Luxury resort in Mexico blends Mayan culture with modern sophistication

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If you’ve ever spent time exploring Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, you know the overwhelming allure of its Mayan ruins, colonial towns, and Caribbean waters. The region has some of the world’s most beautiful stretches of whitewashed coastline and sandy fishing villages.

Yet with the exception of a handful of hotels in Mérida or tucked deeper inland, few resorts combine authentic Mayan culture with modern sophistication like Chablé, which opened its doors a few months ago at a half hour drive from Mérida.

Chablé sits on the site of an early 19th-century sisal plantation, which the creators of Chablé – architect Jorge Borja and designer Paulina Morán – artfully incorporated throughout the design. From the lovingly restored main hacienda to the modern glass and steel restaurant Ixi’Im, located in the former machinery house where sisal was processed, this very stylish resort is an elegant blend of drama and detail.

From stone bathtubs to indoor and outdoor showers, the casitas at Chablé Resort offer all modern conveniences. Rates start at $ 1,000 per night. (Michael Hiller / Special Contributor)

The rooms

Lantern-lit paths lead from the main house in Chablé to the resort’s 40 limestone and glass guest villas, each with a private swimming pool, stone bath, outdoor shower, a terrace and hammock, and separated from the other guest houses by lush gardens and thick jungle. The entire resort exudes an artisan and artisan feel, from the precise shade of blue used in the floor tiles to the wooden beams and high ceilings of the hacienda to the ceramic sinks in each casita, which have been spun and glazed. by a potter in a nearby town.

18th century structures are given new life at Chablé Resort near Mérida.
18th century structures are given new life at Chablé Resort near Mérida.(Michael Hiller / Special Contributor)

Design

The decidedly modern design is both epic and intimate, a welcome rise in sophistication in the Yucatan.

“They delivered this to me in box form to do whatever I wanted,” says Morán, whose design portfolio includes private homes, jets, yachts and hotels. “From the custom floor tiles handmade in the hacienda to the acid washed Mayan marble in the casitas, we worked with local artisans to get each shade just right.”

While you won’t find a beach at this resort, nestled deep in a dilapidated jungle, the resort’s serpentine pool at Chablé, spa pools, and your private plunge pool more than make up for it. At the heart of the 750-acre estate stands a cluster of colonial-era buildings, beautifully restored and illuminated at night by century-old trees whose branches glow with lanterns and fireflies. Ixi’Im, supervised by chef Jorge Vallejo of the famous Mexican restaurant Quintonil, absorbs this light like a play.

Restaurant

The vibe inside Ixi’Im is sophisticated in Mexico City: dark gray granite tables, blue banquettes, black and white tile floors, and glittering glass display cases with the owner’s vintage collection of over 3,000 unique tequilas – the largest in Mexico. These tequilas, some over 100 years old, set the tone for hearty dishes like sour orange venison tartare, habanero pepper and avocado.

And as with almost all of the dishes served at Chablé, the ingredients are grown in the resort’s garden or locally sourced. Mention your interest in the local cuisine and the great chef of Vallejo in Chablé, Luis Ronzon, will invite you into the kitchen to help grind the sauce for the cochinita pibil (pork roasted slowly in banana leaves on a bed of embers). Express a deeper interest and Ronzon will have Doña Eneida, a cook grandmother from the nearby town of Chocholá, come and cook you lunch over an open fire, patting hot tortillas and, if you have any. in luck, by dipping them in a large bowl of relleno negro (a stew of turkey and black peppers). Ronzon also oversees the poolside restaurant and a casual spot at the spa.

The 40 villas at Chablé Resort, near Mérida, Mexico, offer amenities such as private pools, verandas, hammocks, and handcrafted furniture.
The 40 villas at Chablé Resort, near Mérida, Mexico, offer amenities such as private pools, verandas, hammocks, and handcrafted furniture.(Michael Hiller / Special Contributor)

The spa

If you want to collapse in complete privacy, Chablé makes it easy for you. You can start your day with free fresh pastries and coffee delivered to your room at sunrise, then never leave your casita.

Summon courage at least once, however, to visit the Chable Spa, whose more than a dozen treatment rooms are arranged around a large cenote, the natural aquifer-fed limestone pools that dot the Yucatan. Therapists use natural oils and Mayan healing rituals in a variety of treatments, which range from massages, facials and hydrotherapy to unusual experiences like orientation with local shamans and ceremonies at the interior of a temescal, the pre-Hispanic Mexican version of a sweat lodge.

When you’re done, take a dip in the cenote or thermal pool, which designer Morán has clad in petrified wood and topped with onyx to make it glow at night. “It’s more expensive than my house,” says Morán. “Creating something beautiful and something ordinary takes the same effort. The only real difference is your passion. And maybe your bank account.”

Contact: Chable, Tablaje 642, 97816 Chocholá, Yucatan, Mexico. Rates start at around $ 1,000 a night. chableresort.com.


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