The best hotels in the Yucatan are just outside of Mérida. Here are a few we recommend pitching to your clients. Hacienda Petac (www.haciendapetac.com) is a private luxury resort rental that houses a maximum of 12 people. By November, it will be equipped with a new spa and fitness center. Hacienda Petac is about a 30-minute drive from the Mérida International Airport. All rooms here are suites. The property offers agents commissions of 10 to 15 percent, depending on volume. The travel agent liaison at the property is Casey Leonard (800-225-4255, [email protected]).
Another great pitch, which rests in the heart of Mérida, is the Hacienda Mérida (www.hotelhaciendamerida.com). It offers exclusive service and only eight rooms. For a hotel in a vibrant city, it is actually known most for its tranquility. The hotel has a bar lounge, a pool and a spa with a professional masseuse on the property every night. Each room offers natural honey product for the body and a king-size bed with 600-thread Egyptian cotton sheets. Home-Based Travel Agent was told that rooms 1 and 3 are the best picks in the house. They both come with dark wood floors and private terraces with hammocks overlooking the property's pool. Hacienda Mérida offers a 10 percent commission. Home-based agents can call the owner, Alexandre Deglute (011-52-999-924-4363, [email protected]).
Hacienda Xcanatún (www.xcanatun.com), a former sisal hacienda converted into a small luxury hotel, is another great recommendation. It has 18 suites, two pools, an award-winning gourmet restaurant and a spa. It is about 20 minutes from Mérida's historic downtown and 20 minutes from Yucatan's gulf coast beaches.?All rooms are different, but we suggest Master Suites 103 and 104, which have hand-carved, coral stone tubs for two. Also, Deluxe Suite 316 has a hydrotherapy tub on a second-story private terrace with a hammock overlooking the gardens. The property offers a 10 percent commission. Home-based agents can call Reservations Manager Araceli Ramirez (011-52-999-941-0213, [email protected]).
Hilton will begin construction of its new Mérida hotel at the end of this year. In its first stage, it will have 120 rooms and will be geared toward business travelers. It will be near the Convention Center, where the 90-room Holiday Inn Express (www.hiexpress.com) began construction in late May. Other brands investing are Ibis from the Accor ( www.accor.com) hotel chain, which will also be geared toward business tourism. Construction has begun and the inauguration is planned for the third quarter of this year. Marriott (www.marriott.com) is also expected to start construction in Mérida this year with no specific date announced. It will have 250 to 300 rooms and such services as a sports bar, lobby bar, spa, gym, pool and restaurants. Besides these constructions, small boutique hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and hostels are opening almost every month in the Yucatan.
Most major U.S. tour operators sell Mérida and the Yucatan in general, including Liberty Travel (www.libertytravel.com), Travel Impressions (www.travelimp.com), Pleasant Holidays (www.pleasantholidays.com), Signature Vacations (www.signaturevacations.com), Abercrombie & Kent (www.abercrombiekent.com), Collette Vacations (www.collettevacations.com) and Classic Vacations (www.classicvacations.com).
Mérida has an international airport that serves more than a million passengers a year. Some international flights leave from Houston through Continental Airlines (www.continental.com. That flight is about one hour and 45 minutes. Also, Aeromexico (www.aeromexico.com) offers flights from Miami, which are about one hour and 30 minutes. There are also several daily connections with Mexico City, which is about one hour and 40 minutes away. International flights can also be taken from there.
New Golf Courses in the Yucatan
The Yucatan Country Club (www.yucatangolf.com) will be a complete residential, tourist, social and sports center in Mexico. It will also house the first Jack Nicklaus golf academy in Mexico, which is in its final phase of construction and is slated to open in September or October. We were not given a specific time frame for the rest of the resort. Flamingo Lakes Golf Resort (www.flamingolakes.com) is in a virtually undiscovered part of the Yucatan peninsula, just a couple of miles inland from the Flamingo Coast and 30 minutes from Mérida. The resort offers a range of luxury accommodations, which range from two-bedroom condominiums to five-bedroom villas dotted around 27 holes of golf. A stunning clubhouse will be the social heart of the resort and will complement the 18-hole Parkland Course and the nine-hole Executive Course, both designed by John Jacobs Designs. The resort has several sporting and leisure facilities including tennis, a health, fitness and spa complex and restaurant, bar and shopping amenities. Construction is currently underway on the site infrastructure with construction of the homes due to start in July. —JP