KM 182 Carretera Merida-Uxmal, Temozon Sur, Yucatan, Mexico
Trek off the tourist trail to this authentic and impressive hacienda hotel that's well situated for exploring the entire Yucatan region, including the ruins of Uxmal.
At the pastoral Hacienda Temozon Luxury Collection hotel you'll enjoy modern comforts thoughtfully arranged among the historic grounds and converted buildings of a 300–year–old sisal plantation that employed 640 workers at its peak. The largest of the three Starwood haciendas around Mérida, Temozon lies halfway between the capital and the ruins of Uxmal. If you're looking for luxury lodging in an off–the–beaten–path location that still has things to do and see nearby, this is your place.
Just a short distance from the small Mayan village of Yaxcopoil, the hacienda provides a far more dramatic re–creation of the henequen plantation experience than its local siblings. Set on more than 90 acres (35 hectares), the grounds now consist mainly of manicured lawns dotted with historic farming implements. This stately hideaway provides about as placid and tranquil a space as money can buy in the interior of the Yucatan.
As you enter the hacienda grounds along a palm–flanked stone path, you may be greeted by a grand fountain spouting water from 18 stone animal mouths. Each viewpoint is photo-worthy as you enter the main building where the lobby is and tour the entire hacienda. Temozon has often played host to dignitaries— Mexican President Zedillo and U.S. President Clinton met here in 1999 and George W. Bush spent the night here later. The main building glows in a warm palette of bold reds and yellows, set against a canvas of lush green gardens. It houses most of the rooms, as well as the small reception desk, library (be sure to see the before and after reconstruction photos), and game salon.
Some accommodations are named according to their former purpose (Botica, Enfermeria and Casa del Maestra, for example) and historic design details are noticeable throughout. Decorations include bronze or carved wood beds and hand–embroidered linens. All rooms have stone tables, hammocks, black–and–white tiled floors, and 18–foot beamed ceilings. The owners gave in a few years ago and installed flat-screen TVs with limited channels in the rooms. All are also equipped with CD stereos or iPod docks, complimentary internet access, and phones. Air conditioning and ceiling fans keep a slight breeze circulating, but you may find the plunge pools in some suites a better option for cooling down. At the end of the hacienda is Casa del Patron, a two–room suite with its own larger private pool.
Baths are spacious and well-equipped, with shower stalls big enough for two and room for both to move around the vanity without bumping into each other. In a nice environmental touch, locally made liquid toiletries are in reusable clay pots. Fluffy towels and robes keep you comfortable.
Meals are a mix of international and Yucatecan fare, with more emphasis on tradition and flavor than a showy presentation. You can choose to eat them almost anywhere you want, and up to as late as 11 pm. Most guests choose to dine on the rattan–fitted terrace in back, which overlooks the water trough that stretches toward the pool.
Contemporary touches like concrete pillars and a swim–up bar add to a stunningly dramatic pool area, but the design elements blend well with the historic feel that permeates the 90-acre former plantation. Lounge chairs set up next to the pool are inviting in the Yucatan heat. The preserved farm, factory machinery and nearby smokestack evoke a strong sense of rustic authenticity and original narrow gauge train tracks run throughout the property.
There's a tennis court tucked away, you can rent bikes, and a game room has a billiard table, but indulging with a spa treatment or massage at the underground cenote seems a more inviting alternative for the relaxed atmosphere at Temozon. Just be sure to plan in advance, as bookings can fill up quickly. Weddings at the hacienda's small chapel are also popular at this secluded romantic location.
If you have time to explore the Yucatan slowly, and are okay with being far from the city or beach, then the peaceful and private countryside setting at Temozon should satisfy and will surely serve as a good base for excursions to Mérida, Uxmal and lots of lesser–known Maya sites in the region. Wandering the grounds here and having a leisurely cocktail on the terrace, the birds singing in the background, is a great way to bring down the stress level.
Web Address: Starwood Luxury Collection - Temozon
Total Number of Rooms: 28
Published rates: $300 to $522
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.