Gateway to History. Destination: Yucatan
Bordered at the north by the Gulf of Mexico and at the south by Campeche and Quintana Roo, Yucatán is located at the tip of the peninsula, with the sea at its feet. A region of great importance for Mayan culture, this beautiful state is a blend of its indigenous origins and the Hispanic influence from the era of the Conquista.
Art, nature, beaches, culture, archeological sites, magical ‘pueblos’, adventure, wonderful people, warm weather, the gateway to the Mayan world…. Yucatán, where we spent a couple of spectacular days, enjoying these lands where there is always something new to discover.
Here, in the heart of Mayan culture, there’s no limit to what can be learned, discovered, or seized. Beside a rich history and interesting past, Yucatán offers everything necessary for it to be categorised as a high quality destination. Excellent food, beautiful ‘haciendas’, unforgettable hotels, and hidden treasures await the travelers.
After five years of meticulous reconstruction, this ‘Hacienda Henenquera’ from the XVIII century was transformed into a small, luxury hotel with thirteen suites and five superior rooms. Located in the heart of the Mayan world, five minutes from the city of Mérida, Yucatán, the Hacienda Xcanatun blends the area’s rich history with the commodities of modern, luxury life.
From the day of its purchase in 1994, Jorge Ruz and Cristina Baker, the owner of the hacienda, have vowed to preserve the dignity of its colonial architecture. Using only local materials, it was possible for them to restore the place to its original form.
The vast gardens of the property were restored before the hacienda itself. Perfectly manicured, they perfume the air with the aroma of uncountable tropical flowers. They are flowing with little stone trails and fountains that inspire one to absolute peace.
Xcanatun made us fall in love with its delicate beauty and historical value.
Behind a heavy roble gate lays the wonderful Hacienda Misné, an oasis of peace that leaves the world beyond the gate. Stony trails with exuberant flower and sturdy trees welcome the traveler to this beautiful place.
Located only fifteen minutes away from the Historical Center of the city of Merida, La Hacienda Misné is a historical building dating to the XVIII century. In it, elements of typical Spanish conquest architecture and French style are blended together, making it into a unique construction.
The history and tradition of Yucatán mixed with the natural beauty and the luxurious gardens of the Hacienda, along with the song of birds and the murmur of the Yucatecan breeze, give the illusion that time has stopped. In this magical place, we embarked on a romantic journey into the Colonial Era.
Rosas & Xocolate
Among the white, typical buildings of Mérida, Yucatán, we found ourselves before a caramel-colored construction: Rosas & Xocolate. This small hotel is located in Paseo Montejo, the most important and emblematic avenue in Mérida. It is an avenue with a historical past significant for the whole Yucatán peninsula that houses elegant palaces, symbols or the wealth and grandeur of the times of the ‘Oro Verde’ (green gold).
The boutique hotel Rosas & Xocolate offers a romantic, white and pink atmosphere. The entire hotel is a conceptual work built around the place’s name: Rosas, in honor of the Carol Kolozs Fischer’s mother, owner and general director, and Xocolate (chocolate in Mayan) as the bond between the hotel and the history of the place. The cacao has been vital in the several traditions of pre-Hispanic Mexico, particularly in the Mayan civilization in the country’s southeast.
Within this enticing labyrinth, we saw ourselves transported by our senses, traveling from the corporal to the spiritual and back. A charming and sexy venue, Rosas & Xocolate is the result of an integral project that rescued the beauty of two mansions that had been uninhabited for thirty years. After a long search, Carol, the owner, found a group of architects with the skill to fuse the traditional with contemporary design. The result is a perfect blend of the typical with the modernity of luxury hotels.
The great culture of Yucatán is reflected in its typical garb, its music, traditions, handicrafts, and, mostly, its exemplary cuisine.
One of the restaurants in Mérida that made us fall in love was Néctar, a place where the kitchen continues to evolve. It has changed and matured through time. It is built on the belief that to have a high quality cuisine everything has to be done with the heart, with passion and attention to detail. Using the highest quality ingredients, all of them local, they have succeeded in maintaining the culinary traditions of the region.
At the head of Néctar is Roberto Solis, chef and manager. Born in Yucatán, Robert opened the doors of Néctar when he was 27 years, without any previous experience. It was from November 2003 that began what would be a new culinary proposal in Mérida. The result was an authentic and revolutionary restaurant. The cuisine of Néctar seduces us all, bringing as close to rich and eternal culture of Yucatán.
The word ‘K’u’uk’ comes from the Mayan language and it means ‘sprout’. It is the name of a gourmet restaurant, a café and a cooking school. Located in a modern building with rooms, terrace, and even a grove, this unique and original restaurant offers dishes that reveal the deepest imagination and love of gastronomy.
One of the main ideas that gave birth to K’u’uk was to rescue forgotten Mexican flavours, forgotten, but no lost. Using modern techniques and traditional utensils, the cuisine of this delicious restaurant works wonders. For instance, they use typical handmade ‘comales’, vapor blenders and void bombs to develop new tastes, complete with distinct textures and incredible presentations.
The restaurant’s ‘creative gastronomical innovation’ has given the place an aura of mystery that intrigues and invites people to let themselves be swept off by the exotic cuisine. K’u’uk, a restaurant that will never cease to amaze, takes everything to another level, one where the imagined becomes reality and there is no such thing as the impossible.
Chichen Itzá, which meand ‘in the mouth of the well of the itzaés’, is the second-most visited archeological site in Mexico. The Kukulcán pyramid in Chichen Itzá, known as ‘the castle’, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. With a height of 24 meters, this incredible construction takes us back to the region’s rich past. A unique relic, the pyramid is the great pride of what remain of the ancient Mayan civilization.
Beside the Kukulkán pyramid, there are many other interesting archeological sites in Chichen Itzá. This was once the most important capital of the Mayan area during the ‘classical period’ and the beginning of the ‘post-classical period’. When the Spanish arrived, it was the most visited holy site in the Yucatán peninsula. Chichen Itzá and the Sacrificial Cenote were, and still are, holy sites for the Mayans.
In the heart of this incredible archeological site lays the hotel Mayaland. Built in 1921, this world-class ‘hotel and bungalows’ has its own private entrance to Chichen Itzá. This great privilege allows guests to enjoy the ruins in a completely different way, discovering all its mystical secrets.
The main building of Mayaland is decorated in the typical opulent nobility ‘hacienda’ style of centuries ago. From the main corridor it is possible to admire the ancient Mayan observatory, a beautiful ruing that speaks to us of the great astronomical knowledge of the Mayans.
The hotel’s famous Pavarotti Suite, where we stayed, offers an atmosphere of uninterrupted peace. With the sound of exotic birds and the smell of fresh coffee, our mornings were spent in absolute bliss. A beautiful place, authentic and unique.