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Hacienda Uayamon—Campeche, Mexico

KM 20 Carretera, Uayamon-China-Edzna, Uayamon, Campeche

This 16th century hacienda gone boutique hotel is another fine example from Starwood's Luxury Collection in Mexico. As with many of the others, however, Uayamon is best for guests seeking privacy and seclusion, not activities or convivial conversation.

Hacienda Uayamon

More remote than Starwood's Hacienda Puerta Campeche in the city itself, Uayamon aids the imagination by creating the set for what life must have looked like in rural Campeche over four hundred years ago. To get to the hotel, you must drive for a half hour into the countryside, passing fields of sugarcane and corn, much of it on land that the hacienda would have encompassed in the past.

Visiting Uayamon is like stepping back in time, with the renovation and decoration in a traditional period style, though of course now you get modern perks such as Internet and air conditioning. A small hotel, there are just two suites and ten villas rooms, ensuring a peaceful stay and personalized service. The villa rooms are located in what used to be staff housing when the hacienda was in operation. What was once a detached house in the past is now a single room with all the amenities, surrounded by lush jungle.

The suites are set in the hacienda's former hospital and the front of the building still bears the name of the former owner's wife. Ample and rectangular, the suites have an open floor plan with a sitting room which leads into a bedroom. The spacious bathrooms have glass doors which open onto a private outdoor whirlpool tub. The décor is formal and sophisticated, with period–piece furniture and dark woods. Each suite also has an outdoor lounge area, cushioned and canopied, creating the perfect place for an afternoon siesta, coffee in the morning, reading, or simply listening to the sounds coming from the vibrant Mexican jungle.

The hotel's grounds are as fascinating as they are beautiful. Pathways accentuated by lily–covered fountains lead from the villa rooms to the restaurant, chapel and pool. Over the years, the hacienda was left abandoned until it fell victim to the ever–encroaching flora. Some parts of the hotel are simply ruins; just bits of the old stables or machine rooms hanging with vines and sprouting tropical plants from nooks and crannies. Such is the case of the hotel chapel, which is roofless and missing several of its walls. Still, it's clearly a chapel and small weddings are held in this unique space, which would be magical when lit up with twinkling white votive candles. It is here too, that the family of the original owner, Rafael Carvajal Iturralde, is buried. You see Rafael's initials (RCI) on most of Hacienda Uayamon's buildings.

The pool is another example of combining ruin and luxury, history with modern life. Set in the old machine room, this is where the hacienda's laborers turned hemp and sisal into twine. It is one of the larger buildings on site and once boasted high ceilings and strong columns. Most of the machinery building has been left as a mossy ruin, except for its left end where the swimming pool is located, enclosed by antique factory walls and accentuated with columns. This old–meets–new style is incredibly effective in giving the pool and the hotel in general a unique elegance all its own.

Hacienda Uayamon fountain

The restaurant, reading room, reception, gift shop, and bar are all located within the owner's former home. This building is the centerpiece of Uayamon sitting proudly at the end of a long manicured driveway. A flight of stone steps lead to an open air terrace where tables are available for guests to eat, drink and chat. Among the tables are sofas and plush armchairs perfect for cocktails and reading. This outdoor seating area has an expansive view of the hotel grounds, but can be hot. For those who prefer air conditioning, the restaurant's inside dining area is small but charming, with a view of the back patio.

The menu at Uayamon is a treat, creatively incorporating local ingredients like mango and lime. The Cobia filet with grilled vegetables is delicious as is the local specialty, Sopa de Cuatro Milpas (Farmers vegetable soup). For dessert try the Orange Blossom Crème Brulée and Fruit–Stuffed Crepes. Lucky guests will be served by Jorge Sanchez, a Campeche local who is happy to fill diners in on local history and Edzna ruins facts.

For those who want to experience real peace and quiet and an escape from the ordinary, Uayamon is the right choice. The Maya ruins of Edzna, sit just down the road from Uayamon, making a nice day trip option. Other than ruin exploring, spa treatments, and relaxation, there isn't much going on at Uayamon, which is precisely why it's so special.

Web Address: Starwood Luxury Collection––Uayamon
Total Number of Rooms: 12
Published rates: Villa Rooms: $265 to $375, Suites: $345 to $455, + tax and service charge

Review and photos by Regina W.B.

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