Hacienda el Carmen is a lovely way to ease into your travels to Mexico. Surrounded by mountains, including Tequila Volcano, the 18th century buildings are in a relatively flat valley.
Warning: Flat does not mean level, however. Flagstones settle unevenly, cobblestones are never flat and when you slip 21st century comforts into 400-year-old structures, stairs and steps are inevitable. Compared to other places you'll go in Jalisco, though, Hacienda el Carmen is a piece of cake. If stairs are your nemesis, ask for a room on ground level and specify a bathroom that does not require a step up or step down to enter.
Antiques, hand embroidered linens and eye-catching decorative objects, many with historical or family significance, abound. Credit for the decor goes to the elegant Martha Serrano who, as her daughter Monica Baezze says, "is the queen of recycling."
Sugar cane, corn, wheat, citrus and some blue agave are still farmed, primarily for use on the hacienda. You'll find the food here fresh, carefully prepared and attractively presented.
Tip: Oswaldo did a great job for our group as he guided us through the relatively flat, easily walked site.