Between 54 and 56, Calle 37 487, Centro, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Standing in stark contrast to the colonial-themed Merida boutique hotels that dominate the selection, this unabashedly modern small hotel is meant for a younger crowd that thrives on dance beats, selfies, and lounge nights.
Merida is a beautiful Spanish colonial city in Yucatan state that's famous for its historic center and the French-influenced Paseo Montejo boulevard lined with impressive mansions. A couple blocks off that boulevard is a luxury boutique hotel for those who have had enough of haciendas and colonial furniture: Diez Diez Collection.
While most of Merida's hotels take their cues from the past, Diez Diez is rooted firmly in the 21st century. Sure, there are a few nods to the local location in the selection of Merida tiles and the Jorge Marín sculpture in the courtyard fountain, but this hotel would not be out of place in Mexico City, New York, or Madrid.
With only eight rooms spread over two floors, this is not a property that can support a wealth of offerings, but it does well in what you have at your fingertips: a pool, roof bar, and restaurant serving all three meals. Since it's in a walkable neighborhood with plenty of other options around, this is one of the most convenient hotels in Merida for those without a car. The main plaza in the historic center is about 15 minutes away on foot or a few minutes in a taxi.
I was staying in one of the small studio rooms with a queen bed and less than 200 square feet, pictured here. The high ceilings and natural light from the top (which can be blocked with an electronic curtain) certainly help make it feel more spacious, but it's a tight squeeze for a couple. Thankfully, the other rooms are larger and offer more space for lounging. You can see photos of each on the website.
The deluxe room adds and armchair and has a king bed and double sinks. The regular suite adds a bit more room and a larger desk area. The rooms of choice though are the top two options: the Gonzales Lugo Suite and the Mercedes-Benz Suite. They're definitely worth the upgrade if available. The former has a sofa, while the latter is a tricked-out suite with its own private roof deck with a whirlpool. As you go up the scale, the rooms get more "clubby," with lots of leather, dark wood, black marble tile, and a mounted deer head trophy or vintage car drawing over the bed.
All of the rooms have nice showers, but they also all have a free-standing black soaking tub. These layouts at Diez Diez Collection are not for the shy though: the only thing separating the bathroom areas is glass, at most—sometimes the tub is right in the room. The sleeping quarters are packed with amenities though: Nespresso coffee makers, drinking water in non-plastic bottles, small safes, refrigerators, Wi-Fi, large TVs, and Scabal robes in open closets. Interesting light fixtures include adjustable reading lights on both side of the bed and ample outlets for recharging. Polished concrete walls join patterned black-and-white floor tiles and built-in wood furniture. Included bath toiletries by "Ritual of the Happy Buddha" in refillable bottles are limited to conditioner and a combo shampoo/shower gel.
Rooms near the pool have their soundtrack chosen for them: 120 BPM dance music plays from the morning until closing time. That closing time is rather early though because of neighborhood noise regulations, so if you want a couple rooftop drinks, it's best to start before sunset and know you'll have a quiet sleep after. The DZ Bar closes at 10, but last call is at least an hour before that.
The bar is an inviting place, especially when the sky turns orange at the end of the day. There's a creative selection of cocktails, local craft beers, and some well-chosen wines. A variety of lounge chairs and sitting areas are scattered around the roof deck, with umbrellas providing shade during the day, attractive lighting at coming on at night.
To the side of this roof lounge is the swimming pool. Most of it is taken up with a shallow area with partially submerged lounge chairs. The shaded deep end is a good place to cool off from the Merida heat though, facing a dramatic mural on the adjoining wall.
The main Fronto restaurant is on the ground floor, with an indoor area and bar, then tables outside on the patio. An a la carte breakfast is included in the rates, but it is no routine affair. I went for the sweet potato pancakes and got an Instagram-worthy plate with nuts, fruit, coconut, honey, and edible flowers. Other choices include a smoothie bowl and a few Mexican egg dishes. The later meals get more unusual, including dishes that incorporate Yucatecan ingredients into modern interpretations and highlight items like venison and suckling pig. Room service is available and there are also several good restaurants within walking distance in the neighborhood.
Cruiser bikes are available for you to use, which is especially nice on Sunday mornings when the Paseo de Montejo is closed to traffic on one side.
English proficiency is quite good at Diez Diez Collection and the staffers are friendly and professional. This is not the best property for those with limited mobility—there's no elevator—and those who want a colonial Mexico experience will be better off at nearby Rosas y Chocolate or Xcanatun. For boutique hotel lovers searching for contemporary style in Merida, however, this is the top choice.
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.