Hacienda Xcanatun

Near Merida, The Yucatan, Mexico Book from

An 18th-century hacienda transformed into a small luxury hotel with Old World colonial style, fine dining and a holistic spa
Hacienda Xcanatun (ssh-kana-toon) - the name is Mayan for 'Tall Stone House' - offers luxury, attention to detail and gracious hospitality. Ex-advertising executives Jorge and Cristina Ruz put their heart and soul into creating an authentic hacienda experience. With the help of the best local craftsmen, it took a gruelling 5 years to restore this abandoned 18th-century sisal hacienda well beyond its original grandeur. The result is a beautiful 18-suite hotel where traditional elegance is married with contemporary style and comfort. The former machine room is now home to an award-winning gourmet restaurant; the old chapel has become a salon for functions. Outside, acres of vibrant tropical gardens lead to manicured lawns and 2 freshwater swimming pools.

Located a few miles north of Mérida, the hacienda is a great starting point for exploring Mexico's ancient Mayan sites. It's also a welcome retreat: the spa offers relaxing holistic treatments using indigenous herbs, flowers and honey; the only sounds are from birds and fountains.

Highs

  • The hacienda is luxurious yet full of character, history and charm
  • It's tranquil, romantic and thoroughly pampering
  • The personal and caring service is impeccable
  • There are 2 swimming pools and wonderful spa treatments
  • It's a handy base for exploring ancient Mayan cities

Lows

  • You're in the tropics so watch out for mosquitoes and bring plenty of repellent
  • The hacienda is a 20-minute drive from Mérida's historic district so a hire car is recommended for exploring (though it's not essential as transfers from Mérida airport and private cars with drivers for excursions can be arranged)
  • Don't expect TVs in the rooms (though there's a communal TV room for those who need to tune in)

Best time to go

December to April is generally sunny and warm (though it can get cool in the evenings). May to August is hotter, wetter and more humid (afternoon showers turn the Yucatán Peninsula green); September and October bring the heaviest rains. We went in March, which was perfect.

Our top tips

Sundays in Mérida are great fun - everyone goes downtown for a knees-up and a margarita in the plaza, and the outdoor market brings the streets to life.

Great for...

Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 18
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Well-behaved children accepted
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Privacy is a priority here and all 18 suites and rooms are scattered in clusters throughout the flowering 9-acre gardens. Each has its own private veranda or balcony slung with hammocks and providing lush garden views.  Rooms are large and decorated with an appealing combination of Mexican and Far Eastern antiques, colonial Caribbean hand-carved furnishings, hand-woven textiles and original oil paintings. All have high beamed ceilings, full-length windows, grand carved cedar wood doors, polished stone and marble floors, and big comfy beds (either kingsize or twin four-posters).

Bathrooms are huge (even in the cheaper Superior Rooms) and spotlessly clean, with hydrotherapy or soaking tubs, plus showers, fluffy towels, bathrobes and hairdryers.

The light and airy Deluxe Suites have a comfortable sitting area, and a Jacuzzi tub and loungers set outdoors on a big private veranda screened by greenery. The slightly more expensive Master Suites have a separate (rather formal) living room, and 2 of them have bathrooms with an incredible handcrafted stone tub replenished by a cascade. We stayed in the Anna Master Suite (room 102), which was fabulous.

Features common to all rooms include air conditioning, overhead fans, minibars and CD players; welcome fruit baskets also await you in the Master Suites. There are no TVs but DVD players can be ordered from the reception desk. Tea/coffee making facilities are also available on request.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace

Eating

Fine dining is an essential ingredient of Hacienda Xcanatun’s hospitality, and its restaurant, Casa de Piedra is popular with both local well-heeled Méridianos and guests. Occupying the plantation’s former sisal machine house, the sophisticated space offers several dining rooms and a romantic candlelit veranda.

Expect a fusion of French techniques with the freshest Caribbean and Yucatecan ingredients. Menus change frequently, although favourites might include grilled salmon with creamed leeks and a tomatillo-sesame seed sauce, sautéed tamarind chicken breast served with mango and jicama salad, or marinated quail on pilaf rice. Few diners can resist the pastry chef’s memorable desserts, and the extensive wine list features labels from the world's great vintners. Special diets can be catered for with advance notice.

Adjacent to the dining room, the carved antique mahogany bar has a baby grand piano and comfortable rattan seating to tempt guests to linger and sample Xcanatun’s special cocktail, made with Xtabentun - a honey-based Yucatecan liquor. It's also stocked with a range of spirits, including a selection of Mexico’s premium sipping tequilas. On weekends the bar and restaurant are filled with the sound of live music.

Note that the restaurant closes at 6pm on Sundays; on all other days it's open until 11pm. Room service is available until 10pm.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Mayan cities such as Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Dzibilchaltun and Yaxunach, and learn about their complex archaeology. The hacienda can arrange a private air-conditioned car and a bilingual guide, and set up unique itineraries to showcase both the ancient and living Mayas (see Rates)

  • Visit the area's secret sights - because of the owners’ deep ties to the Yucatán, guests enjoy access to private gardens, artists’ studios and exhibitions not usually open to the general public

  • There are also charming colonial villages to see, including Izamal and Mani (where Fray Diego de Landa burned all the Maya codices)

  • Check out fine museums, colonial architecture, shops and outdoor concerts in colonial Mérida, 20 minutes away. The Sunday outdoor market is an irresistible emporium of local crafts, colour and street dancing

  • Birders and eco-buffs will love the mangroves in the Celestun Nature Reserve, which features over 100 different bird species - including a large colony of pink flamingos

  • Visit one of the local cenotes (underground wells), where you can snorkel along a network of subterranean rivers and caves - a wonderland of stalagmite rock formations

  • Visit the hacienda's spa and indulge in an ancient Mayan treatment from a therapist schooled in holistic healing practices by her shaman grandfather. A long list of wraps, facials and massages are also available throughout the day and evening - in the spa, in your suite or in the Maya palapa in the garden

  • Lounge around one of the hacienda's 2 freshwater swimming pools. There's plenty of space, with comfortable hammocks and parasols

  • If you can tear yourself out of your hammock, a game of tennis or golf can be arranged at a private country club 5 minutes away

  • Half-day cooking classes can be organised in Mérida

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Children aren't encouraged as there are a lot of antiques and artefacts about the hacienda, but they are accepted under special conditions. One child of 12 years or under can stay free of charge on a rollaway bed in their parents' room, with a supplement for older children. Cots and babysitting (at an extra charge) can be arranged with advance notice.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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