Hotel Hacienda Merida

Merida, The Yucatan, Mexico Book from US$89

A peaceful hacienda in the heart of Mérida with contemporary flair, colonial courtyards and inviting pools
French owner Alexandre Degoute runs his first hotel with fantastic customer service, very fair prices - and great success: this charming 1840s hacienda is often fully booked, so you’ll need to get in there early. Just a few blocks from Mérida's central plaza, it offers a tranquil respite in the energetic ‘white city’, which is crammed with vibrancy and culture but continuously buzzing with people and traffic.

As you step off the busy road into the hotel’s reception, you’re immediately struck by the calm - the interior is cool and dark, with high ceilings and whirring fans. With only 12 rooms, there’s an intimate and welcoming vibe; staff are always smiling, always helpful. Out back, the courtyard and pool areas are sublime, with tall palm trees, billowing cotton curtains and Doric columns. And at dusk, lanterns and candles are sprinkled around, lending a romantic ambiance for couples to sip zesty margaritas.

Most rooms are housed in a separate wing well away from the road, so they're super quiet; 4 of them, including the only suite, lie in a discreet 'VIP block' with its own pool, restaurant, bar and terraces, tucked away next to the main hotel. All are unexpectedly contemporary, with four-poster beds draped in bright silks, yet they nonetheless preserve distinctive colonial features, including heavy wooden doors topped by hatch windows.

Highs

  • This is a great location - it's 2 blocks from the centre and a short walk from Plaza Mayor, so it’s easy to pop back for a siesta or a cool drink
  • Staff can arrange car hire and guides to help you explore Chichen Itza or Mérida’s churches, plazas and pretty streets
  • The elegant pool areas, with their cool, chlorine-free water, are a perfect refresher after a day’s sightseeing
  • The rates are very reasonable, as are the prices for breakfast, cocktails and car hire
  • The squeaky clean rooms have comfy beds

Lows

  • Some might find the ambient music played around the 2 pools a bit irritating
  • The main hotel doesn't serve lunch or dinner (though the restaurant in the VIP block does). Staff can order in food from nearby eateries if required
  • In the rainy season, Mérida’s streets are like mini rivers
  • There's little acoustic insulation between rooms, and some noise can be heard e.g. neighbours talking or walking up the stairs

Best time to go

High season in the Yucatán is mid-December to April, when it's typically drier and cooler (mid 70Fs to mid 80Fs). May to early December is low season. We'd recommend avoiding the hot Mexican summer (July and August), when humidity reaches its peak and it tends to rain heavily for at least an hour a day. The hotel is closed for maintenance during September (the wettest month).

Our top tips

The executive rooms with balconies are worth booking early as the difference in price between these and the standard rooms is minimal. They offer much more space and quirky features such as hammocks.

On Sundays, there's generally a street party with an infectious atmosphere in the main plaza.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Breakfast only
  • All ages welcome
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

There are 12 rooms at Hacienda Mérida - a mix of standard and executive rooms in the main hotel, with 3 further rooms and a suite in the VIP block next door.

Pick of the bunch in the main hotel is room 3, a first-floor executive room with a jaunty red-tiled balcony overlooking the pool and 2 swinging hammocks; perfect for a siesta. We stayed in executive room 1, which also opens out onto the pool with its own terrace and hammocks. It's at ground level so there's slightly less privacy, but it's ideal for a quick dip! Executive rooms 2 and 4 and the standard rooms are built around a separate shaded courtyard that houses the massage pavilion. They may not have the views of rooms 1 and 3, but they're much quieter.

Décor wise, the executive rooms are generous in size, with kingsize or twin queensize four-poster beds draped in bright silks and clad in Egyptian cotton. Dark-wood floorboards match the heavy set doorways, and the spaces are smartly kitted out with wrought-iron chairs, tables and lamps. The large bathrooms are rendered in polished stone with a double sink, a vanity area and a large mirror. To one side is a sizeable walk-in shower with a sisal scrub sponge. The hotel makes its own range of 100% natural toiletries, which are placed in square white dishes around the bathroom - the creamy oatmeal and honey soap smells divine.

The standard rooms are similar in décor but smaller, and their bathrooms only have 1 sink. One standard room has a queensize rather than a kingsize bed.

