Since we are getting into the heat of the summer, it is only appropriate to write about hot and steamy Merida. The capital of the Yucatan, rich with its Mayan heritage and dotted with historical haciendas (Mexican mansions!) is such a charming city and feels super intimate. Merida is where I brought my the New Year in for the 1st time with my boyfriend and said yes to moving from Miami to Mexico to be with him! So, obviously Merida has got some super romantic vibes.
All of my Merida experiences embody a stay at one of Merida’s most exclusive hotels, Rosas & Xocolate. I have been so lucky to experience this fantastical restored hacienda quite a few times, I just think it’s so comfortable and beautiful and the food is insane. My R & X menu must-haves:
CHICHARRON DE PULPO
AGUA FRESCA CON LIMA Y HOJA SANTA
POACHED EGGS WITH CORN AND MUSHROOMS
I am sure part of my penchant for this hotel comes from the fact that the owner Carol Kolozs, (PS- so charming & handsome!) is a friend of mine and I have therefore memorized the fairytale of how Rosas & Xocolate came to be.
R & X FAIRYTALE:
One day Carol was strolling through the streets of Merida, newly retired from his 24-year career with Lotto, Italian footwear company he co-established. He spotted an old hacienda, fell in love with it. Soon, he bought and restored it, purely as a labor of love. Only once he had finished did he realize he what he would do with this 17 bedroom home. He decided to make it into a boutique hotel and share it with others.
Carol named the hotel – Rosa(s)- after his mother, and Xocolate, one of her favorite things and also a huge part of Merida’s Mayan culture. Despite having no background in the hospitality industry, Carol has become a successful hotelier- R & X is now known as “the best address in Merida” and has won countless awards for both the boutique hotel, spa, and restaurant.
The brightly painted walls- vibrant Mexican pink with occasional accents of yellow, tropical greenery, outdoor baths, fabulous art, luxurious linens, intimate setting and of course, chocolate soap in the guest rooms, is all just right. The vibe is intimate, upscale, and perfectly cozy. Strolling in Merida is dreamy, the haciendas, the historical buildings, a little shopping… just dress light because it is OH SO HOT outside.
Perhaps one of the coolest perks of Merida is that it is located close to so many fun day destinations. I have highlighted my two favorites, the ones I experienced on my first romantic trip to Merida with my man.
We took our trip to Celestun on NYE day, and it ended up being the perfect way to spend the last day of the year. We actually ended up taking a cab there and the trip is about an hour from Merida. When we arrived, the main boat dock was full, so our sweet cabbie took us straight to the beach where we paid a local with a boat to drive us out the flamingos. It is hard to put into words how incredible it was to see these perfectly pink birds all gathered together feeding on shrimp from the red water. I felt so lucky to be immersed in their habitat and to see this miracle, especially as we were both so lighthearted and crazy in love. After we saw the flamingos, our driver navigated us through this magnificent awning of branches hidden in the mangroves. It was such a magical experience and one of my very favorite memories.
Also about an hour from Merida, Isamal is one of Mexico’s “Pueblos Mágicos” or magic towns. It’s quaint and historical, and every building in the town is painted the same hue of saffron yellow. Yes, EVERY BUILDING! It creates this ambiance that is so super unique and special, and is the most spectacular site for photo shoots ever.
It is also the site of some very important Pre-Colombian archaeological temples and pyramids, miracle-performing saint figures and it just embodies a blissful calmness and spirituality. I highly recommend spending the day in Isamal- plan to have a leisurely lunch, stroll and take tons of pictures. You will leave with a sense of wonder and relaxed state of mind.
If you’re planning a trip to Merida, please let me know your questions! I will be sharing more on Merida soon!