Calle 59, No.71 between 16 and 18, Campeche, Mexico
Inside the ancient walls of Campeche, Hacienda Puerta Campeche is romantic, relaxed, rustic, and proud of its history.
Sometimes, knowing the history of a hotel enhances the experience of staying there, and that is certainly the case with Hacienda Puerta Campeche, which is a Luxury Collection property that's now part of Marriott after their Starwood purchase. The port of Campeche, on the Gulf of Mexico, played a big part in the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The area was formerly a seat of Maya civilization. When the Spanish replaced Maya structures with churches and residences and began to thrive as traders and merchants, attacks from pirates and raiders forced them to build fortifications in the l7th century.
Hacienda Puerta Campeche Hotel is surrounded by and embodies this multi-layered and rich story. The hotel is right inside the ancient walls and ramparts of the city, near a small pirate museum. The architecture and décor are largely Spanish, but there are hints of indigenous culture. The buildings on the property were once the home of the wealthy 19th century merchant Don Eligio Guerrero Quero and his wife; the former sold luxury products and wines from Europe. He later expanded his business to include food and henequen (also called sisal and used for ropes and matting), and his was the first soap making business in Campeche.
The hotel feels and looks like a hacienda, but in fact it was a mercantile business and residence. As with the other Luxury Collection hacienda hotels in the Yucatan Peninsula, the architectural features and originals spaces are maintained as much as possible, balanced with modern elements.
The guest experience at Puerta Campeche hotel embodies the three r's: romantic, relaxed, and rustic. It is a favorite retreat for Europeans, who recline on loungers in front of a dramatic swimming pool that meanders through the evocative ruins of the rooms and doorways of a former house. For a unique perspective, you can rock in a hammock that is suspended inside an abandoned room, hanging above the water. And you can opt for spa services in the rooms. One specialty is a Maya ritual that incorporates energetic cleansing with ancient plants that were used by indigenous shamans.
The grounds are atmospheric and charming. A large Alamo tree drips with sinewy vines and roots. A walk through stone arches and rounded columns then along stone pathways is accompanied by the soothing sounds of running water and the chirping of birds.
The outdoor restaurant features views of the gardens and pool, and it feels as though you are dining in the countryside, but you are steps away from the city walls and historic center. The menu includes local specialties like sopa de lima (lime soup), poc-chuk (pork tenderloin marinated with sour orange), and Campeche style panuchos (small fried tortillas with pork pibil or shredded chicken). Because of the hotel's location in Campeche, many other restaurants are within easy walking distance.
Each of the l5 guest rooms is designed so that you feel as though you are in a traditional home or hacienda, while enjoying modern amenities. The walls are painted soothingly and appealingly in ochre, orange and blue, the furniture is dark wood, with light beige and blue upholstery on the chairs, and stone and travertine are featured prominently. The tile floor is black and rust colored, and replicates the materials of the original house.
The deluxe suite includes a sunroom with two beds, double sinks, dark wood furniture, and a tile earth-toned floor. The standard rooms (called superior rooms) are like a compact version of the deluxe room and are a little crowded. The junior suites offer an optional hammock and sitting area. There are 5 standard (superior) rooms; 3 juniors, and 7 deluxe suites.
The reception area of the hotel maintains the theme of the l9th century mercantile shop. Black vertical iron bars are reminiscent of a period bank. To ring a bell, guests pull a long white cord. The public area includes a library with sofas and hammocks, and the 20-foot long wooden bar is a fine place for a cocktail or a glass of wine.
This is clearly one of the best Campeche Mexico hotels and is a great choice for those who want some history and a sense of place along with their luxury lodging.
Web Address: Marriott.com Campeche
Total Number of Villas: 15
Published rates: $195 - $490 with taxes and fees
Review by Judith Fein, photos by Paul Ross.