The rooms in the VIP block have been added since our last visit, but they share the same contemporary flair and colonial features as the others, with the added benefit of iPod docks. Within this building are 1 standard room (bigger than the standard rooms in the main hotel), 2 larger deluxe rooms and a very spacious suite which comes with its own terrace. Outside is a separate pool area, colonnaded terrace, massage pavilion and bar only open for guests staying in these rooms; the slighty higher prices for this block reflect the additional privacy offered by the fact that fewer people share these facilities.

Excellent abstract paintings created by Phillipe Duneton (Alexandre's father) adorn the walls in all rooms. His style is distinctive and modern, with golds and deep reds daubed on white canvas.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Breakfast (an extra cost) is served in the pretty courtyards from 7-11am. There's a choice of 3 menus (continental, American and Mexican), all very moderately priced. The Mexican breakfast consists of spicy scrambled eggs and refried beans garnished with nachos - perfect for an authentic start to the day. Freshly squeezed orange juice is on the side, and extras include granola, yoghurt, chocolate muffins and croissants.

Guests in the VIP block can order lunch and dinner (again a mix of Mexican, continental and American influences) from its restaurant, but the main hotel doesn't serve any meals after breakfast. Finding good food in Mérida is a cinch, though, and there's a useful booklet in each bedroom detailing local eateries by cuisine. We particularly liked Amaro (Calle 59, no. 507), which has live music and features some unusual Mexican vegetarian options like soya bean enchiladas.

Bakeries are great for lunch, offering huge selections of fresh bread, biscuits and muffins, plus savoury patitis con queso (baked cheese slice). Los Bisquets Bisquets Obregon on the north west corner of the Plaza Mayor sells delightful treats and has a café attached. Also on Plaza Mayor is the irresistible Helados Janitzio, which sells ice creams and popsicles with flavours like grape, cinnamon and tamarind. It offers desserts such as flan and arroz de leche, too - delicious.

The 2 bars at the hotel (one in the main building, another in the VIP block) are open from 3pm onwards, and both are well stocked. The barmen serve up cocktails (try the zingy margaritas), which can be taken by the pool and come served with a side of bruschetta or salted nuts. Drinks can be delivered to your room at any time.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating: Breakfast
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax in the breezy courtyards, either on a lounger or a padded chair, or take a dip in the lovely pools (the water is from a cenote, so is non-chlorinated)

  • Hire a car and visit Chichen Itza's ruins (a 1.5-hour drive away) to marvel at the Mayans' architectural ability. Arrive before 10am to have the structures to yourself

  • Have a coffee in Plaza Hidalgo at one of the outdoor cafés spread around the beautiful church, Iglesia de Jesus

  • Hang out in Plaza Mayor. Admire the stunning exterior of the Cathedral of San Idelfonso; inside, visit the famous statue of Cristo de las Amphillas. On the south side, examine the façade of the oldest house in Mérida, the Casa de Montejo, built in 1549 (avoid the interior which houses a bank)

  • Shop for souvenirs and handicrafts. We recommend the Mercado Maya ‘Tita’ between Calle 62 and Calle 59. The unassuming shop front opens up to a huge emporium for Mexican ponchos, ceramics and Mayan crafts. Although you might pay a few extra dollars, it's worth it for the informative service and no-hassle sell. This is the place to come for genuine panama hats and hammocks made from the sisal plant (apparently a natural mosquito repellent)

  • Take a stroll at night, when the plazas come alive with vibrant music. We loved the wistful trio of older Mexican gentlemen strumming flamenco on guitars in Plaza Mayor

  • Have a relaxing massage in the hotel's little pavilions (one in the main hotel, one in the VIP block). Treatments include the unusual 'Mayan Ceremony': a ritualistic massage to promote fertility in women (one for honeymooners, perhaps?)

  • Explore remote Mayan towns by bicycle (hire one locally) or visit a sisal hacienda to watch the plant being turned into string for hammocks. The hotel can arrange bike hire or book this trip

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome. The hotel can provide an extra bed in the Executive Rooms and all rooms in the VIP block for no added charge for children aged 0-12, although no baby cots are available. Babysitting is available on request. Please note under 12s should not swim unaccompanied in the pools.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
8/
Food
10/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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