Merida is the capital of Yucatan state in Mexico, an inland historic city that’s a great base for exploring. You can get to Izamal and Uxmal from here, explore cenotes and haciendas, and enjoy the historic center-with a church that dates back to the 16th century.
Where to stay in Merida depends on your tastes and your budget, but if you’re willing to spring for one of the best hotels in the city or nearby, you’ll have a memorable experience. We only review the best of the best here at Luxury Latin America, so the routine boutique hotels with few facilities don’t make our cut. Here are our picks for picky travelers.
The Best Luxury Hotel in Merida
The overall best luxury Merida hotel is Hacienda Xcanatun on the edge of the city, on the way to the beach town of Progreso. You can’t walk anywhere from there, but Xcanatun makes up for that with lovely gardens, spacious suites, and a great restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. The owners have incorporated elements of the original hacienda, but the recent room renovations have imbued the sleeping quarters with a more modern sensibility, they’ve broken down and added TVs, and there are lots of places to recharge your gadgets.
After a recent partnership deal with Angsana Hotels, a Banyan Tree Brand, there will eventually be a larger spa, more rooms, and a second restaurant joining the two swimming pools that round out the offerings now. Follow the link above for a full review or check out our Xcanatun video tour here.
The Two Best Boutique Hotels in Merida
Do you want a sense of history or something modern? Colonial style or contemporary urban Mexico?
If it’s the former, your best bet for where to stay in Merida is Rosas y Xocolate Hotel on the Paseo Montejo. The name guides the theme and color scheme, with plenty of pink offset by chocolate browns. If it makes you hungry, there’s a chocolate shop off the lobby. For something more substantial, there’s a well-regarded restaurant with seating inside or on a patio facing the Paseo.
The decor is not completely colonial, with ample modern touches throughout, but the property is in one of Merida’s former grand mansions built in the sisal heyday. In most respects, the 17-room Rosas and Xocolate is the best hotel in Merida itself, about a 15-minute walk to the historic center, with a courtyard pool to cool off in when you need it.
If you are on the young and hip side instead, or just feel that way, then your better choice is a few blocks away at Diez Diez Collection. This luxury boutique hotel has a roof deck with a bar, swimming pool, and lounge area, pumping dance music for the party crowd from mid-day until a few hours after sunset. Upgrade to a suite to get some more space and style, especially if you can book the Mercedes-Benz Suite. It has its own private roof deck with a whirlpool.
The Fronto Restaurant at street level is excellent and if Diez Diez has cruiser bikes that guests can take out on the boulevard’s bike paths. (On Sunday mornings, the street is blocked to traffic too.)
Come on a video tour with us here:
Where Else to Stay in Central Merida
The pickings get rather slim once you get beyond the three top hotels we’ve mentioned already. Locals are proud of the Fiesta Americana on the Paseo, but it comes off more like a convention hotel than a luxury one. A more intimate bet is across the street, getting ready to come off a major renovation and rebranding as I write this: the Villa Mercedes Merida, Curio Collection by Hilton.
Our review is from when it was an Intercontinental and there was still construction going on when we were in the city this summer, so watch for an update later.
Otherwise, if you’re looking to cash in chain hotel points, there’s a Hyatt and a Courtyard by Marriott in that same cluster of hotels. Most of the other chain hotels are on the industrial outskirts though, not in areas where tourists want to stay.
If you’re just doing a quick in-and-out in Merida, or won’t spend much time at your hotel, there are plenty of bed-and-breakfast options housed in grand historic homes.
Hacienda Hotels Outside of Merida
There are several Marriott Luxury Collection Hotels that are converted former haciendas. They’re lovely places to spend a couple of nights in a romantic setting that takes you back in time. The two best are Hacienda San Jose and Hacienda Temozon, the latter close enough to Uxmal to be a base for exploring the ruins.
One that’s not part of that collection but follows a similar playbook is Hacienda Katanchel, a 740-acre estate less than 45 minutes from Merida’s historic center. You have to have a group to book there as they’re only open when occupied. It can accommodate whole wedding parties though, with 40 rooms in all, scattered across grounds with cenote-fed pools and lush vegetation.
Catherwood Travels, the upscale tour company, also has a collection of haciendas that groups can book or you’ll end up staying at one or more of them if you go on one of their excellent tours.
If you don’t want to go full-on colonial, one of the most luxurious options in all of Yucatan state is Chablé Resort & Spa, about a half-hour drive from Merida. This luxury resort is a true mix of old and new: the heart of the property is the 18th-century main hacienda building and there’s a restaurant in the old machine works building, but the sections that were added on are thoroughly modern.
Chable has 40 rooms on offer, mostly individual casitas with their own pool. They’re the most tricked-out (and expensive) quarters in the state, with smart TVs, surround-sound Bluetooth stereos, and an iPad connected to Spotify. A fridge is stocked with complimentary goodies and your robes are joined by a mountain of fluffy towels and Havaianas flip-flops. While the restaurants at the other hacienda hotels are often not very adventurous, the menu at Ix’im came from one of Mexico’s top celebrity chefs.
To see detailed reviews on our top picks, head to our page that links to our takes on the best luxury hotels in Merida.