It’s no secret that, all of a sudden, everyone wants to come visit Yucatán. The why is also no secret (there’s a reason you’re reading this article). Whether you’re coming just for a visit or actually looking to make this your home, you will not find a better place than Villa Mercedes Curio Collection by Hilton, to use as a base. The one danger would be the comfort and elegance of its facilities trapping you into wanting to extend your stay. If you live here in Merida and haven’t been to the hotel in the last year, you need to stop in and check out the spectacular bar and three magnificent restaurants. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Villa Mercedes Hotel had long been in the Merida hotel scene. However, in 2021 they unveiled their new image, now under the Curio Collection flag, a Hilton brand that guarantees quality and safety in their service and facilities, while at the same time respecting the essence of each unique property. Villa Mercedes morphed into a hotel that cocoons their guests in a modern version of the Yucatecan essence while preserving the architecture from the end of the 19th century and the natural elements that characterize our land; a perfect example of this is the 300 square meter pool that is finished in “Chukum,” a natural resin that is applied to the stone and gives the appearance and sensation of swimming in a cenote.
However, perhaps the most spectacular element of this mix of nature and modernity is right in the heart of its signature restaurants: a private area, defined by a structure that is made up of 9,300 Jícaras (gourds from the fruit tree Crescentia cujete). If you have seen pictures, that doesn’t count! No matter how incredible it looks (and yes, it looks incredible in pictures) seeing it in person is the best way to really take it all in. Pictures just don’t do it justice.
Villa Mercedes is full of many nooks and crannies that are just perfect for pictures and should be included in the memories of your visit to Merida. If you are like me, pictures, no matter how great they are, will always be in second place when it comes to having an exquisite meal, which is exactly what they make in this hotel’s kitchens. At “El Centro,” the concept is Mediterranean cuisine, cooked on firewood; if you arrive for breakfast, don’t miss their Bolitas de Queso (cream cheese pastry balls). “Asai,” on the other hand, is a restaurant overseen by the chef Yasuo Asai, the ambassador for Japanese food in Mexico. Asai Mérida stands out as it is the only one that offers Teppan (grill table) service, in a several-course menu; they also take advantage of the richness of our local seafood, incorporating ingredients such as Maya (or miniature) octopus.
And last but not least, the latest restaurant to open: María Raíz y Tierra (María, Roots and Earth), by the Mexican chef Colibri Jimenez, researcher and promoter of the revaluation of the gastronomic heritage of Mexico. María is a restaurant that merges local ingredients with recipes from all over the country, creating dishes that boast unique flavors and tradition but at the same time, incredibly novel. All this is more than enough to make one proud of this property, all that it has to offer and all that they have achieved. Nevertheless, when I spoke with Federico Domínguez Tiburcio, general manager of the hotel, I was struck by the two things he emphasized way beyond the elegant installations, the delicious food, or the exquisite décor. First, the way in which he spoke about the marvelous team that makes up, as he puts it, the hotel itself: a family of 100 persons who want to generate unique experiences. “We have the good fortune of being a hotel of just 127 rooms: 127 opportunities to generate satisfaction and personalized service for each and every guest.” That is dedication. But they go one step further. Federico tells us that all the hotels that are located on Colón Avenue work together (in conjunction with all the promoters in both private and public tourism) to guarantee that all their guests, collectively, have a wonderful experience during their stay. In his own words, he tells us “we are one team that wants to provide experiences of quality and warmth.” This is commitment.
You don’t need to be a guest at this hotel to appreciate the enormous value that Villa Mercedes brings to Merida, its residents and guests. But to get the most out of it, it is worth visiting and enjoying it yourself… maybe accompanied by an avocado margarita. You will not regret it!
By Alicia Navarrete
Communicologist born circumstantially in México City, but who says “uay” since 1985. Life has allowed me to see the world, which in turn has allowed me to discover how much I love the place where I live.
Photography by Sara Alba for use in Yucatán Today.
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