think you'll have at the Casa Patio Hotel Boutique, which we recently visited at the invitation of a friend for a girl's breakfast out (when you're a mom "girls nights out" are significantly more difficult to plan). I was surprised at the completely singular experience this charming 3-cottage boutique hotel and its owners offer. Perhaps that's because imitating the personality of Casa Patio would be impossible. It's a "Hippie Chic meets Simón Bolivar" kinda thing
Owners Nicole and Manuel are originally from La Paz and their personalities are reflected in every inch of the hotel. Nicole, of French and German descent, speaks three and a half languages, (Spanish, French, English and some German). She has a funny sense of humor and a hippy-chic sense of style. She also paints and collects antiques and used to own an antique shop. She's got a contagious laugh and Manuel gives you a sort of sense of quiet balance.
Casa Patio, formerly one of the large homes the Las Palmas neighborhood is well-known for, has been transformed into something akin to an antique museum/eccentric art gallery. The hotel features an eclectic mix of ancient Spanish colonial-style furniture from various periods, huge antique doors (used as windows, tables, doors and artwork), strategically placed sculptures, paintings, glass and metal art pieces, mixes of Andean, country patch-work and oriental fabrics, mirrors, travel trunks, and other unique pieces Nicole has collected from her travels including a lamp from India, for instance.
The owners' sense of humor permeates all rooms. Take for instance the antique dog bowl, now used as an ashtray, which you'll find atop a balcony on a table made from, what else, a door; printed flour sack cushion covers on an antique day crib that doubles as a couch on the back patio; or my favorite piece, a unique metal butter press with a cover that softens and shapes your butter at breakfast. (Use it. It'll make you feel all aristocratic and stuff).
The cottages themselves have names that reflect Nicole and Manuel's irreverent humor. Take the matrimonial suite, for example. To reserve it you'll want to ask for the "No se lo digas a nadie"
cottage...(shhhh, don't tell anyone!)
The cost of your room includes breakfast. You'll enjoy a variety of coffees from different regions of the country, and which coffee will be served each morning depends on what mood Nicole is in on any given day (she says this with a chuckle, of course). All are top quality Bolivian coffees from places like Coroico and Buena Vista. If she's in a bad mood (says Nicole with an unconvincing scowl) she'll serve you instant coffee. Breakfast is brimming with the personal touches Manuel and Nicole have given Casa Patio to make your stay truly unique. Nicole makes her own artisan cheeses, yoghurt and marmalade. The bread is flown in from La Paz, known for its scrumptious crunchy/chewy "marraquetas". I had this vision of Simón Bolivar in a red military coat with gold buttons, slowly leaning over the dinner table, poised to sign some important colonial document...then Nicole hands him a marraqueta spread with some delicious-looking jam. "Here Simón, try my tamarillo marmalade," she says. He takes a bite... his eyes get big... he turns and goes "Mmmmmmmmm oh Dios mío!"... he drops his feather pen thingy... he forgets all about signing the documents needed to declare Bolivia an independent nation...
The hotel serves lunch and/or dinner upon request and offers and open kitchen, meaning guests are welcome to cook for themselves. However, Manuel and Nicole are foodies and very good cooks!
The hotel offers WIFI internet, cable TV, air conditioning and heating in all rooms. Maybe one of the most unique things about Casa Patio as that Nicole and Manuel, both creative and artistic, also offer yoga classes, cooking classes, wine tastings, cigar nights, artisanal jewelry-making classes and... (eyebrows up!) free lessons in male formal dress (bespoke).
The hotel is also available for events. A week later we booked the hotel for Spanish "tapas" (as part of the monthly social events for expatriates
we organize through BoliviaBella) and had a blast! There were several requests to hold another of our expat events there, and numerous positive comments about the Spanish "tapas" we were served which included Spanish potato tortilla, pan tomaca, fruit, Nicole's homemade cheeses, and sangría.
Ask them to give you a tour of all those antique doors (each has a story)!
Casa Patio Hotel Boutique is located on Calle 5 (house number 6) of Las Palmas, entering by way of Avenida Ibérica, which runs along the back fence of the posh Las Palmas Country Club golf course. Reservations can be made by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (591-3-351-1814). Their website is www.casapatio-hotelboutique.comIf you accessed this article from our July 2011 online newsletter, click here to return.