Published on January 15th, 2018 | by Mark Chesnut


HOTEL REVIEW: In Historic Mazatlan, at Hotel Jonathon

The historic city center of Mazatlan, Mexico, is dotted with lots of landmark architecture, as well as lovely restaurants, cultural venues and art galleries. There aren’t many noteworthy hotels downtown, however (the bulk of Mazatlan hotels are set in the Golden Zone, on the beach).

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So what’s a Mexico vacation traveler to do when they want to immerse themselves in the downtown experience? I’ve found a couple interesting hotels in the neighborhood, and during my most recent visit, I stayed at both of them. This is my first review in the series — focusing this time on Hotel Jonathan.

THE STYLE: Set in a historic home, on a pedestrian street across from the gorgeous Angela Peralta theater, Hotel Jonathon is a value-priced boutique hotel that offers modern style in a historic setting, central to downtown’s attractions, dining and nightlife.

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The reception is small and not overly impressive. Behind that, a small courtyard has been modernized with a dramatic round staircase. There are three floors of rooms and a rooftop pool.

HOTEL ROOMS: I stayed in room 102, a small but attractively decorated room with modern features, including mood lighting and design elements like a queen-size bed with a border of white stones and hardwood that separate it from the tile floor. The room had a tiny mini-fridge, a small work desk and good air conditioning, as well as free WiFi.

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The bathroom is especially eye-catching, with dramatic lighting, a cone-like pedestal sink stand, a modern toilet and an oval tile bathtub that you step into. One of my Mexican friends joked that it’s similar to what you might find in a motel that charges by the hour, but it’s still nice.

The hotel’s rooftop terrace is especially relaxing, with nice views of the city (including the cathedral) and a small swimming pool (although the pool is so small that it can seem crowded if you happen to be there when a family is using it — so don’t stay at this hotel if you’re looking for a resort-style hotel with extensive outdoor facilities. If you want that, check into a hotel in the beachfront Golden Zone).

HOTEL FEATURES: Unfortunately, the rooftop bar no longer exists. But the neighborhood is a big selling point at Hotel Jonathon; you’ll be half a block from Plazuela Machado, a picturesque square lined with lovely cafes and restaurants. (Late at night, however, the neighborhood can be rather desolate, especially during the week, so Uber is the best way to get in and out of the neighborhood when it’s late).

BEST FOR: Leisure travelers looking for rather stylish accommodations with limited service, at a very reasonable price in historic downtown Mazatlan.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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