Part of the social whirl I described earlier involved a sneak preview of a boutique inn that opens soon.
Let me back up a bit. According to Trip Advisor, 83 hotels and 53 bed-and-breakfasts, many of them mediocre at best, vie for your business when you visit Mérida. We love having so many options, and in seven trips we’ve gotten to know a variety of neighborhoods. I can’t help but think that there’s going to be a shakeout as the bar rises higher and higher. First, we were pampered at beautiful Casa del Maya, which will heighten everyone’s expectations of a guesthouse.
And tomorrow another new contender opens, and it’s jaw-dropping. (Anyone who cares about architecture and historic preservation also has reason to cheer.) On Calle 56, near 55, there was a sleeping giant, staged to be a hotel but left unsold for years. Then two guys from Ohio (one with a Westin Hotel pedigree) came down and repaired, renovated and polished it. They rebuilt the pool, hung new chandeliers, and installed tasteful contemporary furniture and décor. I feel that somehow I’m making it all sound so simple, but of course this was a herculean effort. They painted the facade green. Now, this gorgeous 250-year-old casona is called Villa Verde Merida. And it’s in the expert hands of its dashing owners, Michael and Robert.
Four guest rooms open to the front courtyard (above), and a fifth opens to the pool, where daily happy hour will take the edge off those lazy Mérida afternoons. Location is great, too. Guests will have a quick walk to the main square, the Paseo de Montejo, and Santa Lucia park. Read more and see a sideshow here.
As it is with all grand properties, photos don’t do them justice. You’ll have to picture yourself standing on busy Calle 56 before huge mahogany double doors, ringing the bell. The doors open and you immediately hear the trickle of water fountains and see a glimpse of the softly lit courtyard. The doors close behind you and the street noise vanishes. You immediately relax, feeling slightly dazed by your surroundings as you walk along the colonnade. Before long, you’re by the pool, a refreshment is in your hand and you contemplate canceling your jaunt to Chichen Itza and schedule a massage instead.