Calle 59 no. 71 between Calle 16 and Calle 18
The only true luxury property in this small city on the Gulf of Mexico, Puerta Campeche is an ingenious adaptation of a 17th–century building into an intimate urban retreat.
Occupying the better part of a block in the centro histórico of Campeche, this Starwood–managed hotel resembles the company's other hacienda properties in its creative adaptation of an old building (once a home, warehouse and store), into lavish rooms––15 in this case, which open onto shady portals and a garden with a swimming pool that wends its way through artfully crumbling walls.
Painted in the rich ocher and deep red that are traditional in the Yucatán, the rooms have cool tile floors and heavy, dark wood furnishings, as well as pegs for hanging a hammock, should you want an alternative to the pillowy–soft bed. The bathrooms, by contrast, are far more modern, in polished limestone with sleek fixtures; those wanting privacy should note that they're separated from the bedrooms only by partitions and not closing doors.
Although there are technically only two room categories, plus one master suite, the layouts and space in each vary considerably. Standard rooms are a bit cramped regardless, with large bathrooms but little space to pass between the bed and armoire. Junior suites are far preferable, with a sitting area either adjacent to the bed or in a front entry area. Some also have an additional sunroom with lounge beds. (The sunrooms are a clever innovation that allows natural light into rooms that were traditionally built to stay dim and cool––not necessary now that air–conditioning is also available. The drawback, however, is that these areas can be too warm during the day.)
The master suite perched at the highest point of the property commands fine views across the city. It's also the only room with a bathtub––a great sunken stone pool big enough for two. But it's not necessarily nicer than some of the roomier junior suites, because it lacks the 18–foot ceilings of the older downstairs rooms. Unless you really want the tub and a private terrace, you're better off in a junior suite such as No. 4 (which has a sunroom) or No. 8, which is exceptionally spacious.
Everyone can enjoy the city view from the torchlit rooftop lounge, open weekend evenings for drinks. Downstairs, the lobby bar has a great, historic feel with its dark–wood cabinetry and ceiling fans, while La Guardia restaurant, which offers indoor and terrace dining, features modern takes on some of Campeche's best–loved seafood dishes.
Although it is marketed alongside Starwood's other hacienda properties in the Yucatán Peninsula, Puerta Campeche is very much an urban hotel and lacks the expansive grounds and sense of rural escape that the other four properties have. If this is essential, then book at Hacienda Uayamón, only 20 minutes outside the city; guests at Puerta Campeche can also visit Uayamón for the day and use its spa facilities.
Otherwise, you'll find a supremely comfortable, well–managed hotel with a colonial–style interior that's as visually striking as the exteriors of the buildings that make up Campeche's historic city center.
Web Address: www.luxurycollection.com or www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com/haciendapuertacampeche
Total Number of Rooms: 15
Published rates: $309 to $539
Review and photos by Zora O'Neill